Let’s suppose a philosopher who after having published several works declares in a new book: “Up to now I was going in the wrong direction. I am going to begin all over. I think now that I was wrong.” No one would take him seriously any more. And yet he would then be giving proof that he is worthy of thought.

— Albert Camus, Notebooks 1942-1951

It sounds reasonable enough, but then I look at someone like Sohrab Ahmari:

How many ideological twists and turns has this guy taken in recent years? I can’t keep up. From an Iranian upbringing, to atheism and communism, then to neoconservatism, then Catholicism, plus whatever populist/common-good phase he’s in now. The man is like a human jar of Prego — you name it, it’s in there.

All of us have been wrong, of course. All of us have changed our minds about things we thought were settled. I think most of us, though, would explain that in terms of reconnecting with foundational beliefs and principles from which we’d gotten estranged somehow. For example, thirteen years ago, it seemed self-evident to me that one could be politically left-of-center and see identity politics as a cancerous ideology for lunatics. When push came to shove, as it did shortly thereafter, I chose to continue seeing identity politics as a cancerous ideology even if that meant becoming conservative by default. I had to rethink many things, but in other, more important ways, I hadn’t changed at all. If there is any similar continuity and common denominator in someone like Ahmari, it’s beyond me.