I had readers back in the early days of the Awokening who reacted most strongly to my own heterodox opinions about it, rather than the affronts to logic, morality and intellectual integrity to which I was reacting in the first place. One of them would attempt to joke away his discomfort by pretending to be horrified: “You sound like a conservative!” My response was always the same: well, if your progressive friends weren’t such abject, sniveling cowards who prefer tribal identity to honesty, it wouldn’t fall to “conservatives” to state the obvious. Ironically, issues like transgenderism really don’t need to have a political dimension. People of varying political opinions should be able to come together and agree that one does not change reality by changing the words used to describe it. Perhaps we could call it the “reality-based community.”

I don’t have an abundance of intelligence, courage, or integrity, of course. The biggest advantage I have is being a hermit, and thus largely insensitive to peer pressure. No peers, no pressure! As Robinson Jeffers wrote, “the cold passion for truth hunts in no pack.” Circumstances have made me “conservative,” but I could easily imagine a day when, without common enemies, I could find myself at cross-purposes with the more doctrinaire members of the right. Your integrity should matter more to you than your brand label.