‘There wasn’t really an “Aha!” moment, but more of a progression’ is something we just bloody don’t hear often enough. I’ve found it to be true not just of changed beliefs, but also of all different flavors of mourning, and most strikingly for me of my relationship to alcohol. We’re so hung up on these immediate transformation stories that we don’t recognize them as conversion from one faith to another, not growth.
This account reminds me of my history with conservatism & libertarianism. In my teens, I was a staunch conservative. Too young by a year to vote for Reagan, but I supported him. Entranced by libertarianism. Taking Ayn Rand far too seriously.
what happened to me, basically, was that when I went to college I made friends. What a strange thing. I hadn’t really had any, to speak of, before that. And having to talk to people and trying to actually understand what they said and felt basically broke Objectivism for me pretty quickly. I remained basically a libertarian for a long time, but that faded, slowly, until I realized that I now believed a libertarian regime would inherently & rapidly devolve to rule by force of the strong over the weak.
I knew what it was like to fantasize about taking revenge on the strong, and I knew what it was like to realize you’d been very, very wrong in assuming you were going to be in charge, come the revolution. In fact, that was one of the lessons I’d internalized from Rand’s _We, the Living_. Probably not the lesson she intended.
I’ve often thought that if i were growing up today, i wouldn’t have escaped from the brutal cynicism of objectivism & libertarianism quite so cleanly. I’ve have found an online community to reinforce my views in the face of RL relationships. I might have hung on for years that way.
Like you, I don’t regret it. I learned a lot from my libertarian thought experiments (indeed, I followed them through and on out the other side).
I have just one question, though: the part of Catholicism that clashed with Libertarianism for you was its hieratic authority structure? And not love, charity, and taking care of the least? Just curious ;-). (I’m an atheist, so it’s an intellectual question for me.)