It’s over at the Spectator site, and I recommend it, mainly because, frankly, it so mirrors my own experience.
Here’s the question Henry asks after recounting a letter he got from an old friend:
Tell me, do conservatives ever anathematize old friends? Or does it only happen the other way around?
When I gradually switched from being a liberal to a conservative, most of my old liberal friends, by a wide majority, devalued me by at least 50%. I was “deluded.” I’d “sold out.” “What happened to you?”
That last question so annoyed me that I came up with a response that had a real jolt to it: “I grew up.” (Of course I have to add to that “sort of,” because I am a writer, after all. And you know how all us writers need to maintain and cultivate our “sense of wonder.”)
And I have to separate out from that devaluation the doubts that people had about me in the first place.
But it is certainly true that I went from being “one of the smartest people” to a “delusional right winger.” My status of enfant terrible and naughty rogue was revised to the scornful “he thinks Reagan (or “Booosh”) is a good president,” which has its punch in the way it’s said.
My regard for nearly all of my old liberal and left-wing friends as individuals has actually grown over the years and that includes the indulgence I extend to them for their devaluation of me.
I don’t ever feel sorry for myself at having largely lost the affections of once good friends, but I often wonder what sort of friends they were in the first place even as I try to keep up appearances.
More: I should add that aside from prominent liberal political and media figures, who seem to earn their pay by irritating me, I give most liberals who I meet but don’t know more than a fair shake. I often listen to the most idiotic political rambling without commenting or challenging it and continue to treat that person in a friendly and engaging way. But there is very little reciprocity in that regard from liberals I meet. I endure it, up to a point. There is indeed a line that is sometimes crossed, and then my unpleasant doppelganger Mr. Patience grabs the wheel, and he’s anything but patient.