(CCU Faculty) My conservatism is not due to either nature or nurture. Neither my parents nor my grandparents were religious or conservative. In fact, everyone in my family was Democrat until the Reagan administration, yet now none of them are.
My conversion to Christ came in the early 70s after four years of college as a history major, specializing in ancient history. I became more and more fascinated with how the Bible fit into history, how archeology seemed to confirm events in the Bible, and how Christianity so effectively described the human condition.
My conversion to limited government came in the mid-70s while stationed with the Army in Berlin. I lived near the wall and spend my time listening to the phone calls of Communist East Germans. In the late 70s I began a graduate program in Modern European History at a campus of the University of California, where I specialized in totalitarianism (specifically Fascism, Nazism, and Communism). In 1976 I voted for Jimmy Carter, but by 1980 my enthusiasm for big government solutions began to wane. In 1984 I tried to convince my grandmother to vote for Reagan instead of Mondale. She replied that she was a Texan who had never voted Republican, and that to vote for one would be to disgrace her ancestors who were all from the South.
My conversion to free market economics came in the 80s, after teaching high school several years on the east side of LA. The state of California passed legislation requiring that every high school senior take a semester of economics. In less than a year an economics teacher had to be found for every high school in the state. My principal discovered that I was the only member of the faculty who had taken several economics courses as an undergrad, so he told me that I would teach the new course. Unfortunately, I had attended a Cal State campus, where my professors were Keynesian and taught economics is a manner which seemed incomprehensible. I told my principal that I was not up to the challenge, but he informed me of a summer program at UCLA run by the Academy for Economic Education, where I could be adequately equipped to teach the course. My instructor was an economics professor from Pepperdine, who convinced me that free market economics was vastly superior to what I was taught at Cal State. Over the next several years as I taught the course, the superiority of the free market was confirmed by how Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan had transformed their economies.
There are still a few conservative ideas which I have a few problems with, but in every case they seem to be far better than the liberal or socialist alternative.