We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I was fairly neutral in my views on things until I went to Berkeley for law school and spent 3 years living in The People's Republic. There it was beyond liberal, people had totally lost their minds and their common sense. Talk about a dysfunctional community.
Sadly, I see more and more that the whole country is becoming like that, although I think a couple of our more absurd national Berkeley moments have been Cash-for-Clunkers and Obamacare. Both of them scream out, "What could you have been thinking?!?!"
I think I started consciously thinking of myself as conservative sometime in the late '90s, and though I was not a Bush fan I think it was the Florida vote dispute that pushed me over the edge, as it were.
That said, though there are a number of areas where I have arrived at bedrock Conservative conclusions - for instance, not just skepticism of activist government, but an active desire to diminish and limit government power - a whole lot of my present conservatism consists of me standing in place and Liberals rushing to my left. People I knew in my D.C. days who thought like I did are now standing way the heck left of me - and most of them can't tell me how they got there.
I've stopped asking. It's too depressing. I'll ask them what made them change their mind, and they'll tell me they've always believed that.
For whatever reason I've got a very good memory for conversation, and especially statements of foundation belief. I know that they didn't always believe that, and I've learned a lot of them don't like being reminded, especially if they actually remember after I bring it up.
I've been either registered independent or libertarian since I could vote - which was... hmm Carter/Ford. Almost voted for Jimmy, thought guy with a STEM degree might be a nice change, but did't quite get there. I blame Heinlein.
I usually vote for candidates that don't get elected - my family who've been (R)'s since forever always thought I was throwing my vote away. Since Reagan I think they've been throwing their votes away, I keep voting Lib or Ind. (just stubborn that way). This last time around they've pretty much all come to see it my way.
The only difference between a Party (R) or (D) is who the party sells out to when they're buying votes.