Happy New Year!
As Kells as already pointed out, I’ve been a little silent on the RNL these past few days (this post will be long – just for you, Kells). I’ve been following the blog; I just didn’t feel like posting anything. Instead, I have been reflecting on what I have done with the opportunity that Utah gave me two years ago when he asked me to be a contributor on the RNL. To be honest with you as well as myself, I think I could have done much better. And now, the Boss has announced that he will be passing the RNL baton and handing over the reins to me. While I’m honored and flattered, I’m honestly not sure I’m up to the task. Up to this point, Utah has been the driving force behind this blog page. He built it. I’ve just been a “clinger-on.” Now I have to actually lead. Maybe one day I’ll explain why I have purposely sought to avoid positions of leadership, but, for now, I think it’s finally time I told you a bit about how I came to be the person I am today.
I have always been one of those who have to learn their lessons the hard way. When I was in high school, I promised myself that I would never have children; I would never be a mechanic; I would never be a businessman; and I would never be a teacher. Nor did I pay attention to political issues as much as I do today. Well, if you happen to believe in God, then you probably know that we should be careful not to boast about what we will or will not do. God seldom has the same plan for our lives as we have and, no matter how much we may try to follow our plans, we will end up doing exactly what we were meant to do. So it is that I am a father, the Marine Corps made me into a mechanic (a skill I then used to earn a living until I was thirty), I then started and ran my own company for ten years and, now, I have found myself falling into the role of a teacher. This is how I have come to learn not to say “never” (did you notice I didn’t say “never say never?”).
I also wasn’t very politically motivated when I was younger. I suppose you could say I was politically aware, but for the first seven years of my adult life, I would have been better described as your typical, apolitical Marine. It wasn’t until I started my last two years of college that I became politically aware. Even then, had I not switched my major from engineering to philosophy and sociology with the eventual goal of going to law school, I suspect I would have remained apolitical. But our colleges are what I have claimed them to be: collectivist indoctrination organs. Luckily, God had prepared me to survive this environment. Looking back, I now understand that the seven years I spent in the Marines inoculated me against the poison I would encounter daily while in college. Still, even with that inoculation and an awareness of what was happening, I had to fight to keep from involuntarily integrating the collectivist doctrine into my world view. For a brief period of time, I nearly became a full-fledged socialist. I can still remember how adamantly I believed my employer at that time couldn’t possibly operate without my help. It wasn’t until I started and ran my own business that I came to understand just how wrong I was but – more importantly – why I was wrong. I now count being a businessman as yet another blessing.
I’m lucky in that I am naturally a philosopher at heart. I do my best to seek the truth, no matter how difficult it may be to accept. Now, that doesn’t mean I always find it. Often, I only find a part of the truth. But it does mean that I understand and follow the process of what philosophers call ‘right reason.’ This is nothing more than knowing and using the basic principles of logic and reasoning to help us understand the truth behind the things we observe in the world around us. It also means that, once we find some understanding of the truth, we hold to it unless and until someone can use right reason to show us where, how and why we are wrong. So, here again, I can look back and see that my life was being guided without my knowledge. In this case, I chose to go to law school through philosophy route rather than the much more popular route through political science. The benefit was that I learned a very solid understanding of logic and right reason, which gave me the tools I needed to work my way through the political indoctrination I encountered in college and still retain a clear understanding of the world around me.
It took many years of working through the conflicting ideas I developed while in college, but I believe I succeeded. It helped a great deal that I did not go to law school and started my own business instead. The longer one is exposed to academia, the harder it becomes to avoid the poison that dominates the “group-think” within it. It took me some time after leaving college but, eventually, I came to a point where I was able to sift the chaff from the wheat and build a world view that is consistent with what I have actually observed in my life. This process was greatly enhanced by what I learned while running my own business, which eventually led me to the point where I became politically aware. From there, I started writing letters to the editor and commenting on our local news paper’s on-line forum. That is where I met Utah and, through his invite, I eventually became a blogger. And now I’m being asked to run a fairly successful blog on my own. But here is where things might get difficult for you.
I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve lost a great deal of my interest in purely political matters. To be honest, I’ve been reflecting on who I’ve been turning into since I started blogging about political matter sand, honestly, I don’t like what I see. If I think I’ve been ugly, I can only imagine how others may perceive me. I’ve also posted some stuff that is at great odds with my faith, and I’m ashamed of having done so. But this only applies to the stuff I’ve written that’s directly connected to Party politics. I’ve actually written some stuff of which I am quite proud. I want to write more of that in 2013. As I’ve grown less interested in pure politics, I’ve become more interested in trying to understand the underlying principles that govern all human nature. What I ‘m learning is that we’re not as complicated as many people believe. Consequently, I tend to see things in a way that many people describe as “simplistic,” but I’ve also come to actually understand what we have in common and what we don’t. I’ve also developed strong beliefs about matters of right and wrong. I’m convinced that there is a universal moral law, and that this universal moral law is constant. It does not change with time. This often opens me to the criticism of being too “black or white” in my thinking about matters where many people feel more comfortable thinking in terms of gray.
It used to bother me when people attacked me for simply trying to share what I had learned, but not anymore. Now I understand that I am being asked to do my best to help others understand, not to attack back. I am being asked to teach, and my answer is yes. So, as far as my writing is concerned, I will be heading in a different direction this year. I’ll still write about current events, but I’ll do my best to connect it to underlying principles. I want the RNL to be a place where people can come to learn, not be attacked. I want this to be a truly intellectual blog, but an intellectual blog that speaks to the average person. I want it to be a place where we use reason to examine what is happening in our world. I want it to be a place where we can bring our friends so they can – if they want – start to work their own way out of the cages that have been built around them by using their ability to reason for themselves. But, above all, I want the RNL to be a place where we can educate each other. For my part, I will be trying to explain the basic principles of some fundamental concepts our society has forgotten: those of Individual Liberty as defined through Natural Rights, Natural Law and the Social Contract.