Overeducated Redneckby Chris Byrne
One of the things that has always amazed (and amused, and irritated) me, is the willingness of those on the left to dismiss me, and those of my political bent, as racists, hicks, ignorant, rednecks (as if those things were synonymous) etc…
Any time I’ve written about the evils of collectivism, how firearms are as important to freedom as speech, how political correctness is as damaging to freedom as any other form of censorship, how liberal and leftists ideas just don’t work (no matter how well intentioned they are), how islamofascism… or any other kind of fascism for that matter… are anathema to liberty and the well being of a people… Like clockwork there they are calling me an ignorant, racist, redneck (and it’s always those three together for some reason).
Well first thing, I’m generally certain that I’m considerably more intelligent, educated, and informed than those calling me ignorant (and for that matter, they are almost certainly racists whether they realize it or not; and I am definitely not; but that’s another post entirely); but that doesn’t address the point I want to make here.
To these people, redneck is an insult. So is “cowboy” for that matter, or really anything to do with rural America or “country”.
This is of course another form of class warfare, and identity politics. By calling me a redneck, they believe they are dismissing me, my ideas, my opinions, and the facts I present; as not credible, irrelevant, or below them.
Well… to me, call me a redneck, and that’s a compliment. They didn’t intend it that way, but it is.
To their conception, all intelligent, educated, perceptive people must surely agree with them; and anyone who doesn’t follow their false faith of transnational progressivism must therefore be either stupid, evil, or ignorant (or some combination of the three); i.e. a “Redneck” as they see it.
This is especially amusing to me, as given my minarchist libertarian views, some on the far right would consider me just as evil for not following THEIR faith of coerced morality through the force of government.
Of course on its face calling me a redneck would seem ridiculous. By the leftists own expectations, I should be “one of them”.
I was born and raised in and around Boston Massachusetts (with a side trip into Northern New Hampshire. I live in Arizona now, by choice and circumstance). I lived there until I was 16; attending a public school in theory, but most of my education was from a special “gifted” students program called “ACE”, which stood for Accelerated Cognitive Education.
In the ACE program, I started taking 8th grade level classes in 3rd grade, with private tutors and at local private schools. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I had completed most of the first two years worth of general education college courses at local colleges.
I graduated high school at 16; and from there I went on to two degrees at a small private engineering college.
My family are typical Boston Irish. A mix of blue collar, government employees, teachers, cops, firemen, tradesmen, and of course politicians. Most of them are either union democrats, or straight liberals (though surprisingly the politicians in the family were mostly Republicans).
So, as I said, by all their expectations, I should be one of them (and the fact that I’m not seems to drive some of them to even greater lengths of apoplectic rage).
The difference is all in the decisions I made for myself.
I decided to leave home at 16, because my home environment was bad; but I did it going to college. I made something of myself, though I hasten to say a college education is neither necessary, nor sufficient, to do so. My younger brother, in the same environment and with similar native intelligence, decided to suck off the government teat, and became a small time drug dealer.
I decided to join the Air Force; which has changed me more than any other experience in my life but fatherhood. I credit my grandfather, the Air Force, and my kids, for making me who I am.
I decided to travel around the world, and expand my horizons along with my knowledge. I’ve had the great good fortune to visit all 50 American states, and 40 someodd countries (I say someodd, because some of them aren’t countries anymore, and some are two or more countries now).
I decided to take the opportunities that came my way, and when they weren’t coming, to make them; taking risks, sometimes failing, sometimes getting ahead, but always learning.
I decided to learn every damn thing I could to get by, and get ahead. I learned computers, AND carpentry; mechanical engineering, AND auto mechanics.
I decided to take responsibility for myself, and to do for myself and my family, in every way that I could.
And guess what?
Those decisions have made me into a redneck, and I’m proud of it.
You know what being a redneck means to me?
It means being independent.
It means knowing how to fix things when they break.
It means not being helpless outside the modern urban island.
It means knowing the difference between right and wrong; and knowing how to apply my best judgment.
It means knowing that there are things more important than my own comfort and my own skin; and that those things are worth fighting, and dying for.
I’ve chosen to surround myself with others like me; and let me tell you, there are a heck of a lot of us out there.
We’re black, white, asian, hispanic; Bostonian, New Yorker, Texan, Alabaman, even Californian. We’re college educated, and self educated. We’re rural and urban. It’s never really been about where you’re from, or who you were born to; it’s always been about the decisions you make.
The decision to reject the collective, for the individual. The decision to be in charge of your own life. The decision to live the way you believe is right.
So hell yeah, I’m a redneck, and proud of it.