Carnival of Liberty XXI is up at Left Brain Female’s blog this week. This is one of the best weeks ever. Some of the writing, from such folks as Warren Meyers, Eric Raymond, Brad Warbiany and many others, is absolutely fantastic thinking on individual rights and liberties, freedom of speech, intellectual property and more. I can’t pick out any one favorite, go check it all out.
Wife, Mother, Political “Junkie”, Teacher, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Photographer . . . Not necessarily in that order! As a home-schooling mom, I wear a lot of hats.
I’m Kay (known to some of you as Left Brain Female), a 40-something who loves her life, family, and freedom. In my work life before children, I was a secretary, sales representative, catering manager, reservations manager, typographer & editor. In my personal life before children, I was a student pilot, amateur actress, genealogist and bookworm. My widely varied background has translated fairly well to being a stay-at-home mom. I no longer fly (never did get my pilots license – I was young and it became cost prohibative – but I did solo a few times). I’m no longer involved in little theater (although that could change one day), I still love genealogy and have traced my family history back to the 1500’s in early America. I don’t read as much as I used to read, and I tend to be more familiar these days with children’s authors than others. I generally prefer great literature rather than bubble-gum non-nutritional junk food for the mind, and I’m trying to instill that preference in my daughters, who at 9 and 11 enjoy reading and learning about history.
My hubby, Tony (aka SurfinDaddy) is a 50-something who enjoys surfing (having grown up about two blocks from the beach) and rather than be a surf widow, when the waves are good, we go with him to play on the beach and I do some amateur surf photography. Tony is very laid-back and has patiently listened to me over the years as I’ve ranted over political issues that irritate me – and in the process has become a great sounding board as well. He often helps to congeal my thoughts into something a bit more cohesive – and encourages me to put them in writing.
I became a real computer geek after I quit my job when our youngest was born – I’ve built and maintained several computers and played around with a number of websites. I really got inspired after 9/11 and the Iraq War began to try to see if there were anything I could do to make a difference. Bloggers 4 Freedom was born of that thought, and while it hasn’t set the world on fire, it certainly helped with my mental attitude – just the act of “doing something” is cathartic for me.
While my family attends church regularly, and I am daughter of a minister, you won’t hear a lot from me on the subject of Christianity. For one thing, it was (and is) ingrained in me that talk is cheap – and actions speak louder than words. Words are powerful – but only if they’re directed at someone who is interested in hearing what you have to say – and as most people are not looking to be “converted” to anyone’s way of thinking, my personal credo is that in the public forum, God doesn’t need me to open my mouth to anyone – He just expects me to conduct my behavior in such a way that others will see and glorify Him. And believe you me, when I don’t, I suffer the pangs of my own transgressions. And, politically, there are a number of so-called Christian “hot-buttons” that I refuse to touch, because, frankly, I don’t believe they have any business in politics. So while I may personally hold strong feelings about the morality of those issues, don’t expect to see me asking the government to legislate on them.
So you see, I’m very much on the side of the Sovreign Individual be it Libertarian, Rational Anarchist, or whatever you choose to call it.
There are many roads to becoming a classical liberal, and I would be sure that among the various contributors to this blog, we’ll have traveled a wide variety of them. Many people older than myself once held faith in the institutions of government, only to learn over time that their faith was unfounded. They were part of the system until they learned how asinine the system was. I took the opposite road.
I’m a bit of an introvert. I grew up without a lot of confidence in social situations, and accordingly, found myself a fly on the wall observing the behavior of others. You learn quite a bit about the world when you close your mouth and open your ears, and what I saw increasingly just didn’t make sense. I watched the group dynamics of my “peer group” throughout school, where more importance was placed on which clique you were a part of than what occurred between your ears. It became more important as people got older that you acted to “fit in” to a group than be yourself and let the chips fall where they may.
And it’s not gotten any better with age. I sit now and watch the bickering between the Democrats and the Republicans, knowing that neither group considers principles or ideas to be the guiding force in their actions, it is partisan politics and satisfying interest groups that’s important. It has become a clan mentality, where protecting members of your clan is a moral imperative regardless of whether or not they deserve it. Where you regularly proceed with slandering members of opposite clan, even if they’d normally be someone you’d be friends with. It is now more important to fit in with your political party, or your race, or your class, or your gender, or any number of manufactured cliques than it is to even hold beliefs and stand up for your own thoughts.
I observed all this from a vantage point on the outside, and I became disgusted. I resigned myself to make up my own mind on every issue based on the evidence and the arguments I had available to me. I named my personal blog the Unrepentant Individual, which has led some to believe that I hold myself above reproach and act without apology for things I do. This is not true. What I will not apologize for is being myself and only myself. I consider myself to be an individual, and any “membership” I hold with others of my political party, my race, my socioeconomic class, my gender, or any other manufactured clique is just ancillary. I am not a “classical liberal” because it sounds fashionable, rather because the arguments I’ve found towards classical liberalism seem much more compelling than any other political philosophy I have yet found.
Eric has asked me, as well as many other bloggers, to blog here because we tend to agree on a wide variety of issues. We look at the world in much the same way, and we have very similar goals. But I am not here to kowtow to the wishes of a group, because while this is a “group blog”, it is a coalition of like-minded individuals, not membership in a club. Most of these bloggers are people who I consider to be my closest friends in the blogosphere, and are all people I respect very highly. I can’t say that for all conservatives, all libertarians, or even all people who consider themselves to be classical liberals, and there are quite a few people on the opposite side of the debate who I highly respect, no matter how much I may disagree with them. These are individuals that I respect, not members of my clan.
To people that don’t understand the way I think, I tend to appear far more obstinate, stubborn, and curmudgeonly than anyone born in the late ’70s has a right to. But part of being an unrepentant individual makes me not care one iota about that. I am who I am, and people who don’t like that know where to go.
I’m an American who served in the US Army and fought in Operation Desert Storm. I have two kids, David and Karyn. These days, after “paying my dues” in the industry, I’m an Information Security Manager/Officer for a company that provides IT services in the healthcare industry. I directly support a government customer, so I don’t seem to be able to escape the government, maybe that’s just a fact of life in modern America. I certainly didn’t plan out some program to get where I am today, but I am also apparently a HIPAA/Healthcare Privacy and Security expert.
Once upon a time I used to be an avid skiier, but as I age I seem to be less interested in that. I must be getting old, I recently took up golf and found a bunch of good reasons for it that I would have laughed at in my younger years. I love to read, especially science fiction & fantasy, military/action adventure, politics and history. My favorite authors include Heinlein, Pournelle, Dickson, Clancy, Larry Bond, Tolkien and Stephen King. I recently read “The Stand” for the first time ever, great story.
I’m a computer geek, I’ve been on the Internet since about 1991, before that I was involved with Prodigy, CompuServ and FidoNet. I’m also a Unix/Linux geek, with Linux experience going back to sometime in 1996. I like to play military strategy and simulation games. My current favorites are Hearts of Iron, a grand strategy game of World War II and Sid Meier’s Civilization III.
Why do I write and blog about politics? I assume that’s what you all really want to know, right? I came of age, politically speaking, in the Reagan years. I remember the slow transition from the malaise, angst and lack of focus during the 1970’s, the rejuvenation of the belief in the individual. More than that, I remember how clear it was when Reagan said that the problems we faced were due to government. As I look around today, 25 years later, our government is larger and more intrusive, and people are even more resigned to it, that it was then. In the intervening years I have read Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, Adam Smith and many others who wrote on classic liberal theory, and various sorts of objectivism and anarchy. I’ve read the works of the other side too, the collectivists and socialists and the rest who believe in absolute egalitarianism or the efficacy of the state more generally.
What I’ve found is that I believe, deeply, in the morality and utlitarian value of individual liberty. Not only is it right, but it works. And I’ve seen the other side, in Europe and the Middle East. I’ve seen the places where the state rules the individual. I write and blog and expound on these topics in the hopes that I touch at least one other person. I do it because I enjoy it and I believe in Liberty.
It will come to no surprise of the readers of this weblog that we contributors don’t fit the normal political nomenclature; it’s hard to describe “what we are” politically, given the available labels. The current political parties are an increasingly poor fit for me, and (I suspect) for my co-authors; to borrow Daffyd ab Hugh’s happy usage, we may caucus with one or the other party, but we aren’t happy in either one.
Lots of others have grappled with this dilemma, and a variety of usages are starting to emerge:
Let me offer another way of discussing this.
Rather than trying to fit somewhere within a political spectrum which ranges from puritan authoritarianism, through big-government corporate statism, through to transnationalist socialism and the dictatorship-of-the-smarter-than-thou, I suggest we set a different course.
Let’s have done with “isms” and oh-so-seductive theories.
I choose to start, not with all manner of grand philosphies, but here:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
I hold that self-evident; axiomatic, if you prefer.
I’ll start there, in the enjoyment of my liberty.
I am… yes.
Over the next bit of time, I’ll write about what comes of that starting point.