Friday, August 26, 2005

First Pass - 8/26/05

Firstly, I know it's presumptuous to believe anyone would care about reading this, but I got over that feeling quickly. I've earned the right to my opinions, and, based on life experiences, feel at least as qualified to offer commentary on the passing scene as, say, Michael Moore. I'm a veteran, a husband, a father, and grandfather. I pay taxes and gripe about them like any red-blooded American. I worry about the legacy I will leave my progeny and want to try and influence others to "do good and resist evil".

I'm a bona fide conservative, but I defy anyone to categorize me as heartless. My definition of a conservative is someone who loves and respects the best of what has been handed down to us by people who, themselves, learned the hard way. While honoring our heritage, I have studied enough history to realize that our forefathers fall very short of perfection. I'm wary of moralizing and pontificating by people who have never had the worry of wondering where the next house payment was coming from or where to cut back so you could get your kids in braces.

I believe in community. I mourn the passing of the days where there were no 6-foot privacy fences and rear-entry garages that keep people from sayin' howdy to each other as they go to or from work. I think it's a safe but sad bet that the average family in the average suburb only knows 2 or 3 other families on that block. I think we're worse off for living in a time when parents sue teachers for raising their voices to a child (which is about the only tool left in their disciplinary arsenal) instead of allowing the teacher to apply the board of education to the seat of knowledge.

I believe in the value of hard work. I don't believe that any work, when performed to the best of one's ability, is to be looked down on or considered as inferior. I believe we should take care of those who truly cannot earn a living, but I believe that almost everyone has something they can contribute back to the community. Even for those who need our support, we should seek out a way that they can feel they have something to give in return.

I believe in God. Funny, but 30 years ago, that declaration would not be controversial. I weary to the point of anger with the smug (and ignorant) generation that glibly talks about all the "abuses" heaped on mankind by "religion", while at the same time ignoring the great positive contributions. Man has been, is, and always will be a depraved creature. We possess the potential to do the greatest good or the cruelist evil. As Malcolm Muggeridge observed, "Human depravity is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but also the most philosophically resistant." Man's instinct is to blame whatever evil comes from humanity on "religion" and take personal credit for any good that might occur. A simple refutation of this perspective can be formed from basic principles in logic and philosophy. Has mankind abused the power that comes from claiming to speak for God? Most certainly! The real issue, however, is whether the proclamations of someone who claims to speak for God tie back to the highest teachings of what they claim their moral authority springs from. In short, judge the follower by the handbook, not the handbook by the actions of the follower.

I believe in patriotism. I believe in it especially because I have seen what a lack of it can do to a country. Patriotism is the glue that holds the melting-pot together. Patriotism seeks to build a country up, not tear it down. It doesn't ignore when its government does wrong, but it also doesn't become myopic to the point that it can see no good at all.

I don't fear immigration, but I fear the attitude that sees an agenda of assimilation as an affront to the immigrant's native culture. I fear standards so low that Balkanization is a more likely result than cultural integration. In short, I rue the rise of hyphenated Americans.

I welcome debate, I detest diatribe. My invitation (plagiarizing the Bible) is "come, let us reason together".

Gordon (aardvarkusrex)