Greetings! This is my first post on this blog. My name is Heath, and I’m not exactly the most perfect person around. I analyze, logically deduce, worry, and then ultimately let my emotions rule. I think this may be a common flaw in people, but a bigger flaw in me.
A part of making this blog is to pursue a passion of mine. I like politics, and I like a good debate. Unfortunately for me, the people I often want to debate don’t exactly want to debate me back. On top of that, I’m not guiltless myself: I’ve often enjoyed poking and prodding these people I disagreed with to get a frustrated reaction.
I believe just like there’s true and false in science, there’s right and wrong in ideas. Things are either so, or not so. This fundamental concept has driven my desire to debate because I’ve always felt that with enough honest argument, the bad ideas drown and the good ideas float to the top.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17
This may have proven true in my own life experience, but probably rarely proves true in argument. Argument unfortunately is personal. People can’t detach themselves from their ideas, and this is the case for me as well: we feel that our ideas make us who we are. We hear them, we claim them, we invent them, we defend them, and we most certainly protect them from the things that might destroy them. An idea’s greatest predator is another idea.
I’ve spent a lot of my life fighting this concept, in actuality. Despite what my brain tries to tell me, what my emotions trigger, I don’t logically believe that my ideas make me who I am. I believe I have the ideas I have because of who I am. Our minds tell us otherwise: they tell us that if we can’t defend the way we think, if we can’t prove we’re right, if we admit something we thought was wrong … well then, we are wrong. Who we are is wrong. We invalidate who we were. And that’s just utterly ridiculous.
I’ve changed my mind enough times in life to know that I’m still the same Heath I was before a belief and after a belief. Do you sound different when you’ve changed your mind? Do you act different? Are you any less eager to launch to strong defense of something you believe, or are you more keen to ignore someone who needs help now that you believe something differently? Of course not. Because ideas don’t make us who we are. And if we can truly recognize this and override the fundamental fears we all have, we free ourselves. We’re figuratively unchained from preconceptions, boxes, the concept that we all have to think and feel and believe this one way else we’re traitors of some kind.
The reality is that by thinking this way, we already were traitors. Every hour of every day we betray our conscience and are turncoats to the truth. What truth you ask? I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. We should all be looking for truth in our lives. I believe it exists out there and it’s waiting to be found, truth of all kinds to all sorts of ideas. But if we’re stuffed into boxes and march to the beat of a drum, we can never start to explore the paths to the truth that we each need to.
This is what I believe. What I want to do with this blog is find a new truth. I believe Americans can work together for each other: this is the truth I’m seeking. This won’t be easy in any respect: often times, what benefits someone will hurt someone else. Other times, we think that will be the case but in reality, it isn’t. Republicans vs. Democrats and conservatives versus liberals is the name of the game in American politics. I believe there’s something more fundamental than that. I believe what’s colloquially referred to as “conservative values” are in actuality, everyone’s values, if they’re followed and adhered to genuinely. Conservatism can make a man rich, whether he is poor or rich already. Conservatism can defend the liberty of the oppressed and support the rights of those that deserve them. Conservatism can promote peace and fight violence. Conservatism can achieve all the things that we as Americans fundamentally believe in. These are the things that unite us. Why aren’t they?
For plenty of reasons. Conservatism has been misused. Abused. It’s been used to prevent the rights of women and homosexuals. It’s been used to promote war and conflict. It’s been hijacked by the zealots of religion who are exclusive in their thinking. It has been turned into a vessel of the hatred and fear that permeates the human condition. These are all facts that are inescapable to anyone honest with themselves and in pursuit of the truth.
But its also naive to say that this is something that has effected only conservatism. Liberalism has been used to promote rioting, race baiting, religious intolerance and all it’s ilk. It’s because these things, conservatism and liberalism, they’re just words. They’re just categories we use to group together ideas, and as vessels of these ideas sometimes the wrong ideas, bad idea, truly malevolent ideas have been sneaked into these concepts to cause people harm and promote the acquisition of power. But that doesn’t mean that conservatism or liberalism themselves are bad. If we can divorce ourselves from the preconceptions caused by the misuse of these two paths, and recognize them for what they are: potential paths to the improvement of the human condition, well then perhaps we can start over. Perhaps we can explore their merits, appreciate what works and what won’t, and actually walk that path to a better tomorrow.
Hey, what can I say? It’s an idea.