individualism

Individualism, The Dream Realized

Let’s just imagine a group of Americans who have chosen to create and follow their own individual paths of self-fulfillment by separating themselves from traditional careers, institutionalized churches, political parties, and the American obsession with consumption.

Continuing on this narrative, imagine this group forming a very viable sub-culture of renters, musicians, writers, part-timers, sweat-lodge devotees, meditators, campers, vegetarians, used-car owners, and consignment-store buyers. Continue reading

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Conservatism, a Liberal’s Take (Part II)

It is one of the beautiful peculiarities of writing, if you do it often enough, that content often unfolds in ways you had not expected.

As I was writing about conservatism, for example, I would discover the need conservatives have for “order”; that they need a chain of command; that a golden-age past looms very large in conservative thinking; that their obsession with “states rights” is an extension of their belief in “rugged individualism”; and that religious conservatives depend heavily on “sacred texts” for their values.

I am still discovering more about conservatives. Continue reading

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Another School of Thought

“You know, John, there’s another school of thought.”

I always loved that phrase, “another school of thought.” It seems less hostile, less likely to deteriorate into a conflict-driven debate. Especially, if the sentence comes from a close friend. It is even more poignant when the discussion is about religion.

I grew up in a very Catholic environment. In fact, my entire education was in Catholic schools—elementary, high school, and college. Unlike some of my friends, the experience, in general, I found rewarding and nurturing. I truly admired the clergy-in-the-trenches who taught me what it meant to live in the world of “service.” It has made a marked difference in my life. Continue reading

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Liberalism, Alive and Well

Conservatives like to malign liberals as naïve adolescents, big spenders, pot-smoking pacifists, tree-huggers, moral relativists, Marxists, and worshipers of big government. They also like to think that liberals would rather write to a criminal in Attica than offer public sympathy to a rape victim.

There you have it folks. We're the bad-guy liberals. We are profligate. We are undisciplined. We love to be taxed. We don't like guns. We hate religion. We would rather date a Mexican. We love to run other people's lives from some Kafkaesque, bureaucratic big-government agency. We want every home in America to have solar panels. We despise war. We want to have an equal number of non-Caucasians and Caucasians in all of our elementary schools and high schools. We think men should stop being gynecologists. We want to annihilate all embryos. We love to fantasize about just when fish started growing the two legs Adam and Eve eventually sprouted. Continue reading

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Tea-Party Patriots (Part I)

Patriotic fervor takes many roads these days. Now there is a new highway entrance for the disgruntled and the angry in America. They are the new-and-allegedly-improved original tea-party patriots of America’s legendary Boston Tea Party.

If there is a bonding message among the Tea Party followers, it is simply that they are not being heard by their politicians.

And their messages are seamless streams of rage that have become the sound-bites of this new generation of discontented: “it’s up to the people to take back the government”; “we rule the government”; “people are fed up with the government that won’t listen to them anymore”; “government crap”; “I just want my government back”; “people should keep as much of their own taxes as possible”; “government should stay out of the car and banking business”; “pull the plug on Wall Street”; “screaming at my tv”; “I had to do something out of frustration”; “they don’t have a clue.” Continue reading

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