Why “The Idealist”

For months, the name and purpose of the blog have been bothering me. The name and stated purpose seemed pretentious. So I decided on something that may more appropriately describe by thoughts and feelings from the outset. It seems the pretentiousness may, however, have only increased by implying that I may know “how things, perhaps, ought to be” (see the title). My position is not that I know any of how things should be, but that I have opinions and I am anxious to explore what is ideal. I again encourage free expression and exploration of topics philosophical, political, and economic. Religion will surface often, but for me is not the crux of the debate.

This morning, reading in Will Durant’s “The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage,” I ran across the following regarding Mahatma Gandhi: “In his first year there (in London to study law at age 18) he read eighty books on Christianity. The Sermon on the Mount ‘went straight to my heart on the first reading.’ He took the counsel to return good for evil, and to love even one’s enemies, as the highest expression of all human idealism; and he resolved rather to fail with these than to succeed without them.”

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” exclaimed Thomas Paine in December of 1776 as Washington’s army faced a horrible winter in Delaware. Our current times are also very trying. If only we had leaders who didn’t just say they believed in Christ (as the religious right states), but actually believed Him and were disciples of Him (as was the previously mentioned Hindu pacifist), the responses of our government and the results of our decisions would be quite different.

My goal for this blog and the world (delusions of granduer? Maybe, but after all, I am an idealist) is that we can identify the changes that can and must be made in order to preserve liberty and progress as humanity.

Introduction

I love to learn. This passion has been intermittantly lost throughout my life, but I hope that the scholarly sentiment I enjoy at this point will only intensify and broaden. Over the past two years I have been introduced to philosophy, economics, government, history and literature in a fashion that I had never before imagined. Much of the subject matter will be from the University of Chicago Great Books series as well as supplemental readings both current and classical. I also am reading U.S. history in an unusual way, using an fascinating source: The Annals of America, a compilation of historical original source documents published by Encyclopedia Britannica in a year-by-year manner. Current political thought will be explored and assumptions (mine and hopefully yours) will be questioned.

Ultimately I hope that this will be a location for dialogue; patient, yet sharp; tolerant, but not “politically correct”; opinionated, but not vitriolic. All political, religious, philosophical persuasions are welcome, as long as communications are conducted with respect (but no sugar-coating or getting offended).

I don’t have any political affiliation. I am truly an independent, voting both major political parties and minor parties also. My ideals and leanings will become obvious through the exploration, but rare are the principles and beliefs that are set in stone for me.

 I look forward to the dialoge. Challenge me and teach me as I hope to do for you.