Happy 4th of July: It’s been two years

So it’s the 4th of July – and I’m doing what I’m supposed to … reading about things that make people question my sanity.  Stopping to think about a few things, I made some notes about the changes I’ve experienced in the last two years. Here they are:

First, I’ve realized that I have a deep seated need to know the truth instead of just being correct or “right”.  I can see now that, in the past (or maybe now who knows), people may have seen the opposite and that’s not something I want. So I have done a few things to expose myself to ideas that are simply different than mine from people who are very different than me. Not only have I been reading different things but also have been speaking to different people.  From all of that has emerged a clear sense of moderation.  

Second, I have noted that my positions on issues have also moderated a bit.  Although I can’t point to a core principle change I can point to the moment when this shift happened.  I was discussing politics (surprise) with a group of people with wide ranging views and found myself in the position of agreeing with the conclusions of some people that I didn’t personally like.  More specifically, we agreed in policy but not in the way we got there. That GREATLY concerned me, especially in that moment, because I feared that my positions might give the wrong opinion of what type of guy I am.  The more I looked the more I found myself looking at my side of the fence “from the outside” and I didn’t necessarily like what I saw. That’s not to say that everyone (or even most) on my side of the fence fits that bill, but I think you understand what I mean.  A little bit of self criticism goes a long way.  

Third, because of that shift in perspective, I began listening to pundits like David Packman, reading John Maynard Keynes, and closely following political candidate Andrew Yang.  I did this because I really wanted to go back and see if I missed the “thing” that makes people have divergent opinions and I discovered something deceptively profound. (read it’s really not that big of a deal but a nice reminder lol) The difference between some of the positions that people hold aren’t really that different when you dig into them. It only takes a very infinitesimal shift or flexibility in principle to grow into a totally different worldview.  The issue is how do we as a country factor in these different views without wanting to totally dismiss (or destroy) each other? Or totally reform our culture?

I don’t think that it’s easy to hop over the natural tribal groups we form and, in fact, I’m actually glad we do form groups. What I’m not happy about is the intellectual laziness that can result from being a part of team politics. So what do we do? Well – here’s what I did:

  1. Always assume that you’re in an echo-chamber.  Seek out different opinions.
  2. Always dig down to the core of a belief.  Ask why someone thinks something
  3. Always err on the side of skepticism – you can’t ask too many questions.
  4. Always appreciate the freedom that is all around you – be leery of those who suggest reducing it in any capacity.  (even if it’s hidden as a “moral good”) 
  5. Always remember that the United States is the best place to live in the history of humanity. 
  6. Always be happy to be alive.  There is so much information about interesting and life changing things out there that there is no reason to be bored or dissatisfied.

I’m going to go back and read this post when I inevitably get ratcheted up to eleven during the 2020 election.  I certainly have shifted my opinions about certain issues but not enough to embrace the far left pitches we have coming down the pike ….. that’s just asking too much of me lol. 

Happy 4th of July – I love this country, I am so grateful that I live a fortunate life, and I’m happy to be here. I hope you are too.