Thus, the heartfelt plea of a close acquaintance some years back, in response to one of my typical bouts of ranting, raving, free association, subtexting, speculating, lampooning, and what not. Not a bad idea, but I wasn't especially attracted to the option of self-published (how else?) books... or of submitting material to periodicals with which I felt some compatibility -- although I did submit the occasional letter to the editor, some of which wound up in print – and I even had an article published (in two parts) in the magazine of a religious order, on the topic of Faust and Frankenstein, of all things. And pamphleteering pretty much went out when the Internet came in – but that was the answer: a blog! Finally, an outlet for all of this pent-up energy (intellectual and otherwise). And the blog format makes it easy on the prospective reader, since it's free and perpetually available at the touch of a key. And besides that, it offers opportunities for feedback and comments... or for being totally ignored... or for anything in between. And, oh yes, it can be hot-linked from any social media platform, which is pretty much essential in this day and age.
I don't think I expected this blog to be so heavily weighted on the side of politics and current events as it has turned out to be, but we do live in interesting times, after all, and the hits just keep coming, as they say. I have ventured into culture, history, sociology, and the arts now and then, along with some introspective meditation, but current events are just too seductive to stay away from. And as for politicians, well – I can hardly do better than their own perpetual self-satire, but that doesn't mean I'll stop trying.
The one rule (aside from passably good grammar, spelling, and editing) that I have tried to abide by all this time is to not be part of anyone's echo chamber, and to not simply parrot what someone else has said – no matter how wise or impressive that may have been. Basically, if I can't bring something new to the discussion, I don't get involved. As I've said on more than one occasion, “Why do I always have to be the one to notice this, and bring it up?” -- referring to a certain point of view, nuance, or alternative to the conventional wisdom or the non-wisdom ginned up by the media. Of course, it could be argued that a person who is constantly coming up with “different” ways of seeing things might suffer from a touch of lunacy. But in my own defense, I have to mention that in a surprising number of cases, something I bring up in a blog post shows up on an editorial page or in a periodical soon afterward – in a few cases on the very next day. And by a non-lunatic! So I find that reassuring.
I've also tried to maintain what I call a hybrid libertarian/paleoconservative/traditional Catholic point of view, which is like walking a tightrope at times since there are significant differences among the three world views (especially between libertarianism and the other two). But there are areas of compatibility and opportunities for dialogue, so I find it a fruitful area to work in. And I also take, as points of reference or of validation, the writings of some of the best, wisest, and most insightful thinkers of our time, the most prominent examples being Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan, and E. Michael Jones. I also attempt, from time to time, to restore a modicum of dignity to the English language, in the spirit of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Joseph Conrad -- when I'm not shamelessly flinging slang terms around, that is.
Style-wise, I don't pretend to be scholarly or to present air-tight arguments. I do not prepare journal articles or legal briefs, in other words. It's a little more like free association, quite frankly – but I try to keep it coherent and see that it adds up to something (unless all I'm doing is asking questions to which there seem to be no satisfactory answers – yet).
I'll go further than that. I find that blogging is also a way to explore and develop one's thoughts about things – to work through facts and ideas in a (hopefully) logical, if not entirely linear, fashion, and thus to “add value” and come up with something new – not only for the benefit of others but for my own as well. And thus I've always had two symbiotic goals – one to develop and clarify my own thinking, and secondly to share it and thus – or so I hope – help others develop and clarify their own thinking, even if by opposing it to something I have written. Growth through dialogue, if you will. Oh, and I hope to be amusing now and then as well; there are so many occasions in our time when you either have to laugh or cry, and I generally prefer to come down on the side of laughter.
Thus, a few random thoughts on the 10th anniversary of this blog – yes, the first post was on March 14, 2008, and this will be the 943rd post. And the best, almost miraculous, thing is that they are all still available for your leisurely perusal, should you have an idle moment to spare now and then.