Several people have asked me recently what happened to cause me to speak out more than I have in the past. I have a few reasons why I have felt the need to continue to become more involved in the political discussion.
This most recent election cycle was a turning point for me. Before 2015 I held beliefs that were based in my faith and upbringing. Some of these I knew to be true, and others I was not able to concretely defend. With the Republican party giving a long list of primary candidates to choose from, I found that I did not have the grasp that I needed on many issues. On top of this many candidates, with some very different policy opinions, were all claiming the title of ‘conservative’. I had long considered myself conservative, but it was time to find out what that really meant. I began with reading some great works by authors like Thomas Sowell, William F. Buckley, Russell Kirk, and many more. I studied philosophy, economics, and history. I read laws, the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, and policy opinions from people in various fields. I found other conservatives, like Ben Shapiro, who have a lot to say about intellectual honesty and true conservative values. I had conversations with family and friends from both sides of the political spectrum. However, along this journey I found many other sources were under researched and strongly biased towards their political party. Very few people were willing to break from party opinions to follow principles and deal in reality.
In addition to this partisanship, in education and the media particularly, I have heard many emotive statements made in the last two years that have a stronger base in fear than fact. Many well-intentioned people either do not want to talk politics at all or are ready to blindly accept what their news feed tells them. This is a shame, because growth happens with the friction from different points of view. Lastly, with literal rioting in the streets, there has been a decline in the ability to have civil and constructive debates. The issues of today are personal and important, but they need to argued with well researched facts, and with a spirit of optimism that the other person comes from a well-intentioned point of view. These two go hand in hand. For a debate about important issues to be successful, both parties need to be well prepared with facts and solutions. Bringing emotive arguments does not create a space that can be trusted to have a thoughtful debate. If we can all agree to respect facts over emotions, then we can get much more accomplished on finding solutions to our most pressing issues.
I have heard from several people that they also wish to talk more about the role of government, public policy, and society. I hope that this will be a place to do exactly that as long as we can agree to respect intellectual honesty in the process. This is critical that Americans take control of the debate, because if we don’t then the government will continue to take care of the debate for us. The power of the people in this country is the freedom to speak, vote, and shape the country. This comes with responsibility to stay intellectually honest and debate with optimism.