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28 April 2009

In the beginning...

Hi there.

I never thought I would start a blog.  I enjoy writing and I do dash off the occasional letter to the editor of my hometown paper, the Aiken Standard, but I never thought that I would start "blogging."

In fact, the whole concept still irks me.  And yet, here I stand at the crossroads of public discourse.  Why have I, who have forsworn blogging until now, decided to start a blog?  I am not entirely sure myself, but I will say this:  we are living in trying times.  This is not an unusual observation; humans have been living in trying times for thousands of years.  Regardless, these times are my times, and I fancy myself somewhat educated, so I figure I should offer my interpretation of the major events of the day.

Despite the presence of excessive first-person in this (and most other) blogs, I will not be making this blog one of those self-indulgent love-fests.  I will write about topics that interest me and topics on which I believe I can offer some unique insights.  Otherwise, I will refrain from devolving into bloated descriptions of the sandwich I ate for lunch.  No one wants to read that, not even me.

The Portly Politico will, however, be a blog about contemporary American politics and foreign policy.  I will state my biases upfront:  I am socially and fiscally conservative.  I strive for an underlying consistency to my political and economic philosophy, although I recognize that this goal is impossible for anyone of any creed or inclination.  While I am conservative, I am mainly interested in economic and political issues, not social ones.  I am not entirely comfortable calling myself a libertarian, although I am certainly sympathetic with the overall thrust of modern American libertarianism.  But many social issues simply seem beyond the pale of government authority.

To give an example:  should abortion be illegal?  I think it is morally questionable, if not reprehensible.  Personally, I believe that, since we cannot be sure when life begins, we should play it safe and assume it begins at conception (although it is interesting to note that many medieval and early modern theologians believed that the soul did not enter the fetus until the fortieth day).  But to what extent can the government legislate for or against abortion?  I do not pretend to have the answers.

I do, however, have very strong and--I like to think--reasonable arguments in favor of free enterprise and free market capitalism.  I consistently vote Republican in national elections.  I generally oppose the more leftist and extremist contingents of the Democratic Party.  But I am not an ideologue--I want to hear what all sides have to say.  I am a firm believer in reasonable, rational debate, not name calling or yelling.  Even though many Enlightenment thinkers were guilty of such things themselves, I believe in the ideal of Enlightened discourse:  the rational, unemotional discussion of topics to arrive at greater truth.  I recognize, too, that this is an impossible ideal, but I will do whatever I can to fulfill it.

And so my little adventure in blogging begins.  I promise, future posts will not be nearly so self-indulgent.  But now that we know each other, I hope you'll come back--and perhaps join me in the great collective discourse of our age, a discourse that can only come from the freedom of information found on the Internet.

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