This portion of my blog is entitled C.A.V.E Writing. C.A.V.E is an acronym I picked up from a local county council member. It was during a discussion in a class on Behavioral Dynamics. We had taken a class trip to a council meeting. It so happened that this was one of the more lively meetings in which a large group of people had come to support their cause. Afterward we had a little Q & A with one of the council members. When asked if this was typical of most meetings he remarked that there are always one or two C.A.V.E. people in attendance, but that this was a larger than usual turnout. He used the term CAVE, meaning Citizen Against Virtually Everything, as a descriptor for those well meaning individuals who for one reason or another found a reason to oppose almost any initiative the county Council chose to consider. When I decided I would include the occasional political post I adopted the CAVE acronym for my own use. It seemed appropriate, as I would most likely be moved to make such posts when I desired to rail against some policy or legislation that I found distasteful. It may mean Citizen Against Virtually Everything, or Concerned About Virtually Everything or Crying Against Vacuous Excess, or any number of other such things.
Since my first political awakening at the tender age of 17 I have striven to become an informed and engaged citizen of our fine Republic. Along the way I have formed a certain set of socio-political beliefs. These opinions and attitudes inform my voting behavior and determine how I approach and discus certain “Big Questions” in our society.
Plato tells us in his Apology that Socrates once said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Since we have no writings from Socrates himself, we will have to take Plato’s word for it. Who knows, maybe he made the whole thing up. In any case, the concept has merit. As rational beings it behooves us to occasionally examine our suppositions and preconceptions, to test their veracity and to amend those that no longer conform to our understanding of the Truth. I am now going to take this occasion of my self appointed mass blogging project to subject my own personal political philosophy to public examination.
It is my hope that in so doing I will come to a fuller understanding of not just What I believe, but Why I believe it. It may come about that certain attitudes and opinions will not stand up to such scrutiny. I may very well find that I have to amend or even reverse some long held stands on one or more socio-political issues and concepts. If such be the case then so be it. Thus is the nature of growth and maturity. It will not be the first time I have had to make such adjustments. For instance, I once argued quite sincerely, and I thought at the time rightly, in favor of the Death Penalty. I am no longer certain that this penal action is a proper course of action for a civilized society.
The first step on the path of intellectual, moral, and philosophical evolution is to acknowledge that one does not know everything and to admit to the possibility of change. I, therefore, approach this journey with an attitude of teachability and an openness to discussion and learning. In this wise I will seek to transform, at least partially, through the application of the tools of debate, dialogue, discussion and discovery, the rough stone of my imperfect and quite possibly incomplete understanding into a more perfect and fitted building block upon which to lay the foundation of my identiy as an informed and engaged participant in the body politic.
I fully expect that in the course of this discussion I will present an opinion, concept, or idea which may not sit well with some people. Although it is not my intention to deliberately offend anyone, – A gentleman strives to never intentionally give offense if he can avoid it – when discussing matters of such import one will occasionally touch on a subject which elicits a passionate response. While I invite you, my dear readers, to join me in this exploration of ideas, I ask that we attempt to keep our passions in due bounds and maintain a civil discourse. Furthermore, please, bear in mind that as these posts of the next few weeks comprise a portion of my NaNoWriMo project for this year as well. Thus, I beg your indulgence and apologize in advance for the somewhat haphazard, stream-of-consciousness, rambling, and unpolished quality which they will most likely take on.
I suppose this may be seen as a good thing in a sense as you will be seeing my thoughts in their raw and unvarnished form. Will this make them any more valid, maybe not, but it may make them more honest. We shall see what becomes of this. Perhaps I might later compile these missives into a more readable and coherent form. In that case this little experiment will fulfill the spirit of NaNoWriMo as well as serve for a self-catharsis of sorts.
Right. Now that I’ve set out what it is I’m all about here, let us now think about how I intend to go about it. I will begin by presenting a series of posts under the general heading of Foundational Principles. In these posts I will explore the underpinnings of my personal political philosophy. I will attempt to get to the core of these concepts as best I can. If you find my reasoning faulty, please, join the conversation and tell me why you think so. Only through entertaining opposing viewpoints can we arrive at true understanding. I would rather this not turn into an echo chamber.
I am not sure exactly when, but I will eventually have exhausted the theoretical and will then move on to the practical applications and/or implications. In the ensuing series of posts I will come to grips with several of the “Big Questions” of the day. I will group these practical posts under the heading Framing the Debate, or maybe Big Questions. Everyone has a pet cause, it seems. One person’s Big Question might not even be on another person’s Top 10 List. I have a few I particularly want to tackle, because (1) I think they are important, (2) I think they are interesting and (3) I think that in some cases the talking heads have missed the mark and are coming at the issue from the wrong angle all together. I will look at taxation, health care, gun rights, immigration, the NSA and other such topics. Here, as they say, is where the rubber meets the road. This will be the crucible in which I will see if the socio-political philosophy developed earlier is sufficient, logically consistent, and resilient enough to provide, if not an answer, than at least a starting point in dealing with the issues of the day.
If I fail to cover your pet issue, please feel free to make a request. This is, after all, a public forum, although I do control the agenda somewhat. It would be ungentlemanly of me to fail to address a guest’s concerns when they are brought to my attention. You, dear readers, are my guests in this my virtual parlour, if you will. Please, treat it with respect and I will return that respect in kind.
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