“I came of age in the 60’s” explains a lot, but certainly not all, about me, since my reflex for most of my life has been to call myself “conservative.” I am a lawyer 2-5 days a week, an Orthodox Christian 7 days a week.
I started blogging when I saw how different my FaceBook posts were from anyone else’s. It seems the most interesting things in my life – things that aren’t too personal to share – are ideas I encounter.
G.K. Chesteron wrote:
Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are least dangerous is the man of ideas. He is acquainted with ideas, and moves among them like a lion-tamer. Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are most dangerous is the man of no ideas. The man of no ideas will find the first idea fly to his head like wine to the head of a teetotaler.
I have a keen sense that my father was right about education, as he was about so much else, and I wish I’d stuck with liberal arts of some sort as an undergrad. I’ve been trying, autodidactically, to remedy that for nearly 45 years now. And I’m still the tipsy teetotaler, intoxicated by ideas that I imagine, probably naively, were mastered in the classrooms of Oxbridge, under the tutelage of übermasters, by the writers and thinkers I most admire. I hope you’ll like at least some of the ideas that intoxicate me.
In my own idiosyncratic way, I have come to believe in “American Exceptionalism” after decrying it repeatedly. Yes, the United States of America is, as I’ve suspected for more than 40 years, clearly and uniquely the current era’s instantiation of Babylon the Great, which has about as many lives as a black cat, always judged and destroyed, yet always popping up again. Each Babylon inevitably ends badly, and I think our end is near.
Of late (2016), I’ve affiliated with the American Solidarity Party. Our convictions are informed by Natural Law and Roman Catholic social teaching, particularly of the late 19th Century. I’m not sure I can claim the label “conservative” any more except in such an idiosyncratic sense that it would mislead more than inform.
A “Reader” is the very lowest order of Orthodox Clergy – an appropriately low position for someone as tipsy as I. “John The Merciful, Patriarch of Alexander” is the Saint whose name I took upon entering the fullness of the faith. Hence, “Reader John.” With apologies to my name saint, my avatar has been a même of St. Anthony the Great for some time now, and I don’t see that changing. It encapsulates a lot of my public writing for decades. As I throw down gauntlets to Movement Conservatives politically, so I throw down gauntlets to Protestants and especially Evangelicals religiously, for such was I during what seems like yesterday, but worlds away.
A link or quote is often my starting point. I try to read eclectically, avoiding only stuff (left or right) that simply infuriates me, and thus avoiding the perils of insularity. The web should be liberating, not narrowing.