Tipsy/Reader John

St Anthony the GreatI am a Baby Boomer, living in the Babylon the Great.

“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 semi-retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian.

I started blogging so I didn’t over-share public affairs “shares” on Facebook. As many as eight items per day (occasionally more) have gone into my blog instead, but I’m working on cutting that back to make more time for some of the interests that prompted me to retire.

Whence the blog title? 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 feel some regret that I did not, as my father wished, stick with liberal arts of some sort as an undergrad. I’ve been trying, autodidactically, to remedy that for nearly 50 years now. And I’m still a tipsy teetotaler, intoxicated by ideas I encounter, imagining that I’d already know it if I hadn’t narrowed my formal education. I hope you’ll like at least some of the ideas that intoxicate me.

I have come to believe in a sort of “American Exceptionalism” after decrying it repeatedly: the United States of America is, as I’ve suspected for more than 45 years, the current aeon’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. Our distinguishing mark is making the world drunk with the sine of idolatry of riches. Each Babylon inevitably ends badly, and I think our end is near. There will be rejoicing that our empire fell, accompanied by fearful howls at the proof that riches cannot ultimately protect.

I’ve affiliated with the American Solidarity Party, ending a decade of political homelessness, but I don’t hold much hope for politics. 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 (as Bill Clinton did not engage in coitus with Monica Lewinsky, but that’s not what people understood him to be denying).

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.

A link or quote is often my starting point. I try to read eclectically, avoiding only stuff (left or right) that simply infuriates me (ThinkProgress and Breitbart come to mind), and thus avoiding the perils of insularity. The web should be liberating, not narrowing.