Understanding the Conservative Lefty

I’ve gotten a few instances of the “Who are you to say …” type of challenges, here and elsewhere.  I’ve noted in the past – i.e. the “About” page, a bit about me and my worldview.  However, I’ve yet to really say to much about my “street cred” in my writing or what skills I actually bring to my analysis.

I haven’t done this for two reasons.  First, political opinion – and its expression – is a fundamental right of all Americans.  I have not need to display my credentials in order to express an opinion and I have every right to have that opinion judged on the basis of its merits, not by my educational background.

The other reason, it I find it a bit embarrassing to discuss myself in that respect.  It is far too easy to come off sounding like an insufferable know-it-all, to borrow a phrase from Professor Snape.  I’ve put off the inevitable for a some three years now, but I’ve reached a point where I had best address it.  After the break, that is.  If you have to know. 

By profession, I am a scientist and an engineer, with a heavy side-helping of regulatory affairs.  The latter is because my industry is the healthcare field.  I’ve worked in clinical care, medical devices and the pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years as both a clinical scientist and a software engineer.

I also have a somewhat beyond normal level of formal education in both history/politics and philosophy/theology.  Enough that I could have added these as minors to my degree, except that you could only have a single minor and Math was the career imperative.  That said, I have continued to be active in both disciplines and continually expand my education in those areas.

As a scientist and software engineer, I bring the disciplines of methodical analysis.  Between this and the philosophy background, I am trained in logic.  I am also – by training and experience – aware of my own biases.  I make an effort to take them into account in my analysis.  Something particularly important if your objective is Truth.

In the theological and philosophical worlds, I have evolved into a focus on apologetics.  I am active in the local apologetics community and a member of the St. Louis area Reasonable Faith chapter (though I’ve been on hiatus recently for personal reasons).

Educationally, I was also active in debate and theatre, have taken the Dale Carnegie course, and more than a few elective writing courses.  I’ve had several teachers rather put out that I didn’t go to “J School.”

In the world of politics and social sciences, I hope those who know me are sitting, because you are in for a shock.  I was at one time a member of the World Federalists Association.  Remember, so was Ronald Reagan, though.  I was mentored formally by Dr. Ron Glossup in my university days.  I knew Norman Cousins, who was quirky but incredibly brilliant.  During this time, I not only studied the expected texts like the Federalist Papers or the Communist Manifesto, but works such as Clarence Streit’s Union Now and Mortimer Adler’s How to Think About War and Peace.  I left the movement in the 1990’s largely because I was watching it be absorbed by the Green movement from Europe.  In short, the WFA went from Cousins’ staunchly individual liberty view to the European socialist ideology.

On the political spectrum I would be considered a conservative in today’s language.  However, remember what that word means.  It means that I adhere to an ideology that wants to conserve – i.e. maintain, preserve – the fundamental American values and precedent of individual liberty.  The label also implies a Jeffersonian perspective of a limited and small central government.  The more correct term for that belief system would be Classical Liberal.

To sum it up, I’m not writing in a vacuum.  I also believe that I’m not particularly exception in this regard.  Yes, I’ve been blessed to have done some exceptional things, but I, myself, am not particularly exceptional.  Many on the Left write off “flyover country” as uneducated bumpkins, but the truth is that there are millions of “me” between the two coasts.

So there it is.  Welcome to my world.  For those who care those are my secondary qualifications.  I still hold that my primary qualification is that I am an American and that the Lord has given me a gift in writing.  The first make it my right.  The second makes it my responsibility.

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