[Note: This first post will be a little different than the rest of the blog. For this post I want to give people a sense of who I am and why I am writing this blog. I won’t be discussing politics. If you want to get to the good stuff feel free to skip to the next post.]
2018 is a strange time to start a blog. Blogging was very popular 10 or 15 years ago but now most of the bloggers have moved on to twitter or writing for small publications. You still see some people with popular blogs but people don’t really get excited about new blogs. Blogging is also not a natural choice for me. For most of my life I have been the math guy. I was very good at math, and later computers, but not very good at writing or dealing with people. I have gotten over some of my social awkwardness but most people still wouldn’t consider interactions with people to be my strength. So why am I starting a blog now? Why am I starting a blog on politics, a topic that is mostly about how people interact with each other?
For one thing I have always enjoyed debating politics. It is almost a hobby of mine to have political debates with friends and family. I found myself more likely to become friends with people if they were good at debating politics. It didn’t matter if they agreed with me or not, I just wanted someone who was willing and able to debate me. I wanted to hear new ideas. So this blog is a natural extension of my hobby and a way to debate with a larger audience.
But in reality this blog is really more for me than any potential readers. I want to understand politics at a deeper level. Sometimes when discussing politics in person I find that I am struggling to articulate my point or come up with strong arguments. Sometimes I don’t feel I even know a topic well enough to have a strong opinion on it. When I am able to take the time and do research I can come up with much stronger arguments. But that is not possible when having a discussion in person. So in a way this blog is a way for me to hone and strengthen my arguments. And maybe to abandon my positions when I realize they are not as strong as I originally thought. I am going to use this blog to force myself to really understand political topics that I currently only understand superficially. Do you hear that friends and family? Now that I have this blog I am going to dominate in debates!
Now a little about my politics. For years I have been calling myself a “moderate libertarian”. The relevance of the “moderate” word in that phrase has ebbed and flowed throughout the years. For a few years in my twenties I was very into Austrian Economics and things like the gold standard and reducing the power of the Fed. Nowadays, I am much more moderate, so much so that I don’t really call myself libertarian anymore. My wife, who I have known for five years, is liberal and despite what she thinks I do listen to her. So I have found myself slowly drifting in the liberal direction. Today I might call myself a liberaltarian or a neoliberal but I think I am happiest calling myself an independent. As an independent I can pick and choose positions I agree with without feeling the need to defend all the positions (or people) of a particular ideology. I won’t go any further into my specific positions here. That is what the rest of this blog will be for.
For those who care about this sort of thing I am 31, white and male. I grew up in an upper-middle class family in Connecticut and now live in Boston. I work in software and just recently switched from being a developer to managing developers.
For each post in this blog I plan to pick a topic that I am interested in and do a deep dive on the details of it. It might be a debate currently going on in the media or twitter. Or it might be a vague idea I have that I want to try to make clear. Throughout all of my posts I will be trying to bring data into the discussion to illustrate my points. I want these posts to feel like a discussion or an investigation. Rather than push the position that I think is correct I want to understand all sides of an argument and show where I see the strengths and weaknesses.
One blog I want to emulate is Wait But Why by Tim Urban. He doesn’t write much about politics but I love his style of really trying to understand a topic to an extreme degree when writing about it. In his blog on Tesla, Tim described knowledge as a tree. If you don’t have the basic knowledge of a topic, the tree trunk, then learning about a new branch leaves you with nothing to attach the branch to and you easily lose this new information. If you do have the trunk of knowledge then learning about a new branch is exciting and grows your knowledge tree. I am hoping that by going deep on political topics I can help develop knowledge trunks for the reader as well as for myself. I want all of us to feel like we really understand politics and I want all of us to feel comfortable jumping into a conversation about these topics.