Who Am I?
Well, I'll try never to connect my name to this blog. It's not that I am trying to completely erase all trace of it from the blogosphere; I rather doubt that's even possible. But I'm seeking a second source of income even now--and my current employers have been known to fire people merely for having a second job. My desire not to have potential employers be able to make definitive links to what some might see as incendiary statements accounts for my desire for relative anonymity. I know some people will figure it out, but they'll never hear a confirmation from me. At any rate, yeah, I know some readers will figure out my indentity, maybe even easily, but then, they're not the ones I'm concerned about.
Still, even though you're likely never to know my name, I'd like to give you a sense of who I am and where I'm coming from.
I test high, intelligence-wise. I was a member of Mensa for some few years (and no, I wouldn't have to re-test to get back in, if I wanted to. Once you've been admitted, you can always go back in.). My scores on various tests acceptable to Mensa have ranged from as low as the 98th percentile to high enough to occur only once in every 3000 people. Just depends on the day. At any rate, whatever else you might think of me, I am, on paper at least, demonstrably not stupid.
I'm a middle-aged man, predominantly of Irish ancestry, with just enough Choctaw in my background to make me look just barely noticeably darker than someone of pure European ancestry. I have a mild case of Celtophilia, I suppose, which (by the time this is actually posted), you can see from various elements on this page.
I'm a Christian, of the historical Southern Baptist variety, which means I'm a Calvinist. I have my issues with the SBC, but overall, I'm inclined to stick with 'em.
I was educated--if you want to call it that--in the government schools (You might call them "public" schools.), plus not quite two years of college. Most of what I know comes from endless outside-the-classroom reading and experience, and as a result, sad to say, of that reading and experience, I have become convinced that for the most part, government schools are not merely useless, but positively inimical to real education. I'm sure, for example, that somewhere, there are people who were told about The Federalist Papers when they were in government schools, but I have yet to meet any. Every person I have asked, regardless of age, has denied ever having heard of that book when in government schools--yet it is essential to a proper understanding of our country's Constitution.
I have a fairly wide range of interests, not least of which is the Asian martial arts, especially one of Okinawan origin called Ryu Te.
I have a wife and four children, all of whom have been or are being home-schooled.
I'm a Sunday School teacher. I'm a Young-Earth Creationist (commonly referred to as YEC).
Politically, I probably fit most readily into the Paleocon category, though I have plenty of Crunchy Con streaks.
And I am, as much as anything else, a man with no time to waste. You see, despite my gifts, despite sound advice from my relatives, despite, really, knowing better, for many years I refused to take the options that would have resulted in higher wages than I've usually earned. Instead, I have spent the time on the aforementioned endless reading. Now, I'm finally in a position where not only is it no longer easy to read all that I would like to, I can no longer take the time to comment on every issue of the day, every dimwitted action taken by a politican, every goofball statement made by another blogger. I cannot sit here at the computer and argue minutia with people all across the blogosphere.
I just can't.
It took me a few months just to put together this blog. This post has been in development for all that time. I just can't spend all the time on the blogosphere I would like. I have old cars to fix, non-mortgage debt to pay off, children to educate, an old house to fix up, aging parents who will require more of my help, and old age to prepare for. Bluntly, I have very little time to do anything except what i have to do--which means that I want anything I put my hand to, to be as useful and productive as possible--which leads to the next section of this post.
What's This Blog All About?
(Since the following was originally written, I have to admit that a fairly large percentage of what I've written here has basically been venting or ranting.)
I tend to think of myself as a man of the West (hence the name of this blog.); that is, I am a product of Western Civilization--the moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, aka the Bible; Aristotle-influenced logic; the history and politics of Greece, Rome, and Western Europe. I am not ashamed of this, as some are. I think that even with all its flaws, Western civilization is civilized man's apotheosis. In the end, Western civilization has produced more liberty, more prosperity, more outright good than any other civilization currently extant, indeed, in all of human history. Not that other civilizations haven't produced much, or had their shining moments, but the West, overall, is the jewel among mankind's various civilizations.
And it's crumbling from the foundation up. A kind of civilizational ennui has set in, more advanced in some nations of the West than in others, resulting in one of the most incredible demographic and cultural shifts in history (Read The Death of the West, America Alone, or The West's Last Chance for more extensive discussion on this.). Barring a sudden and dramatic turnaround that we have no good reason to expect, Western civilization as we have known it is, on history's grand scale, about to pass from the scene. The United States may be its last bastion, but the government we recently elected reveals that all too few, even here, understand what gives our society its strength:
(Turn the volume way up for video clips!)
There are not enough of us left, enough of us who have survived the decades-long onslaught of government education, who remember what has gone before, to hold out very much longer than the rest of the West. I foresee little in the near future--say the next hundred years or so, perhaps longer--for the heirs of Western civilization, especially Christians, but oppression, marginalization, and dhimmitude of one sort or another. I don't really know just how bad the situation will ultimately get. I have remarked elsewhere that we seem determined to make the United States a sort of European welfare state, but I don't know for sure that that's where it'll stop.
I hope that's as bad as it gets here. It could get much worse. I am not utterly without hope for our country and for the West in general. There is no telling what God may do.
At any rate, I hope to use this blog as a means to provide information and analysis that may prove useful to the heirs of Western civilization, the Men of the West, as they try to survive and thrive under the coming adverse conditions, as they resist and refute the indoctrination that will surely be practiced upon them, and as they try to educate and persuade enough of their neighbors to lay a foundation for a future renaissance of Western thinking and values, including what I think of as the fundamentally American idea, the idea that government's natural, proper, and divinely-ordained role is to secure man's God-given rights, not to serve as a means of plundering one another. I hope, also, to help convince the half-convinced, to encourage the Body of Christ, and to give apologias and teaching both for elements of and positions concerning conservative Western thinking and that which undergirds it, its very warp and woof, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There will be a fair amount of blogging on the martial arts, as, in addition to the mental and physical benefits that attend their regular practice, they are very useful for self-defense, and it is an increasingly violent and dangerous world--especially for those heirs of Western civilization. There will be occasional commentary on current events, as long as I think my comments are illustrative of some point germane to this blog's purpose. I will also be posting my Sunday School notes, which should grow more interesting shortly, as I believe a friend of mine and I will be starting a new class soon, one devoted to church history and doctrine.
A lot of what you are going to find here is not of the read-it-in-a-minute-or-less variety. I am well aware that that alone will see to it that some readers will stay away, but for those who remain--well, I hope to make their time well spent.
I am not going to spend time here sharing personal photographs, irrelevant stories about my workday, or funny e-mails (that's all for the Facebook crowd...). Nor am I going to waste hour upon hour trying to convince the stubbornly obtuse, those who know the truth perfectly well somewhere in their hearts, but deliberately hold it down (see Romans 1), who will not be convinced because being convinced would mean abandoning their way of thinking, their basis for life, and accepting God's revelation in Scripture as true. I've read enough of people saying that conservatives are ignorant, stupid, religious bigots, and enough of people comparing the GOP to the Taliban. For that matter, I've also read enough of people writing as though every Democrat is a closet communist. I've seen that act before, even taken part in it from time to time, and I've had enough. I will try neither to engage in it nor to encourage it. For those who have come here to spend hours in pointless argument for no better reason than that they want to annoy a conservative Christian, this may be a disappointment, as I will refuse to engage. This doesn't mean that comments, even hostile ones, aren't welcome; it just means that I won't waste my time. You can find more on commenting here in this post.
(Again, turn the volume way up for video clips!)
Well, if you are still here, maybe you'll enjoy what you find, and--hopefully--find some of what I have to share useful and encouraging. Please put it to good use, and encourage me to do likewise. Posting will not be an everyday thing, due to the constraints on my time. If you don't want to miss anything, subscribe, use an RSS feed or Google Reader or something.
Some posts have already been up for a while, as you may have observed. These are, for the most part, either old posts from elsewhere, sometimes slightly rewritten so as to avoid giving unneeded offense (sometimes, in speaking the truth, you inevitably offend, but I will try to avoid unneeded offensiveness) or definitions or expositions which will be linked to in future posts so as to lend clarity.
This section is material originally published elsewhere that will give you a better sense of what sort of person I am, and whether or not you might like hanging around here. I liked it too much to throw it away.
I like the kind of people who:
Think that bass and catfish are darn good eatin,' and fishin' for 'em is darn good fun.
Save some vacation time to go out in the woods and shoot a Bambi. Or two.
Keep and use a smoker in their backyard.
Think they don't just have a right to keep and bear arms, they have a responsibility to keep and bear arms.
Make, use, and display a lot of their own creativity: furniture, artwork, needlepoint, embroidery, home-sewn clothes, etc.
Use the kitchen and dining room as the social centers of their homes.
Know that anything you cook yourself is a hundred times more satisfying than things that come out of a box or a restaurant.
Think Charles Addams' cartoons were dreadfully funny.
Have U.S. and Oklahoma flags somewhere on the property.
Drive old pickup trucks or four-wheel drives because they actually haul stuff and/or go in the woods sometimes and can't afford to be too worried about how their vehicles look.
Spend some time reading their Bibles and praying every day--'cause they actually believe that stuff.
Deliberately cut back on some things they'd like to do because they want to give more away to other folks.
Have a makiwara in the backyard, or a heavy bag in the garage. Or both.
Keep a garden in the backyard every summer and give away a tomato or two.
Would rather have a pear or pecan tree in their yards than anything ornamental, because you can eat what comes off it.
Realize that college and education are only tangentially related, and don't make the idiotic mistake of treating only the degreed as intelligent, educated people.
Don't freak about showing up to church in jeans and a t-shirt.
Have been in the military and are grateful for the experience.
Get really torqued off in the presence of political correctness.
Think that, as a rule, government best serves the people by leaving them the (insert the expletive of your choice here) alone.
Have social lives that revolve around family and church.
Really do think that this is the best and greatest country that has ever existed on the face of the earth.
Really do think that, man for man, the United States Marine Corps is the most awesome military force ever to have existed.
Carry a Buck Folding Hunter or a Leatherman on their belts.
Can and freeze a lot of their food.
Think that barbecue is a sacrament.
Understand that okra tastes good.
Understand that politicians in general, regardless of party affiliation, are power-hungry (insert your epithet of choice here) who can't be trusted.
Understand that there's a difference between a genuinely poor person and a common bum or career mooch.
Don't give a rip if their neighbors park cars on the lawn, as long as they cut the grass occasionally.
Wear baseball caps.
Understand the game of baseball.
Are grateful for everything they have.
Like baby giggles.
Recognize that America has a fundamentally Christian heritage.
Know that the only thing some people understand is getting their butt kicked and are prepared to do some butt-kicking if necessary.
Who use cast iron in a lot of their cooking and know how to take care of it.
Hate war but understand that once you are in one, you have by golly got to win it.
Serve sliced tomatoes as a side dish with dinner.
Will spank their kids when they need it.
Will hug their kids when they need it.
Aren't embarrassed to talk about Jesus in public.
Know who Francis Schaeffer was.
Know that unfamiliar and unchristian aren't synonyms.
Know that C.S. Lewis didn't go to Hell for smoking a pipe and drinking beer.
Are proud of their ancestry but remember that they're Americans now.
Understand the point that Toby Keith was trying to make in The Angry American.
Lastly, I must briefly address this inevitable question: why, with my meager qualifications, am I so bold as to undertake apologetics, however modest, on behalf of Christianity and conservatism?
It's a fair question. I must confess to feeling myself terribly unqualified. I have no formal education on these subjects. Rather, what I have is a personal history of reading and thinking, often reading and thinking when I should have been doing some kind of work. It would be fair to say that for much of my commonplace, redneck life, I just wanted to sit there and read my books.
You can imagine my surprise when, over the last few years, it began to dawn on me--well, it's like this: if you go back and look at the history of conservatism over the last 250 years or so, you'll find a common element in several people's thinking--the idea that most people, the average guys and gals, are simply too busy earning a living or trying to scramble ahead so that the next generation has it a bit easier, to do a whole lot more than educate themselves to make that aforementioned living. It's not that people are stupid or uninterested, but conservatives of a couple of hundred years ago pretty much took it for granted that if you could get the average person to educate themselves to the point of being responsible, informed voters, you were doing pretty good. Real leadership, real statesmanship, had to come from people who, through accident of birth or fortune, enjoyed enough money and leisure--by "leisure," they didn't mean just free time to fritter away, but rather time that didn't have to be spent in the constant grind of earning a living--to study history, philosophy, scripture, languages, economics, and politics whilst growing up. Such people would then follow their education by engaging in business or agriculture or commerce, then take roles in politics, and so develop into a sort of natural aristocracy that could be counted upon to exercise wise, informed leadership on behalf of a well-informed (but busy!) population.
Where is our "natural aristocracy" now? If seems to me that if people are born with wealth and leisure these days, you wind up with...well, I don't want to name names, but the word "celebutard" comes readily to mind. We just don't seem to have very many people whose upbringing was conducted with the leadership and education of the nation in mind. People who've been successful in business, but who understand little or nothing of history are considered qualified to lead the greatest nation on earth. People who can barely read the Constitution--with any understanding, at least--seem considered fit to appoint people to the Supreme Court.
In other words, the number of people who have even a glimmer of understanding of these things has fallen to a dangerously low level--low enough that--horrifyingly--a bunch of working-class rednecks with laymen's-level interests in Scripture, history, and political philosophy are, in many cases, more informed about certain things than our putative leaders!
Actually, it's about the same way I feel about teaching Sunday School. I feel unqualified, and am constantly asking myself, "Is this--what I have to bring to the table--the best we can do?" But in a world where I have run across seminary graduate after seminary graduate, many of whom actually have doctorates, who have not read Calvin, have not read Luther, who do not know the name of J. L. Dagg, who do not have more than a rudimentary grasp of the history of their own denominations, even such an commonplace ignoramus as I am must step up to the plate and do some teaching.
There are manifestly people better qualified than I to address these things. But it seems to me that many amongst the conservative punditry, despite sometimes considerable erudition on history and economics, are only scantly acquainted with Scripture and the foundational role it plays in real, historical conservativism--and many who have considerable Scriptural knowledge are less than concerned with politics and history. And, frankly, sometimes I think I do link things together in ways that have not been thought of by many others.
At any rate, I think I have, if not a unique point of view, one that is no longer very common, and one, perhaps, that will contribute in some small way to the purposes outlined above. I may not know much in comparison to some of my heroes, but I feel compelled to share something of what I do know, for the sake of my country and countrymen.