Copyright © 2006 by Richard Warren Field
It’s time for the return of Richard Warren Field’s Internet Column. Why now? Forces larger than me may know; I don’t. Have I been influenced by my teenage daughter who listens to my opinions on various issues and says “Dad, you have to write this down somewhere”? Probably. But I’m not going to try to say there has been a huge public outcry, a groundswell of demand for the return of Richard Warren Field’s Internet Column. The readers who have emailed comments on past columns, and probably expected me to offer more consistent new columns, have drifted away. I hope to recapture their attention. I will try to post new columns the 15th and the 30th of every month.
You will never know what to expect from me. I will choose any topic I think I can address with a unique and entertaining point of view. I might comment about some research I am completing for a book project, or just a few comments on some compelling issue of our time. I hope you will visit me twice a month with an idea that you will never know what to expect, and that you will end up shaking your head smiling (sometimes maybe even agreeing) when you see what the new column is about.
Also, I think I can promise confidently that you will not agree with everything you read in my columns. I do not follow any particular ideology. I often find myself with what I call “orphan views,” ideas not really palatable to the so-called “left” or “right.” I imagine some of what I have to say will upset both conventional sides of the spectrum simultaneously. A good example is my column about environmental issues, “The Six Premises for Harmonizing Prosperity with the Environment,” from 1998. The “right” will object to my opinions that there are environmental problems like global warming that need to be addressed. The “left” will be unhappy that my answers to these concerns advocate using as little government involvement as possible, that I advocate using the free market to move us into the next environmental era for humanity. I don’t get much love from either side of the political spectrum for this approach! But, I am still convinced I am right, and I have seen elements of these ideas adopted by both political parties.
In fact, the real media bias I see today is a bias toward confrontation as opposed to consensus. Left-leaning, right-leaning—they all seem to thrive on confrontation and disagreement. (I’ll address this in more detail in a future column.) I am a synthesizer, an explorer of ideas in search of synchronicity. I want to build on the best of all ideas, and see if they fit together to offer something beyond the original ideas. I reject the idea that “left” and “right” are constantly at war with each other, and will never resolve their so-called differences. That is probably true of the extremists at both ends of the political spectrum. But most people are not extremists. In fact, many people are not even political. Just guarantee them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (The founding fathers came up with a phrase I can’t improve on...) The rest is details. The labels of “left” and “right” are a way to organize points of view. They are not sports teams, and my refusal to join either one is not a sign of weakness or fuzziness of thinking, or disloyalty to the good guys, failing to root for the home team no matter how poorly it performs. It is a sign of independence, and a willingness to maintain an open mind to changed circumstances, and/or a well-reasoned argument.
Some will say my bouncing back and forth between ideologies is the result of inconsistency and a desire to please everyone. I am consistent. I believe in freedom and personal responsibility. It is the mainstream ideologies that are inconsistent! The “left” believes in choice for abortion, but not for gun ownership or a real choice of schools. The “right” wants to keep government “off our backs,” but is against choice for abortion, and is usually more strident than the "left" in its anti-drug agenda, denying people the choice of what substances they wish to consume. When I look at an issue, I err on the side of freedom, always coupled with personal responsibility. If people want to smoke, fine. But they can’t then sue tobacco companies for the damage caused by that choice. If people want to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana, fine. But if their intoxication causes damages to others, they need to be held accountable. (I would move to end prohibition of most drugs, but would increase the penalties for driving under the influence.) I am consistent; the political mainstream is not.
As for trying to please everyone, what I really end up doing most of the time is pleasing no one. My views will not get me invited on the Sean Hannity show, or the Al Franken show!
Why should you read my column? Who am I to offer these ideas? You'll decide. I'll let the ideas and the writing make up your mind for you. I’m not going to try to flash a pompous background and heavy credentials to convince you I have something to offer. The truth is I don’t have conventional credentials. I have been involved in a lot of creative projects over the years, and have immersed myself in ideas that range from physics to metaphysics, from history to futuristics and from academic non-fiction to the wildest speculative fiction. My lack of credentials allows me to act as an explorer for synchronicity. It allows me to offer a unique way of looking at the world. I have not been trapped into the orthodoxy of any particular discipline or established political dogma. You will decide whether my ideas resonate with you or not. So you, my dear reader, will answer the question of why you should read my column. And if you can’t think of a good reason, you won’t read it!
So, I’m back. I’ll be offering my comments twice a month. I look forward to yours.
Richard Warren Field is the author of the upcoming novel, The Swords of Faith. For more information, go to RichardWarrenField.com.
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