Monday, October 25, 2010

A New Approach

Two weeks ago I announced a holiday from blogging to give me a chance to re-assess my goals and interests. I had several reasons for this.

Most of my posts address irrational ideas or policies. While this is valuable, and I have learned a lot in writing on such topics, it does get a bit depressing at times. It is important to attack and expose evil, irrational ideas. But fighting against something isn't the same as fighting for something. (Implicitly, in doing the former I have done the latter.) That however, isn't enough for me.

Given the state of our culture, writing about the negative provides an endless stream of potential topics. For some time it has been easy to get motivated to expose the hypocrisy and evasion so prevalent among government officials and advocates of statism. Over the past few months I have found myself less and less motivated to write about the sewer.

For years I have been very interested in finding examples of the practical benefits of freedom. In every industry that I have examined, when individuals are free to act according to their own judgment without interference from others, remarkable things happen. When individuals are free to pursue their own values without arbitrary government controls and regulations, they make their lives immensely better.

While such examples are not nearly are prevalent as I would like, they do abound. They are often more difficult to locate, study, and document than the topics I have been writing on. But they are real, they are inspiring, and they represent the best in man. And these are the things that I want to write about.

Life can be and should be better than preservation ordinances, light rail, and land-use regulations. It is important to fight the parasites and the thugs, but it is more important to recognize the producers. It is important to defend my values, but it is more important to celebrate them.

I have yet to work out the logistics of how I will do this. I will need to spend more time researching. I likely will not post as frequently as in the past.

I will continue to address examples of irrational policies and ideas, though that too will likely be less frequent.


Mr. Moderate said...

You might also want to think about the practicality of some of the theories and principles you write about. It's all well and good to write about absolutes, but we live in a complicated, messy world full of conflicting goals and motivations.

Think about how your principles can apply to real situations. How to improve utilities, given that the environment isn't likely to change radically. How do we collectively deal with flooding issues. And so on.

Think about what is actually achievable, rather than trying to get it all in one fell swoop.

Brian Phillips said...

What you suggest is essentially what I intend to to--demonstrate that the moral is the practical.

Burgess Laughlin said...


Congratulations on your decision. It may be personally liberating.

I suspect, as you apparently do, that gathering material may be more difficult than refuting the fallacies of others.

One reason, of course, is that standard news media don't trumpet the sort of solutions to problems that free or relatively individuals come up with in the course of privately pursuing their values.

A second reason is that they are in fact private solutions to private problems. No "collective" solutions are either desirable or necessary, by rational standards -- as you know.

Best to you in your endeavor, one that could end up as a book someday.

Brian Phillips said...

Thanks Burgess. Interestingly, I have recently been more cognizant of what you call private solutions to private problems in my own life. It is amazing what solutions individuals can find when they pursue their own self-interest and recognize the mutual rights of others.