The Times They Are A-Changin’
Over a year ago, during my first semester of college, I was approached by a friend of mine about starting a website. He said he wanted a couple of young, Christian writers to discuss major issues from their unique perspective. I had been posting on a personal blog rather irregularly for a while, never really drawing a huge audience. This, though, was an opportunity to develop and use writing in a different way. No longer was I writing simple personal opinions meant to be expressed to those only within a subsection of my circle of friends, I was going to help create and employ a platform that had never before existed. I was excited and overwhelmed at the same time. This new site meant that I would be writing more than I ever had before, to a group of people that I had largely never met.
As I step down to a more reserved role here at Thinkers Inc. at the start of the new year, it’s worth taking a look back at all that has happened since I started.
With launch day approaching, I had no idea what to expect. All of us at TI knew that the success or failure of the project lay entirely in our own hands. My first post concerned an admonishment hot off the heels of the discoveries of certain extra-marital affairs. No hate-mail was sent to the site after the first several posts, so we kept going. I learned something, though: expressing popular opinions doesn’t really garner a huge response. So, in one of my earlier posts, I attacked the idea of the Social Contract, nigh sacred to more conservative and libertarian political thought. I spent the next day or two doing a lot of damage-control.
During the summer, I found out that one can never predict what content will be popular and what will be not so well disseminated. For example, I wrote a piece on my love of longboarding, a seemingly benign post that I didn’t expect to go anywhere. It turns out that forces beyond my control made it one of the most popular posts in this site’s history. The piece drew some ire, and a lot of support, from an international skateboarding audience, rather far from our target demographic.
The year also threw some curve balls in the area of world events, which provided some unexpected ways to provide views that may otherwise have gone un-published. In December, 2012, the largest school shooting in US history occurred, and the first event of its kind to really make an impression in my mind. Beyond the grief at the loss of young lives, and the irreversible exposure to pure evil that the survivors bear, I was dismayed at the hypocrisy that was displayed on the news broadcasts. While newscasters rightly portrayed the event for the horror that it was, not one mention was made of abortion, which daily accomplishes much, much more than the Newtown perpetrator ever could. The parallels were stark and completely ignored. Given my new platform at TI, I was able to write about this travesty.
In mid-2013, Edward Snowden rocked the world by leaking extensive documentation of certain surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency. These documents revealed how far domestic spying had come, and did much to raise awareness of the new security state mindset of the US government. I was forced to think deeply about what exactly good government should do in this regard. Thus, I wrote my “Liberty of Security” post. I wrote that government is not the originator of the rights of security and liberty, but it is their just guard. I don’t think I’ve ever written a more clear expression of my own political philosophy, and I wouldn’t have written the post without TI.
In April, the Tsarnaevs bombed the the Boston Marathon in the first large-scale terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11. It was devastating and unnerving. Yet, the event highlighted one of the distinct traits of America, and what makes this country so unique. In the United States, we have an expectation of justice. This concept is so simple, and so massively breathtaking at the same time, that it deserves recognition. Justice is what is fought for the world over, bringing down dictators, sparking revolutions, and inspiring enraged citizens. We already have it in America. Again, were I not writing for TI, I would not have had the opportunity to discuss this online.
Finally, I learned that to have a platform is to have a responsibility not only to speak, but to say the right thing at the right time. Thus, when a movement arises that unfairly and unjustly attacks something like homeschooling, I could not sit idly by. When no one else was saying or doing the right thing, we at TI had the job of countering the lies. There are few times when the role of the simple blogger is celebrated or extolled, but in this case we bloggers had little choice in the matter.We could either call out bad arguments and untruths or let them stand. We chose the former.
It’s been a good first year at TI. I appreciate the opportunities the site has given me, and I appreciate each and every piece of feedback received. Although I am taking a step back for the time being, this is not a permanent goodbye. I’ll be back every now and then, inflicting the world with my opinions and maybe saying something worthwhile while I’m at it. I truly love this site, and I pray that good things are in store for Thinkers Incorporated in 2014.