Fearless Reason

Fearless reason in an age of frightened absurdity.

Tag: millennial

A Millennial in Early Adulthood

I was a toddler during the Reagan presidency, a child when Bush, Sr. took office, and a teenager and young adult under Clinton and Bush, Jr. By the time Obama took office I was transitioning from being an undergraduate to a law student, and have spent my young professional life under his Presidency. I am a millennial. That word used to describe the generation born between 1982 and 2000, and sometimes used as an epithet by our elders.

I am socially progressive by default, but read Ayn Rand in college and thought Ron Paul had some good ideas. I was ideologically mixed for most of my teenage years and early adulthood, abhorring war, craving liberty, fearing climate change, and struggling daily to pay student loans and make my way in an economy that lacks human purpose.

I am a millennial in early adulthood, hoping the world outlives me, and trying to make it a place I want to live if it does.  I grew up under Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton and Obama, but this election cycle is defining who I am and wish to be. In stark relief I see two political parties I once thought not different enough to matter, battling for the soul of our country. I see a Republican party that denies science, reason, and human dignity, and worships at the alter of money; and a Democratic party that is not perfect, but is willing to face reality on climate change, respects human dignity and human rights, and wishes to restore human purpose to an economy that reduces us to human chattel.

The Republicans terrify me, and the Democrats have convinced me they are worth my time, money, and vote. I am one voice amongst many, but my story is not uncommon. The Republicans have lost my generation, but the Democrats are earning our respect.

A Fearful Journey

What follows is an account of my fearful journey, which in patchwork fashion can be found in the posts of this blog. For better or worse I am a political creature. I feel compelled to play a part, no matter how small, in the conversations and policies that shape our world. So I read avidly, share and post excessively on social media, and participate as much as I can in party politics and campaigns.

I have always been socially progressive, and registered as a Democrat when I turned 18 due to my disgust with the Bush administration and the wars – but I didn’t have any strong convictions about economic policy. While in college I found myself drawn to philosophical materialism, which lead me to a rather libertarian, survival of the fittest, economic philosophy. But I remained somewhat muddled through law school, still a Democrat because I believed in science, reason, and human rights – but increasingly seduced by the libertarian Republican movement lead by Ron and Rand Paul.

Fast forward to graduation, and my first job out of law school was representing the business of a former RNC chairmen. He made it clear when I accepted the job that I needed to be involved in Republican politics. I needed a job and was economically conservative, so I registered and became active in the party. Not long after that I had a rather abrupt spiritual awakening that is documented in this blog, which lead me to a panpsychic/pantheist view of the world, and ultimately to Buddhism. Since that time my economic libertarian leanings have been under constant assault. First transforming into a more moderate position, and ultimately to my current full flown progressive/democratic socialist philosophy. Economic libertarianism is incompatible with a moral philosophy that cultivates empathy and postulates that harm to others is harm to self.

Throughout these spiritual, moral, and philosophical transformations I remained active in the Republican party, in part because of professional/career pressures, but also because I naively or arrogantly thought I might serve as a voice of reason. Then this election cycle started and the procession of clowns running for President took stage and a tea party darling won the Republican bid for Governor. At that point I knew I was not a voice of reason, I was a whisper in a caucus of fools, and had become complicit in their hateful, ignorant, and misguided ideology.

So I went back to the Democratic party, knowing the futility of third party movements, now a fully formed progressive in every sense. As I become active in the party I see some of the things I disliked about the Republicans. I see some conservatives, some cynics and careerists, but I also see the burning light of people truly dedicated to progressive values and a better world. For me that is enough reason to stand and fight with them.

So I continue my journey, perhaps a bit less fearful than before, still striving to live a life of fearless reason.