01 October 2009

What Am I Reading?

I want to address a brief conversation that occurred Monday in class. I was asked “what book are you reading?” I was actually reading three books at once for a while there, but the only one I have yet to completely finish is the 5000 Year Leap by Cleo Skousen. It is the kind of book you can put down for a while and go right back to. That is because it is essentially a history book. It is the Principles of Freedom 101, and it contains historical data and insight into the minds of the Founding Fathers that has been sadly omitted from the crappy history textbooks most schools use these days. It is certainly more accurate and complete than anything I read as a student. I was then asked what else Skousen had written and I wasn’t sure but I thought I saw he had co-written The Real George Washington or The Real Ben Franklin. Turns out I was a little off on my memory there, but he did write a history book called The Making of America. Then the questioner replied “but aren’t those Conservative books?” How does one answer that? I didn’t realize that there was a certain kind of book for a certain group and it was a mutually exclusive relationship. How does a history book qualify as Conservative or otherwise? When I was asked this I simply replied “I don’t know about that…” I had neither the time nor interest in explaining such things to someone who already has decided to see the world through a filter. For some reason, though this has bugged me. I have had instructors in the past that tried to punish me academically for my point of view. I argued with my government teacher and won. I lost points on sociology papers for not conforming to the instructor’s world view. I do not back down from my convictions. I certainly reserve the right to pick my battles, however. The college atmosphere is supposed to embrace diversity, but I have observed a lot of bias and suppression of diversity of thought in my college career up to this point. So yes, I suppose some would qualify these books as Conservative in nature, but they are also liberal. Classical Liberalism believed in individuality, free markets, and limited government intrusion into the lives of the people. Conservatism is Classical Liberalism. Most people do not understand the lexicon, let alone the philosophical ideals behind the political movements that dominate our country. I cannot be corralled into a category. It is not that damn simple and I do not play the stupid partisan games anymore.