My current point of view has been molded by the many experiences in my life, starting with my formative years and Catholic school education, to the “free speech” nature of the collegiate environment, to the stark reality of the business world.
Although I don’t recall when I first heard the terms conservative or liberal, I would definitely say, in retrospect, that my parents occupied the right side of the political aisle. My father would hammer four themes into my head almost on a daily basis
There is no such thing as a free lunch – everything in life comes with a price.
Competition is not only good, but essential – those who achieve success through competition should be admired.
Education is a must – there was never any question when it came to schoolwork.
Individuals have all the power – although it seemed cynical at the time, my father would preach that the only one who can guarantee my success and happiness was me.
Twelve years of Catholic school education definitely drove home a certain mindset, but it was the high school years that were by far the most important. Attending a Jesuit school, there was an underpinning of the Socratic Method that drove the faculty and curriculum. Oftentimes students were judged more by the questions they asked than the answers they provided. This may have been what drove me into engineering, although it didn’t hurt that my father was also an engineer. My collegiate years, while extremely enjoyable, taught me that life does exist outside of the bubble I created for myself up to that point. The humbling nature of those years served as a great speed bump as I moved forward in my career.
The early part of my career was spent questioning the wisdom of my chosen career path. I often found myself searching for the reasons why I couldn’t keep my career between the white lines. After a couple years of complaining to anyone who would listen, it finally dawned on me that not only were there fewer people who would listen, none of them could do anything but listen. It was at that point that my father’s words began to resonate, and I decided to take control of my career. Since that point, I have been happy with my career, as it was in my hands, and the only one to blame was me.
The many years in the business world that followed burned two truisms into my psyche. The first is that everything, and I mean everything, in the world revolves around the accumulation of money – the almighty dollar. The second is moderation, or the concept that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Employing this concept, especially in the business world, helped me steer myself through a successful career.
As it pertains to the moderation of this site, I would define my philosophy as skepticism, with a small dash of cynicism. As a skeptic, I prefer to question accepted ideas in an effort to better understand them. Using critical thinking principles allows us to examine all parts of an issue, regardless of ideology or political bent. I will openly admit that I am cynical when it comes to politicians – I feel that the vast majority of politicians (from both sides) are only in it for themselves. As such, I shy away from discussions about politicians, as I feel that it serves no useful purpose.