I started this website and blog because I am passionate about freedom and the Second Amendment which protects our freedom. In my series “My Second Amendment Journey” I describe my transition from casual gun owner to Second Amendment activist. However, to me it’s more than just about guns – it’s about freedom and restoring the constitutional republic the Founding Fathers left us. I believe that our freedom and liberty are under threat as never before in the history of our nation. We The People need to awake, arise and take action through activism, social media, education and supporting politicians, not parties, that can effect the kind of change we need to restore freedom.
Here’s a little bit about me.
I grew up in a middle-class home with parents who were together until they died. My father was an exemplary man and a very successful business executive, a leader in his church and a phenomenal role model for his children. My mother was an exceptional homemaker who loved arts, music, cooking and entertaining. The fact that they had so many friends is a testament to who they were.
I was born in Colorado and have lived two-thirds of my life here. In my years away, I lived in New Jersey, Texas, New Mexico and Ohio. I’ve traveled to over half the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Politically speaking, I was somewhat liberal until my freshman year of college. Unlike many people who become liberal in college, I went the other direction and became conservative. Three classes I took over a couple of years led to this change.
The first class was the history of western civilization with Professor Wozniak. Even though he deplored the inauguration of Ronald Reagan on the first day of the semester as the “end of civilization as we know it” Professor Wozniak was a great professor and I learned a lot in his class. It seemed to me then, as now, that the history of our western civilization was a progression of wars fought over religion, economics, territorial hegemony, and again religion; with the inexorable march to freedom taking place through such documents as the Magna Carta, the 1689 English Bill of Rights, our own Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as adopted and amended in 1789 to 1791.
The second class was macroeconomics (Econ 101). When I learned about how much money in the federal budget involved “transfer payments” (i.e. taking money from one person through taxes and giving it to another through government entitlements) I put liberalism behind me forever. This was even in the early 1980’s before the government expansions of Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and now Obama.
The third class was an advanced fiction class that included Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand on the syllabus. When I bought the book I was surprised at how long it was. Thinking it would be a struggle to read, I started early. When I read the first words (“Who is John Galt?”) I was hooked and ended up reading it not once but twice within about a week. Like her or hate her, Ms. Rand was a good storyteller and I read her other fiction works as well.
It is from her that I gained my appreciation for limited government and maximum personal freedom. Where I differ from Ms. Rand and her adherents is the fact that not everybody in the world is a Dagny Taggart or a Hank Reardon. I am certainly no Ellis Wyatt. The character I identify most with is Eddie Willers, Dagny’s loyal assistant and a man of intelligence and integrity without the entrepreneurial spark that the heroes have. I don’t like the fate of Eddie in the book. It is for this reason that I believe that we as a society must provide some sort of safety net to the disabled, homeless, ill, long-term unemployed and other persons who are not able to provide for themselves.
I also believe that in the course of self-determination, each human being in the world should be free to make their own decisions and choices to the extent possible. However, personal freedom is not unlimited. In fact, its limits are found when a person, family or group impinges on another person, family or group. There are seven billion people living on this planet, some at incredible densities. Respect for others and their boundaries is essential to living together in a civilized society. That is a key concept – that freedom does have limits. I will be exploring this further in my writing.
Over the years, my early conservatism has evolved to a more libertarian stance, though I don’t really consider myself a Republican or a Libertarian. I disagree with the Republican Party on a couple of core issues, and with the Libertarians on others.
I part company with the Republicans on social issues, particularly those involving personal freedoms – abortion and gay rights. I part company with the Libertarians because they always throw elections to the liberal statist candidates when there are three way races. As Joel Pollak wrote in Breitbart News the day after the 2013 election: “4. Vote Libertarian, get bigger government. Conservatives got the lesson that liberals got in 2000. While a dissenting vote for a third party has a certain narcissistic appeal, in America’s winner-take-all system, it is effectively a vote for the candidate you like least.” Most recently, this is why Ken Cuccinelli lost in Virginia.
Abortion is a highly personal issue for anyone who has ever had one or fathered a child who was aborted before birth. There are people on both sides of the issue who are very passionate about it and for them, it is the ONLY issue and they will vote for any candidate who will further their views. Unfortunately for Republicans and social conservatives, it is a real loser of an issue.
The belief that attempts to restrict or eliminate abortion constitute a “war on women” is a very powerful weapon in electoral politics. In the presidential election of 2012, it could be argued that many women who did not support Barack Obama either did not vote or voted for candidates other than Mitt Romney simply because they believed that Romney would move to restrict abortions if elected. I’m sure this happens in other elections all over the country.
The simple fact is that over half the population if the United States is female, and over 70% of Americans support abortion rights. I personally have always supported the right of a woman to choose whether or not to bear a child. While I would hope that a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy would keep the child and give it for adoption, I don’t view it as my prerogative to tell her what she should do.
This is not to say that I support “unlimited” abortion rights. Given that fetuses can now live outside the mother at younger ages thanks to modern medical science, my view is that late term or “partial birth” abortions are virtual infanticide. I cannot, in good conscience, support or condone these abortions except in cases where the mother’s life is unquestionably at risk. Just as that there are limitations on personal freedoms, free speech and the right to keep and bear arms, so I believe that restricting late term or partial birth abortions is reasonable and necessary.
I would like to see the Republican Party clearly state their acceptance of abortion rights except in the case of late term or partial birth abortions when the mother’s life is unquestionably at risk. This will serve to take this potent weapon out of the hands of liberals and Democrats in electoral politics. I would like to see Republican candidates and office-holders, especially if they are male, stay away from the issue of women’s reproductive rights and choices. It’s a loser, guys.
I am not gay though I have had gay friends through the years. I never felt strongly one way or the other about gay marriage until recently. This is an issue that from the standpoint of what’s right and electoral politics is another loser.
Broadly speaking, for thousands of years marriage has generally been defined as between one man and one woman. Marriage is a religious institution as well as a legal construct. Many religions view marriage as between one man and one woman, with some recognition of same-sex marriage gaining ground in western Christian religions. Islam looks unfavorably on homosexual activity and does not condone same-sex marriage, while Judaism is divided on the issue.
In religious terms, I believe that if a same-sex couple desires to get married and their church forbids such a marriage, they should find a church that allows it or forego either the marriage or the church. Religious freedom as recognized and protected by the First Amendment certainly should extend to persons who wish to embrace or deny same-sex marriage. It is a matter of voluntary association. By the same token, I don’t believe that same-sex couples should seek the recourse of law to impose their beliefs on others.
Based on the model of personal freedom I espouse, I fully support civil government recognition of same-sex marriages and divorces. If two people who happen to be the same gender love each other or want to be life companions, the state should not have the authority to deny that.
By taking same-sex marriage off the table the Republican Party can take another potent weapon out of the hands of electoral adversaries. If a politician happens to not believe in gay marriage on religious grounds, they are certainly entitled to their beliefs, but leave it out of the public arena.
To sum up, then, I would consider myself to be a libertarian leaning, socially moderate, staunch Second Amendment supporter and freedom loving person. I support the capitalistic economic system and the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith. I believe that the Constitution the Founders of this country left us was an amazingly well thought out and crafted document that enabled the United States to become the sole superpower and economic powerhouse it was at the dawn of the 21st century. Whether or not we will remain so is a matter of some concern to me as I watch the progressive movement in this country move the Democratic Party ever more to the radical left. Much of my writing will be on these issues.
Thank you for reading. I plan to publish new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays.
By Richard D. Turnquist
December 11, 2013