Am I a Skeptic?
Lynn Atherton-Bloxham is an unrepentant skeptic. This is especially the case, she says, when confronted with the pronouncements from politicians.
I am even a skeptic about being a skeptic. I might just be curious and want proof for everything.
Who first did traverse the land and sea and settle on this continent? Was Columbus the first visitor to these shores? Why did some early colonists have good relations with the Native people while others did not? Why did some who wanted religious freedom not think others were worthy of that freedom also? Why could not the founders see slavery was immoral? After the Revolutionary War, why was Thomas Paine ostracized? Why, really were the Articles of Confederation jettisoned and the Constitution adopted? Was Washington complicit with Hamilton or duped? Who really killed each President that was assassinated and why? What if the Civil War was not about slavery at all? Was Abraham Lincoln a hero or a tyrant? Remember the Maine? Why were we in World War One? Was John Maynard Keynes really a genius or a clever con artist? Was World War Two preventable? Did US policy goad Japan? Were the atom bombs necessary or had Japan already sent word they were ready to surrender? Why Korea? The Gulf of Tonkin? What was our purpose in Vietnam? What happened in the first Gulf War? Who told Hussein what? Why did we use sanctions against Iraq? Who really was responsible for 9/11? WMD’s, or honest error? What are so many people seeing in the nighttime sky? UFOs or secret advanced military design? Why are all the terrorists caught, already being coached by the CIA or FBI? What is the real purpose of the screening by the TSA? Why is there a similar pattern on all the mass shootings? Are all of the people who want Gun Control well meaning? Well you get the idea. There is an endless stream of mysteries all around us; fascinating questions and unknown answers to seek.
This is a small sample of what goes through my head in any 15 minute period. Many years ago I spent hours reading and searching through stacks in the college library seeking answers to obscure questions. Later, while other women were buying fashionable clothes or delicate figurines to grace their lovely homes, I bought books. I fear I am a read-aholic and must use enormous self-discipline when I start to read. It might be inherited as my Mother and Father both were reading addicts and my children are possessed with the malady too.
One problem is that I do not know the ordinary things most people do know. Sports figures, movie stars, current bands and musicians; I am out of a trivia game on the first question. Further I have embarrassed myself more than a few times by not knowing who various famous people were upon meeting them face to face.
I neglect areas where I have no knowledge, but somehow, find time to explore questions about politics, economics, history and strange mysteries. Those captivate me. Fortunately I have friends who are experts in varied subjects and their expertise is always available for all those areas where I am clueless.
Thank goodness we are all wired differently. Would not it be a boring world if we were all the same? Occasionally, when I have observed attempts of regimentation here, I shiver in horror as I envision the attempt by the North Korean government to homogenize its entire people. We are fortunate that we live in a country which still has at least the remnants of a functioning market. Where voluntary trade exists, even to a small degree, a large variety of products and services are offered. In this manner we can pursue our individual interests and not be restricted to what a central authority thinks is right and proper. Just think of the wonderful variety of music; from Rachmaninoff to Rock, everyone can have their own preference satisfied.
We are so fortunate to be living in what the writers of The Daily Bell have identified as the “Internet Reformation.” We have the extraordinary benefits of instant news, information and access to expertise with the ease that the Internet has provided. Of course one should prepare for various contingencies but remember to retain an optimism that the ease of communication will lead to a better world.
Skepticism is healthy and an area where we all might employ much, much more skepticism is when any politician or spokesperson for the State, speaks. Our first question should probably be, “Wait just a second! Who pays for this grandiose scheme of yours? How will it be implemented? Most important, what freedoms must I give up to achieve your particular vision of Utopia?”