Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I’ve changed a lot from teen years

(My Clovis News Journal column for October 16, 2015)

Recently a friend from my late teenage years commented on a Facebook post. He expressed his opinion that I have changed a lot since then.

It wasn’t clear whether he meant this to be complimentary or not.

My first reaction was to get defensive. Fortunately, before responding I realized how wonderful it was I have continued to grow beyond my teenage knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes. How tragic would it be to fail to mature?

He has also changed from the person I knew. Our paths have diverged about as radically as possible. We all grow, learn, and change.

Most of my changes over the years have been due to recognizing inconsistencies in my views and striving to rid myself of them. Inconsistencies are never desirable. Being consistent doesn't automatically mean you are right, of course- you can be consistently wrong- but when you are inconsistent it's a clear sign you are definitely wrong about something. It isn't possible to be inconsistent and right.

If you've already realized this, congratulations. This took years for me to figure out for myself, especially because of the inconsistencies I liked keeping around.

In those days I was "conservative" and wrong in the normal ways "conservatives" are consistently wrong. Yes, I appreciated liberty, but only within certain arbitrary parameters. In other words, I didn't understand what liberty actually was.

Back then my enthusiasm for liberty tended toward the "liberty for me, none for thee" variety. Especially for anyone whose sexual orientation differed from mine, those who sought to self-medicate with substances the government had declared off limits, or anyone whose non-coercive choices I didn't understand. Now I understand liberty is the freedom to do absolutely anything which doesn't violate any other person or their property.

I was never a fan of government, but unlike today I couldn't have explained why. Because of my inconsistencies, anytime government was used against those whose liberty I didn't care about, I could look the other way without a second thought.

Had I stagnated I would fit in better today, but I would still be wrong in those areas where I was inconsistent. I'm glad I changed.

I expect I will continue to change into the future as I learn, consider, expose and strip away any lingering inconsistencies I haven't yet noticed. I look forward to each and every step along the journey. I hope many years from now people will still comment about how I have changed.


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