- - Thursday, May 29, 2014

After my speaking engagements, the comments I hear the most are some variation of, “You’re nothing like I thought you’d be! I can’t believe how much I agree with you,” or, even better, “I actually like you.” The first few times I heard these, I responded with a blank stare and muttered, “Umm, thank you?” while thinking to myself, “What the heck did he think I’d be like?” (Don’t answer that!)

Now, I take these remarks as a compliment, especially when they come from a liberal audience, because it’s an indication that I’ve done my job.

When I was first presented with this opportunity to write for the Washington Times, I was honored and eager to get started. It’s not that I think so highly of my own opinion that I believe it’ll save the planet in 600-800 words per week.

Rather, this is an opportunity for you to get to know me, the real me, in my own words. And I hope to get know you, as well.

This community page is interactive. I will be reading your feedback. And trust me, there will be surprises. You’ll want to give feedback. Disclaimer: Conservatives are often surprised when they disagree with me and liberals are often surprised by when they agree with me. If each column is followed by a rigorous debate in the comment section, I will know I have done my job.

Our country was founded on a simple set of ideas rooted in authentic freedom, not license, but true freedom. These ideas have been so over-complicated by precedent, amendments, and political correctness that it is going to take a radical reawakening of American ideals to get our country back on track. Each week, I plan to tackle these ideals one by one: What’s the difference between freedom and license, capitalism and benevolent capitalism? Is socialism really so bad if good people implement it? Why is the pursuit of “happiness” right up there with the right to life? Shouldn’t the Declaration say “pursuit of peace” or do we all have the right to pursue pleasure, whatever that means to us?

Just so there is no confusion about my positions, let me give you a quick answer to the above questions. I’ll elaborate more in the weeks to come. Yes — socialism is a bad thing even when implemented by good people. Not only is it economically unrealistic; it creates an almost irreversible oppression and economic bondage — the opposite of what its “good” supporters set out to do.

Yes — the pursuit of “happiness” should be right up there with the right to life, and no, it doesn’t mean the pursuit of the perfect keg party, spa day, or whatever gives you the most pleasure. When I would speak to audiences about the much needed radical reawakening of America’s founding, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone asked me about “happiness” and probably would use Benjamin Franklin’s alleged pursuit as an example. So, I prepared myself and did some studying.

What I discovered is that the word “happiness” is not some random concept thrown into our Declaration of Independence, but rather authentic happiness was the key to our entire way of life in the nascent new world. Authentic is the operative word here. As Pope John Paul II defines it, authentic happiness is the state of being rooted in sacrificial love. And that, my friends, is the key to authentic freedom.

But I digress … I’ll get into this and whole lot more as we get to know each other through my column and Washington Times Community Page. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Until next week!

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