Ideas, beliefs change with growth

Ideas, beliefs change with growth

(My Clovis News Journal column for June 12, 2015)

Everyone changes their mind as they grow. Almost everything I now believe is because along the way someone, somehow, convinced me I was wrong.

Most of those changes came after a lot of figurative kicking and screaming. I didn’t want to accept I could be wrong, and I liked what I believed. It was comfortable, and matched what many around me seemed to believe.

I once held many more “conservative” ideas than I now do. I used to support police and the military- in general. I used to support the War on Politically Incorrect Drugs. I used to support capital punishment. I used to believe government was necessary for moral society. I used to be fine with the law treating some non-aggressive people as though they had fewer rights than others.

I also used to hold some “liberal” ideas I have since rejected. I used to believe the best way to protect the environment was for government to make up laws telling people what they could and couldn’t do with their own property. I used to think government should subsidize electric cars and penalize people who drove gasoline cars. I thought littering or polluting should be a capital crime- OK, I may be slightly exaggerating on that one (but not by much). I used to support a minimum wage, and laws against child labor.

I even used to wonder if the gun ban crowd might be right; maybe guns were too dangerous for people to own and carry.

Of course, I thought I believed in freedom and I believed I was consistent. Now, it is embarrassing and painful to even remember entertaining those ideas, and agony to admit them publicly.

Sure, I always had some doubts that government was as great as many people said, and my observations seemed to indicate it wasn’t just the particular person in office which was the problem, but the existence of the position itself. I also noticed the results of laws, programs, and agencies were usually the exact opposite of the purported goal. For years I clung to my comfortable beliefs in spite of these observations. Like so many, I supported freedom for things I liked, but not for things I didn’t, and ignored the inconsistency.

Then I began to really think and those inconsistencies began to fall away.

There are still details people I look up to disagree with me on. I consider their points, but if they don’t hold up I stand my ground.

I am more likely to be convinced by logic, reason, and consistency than by emotionalism. I’m sure more changes are to come. What convinces you to change your mind?

(One thing I was thinking about, which didn’t make it into the column, is that those advocating Liberty never threatened me to change my mind. Those advocating statism of one sort or another never took any other way.)

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