I’m a busy guy who’s not getting as much exercise as he needs, paddles folding kayaks for fun, and writes past his ability to clearly and consistently communicate sense. I like taking pictures of things I see while exploring local waterways, abandoned industrial structures, and commercial buildings.
I’ve lived in Germany, Spain, Turkey, Greece. I’ve lived in California, Oregon, Kentucky, and Tennessee. As a younger man, I fluently attempted to speak* French when drunk. As a child I spoke passable German. I am a native English-speaker.
I am what most pollsters would call a born-again Christian, and if it were not for my faith, I would be an anarchist or a super-villain. As a younger man, my dad said to me, only half-joking, “No, you have a light side,” as opposed to a dark side. Prior to earning a baccalaureate degree, I tested into, but did not finish a law school and a Southern Baptist seminary. I hold a degree in journalism. I am not Al Gore. I am Christov of Stepford.
*Bertrand Mafart asked me about my claim of alcoholic fluency in his mother tongue, and after reevaluating what I can remember from the time, I think it more reasonable to state that I more easily attempted to speak French, and it was a variety of American high school French sufficient to convey and apprehend meaning. To the extent that one who has consumed a liter of Vodka and innumerable bottles of cheap beer is capable of expressing and decoding sense.
The following is part of a self-assessment project I completed in early May. As you might expect, I’ve redacted the text and have not included the list of references cited. If you are sufficiently curious and have access to electronic databases that include a variety of peer-reviewed journals, you can figure them out for yourself. I’ve left quite a bit out, which should account for any perceived incompleteness.
I write as a man in early middle age who has for the past 12 years been living within the culture into the fringes of which he was born (toward the middle part of the last century).
If not exactly a weakness, my tendency to disvalue conventional authority while overvaluing my own experience and cognitive faculty when faced with what is usually referred to as an ethical dilemma is a trait that if left unchecked could easily and possibly has produce(d) errors in judgment capable of producing harm in the lives of others. Furthermore, what may be termed my moral development has, over the course of my life shown a tendency to fall in to Rast’s “Post-Conventional” third Neo-Kohlbergian schema of development wherein “rules are interpreted in terms of self-chosen principles” (Halverson, Miars, & Livneh, 2006, p. 18). In the same vein, however, I reckon my hypothetical willingness to contravene generally accepted interpretations of legal stricture to promote what Hermann and Herlihy (2006) describe as “(t)he moral principles of justice (fairness), beneficence (doing good), nonmaleficence (doing no harm), and respect for autonomy” (p. 417) may in some instances be a strength.
I am still sorting out whether or to what degree my desire to make sense of circumstance and variable as they present in (my work) or as they otherwise manifest in the course of my life, is a weakness. Certainly I attempt to remain mindful that my curiosity may in some circumstances be an ethically and perhaps legally insufficient motive to capture some (professional) data, even when it pertains to the (work at hand).
In speaking to my beliefs, I unashamedly and unapologetically identify as Christian whose theology may be described as Calvinist. I value life and the freedom of all people to act and express themselves as autonomously as they may, knowing nonetheless that actions and expressions may have consequences unforeseen by the individual but comprehensible as what may befall the actor inhabiting shared circumstances with other individuals likewise active. I value learning and the freedom of individuals to choose to attempt an educational outcome when ready. I oppose authoritarianism, especially that forced collectivism most closely associated with the Marxist/socialist worldview and its evidently pervasive dialectic of class-struggle as means of goading one group to steal what belongs to another group or to an individual.
My bias is eclectically in favor of what I posit are the best features of my Northern and Southern European heritage: again, the value placed upon education, both formal and informal; the value intrinsic to the individual; the value of work; the value of thrift. I see these values resulting in functional vocational and living outcomes, and therefore superior to those fostering dependence and the acquisition of unearned or unmerited gain. I find that I am unable to take seriously “scholarly” protestations against the so-called “myth of meritocracy” (the term is not mine, but I have now forgotten its proper citation). As a Eurocentric Calvinist (which orientation is probably not to blame for the fact that) I have sufficient detachment to and have actually (interacted in a personally and professionally ethical manner with) persons whose values are antithetical to my own.