As my first post, I figured it would be good to share my basic opinions and the ways in which I have come to them. I certainly think it is an interesting story, interesting enough to write a blog about. Probably enough to make a movie about too. Or at least a ballet. So here it is.

I have grown up middle class in the United States, first in San Jose, California, and then Boulder, Colorado. As you might imagine from those two locations, I came to have a fairly empathetic nature and throughout high school was very supportive of many Democratic positions and initiatives. However, I had also come to the opinion that most people suffered a lot of pain and misfortune that was unnecessary, which could have been prevented simply by taking a more proactive approach to trying to predict and avoid future problems. Often, I found them instead content to leave themselves vulnerable and then lay blame on outside factors for why they were not successful. I myself tried hard not to fall victim to this way of thinking, and went into every endeavor trying to understand the risks that I was exposed to. With all of this, though, I had a great love of life and thought that to be alive was the greatest thing that could happen. I knew that every person valued their own happiness as highly as I did my own, and so even though I thought people often got in their own way I felt that giving them success, and therefore giving them (short-term) happiness and satisfaction, was the right thing to do, even if they didn’t earn it by good decisions and preparation. I supported a strong role for government to make sure that people had what they needed even if they couldn’t get it for themselves.

Fast forward a few years, and I was attending college at Arizona State University (as I still am at the time of this post), studying economics. Anyone who knows Arizona or the field of economics knows that they are as far to the right as the Bay Area and Boulder are to the left. It was quite new for me, to hear professors scoff at universal health care and protective tariffs for American goods. Throughout high school I had been taught that tariffs help domestic workers and that outsourcing means jobs lost for Americans, only to suddenly be told that all that was wrong. And the problem was that my economics professors had models and statistics to back it up, and were using scientific and reasoning methods that most people never think of applying to their lives. I realized that this was the correct analysis of the counter-factual, instead of just the intuition most people use, and I was convinced of the power of the free market. Then, as soon as I had come to this way of thinking, the recession began. It was a great time to be studying economics and business. The media and politicians returned constantly to the immorality of the corporations, who lent vast sums of money to people who they knew could not afford houses just in their pursuit of a profit. There was a huge cry for government regulation. All the while, my professors were explaining that this “common knowledge” was all wrong. I was learning about moral hazard and the behavior of people who do not bear the full costs of their decisions and hearing about how the people had more information about their finances than the banks did, and therefore should have been in a much better place to understand the risks. I was reading about how the government’s stimulus package spent way too much and took way too long to get the economy going again, and that the best policy would have been to remove the governmental restrictions to allow the economy to adjust quickly.

I am now an ardent believer in the free market and the liberty of people. I no longer identify with any one political party, and I think most of the political discussions that take place do not address the real problems underlying the issues. I now feel that every person must bear the full consequences of their decisions, because every poor decision has costs for everyone else in the country. I view the beauty of life now not just as the joy of existence but as the satisfaction that can come from failure, learning and ultimately the sense of earned success.

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