Free to Think

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About the author

About the author

I am an equal-opportunity political critic. In the early 2000’s I was a vocal opponent of President Bush. In particular, I found his administration’s aggressive foreign policy, massive spending, and disregard for Americans’ civil rights frightening misuses of executive power. The subsequent administration has left me feeling no less alarmed. I’m just as angered by President Obama’s aggressive foreign policy, massive spending, and disregard for Americans’ civil rights.

I believe both political parties have strayed far from our nation’s founding ideals of limited government and individual liberty. I resent that my political choices are restricted to choosing between two parties that both fail to guard our constitutional rights. I don’t think I’m alone. But voices like mine get trampled in the partisan brawl.

A little background

We are all shaped by our past, and my opinions have certainly been shaped by mine.

I grew up in an unwaveringly Democratic neighborhood of row houses in Philadelphia, raised by a single mother who was a teenager when I was born. Sometimes we relied on food stamps, and I spent summers at a charitable camp free of charge. Giving back to the community and to those less fortunate has remained a fundamental part of my beliefs.

I was the first in my family to get a high school diploma. I was driven to succeed by people such as my father, a house painter and business owner, who made it clear that he expected me to be more educated than my parents or grandparents. Instilled in me was a belief in personal responsibility, self reliance and fortitude.

Only by the grace of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs was I able to go to college. I worked hard in school to earn those awards, but was mindful that I was a beneficiary of other people’s generosity.

As a communications student I was an idealist. College was full of lessons about seeking truth, defending democracy, and keeping the public informed. I took to heart the rhetoric of the political candidates I covered for class assignments.

As an adult, my life has run the gamut, from struggling to make ends meet, to being solidly middle class, to being blessed with affluence. My journey has given me the opportunity to get to know people from a diverse spectrum of financial situations and political stances. I have tried to keep an open mind and take away valuable points of view from them all.

About writing this series

This series was borne from my disillusionment with both politicians and the press. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that neither political party was working in the best interest of the American people. I began to research the foundations of our American government and examine the ways in which our nation has gone off track.

I believe our political system shouldn’t force us to choose between economic and personal freedom. I’m an advocate of personal liberty. I don’t think government has the right to control my life from either end of the spectrum.

This perspective is strikingly difficult to find within today’s mainstream political sphere. It’s also a difficult hard-sell to many who have never been exposed to options outside linear left-right choices.

In the past I’ve written news stories from a Libertarian point of view. But in reading numerous comments, I realized that most people were so entrenched in the narrow “left or right” paradigm that arguments for overall liberty and limited government actually made no sense to them. It’s not that they necessarily disagreed: many people were simply leery of choices they weren’t used to hearing. I was stunned by how many seemed convinced that any opinion outside the mainstream had to be foolish or extreme.

Why?

This question led to my premise that Americans were no longer freely thinking for themselves. I understood that if I wanted readers to consider ideas outside the comfortable rhetoric with which they’d become familiar, I needed to backtrack. I had to explore and explain the roots of biases that are holding Americans back, illustrate how our political focus has drifted away from the preservation of liberty, and demonstrate why that’s a danger to us all.

In this so-called “information age,” I’m discouraged by the ways in which the media has contributed to closed-minded attitudes and contentious, un-American class warfare. There’s a dearth of non-partisan news sources willing to frankly and scrupulously report on government.  My goal is to encourage readers to think freely outside the constraints of the status quo.

B Ballentine

Contact@Freetothinkblog.com


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    i as well grew up in the row home neiborhood of oxford circle in the northeast part of phila. one generation older than yourself and a long term friend of your father. your blog shows your change from your college years to the place you now occupy in your political thinking. all who read and think, all who work and strive in the great part belive in your thinking but the reality of the times tells me that in fact all though we would like to believe that we should all stand on our own two feet and be responcible for our own destiny, thst in fact is not the reality. this land is full of those who for what ever the reason may be are unable to be responcible for themslves. the reality is that this country owes these people the right to certain benefits of being in this country. to reduce the size of government only allows the government to reduce the size and amount of programs that directly affects those who are in need. in the riches country inthis world where cororate executives, movie stars,and other high profile individuals earn incomes beyond what most people don’t understand. as the population ages we need more money to pay. you tell me how

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