Welcome to Opening Arguments.
The name is meant to say a lot. Most of what you read here will not be attempts to fully frame a debate, with all the attendant logic and evidence, as you might find in an editorial or column on a newspaper’s opinion page. There will be, instead, first impressions and provocative comments and random observations of the passing scene. As with the opening arguments of the lawyers in a trial, the unfolding testimony will reveal what is true and what is yet to be proven.
This won’t be an editorial page blog, exactly, or strictly a personal blog, either, but a hybrid. If you’ve followed The News-Sentinel’s Evening Forum, you’ll be familiar with much of the center-right philosophy articulated here. It’s a worldview that values personal responsibility above group identity, preaches that actions have consequences and sees no incompatibility in the marriage of new ideas and traditional values.
But an editorial page is a reflection of the consensus achieved by all of the people who work on it. It is not enough to say the Evening Forum is a “conservative” page and let it go at that. It is always a work in progress, evolving based on the collective wisdom of its changing cast of characters. Each of us brings something distinct to the collaboration. My contribution is a certain libertarian skepticism. So, here, you will see a little more of “to secure these rights” and a little less of “governments are instituted.”
I can’t tell you all of what I will try to do here, because I don’t know. I’ll begin with what I think about the things I see and hear, starting in Fort Wayne and working my way up to the “mind of God,” to quote the play “Our Town.” Blogs are, above all, personal. I hope to make it as interesting as possible with all the tools available, including photos, videos and sound bites. Some of the posts will be serious, some barely more than whimsical. I intend to open up the editorial-page process a little, revealing some of the discussions that led to our positions on the issues of the day, commenting on contributions from readers, sharing editorials and columns from other sources you might not have access to. Perhaps I will have, from time to time, guest bloggers or even permanent co-conspirators.
Beyond that, I hope this site is also a work in progress, evolving as I experiment and as you contribute. No, not your “feedback.” That has always seemed to me to be a condescending term – I pronounce from on high, and you react. If this blog is to be what it can be, it will require your collaboration as much as an editorial page requires the collaboration of its contributors. That means, for one thing, sending in your stuff – not just your comments but your photos and videos and sound bites that offer something interesting about the world we live in.
And your best arguments.
If I believe one thing above all else, it is that there is such a thing as objective truth – it is out there, and we can find it. Not one Big Truth as a destination, perhaps, but a lot of little truths we discover on the journey. Too often we just can’t see that truth. That is the value of debate. By offering our opinions up for challenge, we sort through the strong and weak evidence, the valid and invalid principles, the worth or irrelevance of underlying values.
That is the other meaning of Opening Arguments – Beginning Debates, Starting Conversations, with the faith that, as we accumulate little truths, we are on a great voyage of discovery.