The weather in Georgia this week has been perfect. There’s just enough clouds to give the sky character and enough chill in the air to hint winter is approaching. There are still a few orange and red leaves on the trees and covering the ground as autumn comes to a close. It’s gorgeous.

Late November in North Georgia

Late November in North Georgia

This morning I decided to do a hike at sunrise. The trails around here get so busy and I wanted some isolation. Some time to recharge and to work off two days of Thanksgiving meals. I think everyone needs that from time to time. Times like these are the good ones.

The Authoritarian Boogeyman

There has been a lot of drama in the news lately calling any group with authority a bully – sometimes legitimate and sometimes not. Each story appears to be related to “anti-authoritarianism” and what I’ll term “safe-space-ism”. Whether it is against police officers, school administration, white people, straight people, or any other group with real or perceived social status.

I wonder to myself why these messages have been so appealing?

For starters I think there is a healthy mix of real and made-up injustices. A police officer shoots a young and unarmed kid, bad. Poor black people discriminated against, bad. A school administrator speaks his mind on an unpopular topic that offends people, also bad. Right? Or wait…

The media loves it because it sells and the demo (18-30 year olds) love it. So they bombard people with thousands of such stories all reported the same way. It becomes almost impossible to digest them. Impossible to separate the stories we should be mad about and the stories we should dismiss.

We want binary so we create an authoritarian boogeyman. It’s okay to attack the boogy-man, his ideas, and anyone who defends him. We don’t have to think anymore. We stop dissecting individual pieces of information or news and file it away into the boogeyman file. Suddenly, free speech and legitimate justice is filed away with racism and bigotry.

I’m sure you’ve seen the video of the girl from Yale yelling the administrator. Or the videos of black lives matter disrupting Bernie Sanders’ speech. More locally, my college aged brother-in-law is all in on the anti-authoritarian complex too. So why is this thought process so popular?

I think there is a sub-group that is vulnerable to the messaging. They are:

  • Highly educated,
  • Mostly Millennial,
  • Minority (female, non-white, homosexual, etc.),
    • The more minority the more likely to buy-in to this messaging,
  • Surrounded by homogeneous group of friends, and
  • Difficult to criticize without being labelled a bigot or racist.

Why is this message so popular with this group?

The Land of China

Since visiting China last August I haven’t had much to say about it. I still don’t. I heard Anthony Bourdain describe it as a country you can never know. I think that’s true. It’s changing too fast, has too much history, and social context I’ll never have the privilege of understanding.

Shanghai, China - 38

China was both what I expected and nothing as expected. There were times I couldn’t access Google and pornography was blocked while prostitutes crowded the streets around Western hotels. In the land of Communism I’ve never seen a place where luxury and materialism thrived more. Skyscrapers are built by the dozen by rich and well connected contractors. A tailored suit cost $75 in the fabric markets. The super rich rein while booming population keeps labor cheap.

But these are just facts about China. Things anyone in Shanghai for a week would notice. Less noticeable are the undertones of change that separate new and older generations. The generation of Mao watching the new generation of techno-youth connect with the rest of the world like never before. Both connect and disconnected like never before in history.

I have the feeling China doesn’t know itself – but maybe that’s not exclusive to China. Where it’s headed is still a question mark. Meanwhile, individually, everyone fights to get their piece of the pie. Even the monasteries (around Shanghai) are a money grab – converted to tourist attractions as much as  places of worship. Their piece of the pie.

China is a reflection of my own ignorance. A place I can visit, but I’ll never know.

The identity of Atticus C.

I think about work too much. I’m never content when things are going perfectly well. I’m restless. I’m always looking for the next thing. I can’t stop taking on projects. I don’t enjoy the little things enough, but I try to remind myself to do so.

Sometimes my personality is too strong. Sometimes I’m a dick and an egomaniac. I try not to be, but it comes off that way anyway. I’m hard on people I love. I’m not sensitive enough, on average. I try to remember to say thank you. I try to show appreciation. I have to remind myself to do these things.

I’m too cynical. I can’t accept anything for face value. I can’t accept religion. I have trouble with spirituality even though I think it’s healthy. I like philosophy, but it always seems to turn into an argument. I’m attracted to spirituality, but I can’t accept it. I want it, but don’t know where to look. Organized religion feels like a scam, but I want the community.

It turns out family is more important to me than I ever expected. Also, friendship. I enjoy my few, but very close relationships. I should try to have a relationship with my parents. Maybe I shouldn’t. They are poisonous. I should try to have a deeper relationship with my parents-in-law. They are good people.

Speaking of friendship. I would like to spend more time in an intimate/cerebral way with friends. Maybe combine spirituality and learning. I have smart friends who can challenge me. I would like to combine the two components of my life.

I want adventure. I want to relax. Sometimes I want to visit old towns in Central America or Europe. Other times I just want to be isolated in the mountains of North Georgia. Either way I’m pretty happy at a cafe with good coffee. I like to write – especially when the location is nice.

I want challenge and prestige, but stability. I want to know that I can take care of my family, but I want the excitement of new things and constant learning. I want the flexibility to work to live or live to work. I want my career to be a big part of my identity, but not my identity exclusively.

I want to be happy, but sometimes I don’t know what that is. Sometimes I think happiness is something you can define on paper, other times I think it’s just a state of mind. Maybe both. I’m a planner, but I’ve been told to take things one day at a time. Maybe both are right. Maybe neither.

Hello again my old friend.

I took some time off from blogging. I’ve still been writing – just in a hand-written journal instead of here. I just felt like putting pen to paper for a while. For whatever reason it just felt right. Something about sitting there with a notebook writing things down feels good. It felt more intimate. Less like I was trying to write for the world and more like I was writing for myself.

It’s like in science when the mere act of observation changes the outcome of an experiment. In this  case knowing people might read my blog posts made me try too hard. I felt like I needed to post content more regularly. Mind my prose. And be entertaining. I started to lose my voice. The one I hear inside my head when I’m thinking about all of this stuff. Me.

I still want to blog. I even considered starting another blog all together. But we’ve been through too much together here. Five years! I want to stay, but kick things off right going forward. Face it – this is a personal blog and that’s the way it’s going to stay. What I write about here interests no one except myself and that’s okay.

Where do we go from here? 

I want to blog once a week. Not on any particular schedule, but just when I can. i want to write because I enjoy it. Because I enjoy sitting in my office or at a little coffee shop writing about nothing in particular. I think it’s healthy.

An though I say “no schedule” I’m a scheduler at heart. I thrive on tasks and lists. So maybe I’ll try to make every Wednesday morning a writing session before work. Head over to the coffee shop and write for a couple hours? I like that idea.

I don’t want to commit to any particular topic(s). Most of what I write will probably be about me. Probably complaining about trying to figure out the meaning of life – or something similar. Maybe I’ll talk about economics, philosophy, politics, or business. Who knows?

Anyway, I’m back.

Phil, Jon, or Holden. You guys are the only people I really keep up with on the web. Stop by and say hello. I hope this becomes more conversational going forward.

Thoughts on Planned Parenthood and Late Term Abortions

I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who have late term abortions are not doing so due to medical issues. It is one thing for a woman to find out that giving birth may kill her, or that the child has issues and will go on to live a seriously limited life marked by never ending medical care, discomfort and pain.

But for a woman to decide she isn’t going to have the baby at a point that it is viable, simply because she changed her mind for whatever the reason may be- is murder.

I argue it is murder because that is how to law would see it if another person caused the end of the life. For example, say a pregnant woman is in her third trimester of the pregnancy visits a corner convenience store. A man walks in with a knife demanding all the cash in the register and her purse.

In the heat of the moment, the man loses his cool and stabs the woman in the stomach, killing the unborn “fetus.”  I believe this man would be charged with murder, would he not?

After all, this “fetus” probably had a name, the parents already knew the gender, and there was a room with a crib and rocking chair waiting on it.

So, is it not murder when the mother and a doctor decide to consciously end the life? Is there any difference?

I discovered recently that fervent defenders of a abortion will justify the act no matter how grotesque the current acts uncovered by Planned Parenthood and the medical practitioners working with them in fact are. I see them no less callous and inhuman as a firearms advocate group who may hold a rally in a neighborhood after a school shooting.

It is the same mindset. Just different interest groups.

Those who are quick to defend Planned Parenthood’s avocation of selling aborted baby body parts also like to point out how altruistic the practice is. We are helping researchers cure terrible diseases after all.

Maybe so, but last I looked, the person donating their body to science was supposed to agree to it before it being done. In the case of unborn children, they never had a say in the matter.

And to take the argument a notch further, the Third Reich also experimented on people, which helped advance medical science leaps and bounds. That doesn’t made what they did any more excusable or less disgusting.

I am not an abortion abolitionist. I understand that no two situations are the same. I understand there is an element of personal freedom involved. I also understand an outright prohibition would lead to far more dangerous, backroom procedures being performed for those desperate enough to seek them out.

But what Planned Parenthood and the doctors performing late term abortions and selling the body profits for cash are doing is wrong. It is incomprehensible. And the fact that most of these facilities exist in poor black neighborhoods also potentially makes it racist and a quiet form of eugenics.

If you find yourself one of these people, I challenge you to put the shoe on the other foot and think of how you feel about extreme guns advocates who show up in the neighborhoods after school shootings. I’d argue the recent acts of Planned Parenthood and the doctors who perform late terms abortions are much more grim and sinister.


I Passed on a $50,000 Raise

I am proud of myself this morning. Proud because I feel like I am slowly becoming the man I aspired to be. A man who, when given the opportunity, will choose happiness, family, friends, and knowledge before money or the accumulation of more stuff. I believe this about myself because I turned down a new job, and a $50,000 raise, for these values.

The job would have made me the youngest person in such a position (that I know of), padding my bank account and my resume, but would have meant a lot of time away from my family and friends, giving up a few personal dreams (such as starting my own business and pursuing further education), and doing something I’m not very passionate about. I’ve never had to give up such a huge opportunity or such a large sum of money. I’m happy that when the time came I had the courage and discipline to do so.

I didn’t do it alone, either. I had people to speak candidly with. Friends and family who earnestly supported me and walked through the pros and cons of each opportunity. They probably didn’t know it, but their willingness and enthusiasm helped to show me just what I would be giving up. Just how great a community I would be giving up for a little prestige and money.

I didn’t give up long walks with my family every evening, I didn’t give up the international travel and leadership opportunities my current job provides, I didn’t give up my dream of launching my own start-up, I didn’t give up morning coffee talks with Holden, I didn’t give up spontaneous cocktail dinners with neighbors, and I didn’t give up my dream of higher education (in fact I start an MBA program next school year!).

When I read that last paragraph I realize just how easy a decision the whole thing was – even if it didn’t seem like it at the time. Perspective.