Q&A Friday #7: What’s Your Background?
Question: “I’ve been reading and posting here for quite a while and here is something I was wondering John – that many of us probably would like answered – though I trust your views completely because mine are similar but I was wondering –
Who are you? What is your job in real life (what industry, what type of work etc.), and whats your background that has formed your conservative understanding… or – in short, aside from your demonstrated knowledge (which on face value could be mere opinions – though I personally know your views are well founded) – but why should the average person who stumbles across your site listen to your views? What authority do you have to speak on behalf of conservatives?” — bambam5
Answer: Here’s the short and sweet “Hawkins bio”. I can assure you that it’s not something that’s ever going to be made into a movie of the week =D
I grew up in a small, one stop light North Carolina town and went to school down the road in the “big city” of Eden, NC — population 10,000 — yee-haw! Even though I did things like Quiz Bowl, High IQ Bowl, and Math Counts, I was never more than an average student. Same goes for college. I have a BA in Psychology and a minor in Communications from UNC-Charlotte, but again, I never had stellar grades.
I do internet technical support.
How I Became A Conservative
I’ve actually written a column about this subject and here’s the most relevant passage from it,
“Of course, I still had a head full of mush when I arrived on campus. I had minimal knowledge of American history, economics, and even what was going on politically in the world thanks to the mediocre high school education I had received. But, I did know I was interested in doing “something political”. So I started reading political books, listening to what my professors had to say, and talking politics with my friends who in retrospect, knew as little as I did about what was going on.
But even then, there were two lenses I viewed every political proposal through — pragmatism & did the idea make America better or worse off? At the time, it seemed to me that the first question that should be asked about every program, every idea was quite simply — will this work? If the idea didn’t work, then it was a bad idea, no matter how noble the intentions were of the person who proposed it. Next, I thought you had to consider the implications of the policy; did it make our country stronger or weaker? If it made our country weaker, then it was something I opposed.
Unfortunately for the left, practicality was not their strong point. As an example of what I mean, let me take you back to a class I took my sophomore year called “War, Peace, Justice and Human Survival.” The professors were ultra-libs of the sort you rarely find anywhere other than on college campuses, peace rallies, or on the pages of ultra left-wing mags like Counterpunch. Our professors explained to us very earnestly that we should get rid of our military and use non-violent resistance to protect ourselves from other nations. The professors talked about why they were pacifists, how right & moral their position was, & all the wonderful things we could do with the money we put into the military. They talked about the whole concept as if it were the greatest idea since the Wright Brothers decided to build a plane. Meanwhile, I was wondering what happened when Cuba’s military starting looting Florida and gang raping the women? What were people supposed to do then? Invite the Cubans in for soup, call them “brother,” and try to show them that we’re “human beings too?” Suppose they don’t care that we’re nice people, what’s our back-up plan?
Even in my political infancy, that was the core difference that I perceived between conservatives and liberals. As I saw it, conservatism was based on finding practical solutions that were chosen primarily because they worked and made America a better place to live. On the other hand, I believed the left’s ideas had more to do with what they thought was “nice” or “mean” than whether their proposals actually worked in the real world & strengthened our country.”
Why Should People Pay Attention?
As to why anyone should “listen to (my) views,” that’s just a decision people have to make for themselves. As far as I’m concerned, ideology and punditry are merit based fields. Whether you’ve been President or a street sweeper, a billionaire or a pauper, a genius or a dunce…it doesn’t really matter. It all comes down to whether or not what you say makes sense, resonates with people, entertains, and largely turns out to be right. Heck, liberals don’t even insist their pundits be right about things, so it’s even easier for them =D