Depending on your definitions, I am some combination of atheist, empiricist, humanist, materialist, rationalist, and secularist. Take your pick, and feel free to mix and match.
I have the purveyors of my Jesuit university education to thank for many of the items on the list, although some of these weren’t what the MIB had in mind at the time.
Despite the assumptions that relativists attach to rationalism these days, I am politically skewed rather sharply to the left. By world standards, I would be described as some kind of democratic socialist. By the standards of the U. S., where “left” means anyone whose first-born child doesn’t have the middle name “Coulter” or “Limbaugh,” there’s no available description.
Now retired, I taught college prep English composition and literature for over 30 years. At different points in that time I also taught courses in Journalism (the print kind) and Social Psychology (the people kind).
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I was born and raised in the Bay Area in California. There I spent the 50’s and 60’s in fairly typical fashion, with the exception of the years 1965-1969, when I attended university and lived in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. As these were the glory years of the Psychedelic Revolution, I was enlightened and corrupted, in roughly equal measure, in all the ways typical of that unique time and place.
When my turn came to do my patriotic duty, I found myself unwilling, to paraphrase Phil Ochs, to “follow my fantasies following orders.” So, unable to implement with good conscience the policy of “My Country, Right or Wrong,” I followed the advice of that other bumper sticker, “Love It Or Leave It,” and headed up the coast to the nearest English-speaking national boundary.
I have always felt myself very lucky, for I landed in a country which did not see itself as God’s gift to the world — a country which (at that time, anyway, with no Stephen Harper yet in sight) was more interested in assisting peace than assuring dominance. I have been happily — and peacefully — ensconced here for forty-five years now.