Episode 300!

For episode 300, I asked for questions about the podcast and me. I got a response with many good questions, and I’ll be answering them in this episode.

Then I go on to answer questions about me that I didn’t get asked but that I thought might be interesting to you.

Mentioned links:

Episode 15: Decoding DC, Romney’s Taxes, and Some Speech is More Free Than Others

Episode 22: Listener Feedback – Calling Me Out on Ban Ki Moon

Geocaching

What’s neXt?

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Show transcript

For this special episode, I had said that I was going to revisit some past episodes and update you on the people and policies from those stories. But you know what? That takes a long time, so I’m going to put off that idea for later, maybe episode 400. I also put out a request for you to ask me some questions about me or the show. I got one listener to take me up on that, and they are some good questions she asked. You’ll hear those, plus my wife had a good ideas to expand on that and answer some other questions I didn’t get asked. I figured I’d make this episode one where you get to know this guy behind the mic a little more. It should come as no surprise that, for this special episode, the time limit will go out the window. So here we go.

Listener Barb is a long-time listener to the podcast, and I’ve actually met her once when she and a bunch of other podcasters from the Golden Spiral Media network came down my way. She sent me some good questions to think about and answer.

First question: When you began Consider This, did you expect to hit episode 300? Well, I hoped I’d at least get past episode 100, so when I started naming the podcast files I left 3 digits for the episode number. But 300? Well, I think a better question would be did I expect to be still doing this 8 years later. If you’d asked me back when I started this I would have said, “No.” I wanted to have some staying power, but I didn’t think I’d still be at it for this long. This is basically my creative outlet so I’m sticking with it.

But a lot has changed during those 8 years, and I don’t just mean politically. Some of you know (and now all of you will) that I have Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve had it since 1986, but I had the kind that would come and go. Later I started having the progressive kind that’s been taking out my legs. In 2012, I could still go downstairs to my office, produce the podcast, and get back upstairs. Since then I went to using a cane to get around, these days I use a walker (and the office was moved upstairs), and in a few weeks I’m getting fitted for a motorized wheelchair for when I’m out and about. Fortunately, podcasting is a hobby that you can do entirely seated if you want to. So yes, changes.

The next question from Barb is what story has surprised you the most over the years? That’s an easy one, actually. Of all the events and stories I’ve mentioned, the one that got an actual surprised reaction from me was the election of Donald Trump as President. I believed the polls that said Hillary Clinton was a guaranteed the win that night. Trump was my last choice in the Republican primary, and yet he beat Clinton against all odds. The next morning I asked, “What have we done?” This was a guy that spoke conservative values, but really hadn’t demonstrated them before. I had no idea what the next 4 years would bring. I will say that I was both pleasantly surprised at how he’s governed while being unpleasantly dismayed at his personality and his tweets. So yes, surprised.

Next up, she asked is there anything you didn’t cover that you wish you had, and is there anything you did cover that you wished you hadn’t? In terms of the stories themselves, I can’t say that I wish I hadn’t covered anything that I did. I will say, though, that there was an instance very early on where I didn’t do a good job with how I covered something. Way back in episode 15, I was talking about then-UN-General-Secretary Ban Ki Moon and how he said that freedom of expression should be protected. However, I claimed that while he was outspoken about how Muslims should be protected, he never said anything about Christians having that same right. My exact words were that “I’m not guessing” and allegedly proved my point by noting that I couldn’t find such a statement. I was taken to task by someone who had listened to that one episode and got turned off by that flimsy evidence. As he noted, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I responded with an entire episode where I acknowledged that he was right, and I was wrong. I did try to find a statement where Moon did speak out against anti-Christian or anti-Jewish rhetoric, but my Googling was in vain. Still doesn’t mean he never did, but that was my meager attempt to save face. That’s really stuck with me, and I’ve tried not to make that mistake again. But if I make that one or any other, I want to make it right in public.

Barb then asked what types of stories have had the most coverage?  She said that pro-life/abortion would be one of her guesses. I tag my podcast entries on the website with categories, and WordPress keeps a count of them so I do have some stats for that. Ignoring the large categories that have many sub-categories, and keeping in mind that I often tag episodes with more than one category, my top one is Religion with 55 followed by Health Care with 54. Then there’s Elections with 45, Media with 44 and Partisanship with 43. (“Partisanship” is my category for issues where one side or the other seems blind to the arguments from the other side.) This is followed by Human Sexuality with 40, with sub-categories like homosexuality and transgender. Then Race Issues with 39 and we finally get to Abortion with 34. I’ve got 90 or so categories, so this list suggests that in any given episode, you’re likely to hear about one of those. I try not to hit on the same topics each episode, and current events do drive the scripts, but so do some of my interests in particular topics.

The last question she asked was, “As you review how the stories have changed over the years, what discourages you the most?  Encourages you the most?” As I said in the intro, I’ve decided to hold off on the story follow-ups until a later date. However, in a general sense, I’ve been a bit discouraged in the resurgence of the idea of socialism, which of course is simply the economic arm of communism. It seems like in every generation, the idea has to be slapped back because it has never worked. Ever. It winds up consolidating power to the central government, and don’t forget Lord Acton’s saying, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That’s a guy who understood human nature. As the government gets more corrupt, those in that government enrich themselves such that they get rich, and those outside that government are equally poor. And yet we have politicians in our own government calling for socialism. Y’know, maybe those politicians are counting on that same thing happening here. Consider this.

As far as being encouraged, I had to think about this a bit longer. Sometimes I think that following politics is the art of being encouraged by small things and discouraged only by big things. I guess I’ll say that I’ve really been encouraged by how President Trump has made conservatism great again. Not that those who hated it before love it now, but more that someone can govern much more conservatively than many Republicans of the past, and get those things done. This has been the most pro-life, pro-Israel, and pro-growth President we’ve had in a long time. Now, a lot rests on the parties in power in Congress, but the predictions from all over the Left side of the aisle was that he was going to tank the economy and the stock market. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman said that and President Obama said it. Of course, when the economy continued to grow, and by some measures grew even faster once he was in office, Obama wanted to take credit for it. But anyway, that has given me some encouragement that future Republicans will continue that trend.

Oh, and what’s also very encouraging is feedback from listeners! So thanks, Barb, for writing in with those questions.

And now, if you’re interested, a little more about me. If you’re not interested, just move on to the next podcast in your player.

In my very first episode, I wanted to set expectations properly. I said right up front that I was a conservative, but so what? These questions, from that first recording, seemed to naturally follow. [[W]ho am I, and why should you take my word on any of the issues? The answers are, of course, nobody, and you shouldn’t. But then, those are the answers for most other pundits. This is why I’m going to try to present the issues, and my thoughts on them, in a way that perhaps will get you to see them in a slightly different way. You may not agree with me, but I hope to give you some more ideas to consider.] I certainly hope I’ve done that.

Over the years I’ve also mentioned that I’m an evangelical Christian. I was a sound guy at our church for over 20 years, and was one of the coaches for Bible Quizzing for about 10. My faith is important to me, and that faith informs my politics. I’m not one of those who say you should keep your faith and politics separate, because if you really believe your faith is true, how can it not affect every area of your life including politics?

At the same time, I don’t believe I should use the law to force everyone to do exactly as I think my religion says they should. There are some things, such as abortion, that I believe are worth mandating because they are that important. However as a conservative, there are some things that I think should be left to the conscience of each person. Where that line is drawn is certainly a point of contention between conservatives and libertarians, and even among conservatives themselves. As for me, I hope that this podcast has given you an idea of where I stand on many of these issues. It certainly has forced me to clarify for myself where I stand.

One of my interests outside of politics is board games. Growing up we played a few different ones, not just your standard Monopoly although there were plenty of games of that. But there are also ones like masterpiece where you bought and sold famous paintings not knowing their value until the very end, so it was more than a bit of luck. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed the game Landslide where you tried to get the most electoral votes to win. Seems that 1971 classic could use a reprint for the education of some folks.

In high school, I really got into Avalon Hill war games. You might have seen pictures of them, where the board is laid out in a hex grid with terrain on it and your playing pieces are small square cardboard counters that represent an individual tank, a platoon of soldiers, or perhaps an entire division, depending on the game. Or perhaps you were trying to survive out in the wilderness, or maybe you were a faction of nobles in England during the War of the Roses. I spent a lot of time playing those games and loved the strategic and diplomatic elements to them.

Playing board games was ingrained in me. As I started having kids of my own I got them into some simpler games like that, until they were ready for some more strategy. We had friends that introduced us 2 modern games, Settlers of Catan and Killer Bunnies (don’t ask), and they turned us into a gaming family. Other favorites of ours are Carcasonne and Ticket to Ride. So if you ever visit, we can pull something out. And if you want something really wild, we’ll play Pit. Look it up.

Another big interest of mine while I could still get around was geocaching. You go to the website geocaching.com and you can find out where actual treasure boxes are hid all around the world. Now usually what we mean by treasure are happy meal toys, although we’ve seen things like DVDs in one, but the real pleasure is in the finding, and also getting out of the house. With a free account on the website, you can track all the caches you’ve found. If you’ve got a smart phone, you can use it to start right now. There’s a video at the website to help you understand how it all works. Give it a look and see if it’s something you’d enjoy, even in this time of pandemic.

When I’m sitting on the couch, the thing I like to watch most is science fiction. I’m into Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and others like that. When I found out on September 28th, 1987 that the premier of ST:TNG was that evening, I immediately went out and bought my first VCR and programmed it to record it. When the new incarnation of Doctor Who premiered in 2005, I made sure I watched it with my kids. Since the Netflix era, many of them have binge watched some or all of the Star Trek incarnations. That interest is the reason I’ll be podcasting about the TV show “Next” airing on Fox this October. You can look for “What’s neXt” right now where you find podcasts for the first two introductory episodes or go to next.ctpodcasting.com to find all the ways to subscribe. But enough of the free plug. Enough to say that I like sci-fi.

Filed under: AbortionEconomics & TaxesElectionsReligionSocialism