Below The Beltway

I believe in the free speech that liberals used to believe in, the economic freedom that conservatives used to believe in, and the personal freedom that America used to believe in.

Who Am I ? Why Am I Here ?

by @ 11:04 pm on November 22, 2005. Filed under Personal

A very good question, some people who know me might say.

I’m a 37 year old attorney living in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Those of you who know Washington know that it is surrounding by an eight-lane highway called the Beltway. My homestead is about 30 miles south of the Beltway, hence the admittedly unoriginal name for my blog, Below The Beltway

My experience with politics goes further back than I care to remember sometimes. I can remember following the Presidential election of 1976 as a class project in 3rd grade. I was in 6th grade when the Iranian Hostage Crisis took place and recall celebrating with a few friends the day Ronald Reagan was elected President. For a time in high school and college I was involved in politics on the local and state levels in the Republican Party, volunteering on campaigns, serving for several months as unpaid volunteer/intern in the District office of what was then the only conservative Congressman in the entire State of New Jersey. And, it was probably my interest in politics that most signficantly motivated my decision to go to law school.

On the intellectual side, I guess its fair to say that I started out as a conservative of some variety and gradually became a libertarian. In college, I was a subscriber to National Review and started reading Milton Friedman and other economists. That eventually led me to Hayek, Mises, and Rothbard. Then the floodgates started to open. I discovered Ayn Rand and read everything she wrote as fast as I could. For a time, I considered myself an Objectivist but, that infatuation started to fade as I became more familiar with some of the more cult-like elements of that philosophy.

I’ve also distanced myself from the more extreme elements of the libertarian movement. I was, I will admit, not entirely a supporter of the first Gulf War. I found the idea of American soldiers being sent into battle to defend the Kuwaiti and Saudi Royal families and their 15th Century ideologies to be offensive. I opposed the interventions in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. But then, September 11th happened. Call me a pro-war libertarian who watched the Twin Towers fall live on television. All I know is that the evidence is clear that Western Civilization is in a fight for its own survival right now. Following the naive foreign policy advocated by the Libertarian Party and its pacifist allies is, quite frankly, a prescription for suicide.

Anyway, I started blogging, most appropriately I might say, on July 4th 2005. I’d been reading blogs for years before then and had told myself on more than one occasion that I would start one myself. Along with research, writing is one of the things I enjoy most about being an attorney and its nice to have an outlet to write about the things that interest, amuse or annoy me on a daily basis.

In addition to writing, I enjoy listening to music, specifically jazz. Being from New Jersey, I suppose its inevitable that I’m a big Frank Sinatra fan, although the one regret I have is that I passed up the one opportunity I had to see him in concert. When I’m not enjoying time with my wife and dog, writing, practicing law, or listening to Sinatra, I am also a fan of the New York Yankees and, thanks to my lovely bride, the Ohio State Buckeyes. I am a huge science fiction fan and have read pretty much everything written by Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke; currently, I am in the process of continuing to discover the alternate-history fiction written by Harry Turtledove.

Cross-posted at The Liberty Papers.

9 Responses to “Who Am I ? Why Am I Here ?”

  1. C. vandall says:

    “I?m a 37 year old attorney living in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Those of you who know Washington know that it is surrounding by an eight-lane highway ”

    More attention to detail will increase confidence in your


  2. 6pence says:

    Happy first bloggaversary, Doug!


    P.S. to Cornelious Vandall: some of us are more interested in the substance of the issue(s) being debated than the typographical quality of the post.

  3. Luther Hardy says:

    If you’re so enanmoured of Harry Turtledove’s “dark view” of an alternative history following a posited Confederate victory, then you owe it to yourself to read the same author’s 1992 “alternative history” novel entitled “The Guns of the South”, that is once you finish counting the lanes in the Beltway and memorizing your area code.

    Moreover, if you have the intellectual “heft” to manage it you should, just for fun, tot up the number of major figures in the Civil Rights Movement, both Black and White, who were (are) Southerners.

    Then, you should try counting the number of Black elected officials today in the former states of the Confederacy. Oh yes, don’t forget Doug Wilder.

    Then you might try toting up the aggregate GDP today of the states of the Confederacy. If you’ve actually read and understood Turtledove, don’t forget to include Maryland and Kentucy. Just for fun, throw in Missouri, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Now, compare the total economy to the economies of recognized nations states today.

    If the higher math hasn’t yet got to you, try counting the number of Americans Abe Lincoln killed in a war that began for no better reason than to satisfy his own vanity. I’ll save you the trouble: It was 623,000, give-or-take, with more than a million more wounded. That’s more than in all of Americaq’s other wars combined — about 250 times the number killed in Iraq.

    If you can manage to read an entire two volume work, read the memoirs of James Dunwoody Bullock, Confederate Commissioner in England, and favourite uncle of Theodore Roosevelt. Don’t skip the part where he was authorized by the Confederate government to offer to abolish slavery in return for British recognition and military support.

    Finally, if it won’t tax you too much to keep reading actual history rather than pot-boiling fiction masquerading as “alternative” history, read Jay Winik’s 2001 work entitled “April 1865″. Don’t skip the part about the plan to offer freedom to all slaves who joined the Army of Northern Virginia and for their fasmilies.

    Now that you’ve finished those ezercizes, and if your mind hasn’t been completely blown by the higher math and actual history, please move inside the Beltway. You’ll feel much more at home.

    Luther Hardy
    Comp. G, 9th VA Cavalry
    Army of Northern Virginia

  4. c.a. Marks says:

    LOVE Frank! I was just listening to him in the car on the drive into work this morning!

  5. c.a. Marks says:

    Heh. And go Bucks! You picked a good wife! ;-)

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  7. Wayne Nalbandian says:

    Hello Doug, While I’ve been a computer professional for some 30 years I’m just now becoming acquainted with the blogosphere, which I hope proves to be a tool for civil discourse and not a forum for extremist blowhards of all stripes. I suspect that it is and will be a combination of the two.

    What brought me to your site is our mutual enthusiasm for the works of Harry Turtledove, which for me is recent. I began with the first volume of Settling Accounts. While waiting for The Grapple to come out I backtracked into American Empire and only now have begun The Great War series I just finished American Front). I have been taken in by the story lines and the characters. Turtledove’s premise is all too plausible and I am more than a little glad not to have to live in it. It would be bad enough to share a 2,000 mile border with a single hostile power, but also appreciate having Canada and the UK as our friends. I would also miss having baseball as a major sport. I wonder also where he intends to take this timeline after the final volume of Settling Accounts is published.

    I find that alternate history not only requires an understanding of actual history (which Turtledove demonstrates) but offers great insight into it.

    Your description of Washington as ‘Disneyland on the Potomac’ is great. Of course I think that the man in the White House (I make it a point not to use his name and ‘president’ in the same sentence) is living in Fantasyland if he thinks his strategy has any chance of succeeding. I fear that more death and carnage, both of American soldiers and mideast people will result and in the end we shall need to with a number of even more extreme and hostile regimes.

    Let’s try this as an alternate history scenario. Imagine if the British Prime Minister (his name escapes me at the moment) had risked having his government fall by declining to enter WW I. He might have saved a whole generation of young European men, the victims of the flu pandemic, the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, the rise of Hitler, the holocaust, the Armenian genocide, WW II and possibly even the great depression. Virtually all of the wide-scale suffering and destruction of the 20th century resulted from the events of 1914. Just a thought

  8. Favela Cranshaw says:

    You must have read everything Rand wrote very, very fast. Or maybe not so much at all. No one who was informed well enough to consider himself an Objectivist would subsequently refer to himself as being infatuated. Typical second-hander drivel.

  9. mjishernameo says:

    Doug: Just stumbled upon your blog…great friggin bio !
    I was lucky enough to see Frank live (I live in NJ), actually my reserved, cornell educated, Italian American mother flung herself on Franks moving limo in a moment of rapture after the show…an iconic memory of our family. Good work here. I like your political/cultural path. Good Luck. MJ

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