Me and some fellow travellers.
Stew Staudinger BEng (HONS) ATP RAF RCAF
Sqn Ldr (Ret'd)
A bison rancher, helicopter pilot and retired military officer. The husband of a beautiful and talented linguist from Morocco and father of a trio of beautiful little girls.
A long time student of modern history, political science and strategic studies.
Author and/or Editor
I am a liberal. However does that mean I am the living embodiment of the combined works of John Locke, Voltaire, Jean Baptiste Say, Adam Smith, Thomas Payne, Thomas Jefferson, James Maddison and John Stuart Mill? Of course not, liberalism is a pretty broad category of philosophical thought and, quite intentionally, is a flexible and anti-utopian set of ideas.
I am however, an ardent proponent of the general principles of Classical Liberalism, specifically Classical Social Liberalism. In that, I have a closer affinity to John Locke and John Stuart Mill than many of the others. I am an unapologetic chauvinist regarding western civilisation (although it's roots come from the middle East, not Europe) and liberal democracy. I firmly believe that English common law, western liberal democracy and classical social liberalism are the most philosophically advanced socio-economic and socio-political concepts in human history. Why? Well, because the historical record is long, tortured and bloody and clearly shows that all other philosophies and ideologies conceived thus far have proven to range from terrible and oppressive to genocidal beyond comprehension.
To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, a western liberal democracy is the worst form of society, apart from all the others.
The historical political figures I most admire are John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All make great personal contributions to the development and defence of liberalism and liberal democracy, and their examples are great case studies.
OK, so I'm the 'chief instigator' behind this website. However, I cannot claim to be alone in this effort. I have a small team who provide 'behind the scenes' support and editorial services. I'll add names if/when they wish to be public about their support, but in the mean time, I simply wish to acknowledge their contribution and critical editorial effort.
Who am I, aside from being a liberal chauvinist that is?
First, and most importantly from a motivational perspective, I'm a father of a mixed-race family. I'm an Albertan born rancher from mixed Finnish/Sami and Celtic background. My beautiful wife is an actual African, born and raised in a Sunni Muslim community in Morocco. We have three beautiful Skandarabian girls who fill our lives with noise, joy, pain, more noise, laughter, frustration, more noise and lots of love.
My young children are being raised in a culture that is increasingly racist, sexist and classist. The Alberta Education Social Studies curriculum 'Program Rationale and Philosophy' (2005) openly encourages such a racist, sexist and classist attitude so our youth come by this bigotry honestly. Being a graduate of 1991, where we believed we were all equal and we didn't care about skin colour, sex, family or socio-economic background, I am deeply angered that there are those in society who would display the unmitigated gall to infiltrate such prehistoric attitudes into our once world beating education system. This anger is particularly focussed for me as I have served as a military officer for 23 years, dedicating my life to defending my fellow citizens from the results that inevitably arise from the corrosive ideas now openly encouraged in our classrooms and lecture halls.
That's where the fire to work late comes from. I run a family business by day, the work behind this website is built and maintained between 8:30pm and 1:00am.
For those who are interested in personality, I'll summarise my 'big five'. I'm above average in 'conscientiousness', scoring higher in 'industriousness' than in 'orderliness' (my desk is testament to that). I'm below average in 'neuroticism'. I'm just above average in 'agreeableness', being very high in 'politeness', but very low in 'compassion'. I score highly (90+ percentile) in 'openness/intellect', with a serious bias toward an 'interest in ideas'.
In real life I'm a bison rancher and engaged in regenerative Holistic Rangeland Management as part of a conservation agriculture business. We are dedicated to restoring and maintaining our topsoil biosphere as the foundation of a highly diverse ecosystem. Food produced from that system is the most environmentally sustainable source of human nutrition and, fortunately, highly nutrient dense and very tasty. I've had a love for nature and wildlife for as long as I can remember, and it's my father's departure from raising domestic livestock in favour of wild Plains Bison (bison bison bison) that brought me back to the family business.
I also have an Honours Degree in Aeronautical Engineering, am a Transport Canada licenced Airline Transport Pilot (helicopters) and a former Royal Air Force flight commander and helicopter instructor. As an RAF officer, I graduated from Intermediate Command and Staff College in 2011, the equivalent of a level 7 (Masters) diploma in International and Strategic Studies, or words to that effect.
Throughout my academic and professional life, I have dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort to studying history, particularly modern history from the scientific revolution to the present, but also maintaining an interest in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. My bedside table sees a range of authors pass through; Marcus Aurelius, St Augustine, John Locke, John Stuart Mill and George Orwell to Newton, Darwin, Steven Hawking, John Lennox, Patrick Moore (the Canadian one), Jack Higgins, Tom Clancy, as well as the scriptural authors.
My literary appetites have always been broad. I read my first novel at age 4 and managed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 'Gulag Archipelago' at age 14. By the time I arrived at my first posting in the Royal Air Force, I was packing around a small library of around 1000 books, a collection that now stands somewhere north of 1500, although my Kindle makes packing a few dozen books around much easier than it was 18 years ago. I also try to read a few scientific papers each year, probably managing 2 or 3 a month, on a variety of subjects from population genetics and ecology to hydrodynamics and atmospheric physics.
My hope is that others can benefit from some of what I've discovered, and I'm certainly hoping to learn from the critical views of others. Hopefully, we can refine our hypotheses and help put our civilisation back on a path of advancement.
What that path will look like I have no idea but I'm pretty sure what it doesn't look like, the intellectually bankrupt and delusional post-modernist, tribal, collectivist, social constructionist, victimhood peddling mish-mash of the modern regressive ultra-left, or their fleetingly rare ultra-right anarchist opposition. A herd of drunken blindfolded donkeys rollerblading on ice has more chance of improving society than most of the ideas gripping much of what we used to refer to as western academia.
A friend of mine died recently of cancer. He was a man well known for having little time for BS and ideologically blinkered dogma. Not long before he died, he commented to his mother that he wasn't afraid of dying and, in fact, he didn't much like the way the world was going anyway. The bluntly honest final conclusion of a historically literate man.
In my opinion, if you understand human nature, even a little bit, and modern history, even a little bit, then you'd have to be a sociopath, psychopath or determinedly malevolent to see current social and political trends as anything other than a piercing scream from 1930.
We, the human race, are capable of much better and it is to our great shame that we aren't.