I’ve always been a bit wary of revealing too much information about myself online. Given some past incidents with (admittedly indeterminate) potential for danger to my person, it’s been clear that there is no anonymity online. That said, I’ve taken some solace in the fact that my name is common. So common, in fact, that I don’t even mind stating online that I live in Minneapolis, because last time I checked, there were a column and a half of Scott Andersons in the Minneapolis phone book, and I’m not even one of them!
But I’ve always kind of had this idea that I’m “the” Scott Anderson of the Internet. I figured that I’m so immersed in this stuff and have been for so long (having created my first website in 1994), and I’ve encountered so few other Scott Andersons online that I must, therefore, have the greatest online presence of any of the world’s (approximately) hundred megabazillion Scott Andersons.
It’s not just that there are a lot of other Scott Andersons online; they all seem like they’re more me than me: musicians, writers, photographers, all manner of creative activities. And I (the real Scott Anderson) didn’t even show up until page 5 of the results!
So now it’s clear to me that I need to become a little less anonymous! Either I need to plaster my name all over everything I do, or I need a less common name. Given my inherent laziness, I’m inclined to go with the latter. I wonder if Griddlecake K. Catafalque is taken.
Spending as much time as I do online, I often forget that most people do not, and that the distribution of political opinions of other members of the general “online community” does not necessarily correspond to those of the much broader “real world.”
In particular, I’ve observed the disproportionate number of libertarians (and Libertarians) online. There are many ways in which I agree with libertarian views, especially to the extent of individual freedoms, inasmuch as if what you’re doing doesn’t hurt anyone else, the government shouldn’t be telling you not to do it. (However, I think the libertarian view often struggles with looking beyond the end of one’s nose regarding the impact of individual actions.)
And so, in this election year, we come to Ron Paul.
Judging by the range of discourse you’ll find on a lot of websites, you’d think Ron Paul has secured 98% of the Republican vote and probably about 60% of the Democratic vote as well. And, based solely on opinions on the issues (as indicated here), even I agree with Ron Paul a lot more than I do with any of the other Republicans. (I have to wonder how many online libertarians really agree with Ron Paul on evolution, though… but I am guessing most of his tech-minded supporters don’t know he doesn’t believe in it.) But the issues don’t tell the whole story, as Wired’s blogger Tony Long (a.k.a. “The Luddite”) explained well in his recent post:
He almost sounds rational. But he’s not.
Like all absolutists — and make no mistake, libertarianism is absolutism as surely as atheism is faith — Paul is ill suited for this particular job. He’s running for president of the United States, remember, not for a seat in some gerrymandered Texas congressional district. If elected, he would be leading the most powerful nation on earth, one whose every action has repercussions in every corner of the world.
The biggest problem I have with libertarianism is its exaltation of absolute, Ayn Rand-esque individualism. Again, the Luddite:
There are 300 million of us now, not 30 million, and we canâ€™t all go running around unsupervised. This is where libertarian ideals get a little unwieldy. Besides, weâ€™re not all John Waynes, saddled up and gazing with flinty eyes across the prairie. Some of us can barely cope. Sometimes, Ron, them dad-gum polecats in Washington jest have to step in and take charge. Dang it all.
And so, we reach the great chasm between my personal beliefs and those of libertarians: individual freedoms are incredibly important, but we don’t all live in our own little, disconnected bubbles. We’re sharing this planet with every other human being (not to mention lots of other species of life — dismiss that if you like, but let’s see how long we can last on our own without them; Soylent Green won’t feed us forever). The things we do affect others, whether we realize it or not, and will continue to do so for generations to come. That’s a heavy responsibility. Perhaps the average online propeller head can dismiss it, but the President of the United States cannot.
The new WordPress 2.1-based version of room34.com is here! I’ve been tinkering with this for about a month now so I’m very excited to finally have it online. And I think WordPress has really taken a major leap forward with version 2. (My loyal reader may recall that I had previously moved to an earlier version of WordPress, only to abandon it a short time later. Frankly, looking back I’m just amazed that I actually used it for 8 months; it seems like it was much less than that, but maybe that’s just because I’m thinking about how I only had Drupal running for about three days.)
There are still a few things left to do: some pages have missing content or broken links; I’m still working on a top navigation bar with dropdown menus (for now the navigation is buried below the fold in the right sidebar… look for Points of Interest and the various links that follow); and there are a plethora of WordPress plug-ins I’m eager to implement.
I’m also moving the photo albums of the kids over into Gallery 2. There’s a lot of work left to do on that, so I apologize to family and friends who are looking for photos. They’ll be back online soon, I promise! (I mean, “I hope!”)
And finally… in the time that I’ve been working on this, I’ve written a few other new blog entries (six, to be precise), which I never bothered to post on the old site. But they’re here, below, so read on!
The main featured product is my CD of original music recorded from January to October 2003. I also have some t-shirts featuring the CD’s artwork, and some other random stuff you may find interesting… or not. But you’ll never know for sure unless you check it out!