In this modern world, where it seems to be fashionable to be as extraordinary, as “progressive,” as possible, I am a simple man. I’d like to explain what it means to be a simple person and how a simple worldview makes life easier.
1. Simple tastes
My tastes are as simple as it gets. For example, I like light, “easy-listening” music with pleasant melodies. “Light music” – in my world – means Mozart, Strauss, maybe Kálmán. On the other hand, a person like Lady Gaga simply does not exist in my cultural range. She(?) is too… complicated. I’d have way too much trouble figuring out what her gender, race, age etc. is. I’d have even more trouble figuring out why anyone pays attention to this person.
For other fields of art, my tastes are just as simple. I love distinct, comprehensive styles – Mannerism, Baroque, Classicism, Empire style. And I find it hard to understand, how anyone can pretend to think that black squares are art. Or that a concrete box is architecture. Or that filling twenty pages with the letter “A” is literature. Or that 5 minutes of noise (or silence, for that matter) are music. You get me.
When it comes to books, I prefer simple books that have been tested by time and contain clear thoughts. Honest thought. Montaigne’s “Essais”, La Rouchefoucauld’s “Maximes”, Montesquieu’s “Spirit of the Laws”. But the book I love the most is Machiavelli’s “Prince”. It is the most honest piece of literature I have ever read.
2. Simple views
My social and political views are not much more complicated than my cultural tastes. I’m a conservative, but I also embrace some liberal values. Knowing myself, I can say that if mankind had taken the opposite road in the last two centuries, I would be a liberal. But the modern world is too liberal for my taste. Even worse, it is filled not with classical liberalism, but with some… weird kind of liberalism. To put it short: the more liberal the world; the more conservative my views; the more conservative the world, the more liberal my views. That is my way of supporting cosmic harmony.
On many topics, I hold views that Americans might call “paleoconservative” or “paleolibertarian”. On other topics, I have views that would be described as “liberal”. For example, the support of abortion and euthanasia rights comes to me as natural as full freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.
When it comes to ideologies beyond the conservative-liberal spectrum… I simply don’t care about them. They are quite boring. What could there be? Socialism is sordid, anarchism is childish, Nazism is criminal. Communism is sordid, childish and criminal at the same time.
But “all theory is grey”, as Goethe put it. First of all, I am a realist. When I call myself a royalist, I fully understand that it is next to impossible that any Western country becomes a real monarchy any time soon. So, despite my ironic relationship with the republic form of government, I am pretty loyal to the democratic country I live in.
3. Simple analysis
I am a private person. I am not a member of any party, political movement or scientific school of thought. What I think and what I write are my own thoughts, not the result of following any special methods. Whenever I analyze some phenomenon or event, I do so in a very simple way.
I am very interested in history, and I do like to think of myself as a person able to see through government propaganda. Official history is basically government propaganda. Just think for yourself: if you were, for example, the CEO of Apple and you hired somebody to write the “Company History” page for your website, would you put anything unfavorable in there? People who write history textbooks for public schools are just like those people you’d hire. They may not necessarily lie, but they will always avoid saying anything bad and present the company – or the country – in a way that is favorable.
The traditional version of official history turned pirate havens, trading posts and gangs of adventurers into ancient kingdoms, cultural centers and invincible armies. Well, you could call that “stylization”. I prefer to call it “propaganda”. The method hasn’t changed in the last 500 years and it’s not going to.
When it comes to math at school, I always remember one curious event. In 6th grade, I think, I was always late for math class. My teacher was a nervous lunatic without any interest whatsoever in her own subject and just as much talent as a teacher. We hated each other. To minimize the stress that would go along with me and her having to interact, I started arriving at the middle of the class. On the first day, said teacher gave me a piece of paper for my mom to sign. It said: “Your son was half an hour late for class.” My mother signed it. On the second day: “Your son was half an hour late for class again!” My mother signed it again. On the third day, the teacher started looking for patterns: “Your son systematically comes half an hour late for class”. My mother did not sign it that time, but chose to write an answer instead. She wrote: “Let class start half an hour later then.”
Such was my relationship with math.
Before that woman came to our class, I liked math and was pretty good at it. In just a few years she managed to burry my interest in the subject and with it my talent (if it ever existed).
A few years ago, I read a discussion between Newton and Leibniz on integral calculus. I found it easier to understand the political and cultural aspects of their discussion than the actual subject. Hence, I regard my thinking as fully concentrated on the humanities.
I always try to be rational. That is a simple concept, just as I am a simple person.
My relationship with religion is rational as well. I had no religious upbringing. There was no bible in my household when I grew up. I don’t remember a single family discussion on religion. For Easter, we did the usual stuff with eggs, but I only knew that it was some kind of holiday, not what it was exactly. When I was a kid, I thought it was some kind of culinary holiday. Such is life under communism. When I was 15, I came to think that the most rational approach towards religion is agnosticism. I didn’t know the word then. You can’t prove or disprove God. A rational analysis says 50:50. Of course, the existence of God does not have anything to do with organized religion. Nevertheless, 50:50. Once or twice a year I go to church and light a few candles for the living and the deceased. That is tradition and can’t harm anyone. However, Confession is something I would never do. Not even with a gun to my head. It might harm me and other people. That’s how I see religion.
I look at atheists and fundamentalists with the same irony. The former think they know the unknowable. The latter claim to “believe because it is absurd”.
I’m glad I turned out this way. Having simple tastes is good – it prevents you from paying attention to the garbage some people call “art” nowadays. Having simple views is good – you don’t have to cry about institutional racism, or capitalism, or the New World Order, or exploitation, or FEMA death camps. I’d say it is rather nice to have simple views. I talk about politics the same way I talk about wine. Being immune to propaganda is good – it lets you keep your own head and doesn’t turn you into a drone. And, of course, reason is good. I’d say that reason is one of the few things in life one should live, fight and die for.