“An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot; it will succeed where diplomatic management would fail: it is neither the Rhine, the Channel, nor the Ocean that can arrest its progress: it will march on the horizon of the world, and it will conquer.”
Thomas Paine, “Agrarian Justice“
I’m Justin Clark, and this is the first post on my new blog. I’ve thought about starting a blog for a long time, mainly to scratch my itch for column writing. I loved writing columns for my college newspaper, the Correspondent at Indiana University Kokomo, and I wanted an outlet to share my interests and views. This will serve that need and I look forward to writing regularly for this page.
First and foremost, I’m an historian. I study Public History at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. My area of research is the history of freethought and secularism during the late 1800s. You’re probably wondering what that means. I’ll explain.
Freethought is the intellectual tradition that openly criticizes supernaturalism, mysticism, and religion. Additionally, secularism calls for the separation of church and state, a guiding principle in the United States that is unfortunately under attack by theocratic politicians.
I’m an atheist and a freethinker, and my blog is from that perspective. I have no gods or masters and I like it that way. However, the onslaught of bigotry against believers and nonbelievers alike animates me to speak out on behalf of everyone. Above all else, I care about the progress of tolerance, diversity, pluralism, and freedom.
This blog will look at the intersections of freethought, politics, and culture. Alongside longer essays on historical topics, I’ll also post political columns, music and movie reviews, and the occasional rant. Whatever motivates my thinking will probably end up here.
The above quote, for which my blog is named, is one of my personal favorites. It speaks to a larger truth about the human condition; that progress happens when we put aside our petty chauvinisms and conceits to embrace a common humanity. Having an “army of principles” means living your life with a code, a set of common laws that motivates your very being. It is vitally important, in this age of creeping barbarism and relativism, that we stand for common principles. I hope this blog does just that.