With this blog post, Prof J announces his return to the blogosphere. Not that anyone except my co-blogger missed me! Prof J had numerous challenges this past year, the most important of which was losing his mother. She was a model citizen who contributed greatly to her community by raising a wonderful family, working as a nurse and public health official, and volunteer with the Catholic church and schools. She is sorely missed.
But Prof J's mom was not someone to wallow in self-pity, or to let others do so. She was a doer, a woman of action. She'd say "feel your feelings, but get on with the job." She also said "follow your dreams." It's her passion for education and growth that led to Prof J's path to the Ph.D.
Unfortunately, losing his mom has led Prof J down a dark path of alcohol abuse, self-pity, poor eating and sleeping habits, and generally a regression of goodness. However, after a visit home last week, Prof J is newly committed to living a virtuous life. Living a life Prof J's mom would be proud of. My model for this life? Ben Franklin of course! Having just read his autobiography (spurred on by Art of Manliness' book club selection for August), I have found in Franklin a model of productivity, prudence, community spirit, and manliness. Moreover, he was a friend of liberty (if not the staunchest libertarian).
Franklin followed a list of 13 virtues. He attributes his successes to a strict adherence to the virtues early in life, until they became ingrained in his character. The first virtue on his list? Temperance. Franklin didn't drink alcohol until much later in life, and he ate sparingly, consuming a mostly vegetarian diet. He found his eating & drinking habits to be very helpful in maintaining a good work ethic (never drunk or hungover is good for productivity!) and it was easy on his pocket-book. He saved money at the end of the payday, rather than owing money to the tavern. All to the good in my view!
Franklin had 12 more virtues, but he focused on one of the virtues until he'd mastered it, and then moved on to the next. Of course, he kept an eye on not violating the other virtues, so it wasn't one to the exclusion of the others. As I progress through the year, I'll be cycling through the virtues a la Franklin.
At any rate, as my new focus is personal betterment, I will mostly be blogging about how liberty contributes to moral development in individuals, and state constraints work against said moral development. This will hopeful interest more people than just me, but if it doesn't, tough 'taters.