Who I Am and What I Do

Welcome to the Reflections of the 24.
My name is Dallas Kastens, and this blog is my reflections on all things related to politics and culture. Culture of course being a broad term will usually mean movies and sports, but when an event brings ethical or religious questions to the forefront of the discussion, I will pen my thoughts on that as well. My sports interests are primarily but not exclusively baseball and college football, and I am a Boston sports fan. With movies my focus is primarily Star Wars and superheroes though I will get into more complex movies when I feel led to. If it’s happening, I’m likely to have some thoughts on it, and something will probably be here.
But the primary focus of this blog will be political. The easiest way to describe me is a libertarian minded conservative, even though that’s a label I don’t particularly love. Classical liberal is a more obscure title, but it probably fits me better. I am pro-life, pro-liberty, and pro-market. All of these points will be developed over time, but pro-life because it’s hard to be free and prosper if you’re dead. Pro-liberty meaning I believe, as David Friedman put it, “the right of each person to go to hell in his own fashion.” There are things I strongly believe are wrong or immoral, and many pieces will be written on why I believe those things wrong or immoral. However if those things don’t affect me, I do not get to use the coercive arm of government to prevent you for doing them. Lastly, I believe a free market, in which individuals are free to engage in voluntary transactions motivated by self-interest to their mutual benefit, is the best way to achieve maximum human material prosperity, both in theory and practice. On an important non-philosophical note, I am generally Trump skeptical, meaning I don’t like President Trump very much. However I will try my best to remain objective. If President Trump does something I like, or I feel like he is being attacked disingenuously, I will defend him. If he does something I think is wrong or immoral, I will be as critical as his error warrants. If you’re looking for someone who will give you takes in lockstep with MAGA or #resist, consider yourself warned. I’m not going to be for you.
There are two reasons as to why I’m doing this. First is the world is a chaotic and divided place in need of thoughtful and honest commentary. Make no mistake I am no moderate and unless I am shown to be wrong, I offer no apologies for what I believe. But if I can be a clear voice, even with my biases, committed first and foremost to the truth, I can do my part to help solve the divisiveness plaguing our world. Someone once said the reason our political and religious dialogue is so uncivil is because we never learned how to do it civilly. This blog is a vehicle to help me as the author and you as the reader learn how to have productive civil dialogue. Second, a few weeks back I was writing an article, much like what I’ll be writing for this, and it was an opportunity for me to grow. Writing forces me to flesh out what I believe in. Engaging with the ideas makes me a better thinker, and I hope it in turn makes you a little better of a thinker of your own.
At this point it is prudent to mention I am a Christian. I say this because it forms an indispensable part of my worldview. Hear this and hear it well- I am not flaunting my political viewpoints as the “Christian way” of political perspective. I am also not claiming the Bible ought to be used as a political guidebook. But the Bible does contain ideas about the nature of man I believe to be true, which in turn affects what I think about the world around me. I will not use God to argue for political points, but much of my beliefs arise from first principles coming from God. For example, political utopianism is a doomed pursuit because those who form the state are fundamentally flawed creatures. My basis for the basic nature law theory I articulated earlier comes from the Scriptures. I will always use secular reasoning, because “God said so” is an appeal to authority, not an argument. Now if what God said is relevant, I will not shy away from the topic.
Now we get into the topic of what to do when you inevitably disagree with me. I hold a number of positions that when put together are distinctly my own. Conservative people will probably disagree when I say the death penalty ought to be illegal. Progressive people will disagree when I believe minimum wage laws are stupid. It happens. When it does, I welcome dissenting feedback. If you think I’m missing something, or you just think I’m wrong, let me know. My email is on the blog and it should be at the bottom of my posts. Get in touch. My only stipulation is make sure you’re attacking the ideas. “You get all your opinions from watching Fox News” (which is not true) is not an argument. If I wrote a piece in defense of Brett Kavanaugh, by all means tell me why my argument is flawed, but if you are going to claim I am anti-woman or a “rape apologist”, don’t bother. We should be able to have a dialogue without condemning those who disagree with us.
While I’m on the topic of communication, as I said earlier part of this is to help me develop as a thinker, which should in turn help you become more informed and educated as you read. As such, if you feel like I’m not being intellectually honest, call me on it. For example, if I ever claim “they” are doing something and it’s not clear who “they” are, I’m just creating a villain when none exists, call me out on it. Also, if there’s something you think I should write about, really anything relevant, let me know. If it’s completely obscure or it’s a topic I know nothing about, sorry. But if it’s something in the news or something in the culture and you are curious about my opinion, I’ll probably have something to say.
Which brings me to the last point, Twitter. The Twitter is @DK24blog, and will serve as my main method of outreach. When I see something I want to comment on but doesn’t warrant a full reflection on, it’ll probably be on Twitter. It’s also much easier to react to something on Twitter than penning an essay on at, so occasionally my immediate thoughts go on Twitter while more collected thoughts get turned into reflections. Lastly, I understand there are more developed writers and thinkers out there, so the Twitter also serves as a way I can connect people to other articles I find interesting and informative.
I’m glad you’ve come to my Reflections. I’m hoping I can teach you something, and you can educate me in turn. The tagline is Make America Virtuous Again, which is not a dig at the President’s virtue, it’s just a tagline. I’m hoping to produce at least an article a week, probably more if the news demands it or I get more efficient as a writer. Most reflections will be about this length, but of course some will be longer and some shorter. I welcome your feedback, just remember to attack the ideas. Be sure to follow DK24blog on Twitter.

I’m glad you’re here. Welcome to the Reflections.

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