I remember being called a nerd in elementary school and the come-back of the time was, "thanks, I'm a 'Never Ending Radical Dude'". Oh, I know it's childish, but that's OK, I was a child. At the time, I don't think I had a clue what the word radical meant, except that it was 'rad' which was good.
More recently I have been called radical for some of the ideas I express on this blog. Now I have a better understanding of the word radical. I think people are implying that I am 'making a considerable departure from the usual or traditional'. I find this to be an interesting accusation because I feel that I'm advocating going back to the traditional or usual. I think that many of the modern conveniences that we rely so heavily on are detrimental to people and to society as a whole.
Now I want to make a point because I think some of the 'hate mail' that I recieve is from people who have misunderstood me. I'm not completely against technology or modern conveniences, I'm against the tendency to rely heavily upon them. Do I think people that drive cars are bad people? Of course not... or at least not all of them. I simply believe that people and society would benefit if more people were to take a step back to the traditional. Take a step toward transportation that requires physical exertion. Take a step toward understanding and a step away from relying on technology that we don't understand.
Another point made by my 'hate mail' fans is that I don't understand individual circumstances. I suppose that is true. There are a couple of points to be made here. First of all, sure there are reasons to drive a car and even to rely heavily on a car. My last job required me to drive a considerable amount. On the flip side of that, I made that choice. I also made the choice to change my situation so that I no longer had to rely on my car, because that was important to me. I understand that people live 50 miles away from work and have to drive. I understand that they can't afford housing any closer... I take that back, I don't understand. I think it's a matter of choice. If you can afford a home away from work and to pay for gas, insurance, a car, etc., then can't you afford a small place nearer to work that would allow you to commute by bike (as you say you want to)? I do understand that it is a difficult choice to sacrifice a large house that you are buying to move to a rental that is significantly smaller. I understand choosing to live further from work in order to have some of the conveniences provided by that choice. What I don't understand is people thinking that life is predetermined. We always have choices and options. Sometimes they aren't all that attractive, but if you really look at the situation, you can see options.
And then there's the question of what I am supposed to do about it. Am I supposed to change my views? Well, I suppose you could change my views if you provided a convincing argument, but name calling is generally insufficient. Or I could start writing to please everyone. Not a chance. Everyone is afraid of offending others. I'll be honest in saying that I hold back some of my opinions because I know they could be offensive to those I know who read this blog. I wish I didn't do that. I understand that some people close to me don't want to hear what I truly believe just because it isn't the same as what they believe. You are allowed to hold your own opinion. You are even allowed to have opinions that are as strong or stronger than my own. I'll still be nice to you when we meet in person. I won't call you names or otherwise insult you. I may try to persuade you if it seems like that conversation can occur productively and without contention, but you are absolutely entitled to your own opinions.
Evidently I needed to get that off my chest. I'll return to writing about simplicity shortly.