Despite having only met Andrew twice, he had much influence over me. I was invited to contribute to BigGovernment in late 2009. Right from the start I was offered a forum to express some modest thoughts without being censored by anyone, including myself. The Big websites have become my thinking ground, where thoughts are expelled into the ether and often insightful feedback is returned. It’s an exercise in intellectual and political development. Andrew’s first gift to me, then, was allowing me this intellectual playground. I’ve learned that (not surprisingly) I’m not always right, I’m not always wrong, and that it’s perfectly fine to be provocative … in fact, it’s required.
Andrew was also a living example of something my high school math teacher exemplified. Edwin Barlow – whose face I use as my avatar – announced in one class that “to be wholly devoted to some intellectual exercise is to have succeeded in life.” Mr. Barlow extrapolated this thought to one’s profession, describing it as akin to Immanuel Kant’s “categorical imperative.” Andrew’s categorical imperative consumed him, as it should. He pursued it relentlessly, with love and devotion, and was totally and unequivocally committed to it. He was, and shall remain, a constant reminder that I must do the same in any endeavor.
Finally, Andrew showed me the value of taking the fight to the other side. He called out the fakers, the phonies, the elitists, the narcissists, the apologists, the radicals, they hypocrites, the intellectually and journalistically dishonest, and he did it all without apology. I have always been drawn to people who literally say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” They remind me that we are all required to stand up for what we believe in, and sitting in the shadows only lets the other side further pursue their misguided goals unchallenged.
Andrew hasn’t left us, he’s just gone to start his next article. I’ll leave you to your thoughts as you speculate on what story he’ll break next.