The Colorado Freedom Report is back. Why? The world is going to hell (in important ways) and I want to do my bit to try to help save it, focusing on the region where I live.
So, if you have not already done so, please find the “Join Email List” box and sign up for updates.
Now for the long(er) story.
At this moment in history, the president (yes, of the United States) sycophantically lavishes praise on perhaps the most evil dictator now living and leads the federal government in stealing people’s children for the “crime” of seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The conservative right has largely morphed into a hyper-partisan racial-nationalist movement.
Meanwhile, the postmodern left has fallen into its own version of hyper-partisan racial “identity” politics. And, even though leftists can now see with their own eyes the dangers of a too-powerful federal government, the “solution” for most people on the left to any conceivable problem, real or imagined, is to expand the power of politicians and bureaucrats.
In short, there are statists to the left of me, statists to the right—an old story but one now of more gravity. This is a crucial time for those who can amplify the voice of liberty to reengage.
In the context of national politics, Colorado seems like a bastion of reasoned calm. We have at least two high-ranking elected Republicans, Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman, who have stood up to Trump’s overreach in important ways. And we have a Democratic governor who honestly is more Republican—in the best sense of the term—than some other states’ official Republicans. Of course, it helps to be a “moderate” governor of a Mountain West state when the legislature is happily gridlocked in split-party governance.
So why do I want to engage primarily with Colorado politics? There are several reasons.
1. National politics starts locally. With few exceptions, members of the Congress and the national executive make a name for themselves in local and regional politics and civic life. Around half the members of Congress served in their state legislatures, for example.
2. Colorado is an important bellwether state. Many people figure that if they can get something through Colorado, they can get it through other states and through national politics.
3. Regional activism is personal. Unless you are in a select elite, you just are not going to get Donald Trump on the phone to explain (say) the dangers of tariffs. But any sensible person can have at least some influence regionally. You can go to political meetings, get involved in parties and organizations, talk with journalists, make a difference. In today’s digital age we shouldn’t forget the importance of face-to-face interaction. I want to engage the real world, not just my computer.
4. Colorado is a dynamic place. Colorado remains a fast-growing place with great diversity of lifestyles and ideologies. It’s exciting to live and work here. We have a strong tradition of individual liberty, and I’d like to do my bit to continue that tradition into the future. In the short run, we have an important and interesting set of elections coming up this Fall.
5. I’m really good at covering regional politics. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time. I originally started up the Colorado Freedom Report in late 1998, before the term “blog” had even been coined. I’ve since had columns in two newspapers, written for think tanks and other publications, and appeared on all the television news stations and on various other radio and TV programs. I have a good sense of the Colorado political landscape, and I know how to pursue a story.
I haven’t published much over the past couple years because I’ve been preoccupied with fatherhood, home renovations, and a book project. But, although my life still feels agonizingly chaotic, I think I have a good enough handle on things now to start writing more again. And I think it’s important work.
My goal is to write “loose” for COFree (as I abbreviate the title). Sometimes I will thoroughly research a story and publish a more-formal article; other times I will blurt out a quick take about something in the news that interests me. I’ll play around a bit with format and style. Some days I might publish several pieces; other times I might go days in silence. This project cannot consume my life, but I do want to devote a serious amount of time to making it a “go-to” site for people interested in Colorado politics from a unique perspective.
That raises another issue: What is my approach these days to politics? In some ways my views are the same as they’ve been for decades: I advocate individual rights and economic liberty. But I’ve changed a lot in the contours. I used to be active with the Libertarian Party; now I eschew anti-government libertarianism and grit my teeth trying to wrestle the Republican elephant toward a more sensible path. I’m a lot more aware of my own capacity for bias and (hopefully) more sensitive to others’ contexts.
For me, the key is to strive to bend one’s ideas to reality.
I do have a certain problem in trying to gain traction as a political writer in that I am not a partisan hack, and it seems that partisan hackery is what most people demand these days.
I am not going to try to tell people what they want to hear. I am not going to pretend that evil is virtue or virtue is evil because of which individual or which party is responsible. I am not going to “tone it down” because my views are considered impolite in certain company.
My job is not to make people feel comfortable, not to get invited to the right parties, not to gain applause on the right stages.
My job is to tell the truth, as well and as effectively as I can. I will strive for civility, but I will not shy away from saying what I believe needs to be said just to spare someone’s feelings or to avoid uncomfortable conversations.
I know that there is not a single person reading this who will agree with everything I write here. That’s okay. The point is not always to be right—that is impossible—but to strive sincerely to think through the issues reasonably and to be as self-aware as we can of biases and misguiding influences. When we are at our best as interlocutors, we make each other better and we drive each other closer to the truth.
So the Colorado Freedom Report is back. (Incidentally, all that old content I’ll eventually convert to WordPress files and get back online, probably at AriArmstrong.com.)
I hope you’ll join my email list, track my articles, and give me your best reasoned replies when you think I’m wrong.