My Marxism: before Marx


This is the first of a series of posts on “My Marxism“, it is autobiographical and used as background to help readers understand more why I view politics as I do.  The newspaper article to the right is indeed me, with some identifying information changed to protect the innocent — yours truly!


I used to be a good, upstanding young man. Just before my confirmation in the Lutheran church, I daydreamed of becoming a pastor.  At 13 years-old I earned my Eagle Scout rank and, for you folks who know Scouting, I later earned other wards such as “God & Country”, “Order of the Arrow” and several palms.

At the end of 11th grade, when I was 16 years old, I won a National Science Foundation fellowship to study for three months at Loyola University in New Orleans.  When my parents saw me off at the airport, I wore a pink pinstriped suit to the airport — a very proper boy. At Loyola University I was surrounded by kids much brighter, more insightful and exploratory than myself. They introduced me to lots of different ways of thinking.

When I returned, my father picked me up at the airport and found me wearing a headband and bell-bottom blue jeans and I came back with loads of experiences my parents never planned on me having before I left. To my father’s dying day, he always said, “I knew that was the day that I lost you.”

Prior to Loyola, all during 10th and 11th grade, I had been diligently applying to the United States Air Force Academy with a long-term goal of becoming an aeronautical engineer and then an astronaut. And shortly after returning from Loyola University I heard that my senator had chosen me to be one of the two Ohio boys to go to the Academy. My father was ecstatic and had hopes his son would resume a righteous path.  I was even assigned to the pilot’s program!

But that was the Vietnam era and though prior to Loyola University I was unquestioning of my government’s noble efforts to stop the spread of evil communism, after New Orleans I did not support my government’s war efforts and I was becoming skeptical of propaganda. I told my father that I did not want to go to the Air Force Academy — he wouldn’t talk to me for months.

In summer of my senior year, after losing my best friend (see here), I embraced Christianity right before going to college. Years later, after leaving Christianity, I started to explore Marxism and embrace Marxism. In my next post, I will give that outline. But here I wanted to share some pertinent experiences before that my Marxist days.  Why?  Because I don’t think out thoughts can be truly understood without understanding both our temperaments and our experiences.


Note: See my pictorial, annotated biography index for more than you’d ever want to know about me.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion, Political Philosophy

3 responses to “My Marxism: before Marx

  1. TWF

    Wow man! Eagle in under 3 years? I was in scouts for about six and barely made first class. You were definitely more motivated than I was!

    I’d love to hear more about your Loyola days… see how such a driven, upstanding boy like yourself handled the extreme paradigm shift.

    What do you think was your father’s base for his disappointment? Was your father also a driven kind of guy, or was it his high expectations of you, or something else? Just curious. No need to answer if you’d rather not.

  2. rautakyy

    @Sabio, I can understand, that you had ethical reasons for your reluctance to join the US Air Force, but had you also lost your interrest of becoming an astronaut or an aeronautics engineer?

    I mean, though the Vietnam war was a sad and embarrasing episode in the history of the US, but surely the space exploration is certainly something you can be very proud of.

  3. @ TWF,
    Yeah, I’ve always been on the sort of intense side. Mellowing a bit with old age though.

    I will write about Loyola — it will be fun. In another post.

    My father was a jock in college: I was never into sports. My father’s comment about my doubts about my country was “Love it or Leave it.” I left. Our temperaments were very different. Yes, he was driven too — just in very different directions.

    @ rautakyy,
    No, instead of entering the Air Force Academy, I went to Cornell University to study electrical engineering — only to later drop out in after watching a movie. I will have to write that up in a post. I have gone “anti-technology” several times in my life. I have mixed feelings about technology — including moon travel. Sometimes I madly love it and am fascinate, and other times I think, “what a waste?” But usually the former, nowadays.

    Thanx for the questions, guys!

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