A Standard Friday Update

This is probably going to be on the shorter side for a Friday update.

Yesterday I met with Alan, a coworker of my mom’s, who is a BMW motorcycle enthusiast. He does a lot of restoring and repairing at home on these old bikes and is someone I want to seek guidance and advice from. He’s also no stranger to long trips on a bike.

I’ve met Alan once before, I was missing a small rubber plug on my transmission housing and asked if he knew where I may be able to get another one. He was happy to bring me a spare from his garage. I didn’t have the bike with me that time, so I wanted to bring it by his work so he could see it.

We talked about the bike for a bit and I told him about my plans for the trip. He was nothing short of encouraging. I asked him if he’d be willing to act as a mentor of sorts through the process of repairing and upgrading the bike. He was more than happy to accept that.

For the next hour or so we discussed the repairs I know I’ll need to make, the upgrades I have in mind and the obvious repairs I was overlooking. I’ve walked away feeling, incredibly, most overwhelmed than I felt before. I’ve added several new things to my list of currently needed repairs which I hadn’t even thought to check on before.

I feel a bit better knowing I’ll have someone to help point me in the right direction, though.

 

In other news, I got paid today! Time to pay some more bills and buy groceries. I have to work hard to not spend any extra money at restaurants.

 

Earlier this week I started reading Property is Theft!, an anthology of the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Some of the footnotes and comments by Ian McKay, the editor, discuss the terms used in the writing, both during the introduction and within Proudhon’s writings. One caught my eye in particular. The term libertarian was used, in it’s 19th century context and McKay explains its original meaning “as a synonym for anarchist”, then reassuring the reader that:

We will use the term libertarian in its original, correct, usage as an alternative for anti-state socialist.

I had no idea the term was, at once, synonymous with anarchist. I did know that the libertarian philosophy was born out of anarchist theory, but now knowing that they were, for a time, one and the same is quite a revelation.

But while it’s very interesting that the two terms were once interchangeable I’m not sure that means the original usage of libertarian is necessarily the correct usage today. The historical significance and context of words is important, especially to historians and philosophers (this will come in to play in any discussion I may have on the Constitutional amendments) and, given that I want to study and teach history, is both highly fascinating and exceptionally pertinent to me.

The history of a word is just that, though: the history. The history has led it where it is today, whether that be in obscurity or in an entirely different context than it was 200 years ago. If libertarian today refers to what McKay describes as “the free-market capitalist right” then so be it.

I also believe that everyone has the right to self-identify. That does not absolve them from critique based on their claimed affiliations versus the reality of their actions (someone would be right in pointing out that I haven’t actually volunteered for anything in years if I were to suddenly proclaim myself a volunteer).

I think it’s useful to learn the history of the titles we give ourselves. It helps to see the good and the bad things which have been done under whatever name you’ve chosen.

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