Since Jul 8, 2011

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------ Introducing myself a day after joining Free Republic --- 7/9/2011

I am 61 years old, retired software engineer.

As a teenager I was strongly influenced by Ayn Rand. I read just about everything she wrote and called myself an objectivist. I later came to disagree with her on some basic philosophical and religious issues but I still think she made some good points. If not for Ayn Rand the Libertarian Party might never have come into existence. I tried to reread Atlas Shrugged a few years ago but I found the writing quality poor, and I was turned off by her anger and self righteousness.

I was an avid viewer of "Firing Line" with William Buckley in the 60's and 70's. Most of the thoughtful people I knew watched his show then, and talked about it, whether they thought of themselves as liberals or conservatives. The country was less divided then.

I read “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman when it was first published, and later watched the TV series on PBS. I was very impressed by Friedman and his friendly, calm, easy to understand explanations of economic principles.

I am disappointed by the angry shrill tone of many modern conservatives. I am more drawn to the friendly civility of people like Milton Friedman and William Buckley. I guess I am getting old.

------ Thoughts after being here 4 days --- 7/12/2011

There are some interesting people and articles here. Also a lot of name calling and anger. I have already been told a few times that I don't belong here, and maybe I don't. I'll hang on for a while though. I am going to stop criticizing people and just try to be positive and look for the brightest people here.