Sunday, 22 February 2015 05:34

Personal Diversity Statement

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I welcome you.

I welcome people of any gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, size, nationality, sexual orientation, ability level, neurotype, religion, elder status, family structure, culture, subculture, political opinion, identity, and self-identification.

I welcome activists, artists, bloggers, crafters, dilettantes, musicians, photographers, readers, writers, ordinary people, extraordinary people, and everyone in between. I welcome people who want to change the world, people who want to keep in touch with friends, people who want to make great art, and people who just need a break after work.

I welcome fans, geeks, nerds, and pixel-stained technopeasant wretches. I welcome Internet beginners who aren't sure what any of those terms mean. I welcome you no matter if the Internet was a household word by the time you started secondary school or whether you were already retired by the time the World Wide Web was invented.

I welcome you. You may wear a baby sling, hijab, a kippah, leather, piercings, a pentacle, a badge, a rainbow, a rosary, tattoos, or something I can only dream of. You may carry a guitar or knitting needles or a sketchbook. essence of diversityConservative or liberal, libertarian or populist [See note below.]

I believe it's possible (although not terribly probable) for people of all viewpoints and persuasions to come together and learn from each other. I believe in the broad spectrum of individual and collective experience and in the inherent dignity of all people. I believe that amazing things come when people from different worlds and world-views approach each other to create a conversation.

I get excited about creativity — from pro to amateur, from novels to haiku, from the photographer who's been doing this for decades to the person who just picked up a sketchbook last week. I support maximum freedom of creative expression, within the few restrictions I need to keep the service viable for other users. With servers in the US I'm obliged to follow US laws, but I'm serious about knowing, respecting, and protecting your rights when it comes to free expression and privacy. I will never put a limit on your creativity just because it makes someone uncomfortable — even if that someone is myself.

I think accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority, not an afterthought. I think neurodiversity is a feature, not a bug. I believe in being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of anyone who comes to us with good faith and the desire to build a community.

I have enough experience to know that I won't get any of this perfect on the first try. But I have enough hope, energy, and idealism to want to learn things I don't know now. I may not be able to satisfy everyone, but I can certainly work to avoid offending anyone. And I promise that if I get it wrong, I'll listen carefully and respectfully to you when you point it out to me, and I'll do my best to make good on my mistakes.

I think my technical, business, academic, and leadership experience is important, but I think our community experience is more important. I know what goes wrong when companies say one thing and do another, or when they refuse to say anything at all. I believe it is important to insure transparency and integrity in word and deed while respecting stability and tradition.

I make every attempt to walk my talk -- I am not perfect; however, I believe in striving for progress not perfection. I avoid treating treat people as second-class undesireables because they're non-mainstream or might frighten "normal" people. To me, you are not simply eyeballs. You are not simply pageviews. You are not simply demographic groups. You are people -- in the tribe of humanity.

Come dream with me.


[Honesty revision (2017)] I now, no longer welcome, embrace, or respect those who openly identify as a (modern) Conservative or Libertarian; for them, I harbor antipathy. Spiritually, I can not reconcile with Conservative or Libertarian beliefs that:

  • advocate American exceptionalism;
  • support bigoty and/or ignore social justice;
  • seek to destroy or privatize the public commons;
  • advance economic liberalism at the cost of equal opportunity or the environment;
  • promote Judeo-Christian practice and dogma while righteously suppressing others' beliefs and/or practices, or to not practice and/or believe, as should be possible;
  • are opposed to communism, socialism, tribalism, humanism, darwinism, vulcanism, or climatism out of fear and ignorance;
  • defend Western culture from perceived threats posed by "creeping socialism", moral relativism, multiculturalism, and liberal internationalism.

Such things are antithetical to that which I believe. Which is contemporaneous "liberalism" – now recalled as classical liberalism – that advocates both political freedom for individuals and a free market in the economic sphere. Additionally, I staunchly support the separation of church and state, utilitarianism, social liberalism, and where socially pragmatic, responsible economic liberalism -- ideas promulgated by John Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, who are respectively remembered as the fathers of classical liberalism.

For those that identify more as Populists or who ignorantly harbor a notion that they are Independent, I reserve abject contempt. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, along with an ample dose of sloth and laziness, have rendered Populists into little more than lemmings -- possessed of mindless, misdirected energy.  One may be independent of affiliation, but one is not independent of ideology -- such being either a foolish and harmful denial or an unwillingness to assert an honest position. A self-described Independent is someone who intentionally misrepresents themselves -- or more simply, a liar.

If lies and liars are the new normal, I'll have nothing to do with acrasial people. I will dis-empower them. I will give their fallaciloquence no voice or venue. I will offer no safe harbor. To be clear, I will discriminate against those who support untruthfulness or the untruthful, hate or the hateful, aggression or the aggressive. And to the best of my ability, I will divorce myself from those, who, through inaction, do nothing to oppose untruthfulness, hate, or aggression.

I can have and hold spiritual values that emphasize compassion while at the same time assertively defending myself against those who intend or advance real (or the apprehension of) harm against myself or others.

As a Buddhist, I recognize the Buddha nature present in a shark; however, my journey does not require me to either swim with sharks or to place my head in a shark's jaws.  And if I know an evil man places poison in my tea, I am under no obligation to drink with him.


Read 2434 times Last modified on Wednesday, 04 January 2017 05:04
Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

Website: www.wermske.com
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