With every holiday, I marvel at the passage of time, and at the twists and turns my path has taken here at TTAC. In reflecting on the recent past, I can’t help but feel an immense gratitude to the inscrutable workings of fate which have conspired to keep me eagerly engaged in this site’s unending quest for automotive truth. And on this, the holiday of American independence, gratitude seems to me a highly appropriate theme. One of the deeply-removed gears of destiny that has created the opportunity that is TTAC is surely this nation’s fundamental belief in public discourse and a free press, the constitutionally and culturally enshrined belief that the open exchange of ideas can make life, and its most necessary evil, government, at least a little bit better. Even those who disagree on a fundamental level with the opinions that TTAC espouses must concede not only that we have the right to our opinions, but also that our criticisms ultimately give strength to their objects. Our founding fathers did not protect speech out of mere principle, but because they knew that free discussion is the dialectic of progress. Through what they saw as the divine power of reason, we could form more complete ideas about the world and be better equipped to take on the challenges of liberty, self-government and the free market.
Today I am not just grateful that our founding fathers created a culture which allows me to live in the world of ideas, and in pursuit of truth. I am not just grateful for legal protections of my free speech. I am not just grateful that I can serve consumers and industry alike by shining the light of discourse on the dark places of poor logic, market malfunction, and willful ignorance. Today I am most grateful that my fellow Americans continue to value their free speech enough to patronize sites like TTAC, where they may find ideas and opinions that challenge their view of the world, where these ideas are more important than advertising revenue, and where perspectives from around our shrinking globe can be compared and contrasted in an atmosphere of respect and rigor. In an era when the value of ideas and discourse seems to be losing ground to slickly-packaged distraction and ideological rigidity, it gives me faith that so many still crave the thrilling uncertainty of a tough debate, and a deep-seeded hunger for a better understanding of the world (if “only” the world of cars).
As we celebrate American independence today, I am grateful not only for this nation’s providential founding on the enduring principles of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (which I would define as being generally synonymous with the Pursuit of Understanding), but the fact that those values have endured in you, our ever-demanding, every hungry-for-knowledge readers. Let us endeavor, together, to live up to the lofty ideals the American spirit as we unflinchingly pursue the truth about cars.