Biography William Stewart

I’m retired from a career in business which started in industrial sales and ended with my partnership in a health care company serving nursing home residents. I now spend my time cooking for family and friends, reading and writing and playing an occasional and quite mediocre round of golf.

My interest in politics began in grade school, when, after fixing my dad a martini, I would watch the evening news with him.  In high school I joined the debate team and also competed in extemporaneous speaking which meant reading the NY Times and following two evening news broadcasts.  Under these influences, I found myself, unsurprisingly, entering college as a liberal opponent of the Vietnam War.  But at Princeton, where I studied history, I changed my views over time for two reasons.  First, I was turned off by the left:  two meetings of the Princeton SDS convinced me of the emptiness (intellectual and moral) of their activity.  Second, I was attracted to the ideas of traditionalists and conservatives – the writings of Edmund Burke, and his speech on Conciliation with America, William Buckley’s odd affect and devastating arguments on Firing Line and the difficult, but once mastered, enlightening historical perspective and economic arguments of F. A. Hayek.  

Since then, I have evolved a bit, becoming less ideological and more tolerant of the log-rolling and compromise required by a large, functioning democracy.  I’ve also been impressed by the persistence and sincerity of my liberal friends whom, along with moderate and conservatives, I have met with to drink beer, talk politics, sports and philosophy and generally hang out once each month for over forty years.  

I have noticed, just in the last few years, that the most extreme members of our group have become more and more difficult to speak to.  Some have simply left the group.  How to avoid more of that alienation brings me to the newest step in my political orientation which I’ll call procedural moderation and to my interest in the Centrist Independent Voter and the great work done by Mike Barron and colleagues.