Tuesday, August 14, 2018

“Two drifters, off to see the world, there’s such a lot of world to see…”

lauren and austin

On August 7, the New York Times ran a story by Rukmini Callimachi about Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, a young American couple, both graduates of Georgetown University, who decided to quit their humdrum office jobs and go on an epic bike ride and camping trip that would take them all over the world. “I’ve grown tired of spending the best hours of my day in front of a glowing rectangle, of coloring the best years of my life in swaths of grey and beige,” Austin wrote. “I’ve missed too many sunsets while my back was turned.” - PJMedia

Thus wrote Jay Austin who, along with his girlfriend Lauren Geoghegan, quit their jobs in July of 2017 and set out on a round-the-world bicycle trip. They had many adventures across Africa, Europe, Turkey, Greece and Kazakhstan before landing in Tajikistan. Austin kept a blog along their route that reads like a social justice warriors guidebook.

“You read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” Mr. Austin wrote. “People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil.

“I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own … By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.” - PJMedia

There, on day 369 of their trip their were run down and stabbed along with 2 other cyclists by  5 men in a car who swore allegiance to ISIS and promised to kill all “disbelievers.” I suppose you could say that they were myopic and self-interested but clearly they held values and beliefs and perspective different from the group of western cyclists they mowed down. That’s the point, Evil is real. It cannot be reasoned with or wished away. Ignore it at your great peril. As stated in the PJMedia article: “Their naivete is nothing less than breathtaking.” Austin’s worldview was summed up in his blog:

“with...vulnerability comes immense generosity: good folks who will recognize your helplessness and recognize that you need assistance in one form or another and offer it in spades.”

The moral of the story? From the article (read the whole thing):

In the last analysis, it's a story about two young people who, like many other privileged members of their generation of Americans, went to a supposedly top-notch university only to come away poorly educated but heavily propagandized – imbued with a fashionable postmodern contempt for Western civilization and a readiness to idealize and sentimentalize “the other” (especially when the latter is decidedly uncivilized). This, ultimately, was their tragedy: taking for granted American freedom, prosperity, and security, they dismissed these extraordinary blessings as boring, banal, and (in Austin's word) “beige,” and set off, with the starry-eyed and suicidal naivete of children who never entirely grew up, on a child's fairy-tale adventure into the most perilous parts of the planet. Far from being inspirational, theirs is a profoundly cautionary – and distinctly timely – tale that every American, parents especially, should take to heart.

Linked At: Free Republic, Thanks!