Roland Dodds was born in Brawley, California. He is currently a graduate student focusing on international politics at the University of Edinburgh, but was previously a teacher in California and Korea. He once fancied himself a musician and toured around the US for a bit. Roland blogs at But, I am a Liberal!
Why do you blog? > To help strengthen my arguments as well as better understand opposing points of view.
What has been your best blogging experience? > I don't have a specific instance, but meeting kindred spirits across the globe on a number of issues has been phenomenal and that's what keeps me blogging.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't worry too much about the number of people reading and responding to your arguments. Focus more on making points that are not covered elsewhere and tap into communities of people who share your approach (as well as those that don't).
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Hannah Arendt, Fredrich Engels, George Orwell.
What are you reading at the moment? > Durable Peace: Challenges for Peacebuilding in Africa, edited by Taisier Ali and Robert Matthews.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Billie Holiday, Christopher Hitchens, Ian MacKaye, Mark Twain.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
What is your favourite movie? > Star Wars, Heavyweights, The Grapes of Wrath.
What is your favourite song? > 'You Go to My Head' by Billie Holiday.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > That the West has no moral or ethical right to intervene in the affairs of others.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That all positions have validity and should be debated.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The History of the Peloponnesian War is the book I end up picking up most often when considering the implications of a specific policy. It reminds me that the centuries of social science that have followed it have not invalidated its now ancient thesis on how people and a society operate.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'The man who isn't a pessimist is a damned fool' – Mark Twain
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Fix health care so that all Americans can receive it and not go to the poorhouse doing so.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
What would you do with the UN? > End the Security Council and create a league of democracies within the organization that would deal with security-related issues.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Nationalism's ability to divide like-minded people.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I do believe we are getting better as an international society, but it's not always in a straight trajectory.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I have a hard time seeing how it would work since politics is personal, and shapes the way you see family and your role in society.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > The ability to listen and engage with others. Anyone who masters this art ends up going far (for better or worse).
What personal fault do you most dislike? > The inability to consider faults in one's own argument.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Many argue blogging is a waste, and I enjoy it immensely!
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Hopelessness in society and all that comes with it.
What would you call your autobiography? > ... and Now, This Asshole.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > San Francisco.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Travelling around in a van with friends, playing a show each night.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Finding new music and debating friends and foes.
What is your most treasured possession? > My record player.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to learn languages quickly and easily.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]