Hi there! My name is Nathan Fortner, and I’m glad you stopped by to read a few of my thoughts on the state of the world. A little about me first, though, so you might see where these peculiar ideas are coming from. I currently a Computer Support Analyst at a small health/tech firm based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I received a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Political Science and History in 2006 from the University of Tennessee, and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Villanova University in 2009, which is how I ended up in the Northeast. I originally hail from the great state of Tennessee, where my roots run 200 years deep. Needless to say, I still consider myself a Tennessean. I grew up in Lobelville, a town of 700 people in a county of 7,000, however I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself up here in the Northeast US. I like to think that I have made the adjustment from living in a tiny southern hamlet to one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America without much of a problem.
My academic interests tend to center around international relations and military, conflict and intelligence studies, and I have an ongoing obsession with technology and the Internet. I spent two years as a student of Aerospace Engineering, until I realized I had reached the peak of my engineering career at the age of 20 after flying zero gravity research missions on NASA’s KC-135. I discovered shortly thereafter that actual engineering wasn’t what it was in the heyday of the great aviation designers, the 1930s to the 1960s, and I would most likely be confined to doing what I hated most if I continued: another faceless number cruncher punching data into MatLab programs in a darkened cubicle. I had been born 50 years too late to be the kind of engineer I wanted to be, the next Wernher von Braun or Kelly Johnson, seated behind a drawing board, slide rule in hand, creating the next groundbreaking design that would take humanity higher and faster.
So I switched to my other love, politics and history, and I never looked back. I was fascinated with almost all of my courses, devouring the new ideas of philosophy I encountered in my political science classes and the sense of presence gained through my studies in history. I fulfilled my language requirement by studying German, a language I still am fascinated with today (and continue to butcher when speaking). I even had the opportunity to study abroad in Berlin. All things that would never have been possible had I continued on my original course. And in truth, the world has enough engineers. It needs more people with a classical liberal education, an education that makes you think deeply about the world around you instead of the just preparing you for a trade.
Politically, I consider myself an extreme moderate with a healthy realist streak, for lack of a better popular term. I realize that you can’t legislate away all of your problems or force others to your particular moral code with new rules, a concept people on both sides of the party lines seldom seem to understand.
I also like to take pictures, and some of my favorite photographs that I have taken over the years can be found at my Picasa page if you’re interested.
The first iteration of “Holding Down the Fort” came back in 2003, while I was still an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee. It was a mildly successful mostly political blog that took off after arose regarding the UT administration that received some attention from the East Tennessee blogging community and media. Unfortunately, I allowed it to lapse as other things took my attention. It eventually disappeared as its original host, Blog City, decided to go to a pay model and I didn’t act quickly enough to retrieve my content. I lost a significant amount of (what I considered to be, at least) halfway decent content, which was disheartening. But oh well, out with the old, in with the new, right?
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