Educational Children’s Books!

Many time, I’ve been asked something along the lines of, “So, how much do you indoctrinate your kids about anarchy and religion?”

Today, I’ll address the “indoctrinating into anarchy” question.  For all my rhetoric on facebook and on this blog, I’m much more reserved in-person.  I still discuss philosophy and, necessarily, the philosophy of liberty… but it’s a lot less “Let’s all start killing cops!” and a lot more “Here’s an esoteric issue I’m having fun pulling apart and examining, wanna play too?”
The way this manifests itself in my child-rearing is interesting.  I have an extreme distaste for indoctrination (giving doctrines as brute facts and demonstrating intolerance for non-doctrinal beliefs), as my own indoctrination caused me no small amount of discomfort and crisis as I learned to think for myself.  It is important to me that my children be well-educated and have the greatest ability to wield their intellect (of which they have quite a lot, if I do say so myself) in this world that is quite inhospitable to people like them.

Enter today’s resource/review.  Anarchism is not something that requires indoctrination, as the only doctrine is the one preached everywhere, some variation of the golden rule: “Don’t initiate aggression against others, because you don’t want others to initiate aggression against you.”  All the rest simply logically follows from that premise; teach the kids the proper use of logic, evidence, and reason and they will naturally figure out the rest… at least that’s my experience so far.

A tool I’ve recently discovered in teaching kids how the world works (that’s the “evidence” part of the above toolset) is the Tuttle Twins series by Connor Boyack.  I heard about it through the Tom Woods Show almost exactly one year ago, but have not had the money to purchase a copy of one of the books until recently.  At the end of last year I received some site donations from a couple of my more dedicated listeners/readers and pounced on my chance to purchase a copy of The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil so that I could review it on the blog.

As should be obvious to my readers, this book is a variation on I, Pencil by Leonard Read, adapted to be more entertaining to a younger audience.  After purchasing and making use of this book, I believe Boyack has succeeded: my older (3 and 5 years of age) kids are enjoying the book, and are learning about the wonders of the market (as evidenced by their questions and answers while my wife is reading).

Admittedly, the book is geared more towards an elementary-school age audience, but I couldn’t wait to give the books a try.  Besides, now we have something better than Disney princesses to read during storytime, and it’s really paying off.

For more information, I suggest listening to the interview I heard on the Tom Woods Show last year:

 

And, as always, you should check out Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom.  Using my link supports my site, and this is a PhD-level education in everything pertinent to viewing history, economics, and ethics from the perspective of evidence, logic, and reason.

4

Mad Philosopher in 2016

Happy New Year!

I felt bad leaving the site to run fallow for the month of December while I put the finishing touches on my book and made plans for this project in 2016.  I really tried to keep at least the “daily resource suggestion” section running and to provide some content… but when I fell deathly ill during a visit from my in-laws, I had to put everything on hold besides staying alive, getting back to work, and finishing the book.

I’m pleased to announce that 2016 has a lot of exciting work in store for the Mad Philosopher blog, as well as my other philosophical and liberty-oriented projects:

First, I would like to encourage everyone to snag a copy of the Mad Philosopher 2015 book.  It’s more than just a collection of posts from this site; it has the book-exclusive chapter “How can an Anarchist be Catholic (and vice versa)?” as well as being heavily edited and revised in order to fit together into a coherent narrative.  It’s an excellent coffee table/toilet reader and tool for developing one’s rhetorical skills.

front cover

Second, I strongly encourage everyone to become a patron of Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom.  It’s a little bit more expensive than my book, but it is orders of magnitude more valuable and fun.  Tom Woods has assembled an all-star cast of true academics and intellectuals that really, truly know the primary sources and sciences behind history, economics, political theory… everything one would need to rationally pursue and defend freedom.  I’ve listened to and watched several of the classes and read the “homework assignments”: this program is pure gold (at a fraction the cost).
(Also, full disclosure, I’ve just secured an affiliate advertising relationship with Liberty Classroom, but that has not affected this sales pitch one bit, it was going to be the second Resource Suggestion of 2016, anyway.  All that’s changed is that, if you use my link, I will get a little kickback from Tom Woods and your price remains the same.)

4

Third, I want to tell you about the other exciting things happening in the world of Mad Philosopher, which don’t include you giving me money.
The site is undergoing a minor redesign in order to grant users a little more utility and ease-of-use.  I’m adding the category “Reviews” in addition to the Resource suggestions, so that people may more quickly access my reviews of books, games, services, and products as pertain to liberty-mindedness and pursuit of freedom.  I have also changed the “Daily Resource Suggestions” to “Resource Suggestions“.  This is primarily because I did not want to water down the more important suggestions simply to produce a greater volume of posts.  Secondarily, it takes a surprising amount of time to trawl through the internet and libraries to find the best resources every day; by relying on serendipity, I can provide only the most important resource suggestions and devote more energy and time into the main blog, my books, and other anarchist activities.
I am broadening my horizons for main blog posts, as well.  Ultimately, my goal is to run a podcast and blog in parallel, but until I have enough resources freed up to do both, my primary focus will be the audio portion of the main blog.  This is due to market signals: thus far, I have gotten far more financial support for and traffic on the Soundcloud Page than I have for any other aspect of this project.  If there is a particular aspect of this project you feel would benefit from greater attention, please let me know.  We already had our first live interview at the beginning of December, and I’ve begun doing more than simply lecturing on specific subjects in the audio portion of the blog.  I’ve re-invested some blog funds into setting up a better sound setup, and I hope that you will be able to tell the difference as this production improves.

2016 looks to be an exciting year, given the state of affairs in Empire.  Provided I’m not “disappeared” by federales sometime this year, I hope to continue pushing the message of liberty and reason throughout the year.

Carpe Veritas,
MadPhilosopher

It’s “Just” a War

Just War Theory used to be a major focus of mine when I was much younger.  When I was a communist, I had two motivations for researching and debating just war theory: the first was whether or not revolution counted as war and whether it would be justified, the second was a result of 9/11, the subsequent continuation of war in the middle east, and the discussions that ensued with parents and classmates.

After a few years of research and debate, I decided that Just War theory really is nothing more than a Theory on How To Justify a War.  Today’s resource is someone much more engaged in this discussion than I in an interview with Tom Woods, but saying essentially the same things I have believed for years, now.

Police Accountability or Racism? Your Choice.

I haven’t been posting very much this week.  To those of you that care, I apologize; I’ve been working on editing, formatting and writing new chapters for the book I’m trying to get done by the end of this year.  Between an insane work schedule and the amount of effort I’ve been pouring into this book, I haven’t had time to even feed or bathe myself properly (gross, I know).

Anyway, there was this little gem I found the other day, and I had to carve out some extra time to share it with you guys.  Lately Chris Cantwell has been worrying himself more with how different genetic and cultural factors are not conducive to freedom as opposed to sticking to his “thin” libertarian brutalism, which he used to be so well-known for.  Basically, he’s gone “thick-right” to the same degree as those that have gone “thick-left” in the libertarian movement.

One of the interesting results of this move is how quickly and effectively he resorts to tearing apart left-libertarians, even as compared to before.  Today’s Daily Resource Suggestion is this video in which he argues with CopBlock, an organization that used to be a police accountability group that is now a Black Lives Matter soapbox.

I don’t agree with everything Cantwell says, I never have.  but he is definitely in the top three celebritarians as far as rational consistency, epistemic rectitude, and actually researching the subjects they discuss.

 

10470939_764378556918130_4721853810608573940_n

Waze of Knowing

No, I’m not mocking cultural sensitivity classes (not today, anyway), I’m talking about a service I have touted many times on Facebook: Waze.

I don’t have a smartphone, nor do I particularly want one.  However, if “they” ever phase out feature flip phones, I may have to make the move to a dark android phone.  The first app I’ll be installing on that phone will be Waze.  If you are a smart phone user and drive a car, you should use it, too.  It’s an app that uses the crowd-source nature of the internet to connect all the users of the app as well as oracle data from the web in order to give real-time traffic and safety updates to drivers and gives real-time directions so as to get the safest, most efficient route.  This goes well beyond a mere GPS that knows to watch out for rush hour, though: it also tracks speed-traps and other criminal activities on the road that one may want to avoid.

In the interim, though, I want to point you to a Jeffrey Tucker article about the app as the resource suggestion for today.

Get Your Pagan On!

Today’s Resource Suggestion is a little bit of a surprise, I think.  I have been doing a fair amount of research the last couple years concerning Saint Nicholas (from 3rd century Turkey, not the north pole), due to a family devotion we started.  Patron saint of the Byzantine Catholic Church, the man himself was really interesting, punching heretics in the face, writing philosophical and theological treatises…

Of course, research concerning St. Nicholas inevitably leads to researching the truth about Santa Claus.  Something about Santa Claus’ traditional genealogy back to the historical St. Nicholas has always bothered me.  After doing research, I think I’ve figured enough of it out; then, fortunately enough, yesterday I heard a podcast about a book concerning that very subject.  Now, instead of being a crazy old scrooge no-one listens to, I can be a crazy old scrooge with academic references that no-one listens to.

Yes, it’s an atheist podcast.  However, I dare you to find any factual inaccuracies concerning the Church and St. Nicholas/Santa Claus.



 


Robber Barons are your Friends

I will eventually write a full review of “How Capitalism Saved America“, but for now, I just want to encourage people to read Chapter 7 “The Truth About the ‘Robber Barons‘” as today’s resource suggestion.

There isn’t much to say, despite the length of the text I’m suggesting.  This chapter explores the revisionism applied primarily to the railroads of the pre-FED american landscape and teases apart fact from fiction.  It’s no surprise, really, that public education would try to paint capitalism as evil, even when examining one of the greatest successes of capitalism itself; it’s all a matter of financial incentives, given that “public” school is funded by the same institution that is a competitor against capitalism…

Something a Little More Uplifintg

Hans Rosling is a very smart man who has a lot to say.  Fortunately, he’s entertaining to listen to.  Given his age and his profession, he is a true scientist.  In his talks and lectures, he presents quite a lot of food for thought.

He has certain ethical commitments that I don’t agree with (he’s a big fan of population controls and contraception as well as curbing greenhouse gasses/fossil fuel use), but he presents the information in a manner that allows one to pick apart the data and make their own analyses.

Today’s Suggestion is this small collection of short videos presented by Rosling.  Consider it a late thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Pie

I’m sure everyone’s too busy eating turkey and reveling in the whitewashing of history to read my blog today, so I’ll suggest something short and to the point.

I have, here, a short article that blows open the rhetorical “rich get richer and the poor get poorer” fallacy that everyone (even the Pope) seems to have fallen for.  The reality of the matter is the most valuable asset of mankind is human ingenuity.  The poorest individual in America today lives in such a way that (by most metrics) is more wealthy than the french aristocracy of just a few centuries ago, courtesy of competitive marketplace environments and increasing quality of life due to the free market.

What does all this have to do with thanksgiving?  Well, this flawed rhetoric has a name in economics: the “Fixed Pie Fallacy”.

The Rise of Victim Culture

Today’s Resource Suggestion is some food for thought over the Thanksgiving (state-endorsed genocide day) weekend.  This academic article is a survey of modern academic culture (and the areas of mainstream culture it has infected) and an attempted genealogy of victimhood culture.

Microaggression_and_Moral_Cultures

The main draw for me, and the reason I want to draw it to your attention as well, is the correlation the authors find between the oppressive power of the state and the distancing of a culture from virtues such as honor.

This ties closely to a piece I hope to post in January concerning eugenics, the free market, and statism.  This is good reading for the interim, though.

 

Also, in case you have managed to avoid exposure to the blight that is victim culture, here’s an example:

Freedom Through Agorism

The basic tenet of agorism is the belief that through simply disregarding laws and regulations, when coupled with technological advances that circumvent those laws and regulations, will be an effective tactic to either eliminate or escape from the clutches of the state.  I imagine that agorism, without violence and exodus, will not likely succeed.  This is a contentious area of discussion within the philosophies of liberty.

However, this is not a full-post concerning agorism and its strengths and weaknesses (that will have to come sometime next year).  Instead, today, I present to you something that both an agorist and a brutalist would shed a single tear of joy over:

3D printers are the means of production that Marx, Konkin III, and Bergmann each had envisioned as “the end (telos, reason for) of history”.  The AnCaps, also, have a particular place in their hearts for 3D printers, as they are the culmination of centuries of capitalist market forces.  More so than the internet, commercial space flight, or affordable quad-copters (all of which are excellent consumer products created by the free market), 3D printing is possibly the greatest contribution to society to-date.  Even though it is still in it’s infant stages as a technology, 3D printing is becoming increasingly affordable and more resilient.

Today’s resource suggestion is simply a website which showcases different 3D printer designs for things such as firearms.  It’s obviously mostly just an excuse to gush over 3D printers and an open endorsement of manufacturing firearms discreetly and outside the purview of law-enforcement.

Fun Comic: Sam Harris

I actually really enjoy listening to Sam Harris in podcasts, and only slightly less so in lectures and talks.  However, this comic is hilarious.  I believe I recommended Existential Comics in the past, but this one was funny enough that I couldn’t help but share it.

Existential Comics is funny and educational.  If one doesn’t have the requisite philosophy scholarship, each page has a “Didn’t get the joke?” section that explains the philosophy knowledge needed to get the joke.  I imagine that it would be a fun and easy way to learn the sparks’ notes of philosophers’ names and ideas.

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/other/3

Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature

The term “fair” comes up a lot these days.  I have only a limited chronological sample (26 years), and I have not always been as aware of its use as I could have been, but it would seem that my generation (unlike preceding generations) never learned to stop using that word.  When I was five, things being fair was a big deal.  Of course, “fair” meant something different to each person, even grown-ups.  The more conservative (RE: less-socialist) parents would try to make each instance one of desert: “who earned what?” while the egalitarian lefty parents would try to implement some form of social justice: “Your brother is younger and smaller than you, so he always gets to go first and gets more candy.”

Of course, when one grows up, a part of that process is the realization that “life isn’t fair”.  This is because “fair” doesn’t exist, and it’s a self-contradictory concept, no matter how one defines it, much like common conceptions of justice.

Today’s resource suggestion is more Rothbard.  This time, it’s the essay “Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature“.  This is a scathing reductio ad absurdum of the very premise of any sort of “equality-oriented” philosophy (feminism, egalitarianism, socialism, progressivism, statism…).

You can read the text or listen to the audio for free, courtesy of the Mises Institute.

Collectivism: the Bald-Faced Lie

Today, rather than harping on issues in the science community, or pointing out all the irrationality surrounding Paris (I wrote a whole diatribe, several pages in length, and will likely never share it with anyone), I figured I should focus on something more important and more universally applicable (one which applies to both issues, if indirectly).

Rather than discussing the book in its entirety, I would like to suggest reading/listening to the chapter on “The State” from “For a New Liberty

You can also download the full text of “For a New Liberty” here:

For a New Liberty The Libertarian Manifesto

Peaceful Parenting and Healthy Risk

Today’s resource suggestion is a concise little article I found on the Washington Post, of all places.  After suggesting you take a couple hours to listen to Cantwell point out why college is stupid and my generation (and my parents’ generation) has doomed us all, I thought a short burst of positivity was in order.

The article’s title makes it sound like a list, but it is more a brief commentary on how not-bubble wrapping your kids is a good idea.

My Last Love-Letter to Science for a While

Today’s resource suggestion is another Cantwell Production.  Like Tom Woods, he consistently produces quality content… and by consistently, I mean 2-3 pieces of content a day that are simply spectacular.  I thought I was done discussing my frustrations with the “scientific” community and people’s misconceptions about how science works, but Cantwell managed to take (almost) everything I had to say on the matter and put it together into this handy little production.

 

He didn’t quite go into the fullest depths of my position concerning philosophy of science, but this effectively explains why I decided to not pursue a career in physics (which is what I was set on until about a year before going to college).

Cops in Classrooms

I’ve let this incident (and the literal hundreds of identical incidents) sit for a while before posting something on it here.  On facebook, I posted one allusion to Spring Valley in particular when discussing the criminal nature of law enforcement as a whole, but that’s about it.

I was planning on simply bundling Spring Valley into a long list (as I am wont to do in my full posts) of examples of why it’s bad to put cops in schools when addressing public education, but the guys over at Reboot Your Body/Kids AKA Revolutionary Parent.com had such a good discussion concerning three important details that nearly everyone overlooked concerning Spring Valley as well as effectively refuting a blogger that I follow fairly closely (he’s really right about 50% of the time, and the other 50% he’s just a dirty statist).

So, today’s resource suggestion is this short podcast episode.

Also, I want to make a note that the podcaster made an effort to avoid pointing out.  Matt Walsh apparently believes that Teachers and Cops are no different than wild animals: wholly devoid of individual autonomy, consisting solely of input-output behaviors.  This is more dehumanizing than I have ever been to cops.  I wish I could simply say “cops are rabid dogs, and so we should put them to sleep”, but I can’t they are human beings capable of making moral and ethical decisions and ought to be treated as such, even if Matt Walsh believes they have no autonomy of their own.

Windows 10 Harassing You?

I’ve posted resource suggestions in teh past (you can see them in the archives) About windows 10.  However, I don’t think I’ve posted this handy resource yet.  If you’re a Windows 7 or 8 user, you’ve likely been plagued with this annoying little popup and icon in the system tray that keeps insisting you upgrade to Windows 10 “for free”.  Rather than dealing it it slowing my system down and increasing the odds that my kids will be clicking around on the machine and accidentally install Windows 10, I decided to get rid of it.  This source seemed to do the trick; I haven’s seen the popup or anything for about two months.

More Science Complaints

As a fun follow-up to my recent post concerning some of the troubles with how people do science, I present to you an otherwise very smart man who would rather try to fix politics than academia.

This article is primarily about The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing and the ill-effects it has on academia as a whole.

Related to that article is a fun example of what he’s talking about:

20 Grad Theses explained in common terms

“But, What Can Bitcoin Buy?”

My family physician, due to the increasingly hostile banking and medical regulations, has begun encouraging customers to pay in cash and by check instead of by credit cards, starting a few years ago.  When I and a few other customers noticed this, we suggested he look into Bitcoin.  For a little over a year now, my doctor has been accepting bitcoin.

Picture0630151828_1

I wanted to be the first bitcoin customer.  My copay is usually $25, so when I had two well-child checkups approaching, I went to Purse.io and got myself $50 in BTC.  Long story short, my insurance covers the entire checkup, so I didn’t have to pay.  It was the first time ever that I was sad a doctor didn’t want to take my money.

The price of bitcoin has been hovering in the mid-$200 range, but it sat lower than where I bought it for most of the time.  This made me sad, as I was hoping to use that bictoin to buy Fallout 4 when it came out (my bitcoin and silver is pretty much the entirety of my discretionary funds… everything in fiat is very tightly budgeted).
However, something weird happened yesterday, possibly another Willy Bot or weird government thing (like bitcoin XT or the Bitcoin Alliance doing something shady), and the price jumped up to the $400-$500 range.  I quickly took advantage of that price hike and pre-ordered Fallout 4 on Steam.  Man, I am so pumped right now… between bitcoin saving my gamership from the vicissitudes of poverty *and* having what promises to be an awesome game pre-ordered.

This whole anecdote is really just to cover one important tool for Bitcoin-enthusiast gamers.  Those of you who pay attention to steam and/or Bitcoin will know that Steam does not accept bitcoin yet, due to limitations of it’s interface with fiat money (AKA, government regulations).  So, how did I pre-order Fallout 4?  I used this awesome and easy-to-use service called SteamBitShop.

Their UI was simple, straightforward and self-explanatory, the purchasing process (which, for bitcoin, can be confusing at times) was easier than using a credit card, and the system seems adaptable enough to handle unexpected issues.

For example (warning: entering shop-talk area), I swept my paper-wallet into an electrum wallet on my desktop in order to have an easier time using the website (most websites are a pain to use paper wallets/unspent-outputs on, I’ve found).  I was kind of rushed, so I didn’t wait for the sweep to be confirmed on the blockchain.  When I made the purchase, it had a 15-minute payment period; I made the payment from the wallet with the unconfirmed transaction on it, and the website simply suspended the timer and waited for confirmation on the transaction, rather than not processing the payment despite receiving the bitcoin (which has happened to me in other places).

So, What can Bitcoin Buy?  “Steam Games” is officially on that list.

 

Edit: I closed the comments on this page because no-one was posting comments and I was getting 80+ spam comments a day.

Scientists Are No Longer Skeptics

I have previously shared resource suggestions critiquing she way in which “science” is done today.  I do this not out of distaste for science, but instead because I love it.  The primary avenue by which I chose (and dropped out of) a college major was because of my relationship with science.

I wanted to do science, but discovered that the way science is done today is totally broken.  I believe the reason for that brokenness is the lack of philosophical grounding in the science community coupled with the pernicious influence of state funding.

Today’s Resource Suggestion is an exploration of one small symptom of science’s brokenness.

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/13/8591837/how-science-is-broken

Halloween Candy, or Crystal Meth?

A spectre wanders the suburban countryside, flitting between households and abandoned warehouses… This spectre is not one of revolution, not one of communism or capitalism, it is the shade of Harry J Anslinger.  It is the ghost of slavery, the status quo, and economic illiteracy.

On Halloween, every year, this ghost floats out of the Halls of (in)Justice and the Ministry of Truth to scare the slaves into clamoring for more taskmasters.  What I’m speaking of is the urban legends about drugs in Halloween candy, razorblades in apples, and ricin in the smoke machines.  As long as one isn’t dancing on the freeway, Halloween is the safest night of the year to be wander around one’s neighborhood in the dark.

Today’s resource suggestion is simple: it’s two articles (this one and this one) to help assuage one’s fears that are a result not of reality but, instead, of the indoctrination one is perpetually exposed to in Empire.

And besides, candy hasn’t looked like this for 20 years.

Also, a quick examination of economics would tell us that there is no incentive to poison the Halloween candy.  Therefore, the only people that will do so are the one-in-a-billion serial-killers that value the thrill of handing out poison more than the tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to buy the drugs.  Another limiting factor is the available assets to said serial killer.  One would have  to be consistently wealthy, have access to drugs, and be a serial killer with a special hatred for kids and/or Halloween.  At this point, we’re looking at a one-in-one-hundred-billion event.  So, if the urban legends are true that someone, at some time, did poison the candy, the odds of it happening again are so infinitesimal that we should be putting out PSAs about Halloween alien abductions and commie invasions before we worry about the best Halloween treats and tricks ever.

THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!

I’ve been dancing around Sovryn Tech on the “resource suggestion” page for a while now.  I’ve Reviewed the games made by Brian Sovryn, I’ve linked to his works in my main posts, I’ve even recommended Sovryn Tech’s satellite blogs.

However, I’ve put off Sovryn Tech, itself, until today.  I’ve done so because I want everyone to listen to the show, but there’s a couple barriers to entry which may need to be overcome.  I love Brian Sovryn and all that he does for liberty.  I don’t always agree with him (he’s a non-violent libertine and I’m a violent “social conservative”, for example), but his ideas are always well-reasoned, well argued, and well worth entertaining.

This particular episode is the one I’ve been waiting for.  The bitcoin alliance is the paradigm example of the fustian deal: the de-facto rulers of bitcoin have sold their souls to the single most misanthropic entity to have ever existed.  This is why we can’t have nice things.  The whole episode is good and ought to be listened to, but one should at least listen to the segment concerning “the blockchain alliance”.

Pre-History Humans?

Anarchists, in particular, ought to be interested in history, both for the sake of understanding how the world works and for coming to know one’s enemy (the state).  A number of conflicting accounts have been presented concerning human origins, pre-history, and the nature of civilization.  However, through this plethora of theories and paucity of available information, certain narratives have gained traction based on what evidence is available, and it (conveniently enough) begins to support certain anarchist understandings of the world that are similar to my own.

One such narrative that has emerged is one which claims that the “out of Africa” theory of human origins is a load of bunk, which is based on the biological fact that race is genetic, not social.  While this particular pair of suggestions is from a website that is suspect, the case they are presenting is present in numerous publications.  The reason I chose this particular site to share is due to it’s readability (less academic jargon) and due to the fact that it is based in South Africa, which is of particular interest to me as an anarchist.