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Howdy? I’m the your Mad Philosopher in residence. What makes me mad? Well… a great many things… but the short answer is that the way mankind has been living since long before my lifetime is deeply, unsettlingly, incomplete.
There is a tension in our lives. We all feel it, but none of us really grasp it, understand it. In the first world, in the 21st century, the poorest among us have access to technologies, foods, levels of education, and forms of entertainment that, by and large, surpass even the wildest dreams of the kings and emperors that lived even a few centuries ago. At the same time, we have been divorced from all that gave meaning to our actions. It’s the existential nightmare Nietzsche, Camus and Kafka were gesturing towards: a world in which one can literally accomplish anything, but the demands and absurdities of one’s lessers almost force one into choosing to accomplish nothing.
If you’re like me, the motivational talk on people’s email signatures, cubicle walls, and facebook posts seem more like excuses to celebrate mediocrity and attempts to be at peace with an unfulfilling life.
I may just be an angsty millennial, but having read philosophy non-stop for twenty years, I’m pretty confident that I’m not alone today, and I’m certainly not alone in history. I want to have a public conversation centered on this reality.
In the past, there were certain prerequisites for doing philosophy. The biggest example is that of patronage. If one was a wealthy slave-owner, one would have the leisure time to think about how awesome life is and write about how everyone (except slaves) should be able to just hang out and do philosophy all the time. If one wasn’t a wealthy slave owner, one would have to turn to the kings and bishops for patronage… and those philosophers would inevitably write about how awesome the kings and bishops are and how everyone was lucky to be ruled over by such beneficent stewards.
In today’s society, those that are able to produce value to others have access to disposable income. While I would love to do philosophy all the time, I’m too busy providing value to others in order to feed my family. If you find this conversation valuable, I can provide it for you; I do ask for your patronage, though, as today’s rulers are less than happy to hear what I have to say about them. Every little bit helps.
Nothing too fancy today, just an unboxing video of my book (submitted by a guy I know from college). Y’all should get it. It’s cheap and it’s got some cleaned up blog posts in it as well as some book-exclusive chapters.
Also, a reader submitted this encouraging screenshot:
If the state were a rapidly-spreading apartment fire, consuming all wealth and livelihood in its path, feminism (and the other leftist cults of feels and misanthropy) is the jet fuel being dropped from airplanes onto the building. It is eminently helpful (if insufficient) to have a handful of firefighters and air-traffic controllers, like these two, trying to prevent the spread of destruction.
Also, I’m aware the site has been a little low-content the last couple weeks… we had an aborted attempt at moving to NH which presented quite a bit of opportunity cost and monetary expense. Hopefully, starting Saturday, we will be back in full-force on this site.
A book written by Mark Corske was recently made into a pseudo-documentary film that is very well-produced and well- written. I strongly recommend that people watch the video on youtube. It’s an hour long, but it can easily be played at 1.25X or 1.5X speeds. It gets a little choppy at 2X speed. It is well worth the time to anyone who has felt that “something isn’t right” about the world they live in, and it’s even thought-provoking to those who haven’t.
Reading the book would be warranted, too. However, I feel that watching the youtube video for free is much less a commitment than buying and reading the book. There’s also the issue of market forces… there is a certain AnCom vein that runs through this work, so one’s money may be better spent on Rothbard or Hans-Hermann Hoppe.
If one hour is too long or someone doesn’t want to watch a documentary, there is a third option to the documentary and book. Here is a 30-minute interview that covers pretty much all the same information and ideas, but without a cool soundtrack and powerful visuals.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Anarchast anymore, but this interview is still legit.
At Ave Maria University, the college I attended, James Chillemi recently presented a solid introduction to Anarcho-Capitalism for his senior thesis. Despite some degree of opposition from the professors and administrators at the school (not surprisingly), he did so for his senior thesis.
I recommend reading this to everyone. Many people have a tremendous blind spot in their education. Even economics majors often have no concept of the foundation principles of economic theory. It is crucial to fill this blind spot before beginning to discuss questions like “Who will build the roads?” and “What about education?” James does a great job of starting that process.
Those that already know the foundations of economics can find some useful rhetorical tools in explaining it to the uneducated. It’s also useful to have a refresher course on the basics, every so often. It’s not a long read, a couple smoke breaks or a lunch break can handle this paper.
For those who would rather listen than read, his presentation is on youtube. I recommend reading the paper over the video, almost entirely due to the fact that the audio is a little rough. I think it was recorded on a cell phone.
The conspiracy-theorist in me wonders why they didn’t do his thesis in the lecture hall, which is equipped for better audio and actual recording of video and audio. His thesis was the only one that was not allowed to have open attendance, the audience was limited to economics and law students only… but, it’s equally likely that the administrators just still suck at their jobs instead of some sort of attempted censorship (which was also prevalent at Ave).
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, 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: