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Monthly Archives: April 2014

One of my favorite blogs is The Altucher Confidential.  James Altucher is a dynamic individual and his writing is often very introspective which makes for interesting reading.  This blog entry is a nod to James’ style.

Last week I had a discussion with a couple guys at work about the value of living in a militaristic society. In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m talking about the USA. Outspending the next ten nations combined is pretty militaristic. Another indicator is when your local police are wearing battle gear and driving tanks around, and yet another clue is when your country is consistently the largest military arms exporter, but I digress.

swatOne point in favor of living in a highly militarized country was that WWII cured the Great Depression. Another point was that there are a lot of inventions borne out of military necessity. I argued the first point was absolutely false and the second was likely the opposite of the truth.  It was a quick discussion on the way back from lunch, but was still on my mind during the drive home. I thought of a funny way to spin the first point, referring to the military inventing the internet: “It took the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people so we could shop for household goods in our underwear.” So I had to share this quip the next day and offer a reference with reasonable proof that his assertion about WWII was wrong.

Later that day I read a quote posted on Facebook by an acquaintance. The quote compared a hoarder of cash to a hoarder of cats or newspapers, and implied that we give the hoarder of cash too much credit. I could not help myself but to comment and inform him that if that rich person holds their wealth in a bank or investments, then it is actually doing all of us a huge favor. Corporate investment buys equipment for corporations, which enables us to produce more than other nations which do not have the same number of rich people investing there. This increased production is what enables us to have a high income per capita in comparison to most of the world. Obviously there are crooked businesses as there are crooked politicians, but this relationship generally holds true. It’s called capitalism and can be credited with bringing humans up from a level of bare, hand-to-mouth subsistence to a  place where the poorest of society have many more amenities than the kings of only decades ago.

someone-on-the-internet-is-wrongSo all this debating got me thinking, “Why do I argue about politics?” It’s probably not good for my health. Sometimes I start sweating a bit when I can’t come up with a good counterpoint.  At least I’ve overcome the urge to get angry, perhaps with a firmer grasp of where I stand and why. There must be some element of thinking I’m right. In the last few years that thought might have a bit of merit for all the reading I’ve done, but I was arguing about politics before I started researching libertarianism and Austrian Economics.  Before 2007 I was only concerned with making a living and having fun in the interim, but still felt my view was the correct one.  I guess that is human nature and the reason most people do not debate about politics or religion.  In my opinion though, any position you can’t defend is no position at all.  I’ll respect religious differences, they shouldn’t affect me, but your beliefs about the nature of government do affect me, so that’s why I think we need to consider them.

Keynesian economics (spend our way to prosperity) seems intuitively wrong as does our foreign policy (killing someone’s family makes them want to vote for your puppet dictator). The government has a motive to whitewash its sins and embellish the victories.  Who approved those textbooks you learned from in school?  Should we believe our government is unique in history in being totally honest with its citizens?  Then there is the fact that an astonishing number of guys involved with Austrian Economics called the recent crash.

I am concerned about the present state of affairs in our nation, and hardly any of the issues that are presented in the nightly news. Loss of civil liberties, a growing police state, perpetual war, economic calamity caused by central banking, an incompetent government and a corrupting elite class are some of things that make me want argue.  If you want an earful, suggest that the state is the natural solution to any of these ills that it created.

I have been told arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics.  I guess that is supposed to mean that it is pointless, which is pretty mean, and sadly somewhat accurate, as I am not exactly in the same league as someone like economist Robert Murphy who has raised $105,000 to try and get Paul Krugman to debate him.  Obviously Krugman is scared since Ron Paul whooped on him and Murphy is much sharper than Paul.  My own father told me that my effort on this blog was not going to change any minds.  He also believes socialism is workable, so I take that opinion with a grain of salt.  Perhaps the naysayers are right and I am just flapping my arms here trying to fly.  My goal is to expose the ideas of libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism to a few new people, so I’ve already achieved success in that.  People do change their minds about political philosophy.  I did, so there is some hope, and not the kind you get from a poster.Hope-you-dont-get-indefinitely-detained-Obama

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I have a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Two to three years into the program I was having a tough time and wanted to quit, but my parents encouraged me to step up to the challenge.  I studied hard the next semester, got on the Dean’s List, and continued to do well through fairly intense study.  After college there were a few years where I didn’t feel like learning except for occasional “edutainment” on the Discovery or History channels.  That changed when I lost my job and my 401K dropped by a third. In the search for an answer to why that happened, I found the subjects of libertarian philosophy and Austrian Economics.  Now I’m driven to absorb as much as I can about history, economics, philosophy, and logic relating to the non-aggression principle.  There are many sources for information out there, but in my opinion, the most prolific communicator in the circle of Austro-Libertarian thought is historian and author, Tom Woods.

Dr. Woods holds a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Columbia, both in History.  He has written eleven books, including two that I have read and were also on the New York Times best seller list, The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown.

Tom is the creator of an educational website called LibertyClassroom.com, which includes several courses in History, Logic and Economics.  The classes are presented in approximately 30 minute segments that are perfect for a commute or a short nightly session.

I recently finished the “Western Civilization to 1500” course.  It was very interesting to learn about ancient societies and get a broader understanding of the origin of many laws and mores in our current culture.  Religion, political arrangements, and economic activity were discussed from the time of Mesopotamia through the Middle Ages.

Presently, I’m listening to  “History of Political Thought Part 1”, and just got through some lectures on Plato’s thoughts on political philosophy.  It’s interesting to note that what he advised entailed slavery and totalitarianism.  I’m glad we have continued to discuss the ideal conditions for man to live under.

Tom also hosts a daily podcast called The Tom Woods Show.  I highly recommend tuning in as the guests are varied and always interesting.  You will learn a lot just by listening to the show.  If you tune in you will also get updates about another project he is working on, the Ron Paul Curriculum.  All this and his wife just had their fifth child, so you understand that he is prolific by all definitions of the word.

Considering that kind of schedule, I feel like a loafer for complaining about how tough college was or how busy my current schedule is.  We always have a little time in our day to learn something new.  It is in fact necessary if you want to live a full life.  If you generally agree with what I’ve been talking about on this blog, you should really look into LibertyClassroom.com   If you subscribe through a link on my blog I will get $30.  I’ll send you $10 via paypal and donate the rest to Antiwar.com, or donate it all to Antiwar.com if you wish.  Currently you can save 50% by using the coupon code DISCOUNT.

Saga is an India Pale Ale from Summit Brewing who says this beer is “Named after the Norse goddess Sága, drinking companion of the God Odin. With a divine tropical fruit hop aroma and clean, assertive bitterness.”saga

India Pale Ales are known to be hoppy or bitter.  There is a measurement scale for beer called International Bittering Units (IBUs).  Saga comes in at 80 IBU’s.  Just for reference, light American lagers rate 8-12 IBUs, and some of the highest ratings are over 100.  I did not like IPAs for a year or so.  A good friend of mine drank a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and I typically don’t refuse any beer that is offered.  I got used to the taste and now IPAs are one of my favorite styles of beer.

Smell: Malt, earth, citrus.

Taste: Pine, medium hop kick holds throughout.  Citrus. Not incredible, but a very good IPA.

Mouthfeel:  Alcohol warmness (6.4%) dry and fairly carbonated.

Appearance:  Light copper.  Not much foam retention (only poured 1/4″ of head so maybe bad on me)

Overall:  Very good beer for the price. One of my stand bys along with Sierra Nevada.  I really like IPA’s and those two are both solid beers in my opinion.  It helps that they are both often on sale at my local shop.