What is Tyranny? What’s the Big Deal?

What is Liberty? What is tyranny?
  1. John Locke – what is the government for, and not for? Government is for –precisely– for securing your liberty. That’s it. Everything should be pursued through other means. (rational non-coercive means)
  2. What is liberty? Liberty is the freedom to what you should be able to do, without getting permission from someone that doesn’t have authority over your ability to act within your own sphere.
  3. What is tyranny?
  4. The Historical Status Quo – Government Control of….everything
  5. If Locke was right, then tyranny is the heart of bad government. (contrast short and long-term effects)
  6. If Locke was right, then liberty is the heart of thriving humans and human society. (contrast short and long-term effects)

Important Facts to Bear in Mind

  1. Evils aren’t always obviously painful (stealing from the rich is still theft)
  2. Well-meaning people can be very wrong, on both moral issues and empirical issues
  3. According to the relationship between Liberty and Government, the government’s PRIMARY job is to preserve your liberty. That is why it is a big deal.
  4. Many of the ‘political promises’ for something good, do the opposite (big pharma, tax subsidies, monetary manipulations)
  5. Children ask permission to do everything because they aren’t full-grown rational adults.

Critical Assumptions

  1. You own yourself, your labor, and your property
  2. Governments work for individuals and families (not the reverse)
  3. Rational non-coercive means are MORALLY different than coercive means

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How to Be Optimistic- Part II

Four Steps to Being More Optimistic

First, remember how you know that there is something more to the feelings.

Second, make vivid your transcendent vision of reality, by spending time fleshing it out, dreaming about it, nourishing it. Suggestions: good fiction, good non-fiction, surrounding yourself with others that cultivate the vision.

Third, establish concrete habits that affirm your optimism (if you aren’t doing something that accords with your transcendent vision then you don’t really have a guiding vision)

Fourth, incorporate ‘intrinsic tasks’ to your routines, with a very clear understanding of what they are ‘for’ (not for anything else, but for their own sakes)

Consider these Visionaries:

  • Steve Jobs – trying to ‘make a dent in the universe’ – “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
  • Martin Luther King:   “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  • Napoleon– ” The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind.”
  • Churchhill: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. “
  • Alexander the Great: “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”



How to Be Optimistic: 3 Major Steps

  1. Problems were solved centuries ago
  2. Serenity Prayer
  3. Know that there is a transcendent meaning

Some Examples of Transcendent Meaning:

  • Homer’s idea of living on in the Odes of their posterity (Alexander the Great, it is said believed in this conception)
  • Legacies of families
  • Nirvana, from Indian philosophy, or Reincarnation
  • Christianity, where one lives as an Image-Bearer of God, and reality itself is part of a tapestry of God’s plans, where God Himself (this seems the only true one, from what I can tell)

Consider these Visionaries:

  • Steve Jobs – trying to ‘make a dent in the universe’ – “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
  • Martin Luther King:   “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  • Napoleon– ” The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind.”
  • Churchhill: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. “
  • Alexander the Great: “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”

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“Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.” — Brian Tracy

Why is this the case? Five Reasons that Optimism is Associated with Success and Happiness:

  1. You find what you look for.
  2. Your vision motivates you (or not)
  3. Long-formed habits become your autopilot when things get bad (and life is full of struggles)
  4. Relationships are built with good-will and vision, and optimism is related to both of these (good relationships enable success and happiness)
  5. Optimism is related to intentionality over time (meaning that it reflects daily and long-term decisions)

Interesting Asides:

  1. How can you be honestly optimistic? Genuinely optimistic people have a different type of character than mere manipulators.
  2. In some way, optimism cannot be faked.
  3. Great leaders make the best of what there is, and this can only be done if they have ‘eyes for the good
  4. Your lifetime habits WILL be passed down to your children.

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

James Baldwin

Boiled Down: If you want to be successful and happy– and help your family and friends and community– you need to figure out a genuine way to be optimistic. This takes habitual intentionality, and always a mind to look for the good.

Five Dimensions to Consider:

  1. The World: Why is the world getting better? What opportunities are there to help?
  2. The Country: Why is the country getting better? What opportunities are there to help?
  3. Your Community: Why is the community getter? What opportunities are there to help?
  4. Your Family: How can you lead your family to prosperity?
  5. Your Own Character: What opportunities do you have to improve your character?

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You Are What You…. Do…Not What You Look Like (Dimensions of Character)

There is a sad trend of treating surface aspects as if they were deeply important. Consider how race and group membership are emphasized while the character is often overlooked. In these cases, it would be helpful to discuss things that truly are important. Here are seven important aspects:

  1. You are what you do– day-to-day, week, year, or now.
  2. You are what you believe, and why- as a system, and its foundations.
  3. You are what you seek (and avoid)- your means and yours ends
  4. You are what you prioritize– how your hierarchy of ends fit together, and what they are.
  5. You are what you think about– what and how and why.
  6. You are what you love – who, what, and why.
  7. You are what you enjoy- recreation, dreams, triumphs.

In some ways, all of these dimensions are some form of activity, which reveals who we are–who we decide to be. There are more dimensions worth our consideration. It cannot be overemphasized that these dimensions do not require wealth, education, or social recognition.

You Become What You Glorify

Here are six ways you become what you glorify:

  1. Your Worship- Love of money vs Love of Creator, Love of Persons vs Love of Stuff (Where do you find fullness and happiness?
  2. Your Habits- Virtues or Vices, repeated activities train yourself to be a kind of person (What habits do you seek to possess?)
  3. Your Standards- Pleasing to God or Man?, Satisfying Principles or People? (What is the standard of success?)
  4. Your Wealth- Career or Passive Income (Do you survive on only one stream of income?)
  5. Your Health – Healthy foods and activity vs unhealthy (Are you investing in your optimal health?)
  6. Your Mind- Are you constantly learning? Or, do you believe you ‘know enough’? Do you care about the truth, or do you want to appear smart?


Reasons to Define Your Terms and to Admit That You Don’t Know What Is Going On

Want to be more intelligent and wise? Rather than appearing ‘in the know.’ Here are some things to avoid to make you a smarter person, and the world a grade better.

Defining One’s Terms Avoids (or, reasons to be wary):

  • 1. Misunderstanding (wrong conceptions of the topic/idea)
  • 2. Error (wrong conclusions based on the misconception)
  • 3. Zealotry without Knowledge (fanaticism)
  • 4. Irrational Fanaticism that Immune to Evidence and Reason

3 Tests for Checking if You’re Terms are Clearly Understood:

  • 1. You can provide a coherent definition without a dictionary or google
  • 2. You can explain important differences between related terms
  • 3. You can explain the important aspects of the idea/term without hasty generalizations, or making attacks on people’s character

A Simple prescription

  1. Don’t rush into ‘sounding smart’
  2. Really think about the topic at hand.
  3. ****Wait for it**** Say ‘I don’t Know’

Tips for parents and teachers:

Encourage honest answers, rather than sounding smart. Conversely, trying to sound smart, but being foolish…this is not smart at all!

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The Accident Fallacy: A Beginning to Solve Many Issues

How to Be More Optimistic, More Positive

Want to help the world be a little bit better? Master the Fallacy of the Accident, and Apply It

What is it? Confusing an accident (non-essential attribute) with an essential attribute?

  • Racism: Surface vs Character
  • Education: Degree vs Knowledge and Ability
  • Religion: Nominal vs Actual
  • Appearance vs Reality

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5 Insights for Your Life, from Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning

1. Man can Be heroically resilient– with a firm meaning.

2. Transcendence of Tragedy, Requires a Kind of Indifference

3. Responsibility and Meaning are Connected

4. The Confrontation of Fear Allows the Fear to Be Overcome (paradoxical intention)

5. Humanity Did Create the Gas Chambers-but Humanity Also Can Fight Evil, Suffering, and Exhibit Heroic Endurance: Humans can say ‘yes’ despite horrible events

Great Quotes:

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. “

Friedrich Nietzsche

Frankl ends his book by saying that:

“man is that being who invented the gas chambers at Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”

Viktor Frank

Frankl believes that while man is certainly capable of doing evil, no individual human must be evil. Every human has the capacity to change his behavior and attitude in every possible situation.

In his postscript, Frankl reaffirms this belief as to the basis for his tragic optimism, or belief in the importance of saying “yes” in spite of everything.

Get the Book: Man’s Search for Meaning, Gift Edition

Get a Summary to Whet Your Appetite:

Don’t Be an Idiot!

The classical idea of ‘Idiot’ really means ‘private person,’ detached from the society around you. 

-Aristotle’s conception of human’s as ‘Political Animals’
-The trends are that things overwhelmingly getting better (poverty, education, literacy, child mortality, cures to disease)
-If you are a historical idiot (in the ancient Greek sense), you’ll definitely be really idiot, in the pejorative sense

Don’t want to be an intellectual idiot? Don’t be a historical idiot. 

-Aside: Gratitude for our current time in human history

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