What is Tyranny? What’s the Big Deal?

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)
What is liberty? Liberty is the freedom to do 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.

  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

Related Articles

How to Be Optimistic: 3 Major Steps

How to Be Optimistic: 3 Major Steps, Problems were solved centuries ago
Serenity Prayer
Know that there is a transcendent meaning

  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.”

Related Articles:

Related Internal Articles:

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.

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.

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!

Related Articles and Videos:

5 Steps of a Rational Analysis for Voting, Controversial Issues, and General Thinking

First, Put some major issues on the table, like racism, abortion, socialism-vs-capitalism, war, and education. Think about how passionate people are screeching at each other about these issues. Take a step back, and consider any of these issues through the following steps.

First, Put some major issues on the table, like racism, abortion, socialism-vs-capitalism, war, and education. Think about how passionate people are screeching at each other about these issues. Take a step back, and consider any of these issues through the following steps.


1. Diagnostic: What is the real problem?


2. Prescription: Given the diagnosis, what is the best solution?


3. Theoretical Dimensions/conflicts/foundations


4. Historical Application


5. Current Application

Watch for these: 

  • Watch for emotional appeals/divisive
  • Presumptive characterizations of the problems that need to investigate

Tips That You Can Do Now

  • Suspend judgement, admit ignorance, be impartial-before-partisan
  • Seek to know the basic beliefs of the people you are studying
  • Self-Test: if you agree with every policy from a given person or group, chances are, you’re not even thinking things through

Controversy for Progress

Do you want to make the world a more peaceful? Have more discussion, not less. Have more controversy, not less. Similar to teaching a young person to drink moderately, rather than teaching them to embrace abstinence, wrestling with controversial subject matter is a must for an intelligent and free person. It is better for the person, and better for the society.

Do you want to make the world a more peaceful? Have more discussion, not less. Have more controversy, not less. Similar to teaching a young person to drink moderately, rather than teaching them to embrace abstinence, wrestling with controversial subject matter is a must for an intelligent and free person. It is better for the person, and better for the society.

Consider this quote from Tolstoy:

“If everyone made war only according to his own convictions, there would be no war.” Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, Page 25

Basic assumptions

  1. Some problems are properly solved intellectually, rationally, and voluntary (almost everything important)

2. Some problems solved with violence (some break into your house, attacks you, invades your country, etc)

3. Moral and intellectual virtues are like muscles, with practice they are developed, with disuse, they atrophy.

Ground Rules for Rational Discussion:

  • No fallacies (no irrelevant attacks, but focus on the argument at hand; see my articles on Fallacies here, here, )
  • Respect for Truth and Right (see my article Rational Discussion)
  • Respect for the Other Members of the Discussion

Negatives of avoiding controversy

  • Avoiding controversy atrophies your own convictions.
  • Avoiding controversy is itself a statement of relevance (something that can be compartmentalized into another part of your life, means that you are not willing to confront the ill effects of taking a public stand)
  • Avoiding controversy allows for collecting false friends and superficial associations (think of Aristotle’s analysis of Friendship, based on Utility, Pleasure, Goodness)

Positives of regularly confronting controversy

  • If you can be the person that confronts controversy, then you can be a leader, and a force for good (leaders confront controversial issues)
  • If you’re regularly investing in dealing with substantial matters, then the superficial matters are getting less attention
  • If you develop your intellect and your moral courage, then you are encouraging all those around you to be better people (wrestling with controversy does just that)
  • Positively changes your investment of time and energy (think about when people compare the salary of NBA stars to teachers, or soldiers, and some lament that the stars should get less; with a bit of economics in mind, in a free market, people who support the sport, vote with their dollar to give players raises. When you devote your time and money to being more intelligent, well-spoken, and positively-influential, then you’re investing in education)

What can you do to help develop yourself and others

  • Organize your thoughts on controversial matters
  • Understand the moral and rational implications of moral and rational thought: the implications actually matter- meaning, if you find that one of your core beliefs is wrong, than you are obligated to modify your beliefs; if you find that your lifestyle is wrong, than you are obligated to change your lifestyle (if you aren’t willing to do that, are you a person of integrity at all?)

Homework for your personal growth

  • Make a list of controversial issues that are live today
  • Articulate in writing what you think on them
  • Expose the argument that you think is compelling in front of others (be respectful, though)
  • If you don’t feel comfortable talking about these things, in front of your friends, family, coworkers, ask yourself why this is the case.
  • Explore these topics: God, Economic Theory, Abortion, Racism, Gun Rights, Euthanasia, Charity vs Taxed Welfare, Socialism vs Capitalism

Great websites along similar lines:

Good Philosophy is Servant Philosophy: Mesoteric and Exoteric Philosophy: A mission statement

Here is my understanding of what a good philosophy might look like. Three types of education need to be in view. To see these three, first start with two: Lay philosophy versus Professional philosophy.

Here is my understanding of what a good philosophy might look like. Three types of education need to be in view. To see these three, first start with two: Lay philosophy versus Professional philosophy. Professional philosophers operate at a very high level, in the sense that the works that they consume, produce, and engage in, require many years of investment before the works can be understood. Contrast this with what I’d call Lay philosophy, which is basically what one might encounter in a good introductory survey course in philosophy. I say ‘good’ because a good intro course is built in a way to be challenging but still accessible, and the bad course doesn’t actually provide a helpful introduction to philosophy that really helps the student.

If I could rename ‘lay philosophy’ with ‘exoteric’ and ‘professional’ with ‘esoteric’, then we’ll be getting somewhere. I think that philosophy influences people a great deal, but it does so in a very roundabout way. It is like that rudder in a great ship. If you were watching somebody in the depths of a cruise ship, it might appear that they are not doing much (working on machines, servicing them, etc), but this would be a mistake. The whole ship relies on the engineers in the ship. This is an imperfect analogy, but important. Philosophers influence other people in the university, which in turn, educate others, like those in education. So, esoteric philosophy is that hard-to-understand expert philosophy, and exoteric philosophy is for public consumption. ‘Ex’ summons to mind ‘outside,’ and ‘eso’ invokes ‘inside’ or ‘into’. In the middle, is ‘meso’ which simply mean ‘middle.’ As a philosopher, I wish to be a mesoteric philosopher that straddles the esoteric and the exoteric, between the high-level abstruse philosophy and the lower-level introductions to philosophy.

In many ways, I think that the exoteric and mesoteric philosophical levels are more important for society. Consider the political divisions, the crises of education, and so many other issues. Much of these things would be far different if the majority of the populace had access to what I would call good philosophy, that simplifies, unifies, and clarifies, our growing body of human knowledge. That is, in my estimation, philosophers should provide a way to understand how all of the bodies fit together (unifying), while carefully showing how each province of knowledge is different from another (clarifying differences) and simplifies hard-won wisdom into accessible statements that help a people live meaningful, resilient, rewarding lives. (See Adler, Maritain)

In this sense, I think philosophy should be a kind of service to people. But this is an odd position to have for an academic, as most academic, in terms of numbers derived from polling data, don’t like the free market (except for good economists). Free markets are about goods and services, where a person thrives if and only if, a one helps other people thrive, providing them with something that enriches their lives. Additionally, free markets are about rational persuasion and voluntary transaction (if I can’t convince you that my information, services, or products are worth your time and money, then I don’t get your support). I think that philosophy is a great benefit to humanity, to those that get acquainted by it and enrich lives. As such, if I’m ‘market-facing,’ as economists call it, then if I provide a good product (my philosophy), then success will be reflected by my support from voluntary transactions from responsible adults that value what I’m providing. In this case, I desire to occupy a space in the exoteric and mesoteric market space for philosophers (which I’d guess, is not exactly saturated). Contrast this coerced transactions, where a body of persons, assign the worth of somebody’s goods or services, and those goods or services don’t have responsive feedback from the market. Think about the cost of an x-ray or the way a professor is hired. The costs and processes ‘behind the scenes’ aren’t in the open, and the usually the only way things get checked by the public is if something goes terribly wrong (x-ray machine explodes, or professor gets involved in a scandal). However, free-market mechanism directly relates to the product being provided. I will provide some articles on the free market later, but for my present purposes, I think that good philosophy is a great benefit to all, and that it can be defended and promoted in the free market. And this, is basically what my philosophy is about. I’ll provide a bunch of philosophical articles tailor to my audience, which is interested in clarification, simplification, and unity, to their own lives. If you like what you see, you can buy my books later on (you won’t have to buy a $100 book, because the academic superpowers decided that you should add that to your mountain of debt).

So, welcome the CommonPhilosopher.com. I will be improving the site, adding meaningful content, and expanding the media. If you want to support me, you buy amazon through my ‘Patron support’ Amazon swoop. You don’t pay more, but I get a small portion of your purchase. If you like what I write about, then check out my recommendations for books. If want me to address something that you’ve wondered about, add a comment or email me.

Have a great day!

Check out my posts on economics, politics, logic, wine, and even Easter.

5 Reasons You Should Be A Classical Liberal (American Conservative):

This is a defense of Classical Liberalism, which is the philosophy that gave birth to the United States, and continued to develop it, until now. However, there are many misconceptions. The Classical Liberal (American Conservative) is anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-discrimination, anti-poverty, and anti-coercion

This is a defense of Classical Liberalism, which is the philosophy that gave birth to the United States, and continued to develop it, until now. However, there are many misconceptions. The Classical Liberal (American Conservative) is anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-discrimination, anti-poverty, and anti-coercion:

Anti-racist: The idea that human beings are made in the Image of God is a key idea to conservative American thought. Because there is a higher unity to humanity, the division into race seems strange. Christians, in fact, have been fighting slavery and racism for centuries. But to oppose the divisiveness of tribalism, you need a higher unity. This higher unity is first, a unity of humanity as a whole. A second and more profound unity is the unity of being something that God created. So, we have a shared nature, and we share a creator. 

Anti-fascist: Fascism is a modified form of socialism (see history of Mussolini and Hitler). Fascism is completely antithetical to American Conservatism. Conservatism opposes heavy centralization of State power: Fascism is the strong centralization power (there is more to it, but a necessary condition of Fascism is strong centralization; so, conservatives oppose the necessary conditions of Fascism). It is about as consistent to say that Rambo was pacifist, as an American Conservative is a Fascist. There is a lot of misinformation here, so you’ll need to look at some scholarly articles, specifically on Nozick, Sowell.

Anti-discrimination: I oppose grouping people by class, gender, and religion. To wrestle with demographics you might have to concede that such distinctions exist, however, Conservatives don’t start the analysis of every political discussion with ‘let’s divide everybody up by class, sex, color, etc.’ The fact is, your priorities are far more important.

Anti-poverty: Everybody should help out their community, and Conservative free-market principles have shown to do that the most, in addition to healthy charitable donations. Conservatives are against poverty, and anyone who says otherwise is guilty of slander or libel (not to mention the ad hominem fallacy; for more information on fallacies and policies go here)

Anti-coercion:  Tyranny from the State and violations of rights from other citizens are best illustrated by emphasizing coercion as an evil. Libertarian Conservatives want the least amount of coercion in society, this is why even the government is only licensed to use coercion against those that are guilty of coercion.

Positively, American Conservatism is: 

American Conservatives are proud of the political philosophy that broke away from classism, slavery, monarchy, and tyrannical government. Really, read a bit of history. You’ll have to go through centuries of political history, and the development of political and philosophical thought on law, jurisprudence, reflections on religious liberty, and the tensions between the state and worship.

This doesn’t mean that 1776 was the birth of Utopia. Rather, the Founders of the United States constitution forged the constitution with works like Utopia (that is the book, from Thomas More; I recommend it) in mind, as well the wars that have ravaged Europe, the wars between Protestant and Catholics, and the Freedom for self-determination. Conservatives draw from a rich wellspring of philosophical, political, and literary thought. Without education into these fonts, their vision cannot be grappled with.   

Now, one must consider the implications of this article. If I’ve been honest, that I’m a conservative because of these things, then it would be patently contradictory to equate Conservatism with anything related to the things that I oppose (either I’m wrong, misguided, hold contradictory ideas, etc).

The Miracles of Easter

Cultures throughout history have celebrated spring. It is about fertility, rebirth, new days after long nights, and the ushering in of life and flowers and hope. Alas, in a culture of surplus information, coupled with a lamentable deficit of substance, it is sad indeed that both Christians and non-Christians often miss the twin points of Easter.

Cultures throughout history have celebrated spring. It is about fertility, rebirth, new days after long nights, and the ushering in of life and flowers and hope. Alas, in a culture of surplus information, coupled with a lamentable deficit of substance, it is sad indeed that both Christians and non-Christians often miss the twin points of Easter.

First, the non-Christians were on to something– we mortals live but a time, but we see cycles of rebirth, growth, waning, and waxing. Different myths are often told to explain this wonder. Some may have been stranger than others. But it seems more strange to miss the fact that spring is amazing, wondrous, and magical.

The Christian faith, historically based, is about a person unlike all others, who conquered death, submitted to both death and humiliation for our sins. Not only was He God, but He is the God that comes down to die, is reborn, all for our sakes (like a seed that dies, is planted, and then comes to life). The fact of the seasons is a miracle. The fact of Christ coming into His creation and humbling Himself even unto death is an even greater miracle.

In Good Friday and Easter Resurrection Day, we celebrate the master of both life and death, the architect of the Universe, and the hand of the Creator- who leads by example–the servant King.

In winter, we may be forlorn, and life seems hidden in the cold and dark nights. But seeds that were dead, come to a new life in the spring, and resound with the miracle of life, reborn, and hearkening to us, that in fact, new days are before us, and the Kingdom of Summer may await us.

Christ answers the longing for us to see death being conquered by life. He is the myth that is true. Those that lament that the word Easter is a Germanic word with pagan import miss the point. The people before Christ knew that there was a miracle of the seasons. Of course, they knew about spring! Only foolish people would discount and ignore the miracle of the changing seasons (perhaps our de-cultured situation). Should the early Christians have decided to place their Christian holy day on Easter? How could they not? If you notice the poetry of nature’s seasons, and then you found out that the Poet behind the seasons put himself in the poem…how could you not celebrate Him and his seasons?

Great poem for Easter:


Provisional How-to for Voting (without being a lemming)

Don’t assume that voting issues are binary (neatly divisible by two; R vs D), because that is simply absurd. There are at least 100 crucial moral, scientific, and historical issues that need careful consideration, in order to make informed policy decisions and voting well. The very idea that all of your political positions can be comprehensively represented by two different parties is indescribably silly…

  1. Don’t assume that voting issues are binary (neatly divisible by two; R vs D), because that is simply absurd. There are at least 100 crucial moral, scientific, and historical issues that need careful consideration, in order to make informed policy decisions and voting well. The very idea that all of your political positions can be comprehensively represented by two different parties is indescribably silly. If you think that the political complexities are suitably covered by two categories, please don’t vote. It is likely that your reasoning is ill-informed.
  2. Don’t assume that every policy that promises something as just, is really just. Only a fool would simply assume a politician is telling the truth. Quite often, a policy that is marketed as just is unjust. Or, something for the poor, may not actually help the poor.
  3. Understand the principle of ‘cui bono’, and invested interests. Politicians thrive on emotional appeals. Cui Bono?: this simply translates to ‘who benefits?’. It is a good question, regardless of what the issue is. It isn’t decisive, but it is important to keep in mind. Politicians stay in power, and expand their power, by appealing to the ‘greater good.’ (this includes Third Reich, USSR; this is not a crude ad Hitlerum, but a simple appeal to the facts of history: politicians appeal to emotions, and get power through this)
  4. Suspend judgment (if you think you understand all of the issues of politics without much thought, you are either a bona fide genius, or you’re an utter fool)
  5. Evaluate issues independently: Each issue, and the corresponding political solutions, these need to be considered independently, as well as with other policies, historical context, means, etc. However, since we have a tendency to get wrapped up in emotional and irrational passions, it is wise to isolate things to their barest components before one can seriously evaluate what the issue really is, and what the appropriate response should be (sometimes inaction is preferable to inappropriate State action)
  6. Understand different aspects of policies:
    1. Know how moral issues differ from empirical issues (not strictly speaking, empirical; a policy might be immoral, even if does something that a group of people likes)
    2. Know how empirical issues (factual issues about the actual world) differ from moral issues (issues about right and wrong). For instance, empirical issues, strictly speaking, are not about moral principles. Moreover, sometimes a given policy isn’t obviously wrong (morally), but history may show that it doesn’t provide what it promises, or is grotesquely inefficient; like this$2 million dollar bathroom)
    3. Know how political theories underpin a given policy because some political theories are bad (this isn’t easily captured in a parenthesis, and requires a longer article; see Politics Without the Labels)
    4. Know how economic theories underpin a given policy (if a given policy is based on disproven/bad theory, that is a reason to not support it)
    5. ‘Good consequences’ don’t mean that it is the right thing to (otherwise, robbing a bank would be good, provided you distributed it properly; hint, it is still wrong)
    6. If you can’t separate these issues, this means that you should probably do some research, and after critical thought and discussion (assuming you have friends that are willing and capable of doing this), you can then revisit the underpinning issues later, with a clearer head, so to speak.

7. Exercise a little skepticism about policy promises, especially when someone is appealing to darker vices (revenge, envy, division, blame). Of course, sometimes people are to blame, but if the blame is assigned by getting carried away by tribalistic us-vs-them sentiments, you have to exercise MORE caution.

8. Look at strong defenses for both sides, and don’t formulate your positions by looking at caricatures from one opponent mischaracterizing the other. For instance, free market capitalism isn’t about greed, consumerism, and the destruction of the environment. Really. There are principled, well-meaning people that think that free markets make life better culturally, financially, politically, etc, without being pro-greed, pro-consumerism, and anti-environment. Likewise, though some capitalists may actually advocate for these negative things, it would be foolish to judge an entire group of people by the least coherent, and objectionable person that MISREPRESENT the position.

9. Don’t assume that there is deep-seated racism, bigotry, etc, etc, etc, simply because somebody disagreed with your beloved party. It is just silly…and annoying…and stupid.  If you put on colored glasses….guess what, everything you see will be….wait for it…colored. It will look different if you look at things from different angles and arguments. Consider what I call the Statist Fallacy: assuming that if you somebody does not think that the State is the appropriate mechanism to address a given ill in society, that this necessarily that such a person is against the given cause (e.g. State-run education vs. private charity). Understanding this fallacy makes it clear that it is not valid to conclude that since a person advocates for a private solution for a given problem, it is not necessarily because this person that does not value education itself. For instance, one can intelligently and coherently maintain that one means is more appropriate than another means towards a given end. Research and thought are needed to determine this, not gut reactions, ad hominem’s, and hysterics.

Much more can be said, obviously, but these are essential aspects to voting responsibly. Have any suggestions to add to this? Let me know.