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

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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.

The Accident Fallacy: A Beginning to Solve Many Issues

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

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

For Other Resources:

For Similar Articles:

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:

Things You Can Fail at Now

Things You Can Fail at Now
Things That You Can Fail at Now:
1. Start making some substantial videos (helping somebody, in some way; Thirty Days of Live videos?)
2. Write a Book (something you know about, or can get from research)
3. Apply for a Job that you think is above your head
4. Pretend that you’re an adult, and have rational discussions with friends and family (I’m being a little glib, maybe, but by explaining what you believe- and why-to others, you develop yourself)

**Wondering Why You Want to Fail? Check out my previous video**
For similar content, check out CommonPhilosopher.com

Things That You Can Fail at Now: 
1. Start making some substantial videos (helping somebody, in some way; Thirty Days of Live videos?)
2. Write a Book (something you know about, or can get from research)
3. Apply for a Job that you think is above your head
4. Pretend that you’re an adult, and have rational discussions with friends and family (I’m being a little glib, maybe, but by explaining what you believe- and why-to others, you develop yourself)

**Wondering Why You Want to Fail? Check out my previous video**
For similar content, check out: Failure is Essential for Growth, The Relevance of Reason and the Curious Absence of Logic in Public Schools, Three Tips to Make the World a Better Place, What Would You Suffer For?

Failure is Essential for Growth

Three Things Necessary for Growth: Failure -then- Regrouping-then-Bold New Starts You can’t have growth without failure, and you can’t live a great life without growth.

Three Things Necessary for Growth:

Failure -then- Regrouping-then-Bold New Starts You can’t have growth without failure, and you can’t live a great life without growth.

1. Try bold plans (others doubt your likely success; seems like a longshot)

2. Fail

3. Regroup, Rethink, Diagnosis/Prescribe

4. Start Again Genuine Fails Come from Genuine Attempts (get your soul crushed…so you can learn/relearn/relearn that you can ‘come back’ smarter and stronger)

You Need to Read! Reasons to Read Daily, for Health, Wealth, and Wisdom

Here are some reasons to read (notes from the video post):

  1. Read for Wisdom:
  • Wisdom is knowing and understanding the truth, which includes what is good in life (in general), and what is best in life, given your circumstances (in particular). 

2. Read for Joy: 

  • Aristotle ”The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet” (from Diogenes’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers)
    • Reading is only bitter in the beginning, I’d submit, once you are proficient in reading, and know what is good to read, reading is then transformed from drudgery to pleasure. The words are means to the ideas and reality, at first it is hard to see, but with polishing, the glass in transparent, and you see through it, to the reality itself.

3. Read for Character Development

  • Pat Williams: “Good character is the accumulated deposit of good moral choices.” (21 Great Leaders, Ch. 10 on Washington)

4. Read for Prudent Investing (i.e.Wealth): 

Interesting articles to check out: 

Books to Buy/Borrow: 

You are not just a bunch of cells, you have a spiritual and moral dimension, if you neglect it, it will show. 

A better title would have been, though longer: “You need to read, study, reflect, build conviction and habits, and invest your resources (time, money, energy, life)” However, setting up a time to read is the first part to doing these other things. 

A question that naturally emerges….how do you know if you’re reading the right things? Good question….but that must be reserved for another day, and another post. 

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Please Stop Misrepresenting Statistics: Correlation is not causation.

Repeat after me: Correlation is not causation. No, really: Correlation is not causation. It may have something causal to it, or it may not. It might have something informative, or it may not.

Oh my goodness, I can barely stomach watching the news, or watching social media posts…the statistical fallacies are basically palpable.


Repeat after me: Correlation is not causation. No, really: Correlation is not causation. It may have something causal to it, or it may not. It might have something informative, or it may not.

A disparity in a statistic does not have causal power because mere statistical correlations are not inherently causal at all!

A true statistic does indicate something, but it is not obvious what that something is.

Case 1: 100% of serial killers drink water. Should we infer that water leads to murders, murderers, etc? Why not?

Case 2: If you and Jeff Bezos were in a waiting room for something, the average net worth for those in the at waiting room would be around 50 billion dollars, assuming you are worth around 0 billion. Should we infer that you do, or should have 50 billion dollars? No. But why not?

Case 3: 100% of the top cartel family is wealthy (this cartel derives its income from prostitution, violence, drug trafficking, etc).  Are we justified in concluding that a member in the top cartel derives money from nefarious means? If yes, then why?

Case 4: 30% of group A are incarcerated. This is 10% more than some other class B. Should we infer that there was a miscarriage of justice? If yes, then why?

To talk about these issues meaningfully, we have to distinguish two types of cause: Agent causes, and natural causes (non-agent causes). Agent causes have to do with the choices of free agents (humans with free will). The other type of cause does not have a direct bearing on our choices (at least not in any obvious, direct, and explanatorily rich way). If we make these distinctions, then we can easily tackle these four cases.

In case 1, the difference between serial killers and non-serial killers has relevant relation to whether they drink water (it has to do with a set of actions, pursuits, etc, of different agents, choosing different paths in life).

In case 2, the average wealth of 50 billion dollars has no bearing on your because wealth has nothing to averages. Rather, it would need further information about previous choices, investments, property, etc. Importantly, there is no obvious insight into mere averages, and we are guilty of hasty generalization if we try to sneak in any other ideas without justification.

In case 3, the wealth of a given cartel member is stipulated to be ill-gotten because of the historical provenance of wealth creation. In other words, the fact that money was ill-gotten has nothing do with the numbers and percentage, it has to do with the quality of free will actions on behalf of the agents. The numbers themselves provide no helpful information…because….mere statistical correlations are not necessarily causal, nor even explanatory, without further information.

In case 4, we are not justified in concluding anything about group A or group B at all because none of the relevant information is included. It says nothing about the choices, the laws, the process by which they were incarcerated. The idea that they should be equal in every way is astonishingly naive.

I have many ideas on why some get misled by statistics, but this is a long enough post. Let’s make the world less crazy with fewer fallacies. Please. Seriously. Please.

As a last-minute qualification, the wrinkle is that some correlations might indicate something causal. However, the issue here is that there is a good reason to not jump to conclusions. For instance, taking cyanide does lead to death. But this simple point here is that we are not justified in making an automatic jump between correlation and causation.

For other posts on voting, social media, logic, citizenship, and philosophy.

For a more in-depth look at statistical fallacies go here.

For a good video introduction to statistical fallacies go here, in the context of the social sciences, Jonathan Haidt (start towards the end if you only want the correlation/causation discussion).

Related Articles:

Other Articles from CommonPhilosopher:

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!

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