"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." -John Adams

Welcome to Patriot's Lament. We strive here to educate ourselves on Liberty. We will not worry ourselves so much with the daily antics of American politics, and drown ourselves in the murky waters of the political right or left.
Instead, we will look to the Intellectuals and Champions of Liberty, and draw on their wisdom of what it is to be a truly free people. We will learn from where our Providential Liberties are derived, and put the proper perspective of a Free Individual and the State.
Please join us!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The State will gladly protect you from Freedom of Conscience.

For hundreds of years, western cultures have been refining what is known as Freedom of Conscience.
One of the outcomes of this refinement is Freedom of Speech, a Liberty that is relatively new to the human political experience.
Not long ago, being critical of a government, for instance, could get you killed by that government. Merely speaking out of turn or having critical thought towards the State religion meant torture or death.
But, we have advanced through time to understand that free thought and critical speech is something that a free people must protect and encourage. Thomas Jefferson went as far as to say that repressing Freedom of Conscience was a “Sin against God”.

Suppressing Freedom of Conscience though, was and is seen by the State as self preservation.

Today, we have access to information that only 20 years ago was other-worldly. Anyone with a cell phone can post a rant or share information to literally the whole world. Because of this information access, people take the information they get from the State influenced main stream media with a grain of salt, or immediately disbelieve it, and usually, rightfully so.
This is dangerous for the State’s propaganda machine, but the State realizes what is even more dangerous to it, would be for the State to appear to suppress it. Whether on the Left or the Right of the political spectrum, people tend to cherish what we now call, “Free Speech”, and rightfully so.

So what is the State to do? What States always do. Make the people fear their Liberty more than Itself.

Instead of immediately passing laws suppressing and/or silencing free speech, the State is manipulating the political fears people have to make them feel threatened by what they may think is opposing speech to their beliefs. And the fear the State has spread between opposing political speech has resulted in what not long ago would have been mocked as fairy tale superstition.

"Words can hurt you. People who disagree with you want to hurt you. You need your feelings protected against all invasion. Dissenting speech or thought is violence towards you.”

Instead of using dissenting views from our own to refine our beliefs and convictions, and to encourage discussion for the betterment of overall society, we are not only growing to fear Opposition of Thought, we want to be protected from it.

Enter the State.

From legislating pronouns, to aggressive threats of imprisonment for incorrect thinking, the State has moved in against Freedom of Conscience to suppress nonconformist. And some cheer this behavior by the State, seen to protect them from all harm. Others see it as a shield to advance their own political agenda opposition free.
 But, as Bastiat explained, while all wish to live at the expense of the State, the State lives at the expense of all.
No one's political or personal thoughts or actions, are safe from this aggression by the State. While the State will pick winners and losers in the short run, it’s only a matter of time before the State silences everyone.

Before you cheer the State for destroying your opposition’s Freedom of Conscience, remember when your opposition is gone, you will be alone, and no one will be there when the State marches you into the rail car that you have built.

Patriot's Lament Podcast #001 Cultural Marxism, Tom Woods, and Jordan Peterson

In our debut podcast, we discuss Tom Woods Podcast Episode 1164 featuring Paul Gottffried. Their topic was Cultural Marxism, is it real, and what does it mean?

We address this by asking, how would we best interact with so-called Cultural Marxists?

We then discuss the possible outcomes of treating these people with mercy and kindness instead of adversarial tension.

Finally, we discuss the story of Job and how his struggle is similar to the disillusionment the younger generation of today has with the world.

Richard Maybury joins us to talk about school shootings

I forgot to mention, Richard joined us on our 7th year anniversary  of doing the radio show. Thanks for all the great years of calling in and the great conversation we have had.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Message to Libertarians - Past and Present

Part 1 – Let Go

I recently saw Jordan Peterson speak in Detroit. His talk was on Rule 6 - Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world. This talk was an extended version of his YouTube video message to school shooters, past and present:

In his Detroit talk, he emphasized the choice of looking inward to save the world instead of looking outward. As he expanded on this idea, I began to realize that if you look outward, you also place blame outward. You begin to ascribe all the ills of the world to "others". But if you look inward will find that there is endless improvement to be made in your own life. You begin to realize that the problems of the world are all within your own soul, and that you have real work to do.

These realizations reflect my own journey through libertarianism and anarchism. The first thing that appealed to me about libertarianism was its stance against war. Then its stance against aggression (NAP). I waved signs. I "participated". I burned out. I became bitter. I became resentful. Nothing changed. I gave up. I spent years there, at the bottom.

I also ran from myself and my fears during this time. I became a "move into the woods" libertarian. The line of thought being, "I am good. The world is bad. I will remove myself from it and wait for it to fix itself. I will (not so) secretly hope for it to burn and will throw rocks whenever possible."

Peterson talks about "falling in love with your own ideas". His message applies to libertarians when he says the following:

If the world you are seeing is not the world you want, it's time to examine your values. It's time to rid yourself of your current presuppositions. It's time to let go.
Let go. Let go of being right while your life falls apart. Stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself if you are all you can be. If the answer is no, then you have work to do. And it's not the work of blaming the world for being imperfect.

The value structure that you inhabit determines what you perceive. It doesn't just determine what you expect or want. It bloody well determines what you SEE.
Do libertarians see a beautiful world of possibilities for the peace and prosperity they claim to seek? I rarely see it in their writings. I rarely hear it in their talks. I usually hear bitterness and hopelessness. Maybe their value structure need examining?

Being wrong gives you control to make things better. If you are right there is no way to make things better.
Humility is freedom. The freedom to grow. The freedom to improve. Libertarians too often seem to believe they know how society should be structured, and yet their own lives are a mess. Mine certainly was. And it still is. But I have begun the journey of making it better. And that journey has no end. I am now free to learn and to grow, without bounds. I do not know how the world should be structured, but I have begun to work on how my own life is structured. And that's a bigger undertaking than any political cause.

It's time to sacrifice who you are for who you could become.
Sacrifice is the precondition for transformation. Transformation of yourself. Transformation of your relationships. Transformation of the world around you. Instead of pontificating, consider what you need to give up. It starts with you. And it ends with you too. Stop pointing fingers.

The gateway to wisdom and the development of personality is directly through the portal that you do not want to go through.
Consider this when preparing to use the "against me" argument to alienate your next group of "worthless statists". What other behavior are you using to avoid understanding those you disagree with? To listening to them with honesty and sincerity? You'll find meaning and purpose in whatever you are running from. You just have to be strong enough to face it, instead of always trying to smother it or run from it.

It's by virtue of necessity that what you need is where you don't want to look, because that's where you've kept it.
What if there is truth in the existing structure of society? What if better understanding this structure is the path to improving it? What if ignoring the reality of how people around us interact has caused us to become so alienated that we can no longer function within the time and place that we occupy (HERE and NOW)? Would we be better off without our heads in the clouds?

Ask yourself, "What sacrifices do I have to make to make things better?"
Could refraining from NAP rants and deciding instead to listen strengthen your friendships? Could it result in becoming a person that your community respects, instead of avoids?

You have to sacrifice that which is most valuable to you currently which is stopping you. And God only knows what that is. It's certainly the worst of you. And God only knows to what degree you're in love with the worst of you.
Do you value your ideology so much, that you've stopped working, stopped living? Are you in love with your own ideas? I know I was. And the downward spiral from that way of thinking is nearly terminal.

If you're not moving forward in your life, there's a high probability that you have some idea or mode of action or habit that you're so in love with that you won't let go of it. Sometimes it's even something you love now.
Let go of building the perfect society. Begin building the perfect self. Begin building a somewhat passable self first. It's a lot harder than pontificating about the ideal geopolitical structure of the world. It's also a lot more rewarding. Your friends, family, and community need you and need your ideas. But they need you to be a high functioning member of society who is an exemplar of excellence first. They will gravitate to you and ask for your advice as you become an excellent human. No pontification needed.

Let go.
The world needs you to be your best self.
Self-improvement is the only path to peace.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Jordan Peterson, Hans Hoppe, Sacrifice, and Time Preference

Last Saturday we discussed the overlap between the archetypal significance of the Cain and Abel story (expanded on by Jordan Peterson) and the economic significance of Time Preference (from Hans Hoppe). It was fun to use these two different perspectives to create a "3-dimensional" view of society and civilization.

Libertarians often create 2-dimensional (flat) caricatures of society, then get lost in their own logic (they fall in love with their own ideas). These caricatures so removed from actual experience that they discredit the idea of  liberty. Hybridizing rationality with the rich meaning that Peterson is re-introducing to western thought makes for a stronger footing - one that works in practice (it can be lived) and in theory (it makes sense).

For more reading, check out our 3 part blog series on the same topic:
Part 1 - That which you value most
Part 2 - A bargain with the future
Part 3 - God's blessing

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Can I live it? Part 1 “Angry Joe”

One thing people tend to do, and I often do the same, is think of the world in the ought to be, and we imagine how things should be or could be, or just how we want it to be. When we talk through these things, whether it's economics, private property societies, (or voluntaryist society), we often project what we see as the perfect, without asking if we could live such a thing. I have read many writings on economics where after reading I think to myself, "well, this person has never actually ran a business", or, "this person has never actually had to deal with employees".

Some thing may sound great, but if it's not livable in your everyday life, then it's crap, worthless.

One of these things is something I have come across on Target Liberty, a site I read daily. I like the format and the author is someone I respect whose ideas make me think.

Except for one thing.

In his explanation of a Private Property Society, he says that in a true society such as this, that for there to be true justice, then everyone makes his own rules for his property. Of this I agree. If I invite someone over to my home, I may tell them, there is no smoking in my house, or stay out of my fridge unless you ask, or even something arbitrary, such as, if you come into this house, you have to stand on your head the whole time you are here, and if you don't, I will punch you in the face. While the last example is stupid, it's still livable if I instruct my guests to the rules before hand. I may never get any guests, but that doesn't matter.

The Target Liberty's author says that in his view, a property owner's rule over his property go beyond this. The following is an example that he uses, although I don't think he calls the subject, "Angry Joe".

Angry Joe has signs up all around his property: if you trespass, you will be shot. No excuses. He goes on to say that, even if a 5 year old boy wonders onto his property in some misadventure, Angry Joe can certainly kill the boy and is justified in doing so.

One of the justifications for this, is that even in the world we live in today, we stay away from the "bad" sections in town, and we don't let our children go to those places either. That's true, and it sounds great.

A real Private Property Society. Every man is king and tyrant of his own domain.

But can you live it?

Exactly how long will Angry Joe live, after he has shot the first born son of a young father who's whole life revolves around this boy? The father, in what I think would be righteous wrath, would destroy Angry Joe and everything he owns. Angry Joe would cease to exist. The Private Property Society would break down as sure as it was created, because humans cannot live this way.
If some things are always right, then some things are always wrong.

A lot of intellectuals can blather away on the perfect society and tell of the harshest of terms for that society, until they look into the eyes of their own child. They could not live it.

When you hear someone tell you that everything is relative, and nothing is absolute, then ask what's to keep you from taking a gun and blowing their head off?

No human with his head on even partly straight, can live this. And a community, or society, is itself just individual actors. If the single actor cannot live it, then the society most certainly cannot either.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Jordan Peterson's Biblical Sacrifice and Hans Hoppe's Time Preference: Part 3 - God's Blessing

A big part of the Cain and Abel story is God's blessing on Abel's sacrifice ... and God's lack of blessing on Cain's sacrifice. In the story, God tells Cain that:

"For whether you offer well, or whether you do not, at the tent flap sin crouches and for you is its longing, but you will rule over it."

Peterson takes this to mean that Cain's heart is not in his sacrifice. He is sacrificing for gain only. He is sacrificing with sin in his heart (ill intent, not good intent). He is trying to buy into the next ponzi scheme and be in early enough to win, and he's pissed that his brother who is doing the hard work is being rewarded.

God's blessing is only granted when the heart is in the right place. Intent matters. It matters more than material actions themselves. The world is made of meaning, not of stuff. This is Peterson's main takeaway from this part of the story.

Hoppe also highlights this truth, but in his own value-free way. He notes that societies that are free of oppressive state oversight will have a healthy culture of saving, capital accumulation, and overall honesty in trade. However, if the society is one of parasitism and authoritarianism (profit through exploitation and deception), time preference becomes very high and civilization begins to crumble. The sacrifice isn't from a pure heart and it will not receive God's blessing.

Again, it's the intent that determines the structure of the society. It's not the amount of accumulated wealth, it's the way in which people interact with each other. Is it through good will, or through deception? The world is made of meaning.

The value-free axioms of classical economics and the meaning rich landscape of the Biblical stories reflect each other. Or, perhaps more accurately, we could say that our observations of economic behavior reflect the deeper realities of humanity as found archetypical Biblical stories.

Remembering that economic activity is an outgrowth of human nature, and not the other way around, keeps our thinking grounded and provides humility. It keeps the rational thinker from saying how things "should" be. It reminds us that for society to be better in the future, for it to be lower time preference, we must in our lives as individuals:

- Act with good intention (God's blessing is only for the pure in heart)
- Make honest bargains with our future selves (Make an honest bargain with the future)
- Sacrifice our immediate desires in each moment (That which you value most)

When we each live our lives in this way, the society improves as a natural consequence of our actions. No political action is necessary. All that's required to build a low time preference society that becomes ever more peaceful and prosperous is to clean up our rooms, a little bit more, every day.

-David Giessel

Jordan Peterson's 12 rules referred to in David's post

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
  2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
  3. Make friends with people who want the best for you
  4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
  5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
  6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
  7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
  8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don't lie
  9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't
  10. Be precise in your speech
  11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Can I live it? An explaination to part 1.

I have tried to look through life with the beliefs and convictions I have with a simple question for myself:

Can I live it?

My simple thought on this is, if you can't live what you believe, then what you believe is crap.
What good is my belief if I can't live my life not only in it, but through it?
I can make political decisions that I think may be better for people to live by, but that political decision could end up literally killing someone, through state means.
Can I live that? Should I be able to live that, and have a clear conscience? Does my conscience over ride another humans conscience?

It's easy to make decisions and look at them in the now, or the "Seen", but what if I refine my thoughts to the "Unseen", which forces me to examine myself, before I examine my neighbor?
In a way, taking the log from my eye before I pluck out the speck in yours.

"Be the change you want to see" is the motto, but maybe what we  really need is to be the change we want to BE. And if we are honest, to live what we believe, it's the change we HAVE to be.

As a follower of The Way, can I hate my enemy, and claim to love all men? Can I live that, and live in love and in Truth?

No, I am deceiving myself, and in deceiving myself, I deceive others. How can we live in a harmony of deceit? Even markets to succeed, to be a free market, both in enterprise and ideas, we must live in truth.

My challenge, for myself, is to live what I believe. In my thoughts, in my aspirations, in how I want the world to be.

Am I just a clanging gong?

If I can't live it, I certainly cannot expect, and even less so demand, that the world listen.

Jordan Peterson's Biblical Sacrifice and Hans Hoppe's Time Preference: Part 2 - A bargain with the future

Cain and Abel are born into the world of time. Their parents had already been thrown from the timeless paradise of The Garden. As "The first real humans" (the first humans BORN into the world), they develop their understanding of the future beyond that of their parents'.

Peterson describes Cain and Abel's sacrifice as "making a bargain with the future." This builds on the idea of time itself, which Adam discovered when God told him he would now have to work. The only reason to work, to defer enjoyment now, is because you know you have responsibilities later. 'Now' and 'later' must be understood for the concept of work to exist. Hence the fall into time and the burden of work happening in the same moment.

The 'bargain' is a bigger discovery than time itself. It is the idea that the future isn't fixed. That it is negotiable. That it is changeable. You can bargain with it. It is not a rigid trap, it is just another dimension of experience which, when understood, offers tremendous opportunity. This is the basis of agriculture, of civilization, and of saving (money among other things).

Hoppe and Peterson's ideas intermingle here as well. Hoppe uses the phrase "in the long run" as description of bargaining with the future.
Those who realize that the future is just as real as the present can trade with it. They can trade with the future version of themselves by saving. This is low time preference. It is in fact just a simple trade between two parties - present you and future you.

An interesting thing about "the long run" or a "bargain with the future"
is that it only works out in a society that is based on honesty and trust. This trust begins within the individual. It begins with you. If the present and future versions of yourself aren't aligned in values, your present or future self is likely to deceive the other. You are likely to scam yourself over time and become impoverished instead of enriched. This is what dishonest financial institutions facilitate. They allow people to fool themselves into thinking that they can become rich without sacrifice, without work. And they end up collapsing and consuming wealth over time, just as dishonest trades in the present do.

The concepts of saving, of the future, and of time preference are the same. They are all expressions of the concept of trade in the present moment between two parties. Are both parties honest? Do both expect to benefit from the trade? Do both parties understand and intend to fulfil their obligation to the other? Are you living a life that will be good for your future-self? Will your future-self honor the commitments of your present self? Or are you trying to deceive yourself across time? To enrich your present self at the expense of your future-self.

Remember Rule 2 of Peterson's 12 rules for life: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Be honest with your present and future self. Do not pit them against each other or both will lose.

-David Giessel