Feel Challenge, Not Pride, from Your Heritage

If you were born in America, you were gifted with quite a heritage: explorers, craftsmen, warriors, statesmen, sailors, writers, and artists from Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis and Thomas Edison.

Should you take pride in that heritage? (Set aside the bad heritage – and there is plenty of it – let’s talk about the good.)

A common rejoinder is that even the best of our heritage is not a reason to feel any pride. After all, we are not those men, and we did not do their great deeds.

This is true. It’s a good criticism, really. But in its oft-intended effect – to make us lose interest in our heritage (or to be more critical of it) it misses the mark.

We should not feel any personal pride for the inventions of Edison, for the writing of Thoreau, the explorations of Lewis, or the philosophy of Jefferson. We should instead feel our pride challenged. These guys should make us ashamed of ourselves – at least insofar as we are not living up to their standards of character and achievement.

See, this is what our remembrance of history and heritage should do for us. It should not be self-congratulatory, but self-examining and self-motivating. It is up to us to rise up to the best of the legacy given to us, and to exceed that legacy.

If this seems like a tall order, it is. But there is another gift of heritage. With its challenge comes also the strength to meet it. The blood of great men and women flows in our veins – either literally, in genetics, or metaphorically, through ideals and tradition. The heritage they left includes the strength to be better men and women ourselves. And that, insofar as we use it, may be something to be proud of.

Originally published at JamesWalpole.com.

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The New Censors

Do you say what you think? That’s risky! You may get fired!

You’ve probably heard about a New York Times editor resigning after approving an opinion piece by Senator Tom Cotton that suggested the military to step in to end riots.

Many Times reporters tweeted out the same alarmist wording, “Running this puts Black NY Times staffers in danger.”

Really? How?

In my new video, Robby Soave, a Reason magazine editor who writes about young radicals, explains, “They only claim it because that’s their tactic for seizing power in the workplace.”

They learned this tactic from so-called woke professors and fellow activists at expensive colleges, says Soave.

Last year, Harvard students demanded that law professor Ron Sullivan resign as a resident dean. Why? He’d agreed to be part of Harvey Weinstein’s legal defense team.

A female student said, “I don’t feel safe!” although Sullivan had been a dean for many years. Sullivan resigned.

At UCLA, business school lecturer Gordon Klein rejected a request to give black students different treatment on their final exam because of George Floyd’s death. Klein pointed out that since the class was online, he had no way of knowing which students were black. He also told students: “remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the color of their skin.”

The activist group Color of Change (which once demanded that I be fired) launched a petition to have Klein “terminated for his extremely insensitive, dismissive, and woefully racist response.” UCLA quickly caved. Klein is on mandatory leave.

Now that many former college radicals have jobs at elite media companies, they demand that newspapers not say certain things.

When, in response to looting during George Floyd protests, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran the insensitive headline, “Buildings Matter, Too,” 44 staff members claimed that “puts our lives at risk.” Their letter didn’t give any evidence as to how it threatened their lives (in fact, today both blacks and whites are safer than ever), but they won. The editor resigned.

A week later, young activists at NBC news tried to silence The Federalist, a respected conservative site that NBC labelled as “far-right.” The Federalist had published a column that said, correctly, that the media falsely claimed that violent riots were peaceful. But the column did contain a mistake. It quoted a government official saying tear gas was not used, when it had been used.

NBC then ran an article bragging that Google blocked The Federalist‘s ads after an “NBC news verification unit” brought The Federalist‘s “racism” to Google’s attention. NBC’s reporter even thanked left-wing activist groups for their “collaboration.”

But NBC was wrong. Google didn’t cut off The Federalist. Google merely threatened that if The Federalist didn’t police its comments section.

It was one time when the activist mob’s smears failed. But they keep trying to kill all sorts of expression.

Some now even want the children’s TV show Paw Patrol canceled because it suggests law enforcement is noble.

When activists decide that certain words or arguments are “offensive,” no one must use those words.

But “we’re supposed to occasionally offend each other,” says Soave, “because you might be wrong. We have to have a conversation about it. We have to challenge dogma. What if we were still with the principle that you couldn’t speak out against the King?! That’s the history of the Middle Ages.”

That’s when authorities arrested Galileo for daring to say that the earth revolved around the sun.

“That’s the condition that all humans lived under until just the last 300 years, and it was a much less happy place,” says Soave. “Then we came to an idea that we improve society by having frank and sometimes difficult conversations about policy issues, philosophy, about how we’re going to get along and live together.”

Life has been much better since people acquired the right to speak freely.

Elite colleges spread the idea that speech can be a form of violence. “Words are like bullets!” they say.

But words are words; bullets are bullets. We must keep them apart.

When entitled leftists declare themselves the sole arbiters of truth, it’s crucial that we all speak up for free speech.

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Contra The Short, Simple Dismissal Of Libertarianism: Philosophy and Society (32m) – Episode 317

Episode 317 has Skyler giving his commentary on the subtopics “Philosophy” and “Society” from Mike Huben‘s “The Short, Simple Dismissal of Libertarianism“. He writes, “99% of libertarianism is obviously untrue or unacceptable for one or more of these reasons… How can we know that so easily? Here are some simple principles that make it obvious.”

Listen to Episode 317 (32m, mp3, 64kbps)

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/evc.

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The Liberty of Homesteading (1h49m) – Episode 025

Episode 025: Jared invited Ben from the Homesteads and Homeschools podcast, TX Joe from the Insurgency Knitting Circle podcast and Dagorist the homesteader on the show to discuss how sometimes the voluntaryist philosophy can lead to homesteading. These guys shared a lot of knowledge and inspiration and he knows you’ll get a ton of value from this show. Enjoy!

Listen to Episode 025 (1h49m, mp3, 64kbps)

Contact Jared by emailing voluntarycontrarian@gmail.com, on Twitter @TVC_Podcast, on Instagram @voluntarycontrarian, and on Facebook fb.me/TVCPodcast.

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “voluntary contrarian”. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/evc or PayPal.me/everythingvoluntary.

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My Favorite Philosopher Is Me

Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of people who are wiser than me. There are plenty of thinkers and writers more profound. There are plenty more original (I’m certainly influenced by lots of philosophers – some whom I don’t even know).

There’s just not anyone else who can do my thinking – and living – well for me. And isn’t that what philosophy is supposed to be for?

I’ve long been of the opinion that there’s something wrong if philosophy is just a game of referencing long-dead thinkers or reading indecipherable academese. It is probably a good thing to know the philosophers who have been influential on the mainstream (and alternative streams) of ideas, but knowing someone else’s idea is not the same as seeing the truth of an idea for yourself. Philosophy isn’t something that happened – it’s something that is happening, all the time. Even when knowledge is rationally received, it takes that little bit extra – often from personal experience – before it can become real.

If I’m going to engage with philosophy, I’m going to have to do it on my own two feet. I have to make the mistakes, have the regrets, live with the confusion (and the wonder), and test the ideas in my own world. And so I have to root for myself to do more and better philosophy, and I have to thank myself for what I’ve learned so far, even as I pay substantial thanks to the much wiser and more erudite teachers who started me down the path.

So yeah, while I may be no one else’s favorite philosopher (I shouldn’t be) – and while no one else may think of me as a philosopher (they probably shouldn’t) – I’m still my own favorite.

Originally published at JamesWalpole.com.

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Never Hurts to Make Preparations

As the panic over coronavirus loses steam, and everyone who isn’t a political power junkie gets back to normal, remember the lessons you learned over the past few months.

The virus wasn’t as dangerous as the fear-mongers wanted to scare you into believing, but it did kill some people. While it hasn’t gone away, it has lost much of its power to frighten people. This is bad news for most politicians.

The virus is likely to surge again this fall, if not sooner. This may trigger a new cascade of overreactions by politicians and more panic by their followers. Maybe people got smarter from experience and won’t fall for the hype this time, but don’t bet your life on it. Be ready, just in case.

Remember those supplies you couldn’t find in stores? Stock up now. Just a little here and there — even one extra item each time you shop will help. You may end up wishing you’d stocked up more, but anything will be better than missing the opportunity to get ready when you had the chance.

The preppers weren’t the ones to blame for the empty shelves. Those who weren’t prepared and went into “panic and hoard” mode caused the trouble.

You might not like the expense of buying extra things you don’t need today, yet as long as you only buy things you will eventually use anyway, you won’t waste money. In fact, buying in bulk could save you money in the long run. It’s worth checking out.

It won’t hurt you to be ready, even if the virus doesn’t come back.

That’s the philosophy behind “prepping.” Being prepared isn’t going to hurt you, and it could help you. If not during a pandemic, then during a blizzard, water shortage, or power outage. Wouldn’t you rather be ready than feel as helpless as you did last time?

Prepare your mind, too. Be ready to reject the fear mongers next time around. Don’t trust them to tell you the truth or to even know the truth. Don’t tolerate another round of shut-downs. Don’t allow them to make you feel helpless.

As I reminded you when this first began, you know best how to protect your own health. Do what you know you need to do. You have the power and the ability. Use it to your advantage.

Maybe we’ll be lucky and none of this will be needed, but wouldn’t you feel bad if you ignored the warning and got caught unprepared?

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