Micah Salaberrios: Fundamental Principles of Nonviolent Communication (23m)

This episode features author Micah Salaberrios, host of the Art of NVC podcast, from 2019. He examines 7 fundamental principles of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), which include: 1. No evaluations; 2. Authenticity; 3. Blame no one for your feelings; 4. When in doubt, express how you feel; 5. Feelings are one word; 6. Never imply someone else is wrong or bad; 7. No compromise. Purchase books by Micah Salaberrios on Amazon here.

Listen To This Episode (23m, mp3, 64kbps)

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The Overton Window is Broken

The Overton Window is a simple framework for understanding what is politically possible at any given moment and how the range of options can shift through time.

I used to work at the think tank where the concept originated, from the late Joseph Overton who was the VP there just before I started. I found it useful and valuable, and built much of my understanding of social change and the direction of my life and career around it. (Here’s a talk I gave explaining this process.) It had amazing explanatory power.

Now, it’s broken.

I don’t mean the window has shifted. I mean the entire framework of a continuum of political possibility from total freedom to total tyranny that shifts, shrinks, or expands is broken. It doesn’t explain the current world or where it might go.

I had no idea this was even possible, but it seems to me to be the case. Anything and nothing are politically possible at the same time. There is no boundary, no framework, no popular principles to shift. There is case by case chaos, openness to everything and nothing.

It happened fast. Within a few weeks, legible political paradigms disappeared.

It is possible the window has just shifted in the extreme, allowing for total tyranny. Or expanded to include a broad range that ends in total tyranny. But it feels less legible than that. It feels like there is no window at all. I suspect that in this chaos, anything is within the realm of possibility.

A good way to judge what’s in the window is to ask, “Could a political figure talk about this idea without losing election”. It doesn’t have to be a passable policy, just one that you’re allowed to talk about. For example, for most of my life, any politician who even talked about the idea of slavery as something worth considering would lose election. Or someone who talked about ending all public schools would lose election. The window didn’t extend that far towards tyranny in the first instance, or freedom in the second.

But right now, it feels like almost anyone could mention almost any idea and I’m not sure it would be too far from whatever is now normal to eliminate them from political discourse. I wouldn’t be surprised to see calls to make the income tax 100%. Or calls to eliminate it altogether. There are already states that have moved to totalitarianism, with 24/7 house arrest and tanks in the streets. Maybe some will cease government operations altogether.

I have no idea. No framework. No clear picture of a window or its shifting or direction.

The Overton Window of a few weeks ago seems to have exploded. There’s no legible direction. I have no idea what comes next.

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Richard Ebeling: Non-Intervention, America’s Founding Foreign Policy (34m)

This episode features a talk by ethics and economics professor Richard Ebeling from 2018. America is enmeshed in permanent, ongoing foreign wars and interventions. The results of foreign interventionism have been catastrophic, not only in terms of massive death and destruction abroad, but also in terms of ongoing, ever-growing destruction of liberty, privacy, and prosperity here at home. It is time for America to do some serious soul-searching. The best place to begin is by examining first principles — especially the founding principle of non-interventionism on which our nation was founded and which remained its guiding principle for more than a century. Purchase books by Richard Ebeling on Amazon here.

Listen To This Episode (43m, mp3, 64kbps)

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Open Borders: Think of the Children

I love to see kids reading Open Borders.  When my daughter was five, she read it over my shoulder as I wrote it – and I knew I was right to make it a graphic novel.  Since then, I’ve heard about dozens of kids enjoying the book.  When I advertise it and add #ThinkOfTheChildren, I’m not joking.  I really would like to put Open Borders in the hands of every kid on Earth.

The uncharitable explanation is that I want to brainwash ignorant children with absurd dogmas.  I predictably reject that explanation.  My story:

1. It is mainstream society that is guilty of “brainwashing” children in favor of immigration restrictions, with a steady mix of economic illiteracy, innumeracy, misanthropy, and status quo bias.

2. I, in contrast, calmly present a long list of well-crafted arguments, many of which are straightforward enough for bright, motivated children to understand.

3. Open Borders teaches many of the fundamental principles of economics en passant, including the causes of economic growth, the value of trade, and marginal productivity theory.  So I’m not just telling kids about one important topic; I’m giving them tools to analyze a broad range of issues.

4. I’m making social science fun, as it should be.

5. Could I persuade children of falsehoods if I tried?  Probably.  But I know I’ve done my homework, so why shouldn’t I share what I’ve learned?

6. My conjecture: (a) People who learn popular views as children tend to believe them for the rest of their lives – whether or not those views are true.  (b) People who learn unpopular falsehoods as children, in contrast, tend to abandon those views in adulthood.  (c) People who learn unpopular truths are quite likely to retain them later in life.

7. Upshot: If you think you have some unpopular truths to share, share them with the young.  If you’re right, you’ve plausibly saved them from being wrong for the rest of their lives.  If you’re wrong, they’ll probably figure it out and change their minds.

8. Learning about Open Borders when you’re young almost certainly isn’t as effective as learning a new language when you’re young, but let’s give it a shot!

 

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Falling Back on Principle

Nobody asked but …

That’s good. That’s right. Because it’s natural. — Jack London

Sometimes it takes awhile to fashion a topic, so I search Google for the keyword “politics,” using the “news” tab.  Now I’m struggling to define for myself what are the differences among a regular news day and a slow news day and a no news day and a fake news day.  But this is clear, there is no difference between yesterday’s news day and today’s news day.

So, if one is seeking clarity, one is looking with futility at whatever passes for news.  I did get some information, obliquely, however, from a local radio sports talk show.  Whether this was critical information, I will leave as a homework assignment for the curious.  But here are the particulars.  The Kentucky legislature is debating various forms of legalized gambling.  Firstly, the term, “legalized” is a misnomer, misleading in the extreme — more truth could be ascribed to either “decriminalized” or “monetized.”  The point I am pursuing is that human nature is beguiling.  We try to dress-up questionable activity with the appearance of propriety with a patchwork of words and “-izations.”  The gadflies who inhabit the Hill, in Frankfort, are, nonetheless, observing natural law because human nature is part of Nature.

I tend to observe events through the lens of Natural Law, particularly principles derived from the operations of Natural Law.  The first principle is that political control of natural tendencies (aka morals) is impossible.  I am not opposed to gambling;  I’ll not waste my time being against it.  But I am opposed to statist intervention in matters of chance, because such intervention always takes the forms of evil, as in criminalization, decriminalization, monetization, revenuization, legalization, and tax theftization.

As far as I know, wagering takes place in any gathering of human beings.  It is not an opportunity for exploitation.  Don’t tax it, don’t moralize about it.

— Kilgore Forelle

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The Subtle Art II

Nobody asked but …

I wrote in a forerunner article that I wasn’t sure whether Mark Manson, the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, was a voluntaryist or not. He would probably advise you to give no f*cks.

The upshot of the book is that you should only do so for that for which you are responsible.  You are not responsible for Mark Manson.  You are not responsible for Kilgore Forelle.  The sine qua non of voluntaryism is that you only get to enjoy liberties if you are willing to accept, wholly, the consequences that arise from using those liberties. Some claim that there is an exception for practicing self-defense. Au contraire, you must try to foresee and you must, regardless, bear responsibility for those consequences as well. Getting a pass is not what this is; this is in the event of the collapse of voluntaryist principles. The moment you do something in self-defense, that something is according to the principles of self-defense, not the principles of voluntaryism.

— Kilfore Forelle

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