Shepard’s Journey, Former Cop, Voluntaryism, & Spreading Liberty (59m) – Episode 426

Episode 426 welcomes Shepard the Voluntaryist to the podcast to chat with Skyler on the following topics: knowing Carl Watner intimately and his work at Voluntaryist.com; Watner introducing both Skyler and Shepard to Stoicism; his discovery of Ron Paul, and then Murray Rothbard, Walter Block, Larken Rose, et al; his 10 year career as a police officer, 2 of which were as a prison guard; capitalism versus corporatism; growing up with the Mennonites, but later becoming an atheist; Marc Stevens’ method of challenging state jurisdiction; the wisdom in avoiding the cops; why the BLM protests over the some had the wrong grievance about injustice; a story of a prison inmate getting beat up for flushing a toilet, and how asking about why this happened to a fellow prison guard got him ostracized; why spreading the ideas of liberty, planting seeds, is a very slow process; fun strategies to repel cops; and more.

Aphorisms in Honor of Liberty, Part Eight (28m) – Episode 418

Episode 418 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following aphorisms written by Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewski: “A good economist believes that his role is to improve the public’s understanding of the market. A bad economist believes that his role is to improve the market’s understanding of the public.”; “A democratic state is a device whereby everyone gets a chance to assert his nuisance value on a social scale.”; “A foolish environmentalist wants to save nature from the greed of the market by exposing it to the tragedy of the commons. A smart environmentalist wants to save nature from the tragedy of the commons by exposing it to the greed of the market.”; “Happiness without liberty is no more possible than wisdom without knowledge.”; “Believing that the state can promote culture is like believing that putting a gun to someone’s head is a gentleman’s offer.”; “A utopian believes in changing human nature. A realist believes in unleashing its potential.”

What We Train For & Poor Expectations (20m) – Episode 036

Episode 036 looks at two Stoic topics: the first from Epictetus who wrote, “But what is philosophy? Doesn’t it simply mean preparing ourselves for what may come? Don’t you understand that really amounts to saying that if I would so prepare myself to endure, then let anything happen that will? Otherwise, it would be like the boxer exiting the ring because he took some punches. Actually, you can leave the boxing ring without consequence, but what advantage would come from abandoning the pursuit of wisdom? So, what should each of us say to every trial we face? This is what I’ve trained for, for this my discipline!”; and the second from r/Stoicism, a post by Throwawaymykey9000 who started off with, “Whenever you find yourself upset, pay close attention to what false appearance/expectation you had that led to the discomfort. This is how you grow as a Stoic.”

Silence is Stupid, Argument is Foolish

Public debates aside, I now only engage in intellectual arguments with thinkers who play by the rules.  What rules?  For starters: remain calm, take nothing personally, use probabilities, face hypotheticals head-on, and spurn Social Desirability Bias like the plague.  If I hear someone talking about ideas who ignores these rules, I take evasive action.  If cornered, I change the subject. Why?  Because I now realize that arguing with unreasonable people is foolish. 

Stories Open Doors

When someone tells you, “I’m an engineer”, instead of filing this as a fact in your mental Rolodex, you immediately want to know the story. How did they end up an engineer? Is this the end of a long journey, the beginning of a new story, or the middle? Curiosity drives you to ask good questions, good questions make connections, and connections lead to opportunities.