The Real COVID-19 Heroes

I’m coming to the opinion that those who are risking getting coronavirus are serving humanity. If the riots are doing any good, that’s it. Same for political rallies (a slow riot?) or any other gathering.

Maybe it’s not good for individuals who are under greater risk of dying from it, but this thing is going to have to run its course. The only way that’s going to happen is if most people get it– and if the experts are right (Ha!) and immunity doesn’t last long, most people are going to have to get it at roughly the same time to take away its power.

In fact, it’s probably our responsibility to get out there regardless of the risks (if any).

It seems Covid-19 has already lost most of its power to kill. Until the past couple of days, none of the 3 counties in various parts of the country I’d been watching with personal interest had had a new death attributed to coronavirus in 3 or 4 months. That’s right– three or four months. Even as reported cases of the disease have skyrocketed. That ought to tell you something.

Even the two deaths which suddenly showed up after the long “dry spell” are suspicious to me for a variety of reasons. Could my prediction about a renewed push to get people to worry about conornavirus again be coming to pass?

The panicdemic has also lost most of its ability to scare all but the most politically susceptible and scientifically ignorant. Politicians and other political people are desperate for you to stay scared so you’ll give power to the politicians, regardless of reality. Don’t. No threat is so great that such behavior would be a good idea.

If you are worried about the virus, please take every precaution you can. Let the rest of us do what we need to do to make the world ready for you again. Please don’t try to stop us or point and whine about us. Don’t be a karen.

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Respecting Liberty Will Still Work

The world’s a bit crazy. Not as bad here as in other places, but we see the effects of those crazy paces even here.

Pandemics, riots, gangs of trespassers setting up their own governments … what’s next? A volcano spewing out zombies?

Whatever happens next, you can rest assured that respecting liberty will still work. It always does. It would even work against the volcano zombie invasion.

No matter how crazy the world gets, you don’t have to be crazy with it.

Aren’t you glad to know we had the cure for COVID-19 the whole time? Who knew all it would take to solve the pandemic were riots? Oh, sure, some has-beens are trying to keep the pandemic panic alive. Few people are still listening to them. Their 15 minutes of fame was over before they were ready. Maybe they’ll be happy if the virus comes back for round two this fall.

Speaking of riots, don’t confuse the riots with the peaceful protests. They aren’t the same thing and didn’t involve the same people. They only happened alongside the protests because parasites saw their chance to make trouble and latched onto an important issue. It seems to have ended when the protesters realized most of us were already on their side, but the rioters were driving away support.

Then the rioters became squatters taking over property they didn’t own. Much of the national mainstream media misidentified them as “anarchists.” Will they be calling horses “dolphins” next? It would be as inaccurate.

They aren’t the only ones who think of socialistic nihilists as “anarchists.” This is what they’ve been taught. Yet, anarchy only means you accept no human master. It doesn’t mean chaos, theft, destruction, or aggression. Those who seek to misinform you never define things correctly when a scary lie works better for their purposes.

How can you know the squatters aren’t anarchists? They set up a political government in the stolen territory — this is not “anarchist” by definition. Anarchists wouldn’t set up political institutions, nor do ethical anarchists steal property from others. I know this from personal experience.

What’s a person to do?

Liberty, which is freedom tempered with responsibility, could solve all these problems to the extent they can be solved. Exercise your freedom to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t violate the equal and identical rights of any other person. There’s no better way to live among others.

Try it and I think you’ll agree.

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Immigration vs. Social Desirability Bias

Consider the following specimens of Social Desirability Bias.

1. This is my country, I would never want to live anywhere else.

2. Patriotism matters more than money!

3. I couldn’t bear the thought of my children not growing up as citizens of [my country of birth].

4. This is the greatest country in the world.

5. Nothing is more important than keeping our whole family together.

6. We’re nothing without our traditions.

7. Our identity matters more than gold.

8. We’ve got to solve our country’s problems our own way.

9. We don’t need foreign help to build a better country.

10. My country, right or wrong.

Claims like these are popular all over the world.  No matter how awful their country is, people love to proclaim their undying devotion to folk and land.  Why then have hundreds of millions of people left their countries of birth?  Because the migrants don’t literally believe this flowery talk.  Though almost everyone voices these sentiments, actions speak louder than words.  The act of migration says something like:

1. My country is subpar, I want to live somewhere better.

2. Money matters more than patriotism.

3. I can bear the thought of my children not growing up as [citizens of my country of birth].

4. This is not the greatest country in the world.  Not even close.

5. Enjoying a higher standard of living is more important than keeping our extended family together.

6. We’re going to dilute our traditions and adopt some foreign ones.

7. I would like more gold and less identity.

8. Our country isn’t going to solve its problems “its own way,” so I’m moving to another country that has its act together.

9. I need foreign help to build a better life.

10. My country is a major disappointment to me.

Quite a list of heresies!  You could demur, “This may be what migrants say with their actions.  All the people who don’t move, however, are saying the opposite.”  But this overlooks the glaring reality of draconian immigration restrictions.  At least a billion people would migrate if it were legal.  And since migration is a drastic step, belief in these heresies must be widespread indeed.

My point: Immigrants do what people aren’t supposed to say.  They are the living embodiment of the fact that nationalism and identity politics are mostly doth-protest-too-much rhetoric rather than earnest devotion.  As I’ve explained before:

[Note] the stark contrast between how much people say they care about community, and how lackadaisically they try to fulfill their announced desire.  I’ve long been shocked by the fraction of people who call themselves “religious” who can’t even bother to attend a weekly ceremony or speak a daily prayer.  But religious devotion is fervent compared to secular communitarian devotion.  How many self-styled communitarians have the energy to attend a weekly patriotic or ethnic meeting?  To spend a few hours a week watching patriotic or ethnically-themed television and movies?  To utter a daily toast to their nation or people?

The main reason people resent immigration is probably just xenophobia.  But a secondary reason, plausibly, is that every immigrant is a tiny beacon of unwelcome candor.  The act of immigration says, “Trying to fix my country of birth is a fool’s errand.  The people I grew up with are hopeless.  Instead, I’m going to personally fix my own life by moving to a new county that works.  It won’t be perfect, but I’m willing to suffer for years to make the switch.”

As an iconoclast myself, I love what the act of immigration says.  Most people, however, hear the implied heresy and recoil.

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Take Care of Your Tools

Back in May I spent a few days clearing brush with an older Hispanic man – someone far more experienced in the art of tree work than I. And every day before we started work and after we finished, he would take care of his tools.

He would tighten the chainsaw blade. He would sharpen the machetes. He would sharpen the shovels. And man, did his tools work well, despite the hard work we put on them.

I saw this every day and noticed a discipline and a level of care I still lack. This was a professionalism on the part of my coworker that I aspire to.

It’s easy to focus on getting the job done – I tend to be in this camp. I throw my energy, resources, and guts at a thing and worry about the mess later. But caring about the tools that get the job done – that’s a level up. And it’s an underrated aspect of success.

“Capital goods” are the materials that create wealth. And when what you have to work with are your machetes and your shovels and your chainsaws, those are your capital goods. If you can take care of those, maybe you will take care of the bigger capital goods (with more potential for wealth creation).

It’s also worth noting that just as acquiring customers is more costly than keeping them, acquiring tools is more costly than keeping your old ones in good shape. Our business has one tractor that’s nearly 40 years old, and it’s still in working order because of the discipline of maintenance. We could have flipped through two or three tractors if we hadn’t done that.

Finally, there’s a psychological edge to keeping tools in proper order that’s similar to the edge you might get from brushing your teeth, eating well, dressing well, and exercising in the morning. You feel more prepared for the work ahead when your tools are ready, and you feel a sense of pride that you have fought back the chaos in your world.

I’ll be trying to spend more of my time doing this in the weeks ahead: taking care of the things that take care of me.

Originally published at JamesWalpole.com.

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Politics Fears (or Hates) Reality

Reality seems to offend the noisiest people these days. It’s not just that they don’t like it, they want to deny it even exists. And they demand you go along with them.

Especially when it contradicts their political agenda.

To this way of hallucinating, science isn’t real to them because it has too much “western, white male” influence. It doesn’t lead where they want to go. Nor (the belief goes) can you expect others to behave ethically when that’s not a path that their culture created.

And on and on and on.

Reality is reality even if you don’t like it. Even if it goes against your desire to force other people to pretend otherwise while facing the guns of government or the censorship of corporations. Or the wrath of the W0ke.

Maybe humans can’t really know reality in its deepest sense. It’s possible that’s how it is. I can still recognize non-reality when I encounter it. And some reality isn’t that hard to figure out.

One reality is that every human being has equal and identical rights. Every last one of us. It can’t be logically otherwise. No one can have the right or imaginary “authority” to violate those rights for any reason. No one has special rights just because they choose to see themselves as a victim or are otherwise mentally ill. You aren’t obligated to act as though someone’s mental issue dictates reality for the external world. Anyone who attempts to use force to achieve this goal is committing archation.

I get it: Sometimes reality sucks. I want to be able to time travel and change the past. I want a Firefly-Class spaceship and a real lightsaber and a collection of sci-fi guns of various kinds. And to easily accomplish something that earns me a billion dollars. But I’m not going to attack you just because reality is what it is and doesn’t hand me everything I want. That would be stupid. That would be politics.

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Aphorisms in Honor of Liberty, Part One (20m) – Episode 309

Episode 309 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following aphorisms written by Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewski: “A bad economist believes that he knows what to do to make the world prosperous. A good economist believes that he knows what to do to let the world make itself prosperous.”; “A barbarian believes in coercion as a means to establish cooperation. A civilized person believes in cooperation as a means to eliminate coercion.”; “A civilized person believes that what matters is not whether wealth is equally distributed, but whether it is justly acquired. A barbarian believes that the latter depends on the former.”; “Achieving peace of mind is the dual process of maximizing self-awareness and minimizing self-consciousness.”; “A commercial culture is a tautology. A political culture is an oxymoron.”; and “A civilized person uses reason to evaluate his instincts. A barbarian uses reason to justify his instincts.” (Please excuse the audio anomalies that occur a few times throughout.)

Listen to Episode 309 (20m, 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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