“What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?”

A coworker was asked this at the office. He asked for my $.02, and I gave it. 

Diversity and inclusion means two things to me. First, there’s the meaning given by your intended use of the question. To that, diversity is the highest virtue man can strive for. It is the accumulation of wisdom that is acquired when men and women from all over work together and share a unique perspective. It enables problem solving and unlocks other qualities like compassion and our own ability to relate and enjoy others. 

Then there is the more literal question – what does it mean to me? 

Diversity to me is a political advertisement. It’s something we promise to do, because it is the right thing to do according to loud people on Twitter. It’s these loud people on Twitter that we as a company have become slaves to. They hold so much power over us, not because they are a pillar of morality which gives them a rational right to judge us, but because we do change our behavior when they call on us. We are afraid of what Twitter users will call us if we don’t say the right things. 

Right now, the blue check marks are calling for diversity. Of course, we know what diversity means. It means black people mostly, some Asians, and women. It means “less white-male-y”. To encourage diverse thought would be to encourage debate and differing opinions, such as this speech. But that’s not what we’re calling for. We can’t deliver this speech to a corporate audience. This speech presents an idea that is diverse. 

What is that idea? 

That diversity, as we’ve been handed, is just branding. It’s not about caring for other individuals. What, did we not care about the white people that used to fill these positions? Of course not. The company doesn’t care about you either. You are just as replaceable as the white man of the 80s. More so actually. There’s lots of labor available in the market, especially if we add more diversity through our contractors and employees in cheaper nations. 

Our company has an image problem. We’re “old-school”. We’re “white”. 

We’re not worse people than Elon and his engineers at Tesla who are “working to save the world”. We’re the exact same. We’re hard working individuals trying to find happiness on this planet. However, Elon and his company market themselves as saviors of the world, and our company chooses to belittle us and deny its nature as a profit machine. 

Diversity is the same as “green” and “great place to work”. It’s just an advertisement to Twitter checkmarks. 

I’m not against diversity. I’m against dishonesty. And honestly, I think the whole diversity kick exploits less expensive labor and makes us look good to lunatic Twitter accounts with 10,000 followers who will shriek if we don’t have an executive staff that reflects what that twitter user thinks it should look like which will become a public relations thing

The irony in all this is that there is a right answer to the question “What does diversity mean to you?” 

Rather than the spirit of the question being a celebration of different viewpoints, it’s just a way to confirm which team you’re on – the side of the corporate advertisement that is diversity, or the side of those that challenge what they’re told, the rebels, the ones that have been made famous throughout history because they had the courage to challenge the establishment. 

Real diversity is rebellious. We are all different in every way – why would the answer to this question be any different? Without different answers to this question, we are all the same, no matter what we look like. 

American Beauty is an essay on happiness

Controversial opinion of the day: American Beauty is a top 5 movie ever made. Anyone interested in psychology should love this movie and watch it a hundred times.

The first time I watched the movie, when I was around 20, I had the same reaction most people have: “It’s a weird movie about a creepy old man who wants to live out his fantasy to bang a young chick and a sexually confused maybe gay definitely angry neighbor next door.” But that’s not it. I’m telling you. Read my essay then watch it again. Then tell me I’m right.

Not him!

Him, silly.

American Beauty is an essay on how to be happy. It describes an “ordinary” man who has a wife, a child, a house in the suburbs, and works a white collar job he hates. He has everything promised in the “American Dream” – down to the picket fence. It could be any one of my coworkers.

The movie takes us on a journey where Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) confronts his inhibitions and desires and becomes a master over his mind. The chain of events begins when he lays on his daughter’s friend Angela. He’s inspired by his lust for her and soon quits his job without worrying about the financial consequence. He will figure it out.

Yes, the way he went about quitting his job was arguably unethical. But that doesn’t matter too much as it relates to the main idea of the movie.

“BuT hE wOuLdN’t HaVe MoNeY” it doesn’t matter.

Kevin, line!

 

Lester would have been happy without the money. He would have been happy without buying the sports car. He would move into a tiny apartment if he had to, keep his job with “the least possible amount of responsibility” and enjoy the freedom that follows.

Freedom from what? He can’t buy anything. He can’t travel anywhere. And he can’t just bang all of his daughter’s friends.

Lester would forever enjoy freedom from wants. He doesn’t need to buy anything, travel anywhere, or even bang his daughter’s friends in order to be happy. Not even the one friend that’s a centerpiece in the movie.

The other protagonist that moves the idea of the movie along is the neighbor child, Ricky Fitts. The drug dealing “psycho” that almost murdered a classmate – back in the day, plays a complement to Lester’s character. He is going through life with much of the wisdom of Spacey, but at a young age. He is able to appreciate beauty, be happy, and love others. Lester’s final speech, as the credits begin to roll, incorporates lines from a speech Ricky gave when the plastic bag was flying around. This shares the common wisdom, but also goes a little further than Ricky, showing a calmness and acceptance compared to Ricky’s emotional speech.

It’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. 

Another set of complementary characters are Lester’s wife, the Real Estate King, and Angela. These three people represent the antithesis to the wisdom and happiness of Lester and Ricky Fitts. They resent what’s “ordinary”, but in doing so just put on an appearance that’s not genuine and hides deeper insecurities.

The “villain” in the movie is the idea represented by these characters. The bad guy isn’t the macho mean Marine next door. It’s the idea that “In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times” – The RE King.

The three characters represent “success” in the material world. The RE King is financially successful and has a hot wife. Carolyn has a good job, her house is in order, and her garden is top notch. Angela is hot and presumably has lots of friends and suitors.

The problem with “ordinary” is that it isn’t exciting or fun, and therefore doesn’t lead to happiness. This is because so many individuals aren’t happy during the course of ordinary life, so they believe they must do things that aren’t ordinary to become happy. So they travel, they have affairs, they fire a gun. But these don’t lead to happiness. These things only magnifies the external image that’s supposed to make the individual happy without dealing with the problems inside.

Happiness isn’t found doing what’s ordinary. And it’s definitely not found doing the extraordinary. 

The worldly success these three characters experience doesn’t bring them happiness. It’s all a show. These characters project an external image to protect the sense of self they built up. They do this to protect themselves from their internal fears and insecurities. They are narcissists, and rather than face their internal demons, they mask them with pretty colors, expensive suits, and fun sex. The world sees this success and they are saved from sharing their insecurity of being alone. Is this true success?

The movie takes place over the course of a few months. It’s a small amount of time that Spacey is free and happy. He was miserable at his job and in his marriage, for decades. But if you asked him if he lived a happy life, he would say yes. I know that because he says so in the end, and also I relate to it. When you become a deeply happy person, you become happy forever. Not a fleeting good feeling, but a deep unshakable happiness. Happiness is a characteristic, not a feeling. Lester experiences eternal happiness. Heaven on Earth, for the Christians.

Eternal happiness is a real thing. More people should strive for it. I recommend it. Lester chose to find happiness in the last months of his life. He stopped caring about what other people thought of him. He allowed himself to be hated by his wife, his daughter, and his previous employers. He no longer lived for others and started living for himself. Of course, he never was really living for others. He was living to protect his ego from being damaged by the opinions of others, until he stopped.

I’m not recommending selfishness. I’m recommending loving others or having a family or working a job for the right reasons. The right reason is never to look good compared to others or to make yourself look good.

Lester started down this path inspired by a hot young girl. The man started lifting, eating well, and becoming stronger – physically and mentally. He did this with the hope that he might have sex with Angela. During his transition into a sexually attractive man, he comes to the other realization that he’d been living for other people, and becomes the wise, happy, misunderstood man that doesn’t compromise his values for others. When he is finally given the opportunity to have sex with Angela, she tells him she’s a virgin. In doing so, she admits that her whole persona has been a front, a fiction.

Lester, horny as he must be, steps back and refuses to corrupt her. To have sex with her as the cool, strong man he is would have the effect of encouraging her to have sex with strong men because it feels so good. These good feels and orgasms would make someone happy just like making more money selling real estate and firing guns will make someone happy – not for long. Lester realizes he is now a happy, strong person, and doesn’t need the validation of sex or any other form of validation. He is complete.

Lester confronted his fears and inhibitors, destroys them, and becomes happy. He’s able to have everything he ever wanted – in his case, young pussy. He realizes when it’s right in front of him that he already has everything he needs and that having sex with the girl will only fuel her to want more. So he does the right thing, and leaves her with a hug. Again, for the Christians, he becomes a preacher of the word of the Lord, rather than a strong devil.

            You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry, you will someday. 

 

Heartiste and GBFM, the Best Of Collections

I do not own any of this content. I’m just a fan of Heartiste and GBFM’s work. Someone else compiled Heartiste’s. I put the GBFM book together. If anyone has a problem with me hosting this, let me know and I’ll take it down.

For those that don’t know, Heartiste is one of the best writers on game/relationships. His blog was banned. GBFM Great Books for Men is a poet/renaissance man that posted comments on Heartiste and Dalrock. He’s more interested in restoring honor and virtue to the world than game. For that reason, I thought about only posting GBFM’s book, but Heartiste helped shape me into the man I am today, so maybe he’ll have a positive influence on you and your relationships.

Heartiste will make you attractive. GBFM will make you happy. I recommend the latter.

Best of Heartiste: https://gofile.io/?c=Ed3lz4

Best of GBFM: https://gofile.io/?c=STDr0d

Stoicism FAQ

  1. What is stoicism?

From wikipedia, which I think provides a great definition:

Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves

Basically, not wanting material things and finding our sole meaning in acting virtuously which, the stoics propose, is how we can achieve happiness by living the present. Virtue basically means not wanting things.

 

  1. Who are “the stoics”?

From Daily Stoic:

It had three principal leaders. Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of the Roman Empire, the most powerful man on earth, sat down each day to write himself notes about restraint, compassion and humility. Epictetus endured the horrors of slavery to found his own school where he taught many of Rome’s greatest minds. Seneca, when Nero turned on him and demanded his suicide, could think only of comforting his wife and friends.

 

  1. Isn’t ambition good?

Ambition can be a good thing. The problem is that ambition – having a strong desire to accomplish, is often aimed at a goal that was developed with external influence. We are chasing a goal that we desire not because it is good for us, or will make us happier, but because of outside influences that are directing us to want things.

When we want things, we are necessarily not free. We can work hard to achieve and get those things that we desire (something, success with women, a promotion), but it doesn’t solve the problem that we want things.

Stoicism teaches to stop wanting things. To be an ambitious stoic is to be a by-the-book stoic – to renounce pleasures and most all things society asks us to participate in. Stoicism is internal work with internal reward, rather than working on external appearances or results.

 

  1. Then what do you do all day?

As a stoic, you don’t have to do anything. But you can do anything. The point is to be perfectly content at all times. It’s to find beauty in any moment.

Your Senecas and Epictetuses would probably be big fans of meditation. Simply sitting and being still for large amounts of time. Walking in nature. Appreciating nature. Being in love with someone who loves you and raising a family.

These are things that you can enjoy in the moment and that can keep you in the moment. The stoics stress living in the moment because it means you aren’t living in the future (wanting something different) or living in the past (regretting or wishing things were different). Happiness is found in the present moment, and no other.

 

  1. Aren’t experiences a good thing? Travel, etc?

This largely goes back to the ambition question. Experiences aren’t bad. It’s helpful to be a strong, well-rounded individual. This helps with stoicism because you will be more able to be content in the moment.

There are a couple problems with travel and racking up adventures or other experiences. One is that you don’t need to travel to get a unique experience. There are new experiences waiting for you in nature, at the sports bar down the street, and with the person walking past you in the crosswalk.

When we look to travel to give us new experiences, we ignore the beauty and the variety that surrounds us every day.

Don’t do that.

 

  1. What if I want my children to live easy lives?

People don’t live easy lives. While I think it is important for a person to be happy to be well-educated, most of that education will come outside of school systems. Your peer group and the influences your child is exposed to will have a tremendous effect on his upbringing and his opportunity for happiness.

Does your child start wanting at a young age – the newest toy or video game in the commercial and develop insecurities from children’s magazines? Or is he outside being creative with his friends with sticks and rocks in the park?

Do you work 80 hours a week so he can go to a great college, but put him in front of a screen so that you can stay focused on your job? Or do you go out to the park with him to foster that creativity and enthusiasm for play?

Wanting the best for your child, like most things, can have different meanings. Society’s definition of good life for your child might mean he has access to all the video games and snacks that he wants. Your definition might be he develops a joy of reading and makes friends easily. These require different types of parenting.

 

  1. Can you stop wanting without achieving success?

Yes.

This is a tough one. I’m not poor. I have decent savings. Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome at the peak of its power. It can be easy for us to say “stop wanting things” because we either have it all or have the option to have things that other people want. We have achieved “success”, to some extent, in the material world. Can this stoicism, this virtue, this lack of wanting, be achieved without first having that material abundance?

Stoicism can be practiced by anyone. It is probably more difficult to leave the material world once some success has been found. There is always more you can have. More money, more things, more friends, more status. No one will ever have more than everyone else in all these things. Especially when their metric is determined by others.

Once we achieve some success, we are rewarded. We get the promotion, and we get more money that we can buy things with. We buy a car and our neighbor gives us props on having a cool car. We charm the girl, and are rewarded with an orgasm.

These rewards are temporary, but they reinforce that we are doing the right thing. So, we continue to strive for more money, promotions, cars, and women.

 

  1. Isn’t stopping a pursuit just weakness or sloth?

No.

To change course, to stop a pursuit that you were working on because it no longer aligns with the person you want to be is one of the smartest things you can do.

There is a distinction to be made with weakness and sloth. Your virtue, your rejection of material things, must be genuine. If you are not honest when you are practicing stoicism, you will secretly envy others who achieve success, while you gloat to your friends that you don’t want things and quote the old stoics or my FAQ.

You cannot be happy while pretending to be stoic and virtuous. Honesty is a virtue, and all other virtues are false if you are not honest. To be virtuous in a world that discourages contentment and virtue requires more courage and strength than anything else in life. It is the opposite of sloth and weakness.

The strength is mostly internal. You are not signalling your intelligence or muscles to the world, so you are not externally rewarded for your strength. That is why, from the outside, it can appear as if you are weak and lazy. But if you are honest and virtuous, you will be unaffected when others call you names to try to bring you down. They chose their path, the material path, and yours conflicts with theirs. They live for external rewards, so just as it is important for them to be seen in the new sports car, it is important for them to be seen as strong and intelligent.

Strength and honor.

Book review: Lolita (hella spoilers)

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” These are the first words in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.

Dolores, little Lo, Lolita is Humbert’s obsession. She is what provides him with joy. She is what leads to his unhappiness. It is not her fault.

We all have a Lolita. It can be a step-daughter pretty girl you’re in the middle of a cross-country road trip (I hope it’s not). It can be your wife, who’s of legal age and always has been. Your Lolita can be whiskey, or your job.

Lolita is a manifestation of Humbert’s desires. Humbert is a pedophile. He is attracted to little girls. More specifically, he is attracted to the “nymphette” –  a small subset of little girls that are attractive to him. It’s hard to tell from the novel whether this “type” is simply the girls that show Humbert attention, or whether it’s the type of girl that behaves more promiscuous than girls her age, reads girl magazines, and shows awareness of her sexuality.

We want our desires to manifest and make us happy. This is what Humbert wants, and he makes it happen. He moves in with this girl of his dreams and builds an image that can work for his fantasy. Sound familiar, yet? We’ll get there.

We don’t know if the girl actually falls for him. He frames the book in a way to make it seem like it is a mutual falling in love – like the girl jumps on him when she has the chance because he’s a hot, older guy that should appeal to that kind of girl (nymphette, reads girl magazines).

However, it is later revealed that Lo has a revulsion to Humbert. She tries to runaway, she flirts with other men, and in quotes she says he raped her. It’s not the mutual love story he crafted early in the novel. He turns her into what he wants her to be in his mind.

Doing this is narcissistic, and it’s how he can get what he wants. He changes, after the fact, how she viewed him and acted towards him, in his mind, instead of changing himself into something that she would actually want to be with. Or, even more difficult, accepting that she will not want to be with him. This takes responsibility and work. Blaming others and changing events in your mind is much easier.

I wasn’t surprised when Humbert killed the man Lolita ran away with. The man was a creep, and wasn’t good for Lolita, but more than that, the dude was a villain in the narrative that Humbert had built for himself. Humbert wasn’t living in a rational world with individuals. He was living in a world where people are supposed to serve him and his fantasies. When a new man entered Lolita’s life, that served as a disruption to the narrative that was supposed to play out. When he murdered the guy, Humbert was the hero in the narrative he built for himself.

If your takeaway from Lolita was that this is a book about a creepy old man, and you are a good person because you are nothing like Humbert, then you simply aren’t self aware. We all have narcissistic qualities. As mentioned earlier, we project our wants and desires in our own love lives on our environment. This is a defense mechanism for doing something difficult – sacrificing and working to improve ourselves in order to find happiness instead of happiness happening because of events external to us.

It’s a beautiful book that exposes the dark in all of us (if we are willing) through a beautiful story written by a narcissist.

Humbert broke the law. He ruined a girl’s life. He killed a man. He is not good. But he is no less happy than the narcissistic reader that continues to find problems with the world instead of putting in the work to change.

Arguments against evolution are more practical than arguments against God. Change my mind.

[Note: I wrote this post for R/Atheism. It was kind of a troll post but also there’s meaning behind the argument I make. I didn’t expect an intellectual discussion to follow, and I didn’t get one. I also didn’t expect zero people to get the argument. I got a louder version of what I expected, “You don’t believe in evolution you RETARD that’s now how evolution works.” I’m paraphrasing. They don’t use the word retard on r/atheism because it’s inappropriate. It’s a weird subreddit.]

Argument against God: there is no physical evidence of a superior being/creator. Therefore we should not believe in the concept. If presented with physical evidence, we will change our mind.

Argument against evolution: we didn’t evolve from monkeys because there are still monkeys. Science is trying to destroy our connection with God, whose message is that we don’t need things to be happy.

By practical, I mean that which leads to the most long-term individual happiness/contentment.

The problem with the arguments above is there is lots of wisdom in the Bible and in finding contentment not through hedonistic pursuits but rather by rejecting vice and our “animal” instincts – which lead to more cravings. The Bible isn’t the only source that discusses hedonistic pleasure, you can build this up from science, but science lags behind religion in this department.

So while evolution is true, its findings don’t lead to further individual happiness but only lead to more addictions. We can fall back on the excuse “we’re just animals” but that’s a weak excuse, given our cognitive abilities that aren’t shared by other animals. There are all sorts of incentives at play by companies and grant approvers to prioritize theories that will lead to more profits. There isn’t much profit in the rejection of consumerism and vice, so there are lots of natural forces working against the theory of God.

I am not denying evolution. I’m saying the arguments against God are not that helpful to the individual’s long-term happiness given this context. Truth is an important element in happiness – one cannot deny the truth willingly and be happy. But also, one cannot deny the truth repeated in history that chasing simple pleasure doesn’t lead to long-term happiness.

Belief in God is more practical than belief in evolution. Change my mind.

Email from Uncle:  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/middle-class-americans-are-sick-elite-privilege/589849/ 
Excellent. Well said and intellectually honest. 
My response. On reading it back, it shows that I’ve been reading a lot of The Last Psychiatrist lately.
I don’t think this article is good or intellectually honest. [Uncle] is right – that it is well said. It’s well-said thoughts that appeal to its target audience (subscribers of The Atlantic).
It stopped being intellectually honest when it said Hillary was “10,000 times as appealing [as Trump]” lol that’s an intellectual, academic statement if I ever heard one. Then it listed racism and sexism as reasons Trump won. That’s what the readers of the Atlantic want to read – that they’re the “good guys” and Trump supporters are bad people.
The main point of the article is reached in the last couple paragraphs – Democrats should be a party of justice – that attacks those that don’t play by the same rules. The article says look beyond economic interests, but that’s all the author does is look at economic interests. The author thinks we should hold “the elites” (I’m not a fan of the term cuz it’s too vague and not defined here) accountable when they violate codes of ethics or have rights that don’t belong to others – non-elites. That’s the whole campaign Trump ran on.
Trump won because Republicans are tired of the establishment politicians that promise and don’t deliver. The politicians that say they’ll make changes to corruption and stop the handouts (like the bailouts). No ordinary citizen relates to, or likes these types, not even evil republicans.
Democrats are the good guys because they want us all to live by a moral code – as long it’s The Democrat moral code. They are the party of fairness – to each a piece of the pie. They fail to see that Republicans are the party of a different fairness – to each their own. Democrats are the party of do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t physically harm others. Republicans are the party of traditional boundaries – boundaries in place to keep hierarchies in tact that are believed to serve a function for both the individual and the larger group (the family, the community, the country).
Democrats can point to the community hierarchies and call them racist, but that’s not calling a black man a spade a spade. They’re straw-manning the republican belief system in the same way Republicans refer to Dems as “no-good welfare queens”.
Should we all have to live by the same moral and ethical codes, as the author points out? Cuz that’s the debate that the two parties have had for centuries. We (middle class) don’t agree on those core values. We (middle class) do agree that we don’t like the idea of being exploited. But the article doesn’t go into how we’re being exploited, and how a president can stop us from being exploited. It gives the same talking points that an establishment politician would give, without any substance. “You are being exploited. We need change!”

Libertarianism is an unsustainable political ideology

The goal of libertarianism is maximum individual freedoms. According to libertarians, this is accomplished by a government that does not interfere with individual’s lives. This means there is no regulation of the economy, no laws limiting behavior so long as it doesn’t interfere with others’ lives, and no waging wars that citizens will fight in. This libertarian goal will not last under a libertarian policy. Here’s why.

Capitalism drives the people at the bottom towards socialism.

An advanced economy makes the essentials in life easier. When that happens, people don’t need to work as hard for the “essentials” needed to survive (housing, food). When this happens, there is an evaporative cooling of high value folks as life gets easier.

The world becomes less cut-throat as technology and division of labor increase the standard of living. This happens largely because high value individuals, as valued by the marketplace, are more likely to have fewer children than those that do not spend their reproductive years having children. It is compounded because there is less of a need for high value people because there are fewer hardships – due to the advanced economy that can solve most problems.

When there are fewer people being valued by the economy, they will seek to increase their value through other means. This can mean trying to bring down those that are valued.

A large reason for this is jealousy. So much demand is generated by advertising and marketing. Advertising and marketing target people’s insecurities to create a demand. Then the product is promised as an answer to that insecurity. This is problematic to libertarians for two reasons.

One, people will never find fulfillment in these things promised by companies. It means they will continue to want, and they will likely turn to more things to seek that fulfillment. While this grows the economy, which libertarians argue is good, it doesn’t answer people’s problems. People that cannot afford “the answer” to their insecurities will be jealous of those that can.

Two, most people aren’t wealthy. The majority of people cannot afford the extreme riches that are seen as fulfilling to the insecurities. This means that to reach the largest audiences, companies must cater to the people that cannot reach the highest levels of income and spend. This includes news and media companies. When the majority of people are looking for answers to their own insecurities, news and media companies must empathize with these people and create a solution. One solution is to tell them to work harder. That doesn’t sell as well as attacking the wealthy for not contributing their share to taxes and social benefits. Companies can actually profit by pushing socialist narratives. This is ironic, and it makes sense.

Another issue with libertarian policy is that totalitarianism can be accomplished by private companies. This was demonstrated over the last couple years with the growth of media platforms that then silence and cut funding from content creators that have ideas counter to the ideology of the company.

Just like the US Constitution restricts the power of the government, there must also be checks in place for private companies so they don’t become too powerful over others. There needs to be some regulation to advanced markets. Without this regulation, people will view private businesses as evil, which opens up an opportunity for socialist policies to attack businesses.

This makes socialist political parties appear like the good guys, even though large government is much more likely to turn totalitarian than private companies competing in a free market. There isn’t another option for governments, without going through significant hurdles.

Liberal social policies lead to socialism.

Just like an unrestricted free market leads to socialism, so do the social policies libertarians push for. I will use a couple examples to show this point: open borders and birth control, but this extends to other “social issues” in politics.

Opening borders to low value individuals invites more people that are likely to want socialism. The libertarian argument is that with open borders the economy will have more consumers and producers that can innovate and solve each other’s problems. Few of these immigrants have few skills that are valued in an advanced economy. The rest work for low wages and end up in the same pool as the citizens that are likely to turn socialist.

Birth control allows women to maintain a sexually active lifestyle and stay productive in the workplace. This is great for the financial economy but has negative effects on the happiness of both men and women because they aren’t realizing the promises they were given in grad school and the latest commercials. “Have sex and build your career while you’re young and then settle down when you’re older.”

Problem is, the qualities that make for an attractive man – strong in mind, body, and wallet, are not what make for an attractive female – youth and beauty. Because of that, the sexy man isn’t with options to date the young hottie isn’t going to be as interested in the older career girl.

As women continue to work as hard and as many hours as men without realizing the benefits in the sexual market, they will turn to other means to find their happiness. Since the free market didn’t work out, an obvious alternative is to seek socialist policies that promise equality and freedom. Just like the promises of advertisements and grad school counselors, the promises of socialism will not deliver.

For these reasons, a modern economy needs conservative social policy if the individual happiness is a priority. It should be.

Libertarianism is an unsustainable political ideology for the two reasons mentions. Capitalism, unconstrained, leads to totalitarianism through both monopoly over minds of consumers and from the tendency for individuals at bottom rungs to drift toward a preference for socialist equality. The social policies recommended will also lead to socialism by degrading the strength of individuals that free markets rely on.

The problem with libertarianism is that it puts the financial market as the primary good in the world. This goes against most psychological metrics, which would prioritize individual happiness or contentment, and economic metrics, which prioritizes utility – not just financial growth.

Austrian economic theories are an excellent starting point for learning about Bitcoin

Bitcoin is far more than a payment method. Bitcoin is a political statement. It’s a global currency that doesn’t have the backing of a government – and it’s for that reason that it is better than other currencies.

Understanding Austrian economics is a great way to learn about Bitcoin because the economic background allows us to understand why it makes sense as a currency, why it makes sense as a payment platform, and many of the use cases for Bitcoin – such as international currency.

A currency is a means of exchange. Currencies get their value from their power to function as that means of exchange. In the most primitive societies, something like corn can function as a currency. It can be weighed and scored on quality and can be traded for any number of goods. A cow or a television can be measured in “pounds of corn.”

Metals were used as a means of exchange because they held value more long-term than corn. Silver and gold don’t expire or deteriorate as fast as corn, so they can preserve value. Paper dollars representing gold and silver emerged because they are more easily handled than precious metals, and can be broken up to represent more granular amounts without using a chisel and a scale.

Even when dollars stopped representing precious metals, those paper dollars were given value because people agreed they have value. That value continues to fluctuate – when more dollars are flooded into the market, we value dollars less than what they once were. That’s why bread costs $3 today instead of $0.25 like it may have fourscore years ago. Sorry, I’ve been trying to use the word fourscore for a while now.

Bitcoin is a currency that gets its value from this use. People believe it has value compared to other currencies. It can be viewed as more efficient than dollars because it can be transacted globally without exchanging to new currencies. Because there are a fixed number of coins that will ever exist, it stores its value longer than a dollar that is subject to the whims of governments – and those Austrians were fans of currencies that best maintained their value long-term. It stores its value better than gold, which had an undetermined unmined quantity.

The Austrians were free market people. They saw the most advanced societies as those societies that welcomed the division of labor, which means societies that welcomed trade of products and services from the widest ranges of people. A currency that must be converted risks transaction fees and governmental overhead than can limit some people from sharing products or services – especially across country borders. By eliminating those obstacles, a currency can welcome more contributors into the economy to produce and consume.

Last, there are use cases for Bitcoin that benefit the individual, and the individual is the most important player in the Austrian economy. Everything starts with the individual – the want to spend. The need to produce. That is where man finds meaning according to the school of Austrian economics. Individualism is the center of economic theory, psychological theory, and social theory.

Those economists want to remove obstacles in offset to best enable individualism. In addition to a global currency that is more efficient than dollars at enabling this, cryptocurrency offers additional benefits to the individual. Man can skip the administrative hurdles that exist to promote, but are actually limiters to the economic sharing that exists in the economy.

Austrian economics is an excellent starting point to learn about Bitcoin because it is through this study that we learn how currency gets its value, the characteristics of a good currency, and the importance of a global currency in a world that is increasingly global in its enterprise.