O.

On Notre Dame

I was just telling my wife that the odds of taking the kids to see the splendors of Old Europe are fading. Whether there’s more to these stories than meets the eye (I suspect there is), the fact remains that the West burns.

It’s been replaced by egalitarianism, the hysteria of diversity for its own sake, socialism, and totalitarian inclusivity without prudence. Progressivism is a cultural rot. The left-shifting revolution, however, is far behind us as Garet Garrett aptly observed. But now even the old signposts turn to ash. If anything, the symbolism of today’s remarkable tragedy is worth reflection. We move forward to our Brave New World, completely unconnected from our socio-historical roots.

E.

Epater le Bourgeois!

Epater le Bourgeois is, as Charles Burris phrases it, “the revolutionary rallying cry of the left.” It is French and it is translated to mean “shock the bourgeoisie.” To make it more applicable to our setting, the strategy can be slightly altered to be “shock the middle classes.” The Oxford Reference site expands on this to translate it as: “to shock the (respectable) middle-class citizens.”

This phrase underscores the a foundational technique employed by leftist cultural elites (think Hollywood and Big-money financiers such as George Soros) in their attempt to undermine the peaceful social fabric.

In my article on on Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt, I mentioned the broadening and shifting emphasis of so-called “marxism.”

Here we have the foundations of what has recently been referred to as a sort of cultural marxism— wherein, because Marxism as an economic doctrine has been unable to withstand the arguments made against it by free-marketers, the emphasis has shifted from economic class warfare to other forms of identitarian class warfare, primarily focused on sexual preference, gender, and race.

Whether or not “cultural marxism” is acceptable as a meaningful label, the fact of the matter is that there exists a clear cultural emphasis from the left on sabotaging social institutions, hierarchies, and social norms. One of the tools that is leveraged is a constant stream of grotesque and morally appalling themes intended simply to disturb the sensibilities of the main street citizen. These themes, often demonstrated in striking visuals, but also in writing and audio format, are intended merely unsettle and fluster the middle class— not to persuade, but to cause the cultural compromise to be somewhere between the shock and awe of the outlandish displays of counter-culturalism and where the middle class was culturally ten years ago.

By desensitizing the middle class, arguably the social bedrock of the western social structure (the class which needs to be appealed to by both the elites and the self-considered proletariat), the cultural revolutionaries are able to push the ball further down the road away from traditional western social norms. By undermining western culture, which contains components such as individualism, personal responsibility, self-reliance, and distrust of state power, political control comes more easily.

If the young embrace the new waves of the loudest and most prominently featured cultural expressions (the communication of which is much more blatant with social media), revolt against capitalism, limited government, private property, and individual responsibility are swiftly rejected as well.

This fact explains why elitists choose epater le Bourgeois as a strategy. But at a deeper level, it is fascinating that both the self-considered proletariate and the cultural elite despise the middle class, albeit for different reasons. Ever since the dawn of the industrial revolution and the creation of the middle class itself (which was a product of capitalism and free markets), private property has been a bulwark against an agitating socialistic parasitic class. Socialistic tendencies are held both by the most powerful, as a means toward greater domination, and also by the “have-nots,” those that lack the leisures and luxuries of the upper middle class and therefore jealously aspire to transfer the wealth to their own possession.

Because of the institution of private property and the social stability that it provides to this middle class, both the elitist and the member of the proletariate (clearly unaware that free markets are a means by which any member of society can raise his own standard of living) are unable to simply wage direct war against this bourgeois in order to acquire their wants. The revolutionary proletariate class member therefore expresses his distaste for the stability and bourgeoise culture of the middle class by finding pleasure in offending their cultured and refined, often religious and orderly, mannerisms and habits. The elites, aware of the political benefits of exasperating tensions between the classes and a breakdown of the middle class culture, encourage this lust to shock the middle class.

Thus, there exists in Hollywood, in the media outlets, in the heavily planned and prepared “national conversations” themes which are intended to torment the sensibilities of the bourgeois and therein shift the spectrum of what was once considered socially unacceptable. This can be seen in everything from LGBT parades, to the promotion of provocative displays of homosexuality, and, more recently, defenses of pedophilia (prediction: this will become a major theme in the next 18 months). In fact, in the links provided by Charles Burris in the link at the top of this article, there seems to be a heavy weight placed on the role of sexual issues in the “shock the middle class” strategy for social change.

If the phrase “soak the rich” is an economic phrase that seeks to take advantage of the wealthy’s financial position in society, then “shock the middle class” is a socio-cultural phrase that seeks to undermine the social preferences of the middle class in order to uproot the social order. Everywhere we look, the bourgeois cultural tendencies are mocked and disparaged as prude, racist, sexist, backwards thinking, non-inclusive, and so on. There is a mental war at play here: invest in an undermining of the “old way of thinking” and the political future will turn in the direction of the seekers of domination and control.

W.

Weekend Thoughts: To Lose Weight, I Rejected Everything I Knew

Just yesterday, I talked with Jeremy Hammond and Bretigne Shaffer about vaccinations and medical narratives. One of the overall meta themes that was implicit in the conversation was the importance of doing research on your own and being ever-skeptical of established opinion. I’ve never much been into health, but in recent years I have become much more hesitant about just following the popular opinion. This includes, of course, those issues related to health from vaccination to weight management and beyond.

One year ago, I weighed 275. I’m 5’10”. This is very bad. Today, I am 165. This is healthy. To accomplish this, I had to do the same thing as with everything else in my life; namely, reject the common advice. I stopped focusing on calorie counting, on exercise (as a means of weight loss), on having a well-balanced diet. In fact, I have a profoundly unbalanced diet, in light of all the foods out there that would add more “balance.” I went full-on hardcore Bulletproof.

I am putting together some practical steps for people to read, because, upon seeing what I went through, others are curious and asking about it. I only eat beef, salmon, avocados, spinach, boiled eggs. And coffee with fat. Why fat? It powers your brain and convinces it that it is full. If you can convince your brain of this, you don’t struggle as much (after a year of doing it) with needing bread or sugar. I didn’t exercise. I do now, because it feels good and is fun. But I specifically avoided exercise during my 100+ pound loss because I needed to test that my body was having an adverse reaction to the food substances I was giving to it.

Weight gain, for me and so many others, is not per se about quantity. It’s about understanding how our bodies react to things. Instead of thinking of myself as “fat” I started to think of myself as inflamed, swollen, having an adverse reaction.

In other words, I rejected everything I grew up thinking about diet, the way the body reacts to substances (which of course includes vaccines!), and so on. Dissent and skepticism is something that is important to me when it comes to politics and economics and so on. But also when it comes to self-improvement, development, and making wise life choices. More on this theme, with thoughts on eating and productivity, to come.

A.

AERC Reflection #1

One of the underlying themes that I have picked up on during the last few days at the Mises AERC– not merely from the various lecturers– is the desperate need for libertarians, if the label still fits in the age of a crash-and-burn Libertarian Party, to move beyond politics as a means toward social influence.

Such a demeanor has been communicated more implicitly than explicitly, but in any case what is being noticed and hinted at is the need to be well-rounded participants in society. Being good people, being good husbands and wives, being good fathers and mothers, being good businessmen and women, being leaders that reach horizontally toward colleagues, and vertically to the rising generation.

These are things that libertarians in general have tended to be quite bad at. Living quality lives as human beings is itself a means toward a better world. And for the most part, having grandiose visions of making the world a better place or engaging in efforts toward “cosmic justice” is much less impactful than living well. Of course, living well has implications at a deeper level than the materialism suggested by the colloquial use of the phrase– it implies a quality of social demeanor, the way in which one carries oneself and interacts with the people and institutions around him. Who better exemplifies such heroism than Ludwig von Mises himself?

In this way, the best libertarian is never the one that follows the crowd, but the one who stands “ever so boldly against it.” In the age of an agitating leftism, libertarianism as a movement is disintegrating and slipping away to the extent that it focuses solely on social-trend chasing and appeals to some of the worst elements of the anti-social revolutionaries of our time. Bob Luddy spoke today on the vitality of having a long-term mindset in regards to running a business. Of course, this applies equally to social movements. How immediate-term minded are so many “libertarians?” It’s quite disturbing.

All this of course is said with deep appreciation for the Mises Institute and all that it stands for– it is a bulwark not only in it’s uniqueness as an institution in the world in general, but its uniqueness as an institution in the libertarian world, such as it is, specifically.

W.

What I Do

Online, people know me generally in 3 capacities: admin and head honcho of everything related to the Reformed Libertarian facebook group, writer at Mises.org and, more recently, creator of AustroLibertarian.com. The first group has produced for me a very loyal and committed, though inherently limited, audience. The other two I am now turning my attention to.

But that’s online. My offline life is quite different. This is how I have made my living, of course– though more recently, due to successes in the offline world I am interested in developing my presence and name on the internet as well.

Here is what I do for a living:

First, I run a referral only strategic consulting company that specializes in two things: 1, project revamps– wherein we as a team go into a corporate setting in which there is a stalled project with zero progress being made (but hundreds of thousands of dollars being poured down the drain) and we revamp it and push it forward so that it leaves its dangerous plateau state– there’s a lot of reasons for plateauing in corporate settings, it’s common. 2, we take all the progressive and trending online technologies that so many people who spend time online are aware of (zendesk, slack, asana, trello, stripe, etc– could go on for days), and we introduce them to paper and pen businesses who are shocked at what’s available to them. Then we charge them 50% of their savings for 3-5 years following our efforts.

Second, I am the cofounder and co-owner of a startup (Onyx) that is on the receiving end of a nice chunk of capital investment. This startup is on the final legs of producing a private equity financial technology company that seeks to replicate all the cloud based investment platforms that are out there (Wealthfront, Betterment, RobinHood, etc), but focus on the private equity, early stage capital formation– our claim to fame (or our unique service offering) is that we integrate with Self-Directed IRA accounts for private equity investments.

Third, I, just last month, became a sort of business manager for someone I personally   very much revere. I proposed my services after he needed a new assistant, but I hate (argh!) the word assistant– mostly because I have my own assistants and in any case am more of a take-control of the situation and solve problems person than a give me some tasks and I’ll do them if you give me an hourly wage kind of guy. 

Finally, I have poured my late nights and very early mornings into the production of a premier, premium, and luxurious Austro Libertarian magazine/journal that I someday hope can be as elegant and rich as the socialist publication Jacobin, which I am obsessed with (not as a sympathizer, of course). I have hired a trustworthy friend of mine, named Mitch Thompson, and Hannah Sproul (an artist and designer) and am utilizing two other great individuals as editors to help me make this happen.

Those who have known me online more than five years know I lost 110 pounds in the span of 8 months in 2018. The weight was a symptom, a reaction, of general bodily and physiological unhealthiness that, as soon as I pinpointed and rectified, healed both body and brain. The weight is gone, but the brain energy and activity is alive like never before. I have done well in the private sector and am even on an exit path from the first consulting company as I am transitioning out due to a very beneficial sale.

That’s how I handle everything, and 3 kids (plus one more on the way)– but of course my wife stays at home and homeschools and manages the household and all that, so my life wouldn’t be possible without her.

In any case, I have of course been answering questions nonstop about my weight loss and how I was able to accomplish it, so I am looking forward to getting into detail on this blog here in the next few weeks. 

And for those asking. I generally wake up at 4:30-5, answer emails, take care of whatever hit my inbox overnight, make breakfast for the kids and my own super special butter coffee at 6:30 and then get up to my office around 7:30. I do magazine stuff until 8:30 and then do the fintech business with my brother until about noon. All the while keeping an eye on my email and tasks related to both business manager needs, as well as employees and coworkers and their various needs. Interspersed throughout this timeframe I am taking short spurt breaks to write a flood of emails to all sorts of people related to any number of things.

At noon I quickly shift to consulting stuff (unless there was some important onsite meeting and I had to be there in the morning), and then back again to magazine/emails until about 2:30, when I have some more daily tasks coming due with the business manager stuff. At 3:30/4:00 I take a break to be with the kids and family in general (but sometimes I’m working in 5 minute increments until 7, when I put the two older kids to bed while my wife puts the baby to sleep. Then my wife reads with me in my office while I answer emails, prepare my to-do list for the next day, read, write, etc. Then she goes to bed around 9:30 and I’m up until midnight doing magazine stuff, answering more emails, writing, reading, watching things from the day, etc. Interspersed in this timeframe, I’m preparing a bottle for the baby around 11:30 (my wife needs way more sleep than I do) and then I get her back down again and I am in bed by 12:00.

There’s three very important components of my daily life: diet (my brain really is in the best shape of my life, because of what I am feeding it– I’m no expert, but I’ve paid close attention over the past 12 months to this aspect of my life); technology (everything I do is organized to the T, which means technology has to be leveraged perfectly, so as not to be a distraction, but an asset– more on this lateR); lack of decision fatigue. I don’t dwell on anything. It’s either all pre-figured out, or I just go with my instinct and with confidence if its not a huge deal. Most things aren’t a huge deal. Most people overthink the wrong things and underthink the things they should be more strategic with.

I have, for whatever reason, mastered the ability of determining what is worth in depth thought and what is not. I never spend more time than needed on anything. I hate waiting, drawing things out.

I’m learning, I’m flawed, I make mistakes. But I’m self-aware and objective. I know my strengths, and seek to identify and improve my weaknesses (or just hire out).

D.

Does AOC want Power?

At Target Liberty, Robert Wenzel writes:

The more I see of her, the more I am convinced she is a skilled Leninist. She wants power, that is what drives her. She is not seeking truth in any fashion. She is using policy issues and alliances in a very skilled manner to advance the only cause she is really interested in: Power to AOC and the greater the power the better, That agenda doesn’t sit too well with a live and let live philosophy.

I disagree. I think that’s a little sloppy. I think she’s just some kid from New York who knows nothing about how the real world works, about what economic theory teaches about the nature of capitalism and exchange, and zero interest in understanding property rights and the liberties that depend on them. She’s simply a loon perfectly suited for massive following in the social media age. She’s goofy, she knows how to play victim to her advantage (every time someone offered legitimate criticism, she dismisses it as “because I’m female), and therefore can’t argue intellectually.

But of course, her know-nothingness is not the primary problem. Most congresspeople know nothing. It’s that the ideas she thinks are great, are, in fact, devastating. And the system she thinks she loathes– capitalism– is not in actuality the problem of our age; state interventionism is.

C.

Capitalists and the Lowest Price

In Jacobin’s series “The ABCs of Capitalism,” which I was browsing this morning after just receiving them in the mail, I came across this statement:

If a capitalist doesn’t produce at the lowest price, she knows that she will lose customers, if that continues, her firm will start bleeding money.

This is almost striking in its ignorance of the real world. The series purports to explain as simply as possible “how the system works” so that socialism can therefore be seen as the alternative. But in the real world, in the system as it exists, consumers weigh hundreds of factors in their patronage of businesses. Price is definitely one of them. But if the lowest price was the only standard, we wouldn’t have Whole Foods, Apple, Nordstrom, mansions, Bulletproof coffee, Hardback books, First Class flying, Mercedes, etc.

People buy things, not because they are the lowest cost, but because various other factors have added into the equation including quality, customers service, durability, name recognition, social status, price, style, accessibility, unique features, and on and on.

The capitalist profits to the extent that he arranges resources in a way that satisfies consumers, not merely in the potential price differential between costs and whatever the sales price is. This shows a shocking lack of understanding of how prices are formed across time and backward through the stages of production.

J.

Jacobin Skewers Mises

Remember how I’m really reading a lot of Jacobin right now as I work to create this magazine? The jerks just barfed up this gem, Happy New Year:

So it’s less surprising than it might initially appear that Ludwig von Mises has joined Nietzsche and Heidegger in the pantheon of today’s alt-right. Richard Spencer has recommended that his acolytes read von Mises and his American student Murray Rothbard. Mencius Moldbug, the preferred brand of pseudo-highbrow neofascist leaders, agrees: “Mises is a titan; Rothbard is a giant,” he has written. The chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (LVMI) in Auburn, Alabama, is Lew Rockwell, whom you might remember for ghostwriting all those racist Ron Paul newsletters. The LVMI’s most notorious affiliate is Hans-Hermann Hoppe, whose 2001 screed Democracy: The God That Failed has become something of a bible for the alt-right movement.

The Moldbug thing is the most hysterical, both in the colloquial and literal sense. It’s the low brow smear of century: someone recommended someone else, therefore the one being recommended is associated with the recommender. 

I suppose the Richard Spencer thing could be categorized as such as well, but there’s nuance here: Spencer used to be a better libertarian, but is self-admittedly no longer. 

At any rate, the idea that the alt-right, which has no actual definition and is just a mindless accusation against anyone to the “right” of Mitt Romney, finds the classical liberalism of Mises as their crowning inspiration immensely lacks credibility.