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Building Knowledge Bases in a Selectively Skeptical Era

An interesting read, for those of us who have an interest in building knowledge in a era that explicitly dismisses the idea of “truth” and “objectivity”.

From L&FP, 59: Building A Body Of Knowledge In A Hyperskeptical, Ideologically Polarised Era That Often Dismisses Truth And Objectivity by kairosfocus

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It’s not hard to recognise that we are in a hyperskeptical, ideologically polarised warped thinking age at war with objective truth and knowledge. Fundamentally, our academics have betrayed us, starting with putting the inferior substitute, skepticism, in the place of prudence. Once that was done, there is no firewal on skepticism so it spiralled into selective hyperskepticism that promotes favoured narratives while finding any excuse to dismiss the despised other.

Inevitably, knowledge has fractured.

So, let us again turn to the JoHari window to see how it can help us build a responsible, and often counter-narrative body of knowledge:

Now, steps of thought (adapted from an earlier comment):

1: We must properly understand what knowledge is, including its subtleties, limitations and challenges.

2: This, we can see i/l/o the warranted, credibly true [so, reliable] belief approach, buttressed by the moderated insights from Dallas Willard. To wit:

To have knowledge in the dispositional sense—where you know things you are not necessarily thinking about at the time—is to be able to represent something as it is on an adequate basis of thought or experience, not to exclude communications from qualified sources (“authority”). This is the “knowledge” of ordinary life, and it is what you expect of your electrician, auto mechanic, math teacher, and physician. Knowledge is not rare, and it is not esoteric . . . no satisfactory general description of “an adequate basis of thought or experience” has ever been achieved. We are nevertheless able to determine in many specific types of cases that such a basis is or is not present [p.19] . . . .

Knowledge, but not mere belief or feeling, generally confers the right to act and to direct action, or even to form and supervise policy. [p. 20]

In any area of human activity, knowledge brings certain advantages. Special considerations aside, knowledge authorizes one to act, to direct action, to develop and supervise policy, and to teach. It does so because, as everyone assumes, it enables us to deal more successfully with reality: with what we can count on, have to deal with, or are apt to have bruising encounters with. Knowledge involves assured [–> warranted, credible] truth, and truth in our representations and beliefs is very like accuracy in the sighting mechanism on a gun. If the mechanism is accurately aligned—is “true,” it enables those who use it with care to hit an intended target. [p. 4, Dallas Willard & Literary Heirs, The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge, Routledge|Taylor& Francis Group, 2018. ]

3: This means, an adequate body of knowledge is ours, independent of what those who object, are skeptical, are selectively hyperskeptical or are outright polarised have to say. Known to us, unknown to others, not yet known to the world at large is still valid knowledge. Thus, knowledge can be counter-narrative and counter cultural. When falsity sits on the throne, sound knowledge will be an exile.

4: At the same time, we are using a commonplace, weak form sense of knowledge, which seeks truth (& may often hit it) but which recognises limitations and possibility for error. So, we need to be our own friendly critics, willing to seek criteria of adequate warrant . . . including, recognising when negative knowledge is what is established, i.e. limits of knowledge and knowing that we do not have positive knowledge. (Where feasible, this may be the framework for a research proposal and project, including pretty informal or simple cases.)

5: Similarly, we welcome responsible, reasonable, friendly “outside” critics, as they help us refine our knowledge base. (Some of these may even be willing to join the body of knowledge project and are part of the emerging school.) But, let us beware the concern troll or idea hit man, sent out to undermine and discredit for advantage.

6: By contrast, hyperskeptical and hostile, irresponsible or dishonest critics lock themselves out. By their tone, tactics, refusal to be reasonable and resulting rotten fruit shall ye know them.

7: Now, adequacy. In an empirical context, we follow Locke on the candle set up in us:

[Essay on Human Understanding, Intro, Sec 5:] Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2, Ac 17, etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshineThe Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

8: Now, much of what we do turns on inference to best current, empirically anchored explanation and associated models. That is,

9: on current observed, recorded and shared facts O1, O2, . . . On, predictions, P1, P2, .n . . Pm and trajectory of investigations I(t), we can see which of live option explanations/models E1, E2 . . . Ek account well for the O’s, has a good track record in translating P’s into correctly predicted O’s, and of these, which is coherent and explanatorily elegant [neither ad hoc nor simplistic].

10: Of these we may have a few short listed E’s {Es} or a best one Eb, which then are focal for onward investigation.

11: In our relevant case, when an Eb emerges, we have an epistemic right to accept it on abduction/ inference to best explanation, though we remain open to adjustment and correction.

12: On either case, we have a body of knowledge, the set {Es} are our candidate alternatives, known to be the collective best, and if we have an Eb, that is saying {Es} has become a singleton. Obviously, a good rival Er, would open out the set to {Eb, Er}.

13: With this in hand, we see that the negative knowledge case of Eb, is a special case, let’s call it E0.

14: We thus see how a body of knowledge can be built even in the face of objection or hostility.

15: It then confers “the right to act and to direct action, or even to form and supervise policy.”

FAIR COMMENT: ID has attained that state, though it faces sharp and too often irresponsible objection. A capital illustration is the point recognised by Lehninger’s literary heirs:

“The information in DNA is encoded in its linear (one-dimensional) sequence of deoxyribonucleotide subunits . . . . A linear sequence of deoxyribonucleotides in DNA codes (through an intermediary, RNA) for the production of a protein with a corresponding linear sequence of amino acids . . . Although the final shape of the folded protein is dictated by its amino acid sequence, the folding of many proteins is aided by “molecular chaperones” . . . The precise three-dimensional structure, or native conformation, of the protein is crucial to its function.” [Principles of Biochemistry, 8th Edn, 2021, pp 194 – 5. Now authored by Nelson, Cox et al, Lehninger having passed on in 1986. Attempts to rhetorically pretend on claimed superior knowledge of Biochemistry, that D/RNA does not contain coded information expressing algorithms using string data structures, collapse. We now have to address the implications of language, goal directed stepwise processes and underlying sophisticated polymer chemistry and molecular nanotech in the heart of cellular metabolism and replication.]

Knowledge is a challenge, especially in an ideologically polarised era. END

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Yes, placing politics above reality will destroy science, truth, and knowledge itself. So, yes, the enemies of science, truth and knowledge — driven by their hostility to God (not a surprise) — are going to lose.

But while their defeat is certain, we need to know and learn even when the fools are still in power. Even today.

The stronger the grip on truth that we have, and the more we leverage that truth in all areas, public and private, the more we win and the more they lose. Regardless of the sea of lies, intimidation, and career destruction they spew against us.

Our forefathers failed Our Lord, which is the reason why we are in the difficult situation we are in.

Let us be faithful and obedient to Christ — the Way, the Truth, and the Light — and so build a better future for God’s children to master and grow in.

It’s time to build a better future.

And build a better Ruling Class – one who places God’s Law-Word above the Will of Powerful Men.

Yes, even above their own will.

God comes first. Men come second.

Hard Truths stand over and above pleasing lies.

COVID-19: The Year the World Went Mad

From Top scientist writes book: The Year the World Went Mad by Tom Woods

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Joe Biden declared the pandemic over a few days ago, and that made some people very unhappy.

I look at it this way: without a doubt we are at the stage now where what matters most is making sure we get the story of what happened right, so future generations are not misled.

Mark Woolhouse, one of Scotland’s top infectious disease epidemiologists, just released The Year the World Went Mad: A Scientific Memoir. It’s certainly a step in the right direction.

I thought I’d share bits and pieces with you (I’ve preserved the UK spelling):

“My main aim in writing this book is that lockdown scepticism will become the mainstream view.”

“There is comfort in following the crowd even while it is stampeding in the wrong direction. We wouldn’t let go of lockdown even after the evidence of the harm it was causing became so compelling that the WHO itself came to reject it.”

“The advisory system was dominated by clinicians and public health specialists who weren’t looking at the bigger picture, such as economists, ethicists…which is why they kept recommending lockdown…. The response was being driven too much by epidemiology, and I’m an epidemiologist.”

“Richard Horton — editor of the Lancet — and others continued to rail against their straw man version of a herd immunity strategy…the debate descended into farce…like the tide, herd immunity happens whether you believe in it or not.”

“Lockdown was never going to solve the problem, it just deferred it to another day, and it did so at great cost…everyone needs to understand what such a harmful intervention can and cannot achieve before we introduce it. They didn’t.”

“Lockdown was conceived by the WHO and China as a means of eradicating the virus once and for all from the face of the earth. With hindsight, this plan was doomed to fail from the outset.”

“During the pandemic, several politicians adopted the position that ‘no death from covid is acceptable’…. This made it impossible to tackle the virus in a rational manner…. We do not treat any other public health issue this way.”

“Will the cure turn out to be worse than the disease?… As early as April 2020, ONS used quality adjusted life years (QALY) lost to weigh harms and benefits…. The best estimate was three times more harm…we got the balance wrong.”

“As far back as March 2020 there was evidence from China that outdoor transmission was extremely rare…. To my knowledge, no outbreaks have been linked to a beach anywhere in the world, ever.”

“The average age of death in the UK is 78 years old…. The average age of death from covid-19 up to October 2020 was 80 years…. I’d say that was a reasonable definition of a disease of old age.”

“Even more important: never rely on a single model…. Many people believed [the UK fall 2020 lockdown] occurred on the basis of a ‘dodgy dossier’ — a term used in the build up to the Iraq War in 2003.”

“I was not prepared for the hate mail either, as vicious as any I received throughout the pandemic…. People who spent the past year indoors did not want to be told that it had been safe to go out all along…. Decision-makers had lost all sense of proportion.”

An interesting book, as you can see.

And it reminds us of all the looniness from “public health” officials and even from your local doctor, who more often than not endorsed these measures. Your local doctor to this day thinks he’s saving lives by separating the “clean” pens from the used pens.

Who can blame all those people who watched this spectacle and reached the obvious conclusion that if the medical establishment could take such consistently irrational and destructive decisions, that maybe there’s something rotten at the heart of it?

At the very least, there are today a lot more people in favor of medical freedom for themselves than there were three years ago.

Some of them aren’t really sure what to do next, or whether or how they should speak up without alienating people close to them.

I have a podcast guest and listener named Susan May who has built a community of people who are new to medical freedom and who help each other, and it seemed like a natural thing to let my readers know about.

She’s running a free challenge to help get you where you want to be. Enjoy:

http://www.tomwoods.com/susanmay
Tom Woods

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Amazon:com: The Year the World Went Mad, by Mark Woolhouse  (Author), Matt Ridley (Foreword)

We all know that no one with power will be held responsible: say, The Imperial College people, or the Lancet, or Cuomo.

Just as not a single Warsaw Pact leader got what he deserved.

(Outside of Romania. And a few Stasi East Germans.)

Even so: while the Master Class laughs and counts their profits, we Christians need to remember. And teach the lessons to our brothers and sisters.

And plan out a few strategies for the next time Our Betters decide to generate a crisis.

With the full complicity of the Media and the Scientists and the Certified Experts.

Just like last time.

A Preview of the November Election Results

From LewRockwell’s Blog, “Political Theatre”: A Preview of the November Election Results

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Greg Privette:

Hi Lew,

I read the above noted post today from Tom DiLorenzo. This appears to be a new tactic to ensure no outsiders get in. There is a gentleman named Royce White who is a former NBA player and now a very outspoken anti-globalist. He appears fairly regularly on Jason Whitlock’s podcast to speak on a variety of topics. He is very well versed on globalist’s, the Davos crowd etc. He says things virtually no other political candidate from either party will say. He is from the Minneapolis area going back several generations and ran as a Republican in the US congressional district now represented by Ilian Ohmar (?). Had he won the primary it would have created a very interesting race for the general election. According to his account of the primary it was a very close race between himself and the ultimate winner. On the last day available to register, another candidate showed up out of nowhere in the Republican primary. According to Royce no one knew who the guy was or where he came from. Yet even with last minute entry and no name recognition, no campaigning, etc. the “ghost” candidate “somehow” managed I believe 15% of the primary vote. That 15% turned out to be more than the amount Royce lost by in the primary. His main opponent who wound up winning the primary was of course a typical Republican party hack.

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The Loving Masters are here to help you.

I still think it’s worth fighting it out, against all of scummy dirty tricks of our repulsive Betters. But it will take perseverance, commitment, resilience.

Most of us who really think we should go into politics, but lack the budget (time/ money/ social), should stick to Gary North’s Dogcatcher Strategy. Build the base, network the locals, stone by stone, brick by brick.

Begin the process that ends a generation – quite likely two generations – from now.

Step by step, we will retake the land.

The Spirit of Excellence

This is a repost of a no-paywall article, The Spirit of Excellence, by Gary North.

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And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, See, I have called by name Bazaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship (Ex. 31:1-3).

There is a scene in the movie, “Chariots of Fire,” in which one of the protagonists, Harold Abrahams, England’s champion sprinter, confronts two senior administrators at Cambridge University. The incident supposedly took place in the early 1920’s. The two officials have called him in to explain to him that university policy frowns on “professionalism” in sports activities. Abrahams had hired a professional trainer to coach him. The two officials laud his performances, which have brought the University considerable prestige. But the senior administrator tells him that the use of a trainer is not quite within the tradition of amateur sports so cherished by the school.

Abrahams is outraged. He tells them that their much-cherished amateur standing is nothing but a facade, that they only want performances to look as though they were performed by amateurs. But they want victories. Then he challenges them: “I pursue excellence, and I shall carry the future with me.” He leaves the room, and the Master says to his associate, “His God is the God of a different mountain.”

The movie is a dramatized (and historically lax) account of a famous rivalry of the early 1920’s, between Abrahams and a Scottish runner, Eric Liddell [LIDdull]. Both ran in the Olympic games in 1924, Abrahams winning the 100-meter dash, and Liddell winning the 400 meters. (The movie failed to mention that Liddell had held the British 100 yards record of 9.7 seconds, and that he set a world record of 47.6 that day in the 400 meter race. The movie also did not mention that both Liddell and Abrahams ran in the 200-meter dash. Liddell came in third, and Abrahams finished last.)

Abrahams was obsessed with winning every race. Liddell, who was to become a Congregationalist missionary to China, ran for the glory of God. He loved to run. Liddell decided to forego the 100-meter dash because the trials were held on Sunday. In the movie version, he came under severe pressure from the British Olympic Committee and the Prince of Wales to run on the Sabbath. Another runner — a rich British lord, who ran simply for enjoyment — gave his spot in the 400 meter race to Liddell, since he was content with the silver medal he had already won in the hurdles.

All of this makes a powerful emotional impression, but it never happened. The true story is even more amazing. You do not switch races at the Olympics; you must qualify first, before the Games. Liddell had known for months before the Games that he could not run the 100 because of the Sabbath. The British sports world did want him to run it, but he refused. What he did was to select the 400, a distance which he had never really concentrated on before. He trained for a little over ten months, in the winter of 1923-24. Then he went out and set the world record. “The secret of my success over the 400 meters,” he told a reporter 20 years later, “is that I run the first 200 meters as hard as I can. Then, for the second 200 meters, with God’s help, I run harder.” (D.P. Thompson. Eric H. Liddell: Athlete and Missionary [Barn oak, Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland: The Research Unit, 1971], p. 55.)

Driven or Called?

The impression the movie presents of Abrahams is that the man was driven by a desire to excel. He wanted to win every race, to “show” those who had snubbed him because he was Jewish. He was overly sensitive to any slight or perceived slight from others. He could not live with defeat. But as the final scenes of the movie indicate, he was discontented with his success. He could not live with either failure or success. The movie presents a scene in which he is getting a rubdown while he is talking to the narrator of the film, one of the less distinguished members of the Olympic team who had been his friend in college. (Actually, the two did not meet until both had graduated; the narrator attended Oxford, not Cambridge.) He bemoans his fate. He comments on the serenity of the other man–a serenity he has always found elusive. He cannot explain why he feels compelled to run, but only that he must. Nothing satisfies him.

Liddell, on the other hand, is pressured by his sister to give up running because he seems to love it too much. She wants him to go on the mission field, where their father had served. He has to explain to her that God gave him his speed, and that he runs for God, and because he enjoys it. “Jennie, God made me fast!” He sees his ability as God-given, something which opens doors for his lectures all over Scotland. Running, in short, is his calling. He is called by God to run.

Liddell refuses to run on the Sabbath. Instead, the movie shows us, he preaches in a large church in Paris. It is the most powerful scene in the movie; unfortunately, his biography indicates that it never took place. He actually preached in a small Scots Kirk the following Sunday at a religious service held for members of the Games. But the screenwriter understood the implication of his refusal to run on Sunday, and this is conveyed in the movie version. As he reads from Isaiah 40, “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing” (v.15), the camera switches to the Games: men falling, losing their races, lying alongside the track, alone in their agony and defeat. He continues to read. We hear his voice as we see the races: “All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity” (v. 17). Steeplechase runners fall into the mud. The film editor makes it clear: Liddell’s sermon has stood the test of time, and all those faceless athletes who ran on that Sunday in 1924 are long forgotten. Like the nations that rise and fall, and are subsequently forgotten, so were the representatives of nations at the Olympic Games. But Liddell’s stand still moves the hearts of men, even those who do not share his view of the Sabbath. He stood for God; they ran for personal and national pride. His story is worth telling; the others are forgotten — except Abrahams, of course, who as a Jew did not violate his Sabbath, and who won the 100 on Monday.

The movie is not very accurate historically, but it is quite accurate theologically. Abrahams had no Sabbath, externally and especially internally. He was driven, running for dear life, running tor he knew not what. ln contrast, Liddell had a Sabbath, externally and internally. He knew why he running, for Whom he was running, and why on Sunday he would not be running.

Abrahams pursued excellence, the movie has him say. Liddell also pursued excellence. The movie shows that they both trained extensively, as any Olympic-grade athlete must. They were both self-disciplined. Yet Liddell comes out as the man who knew how to rest, for he knew why he was running. Abrahams lived a long life, dying a respected statesman in Britain in 1978. Liddell died at age 43 in 1945, in a Japanese concentration camp for foreigners who had been caught in China. He died a few hours after he had requested that a friend sing his favorite hymn: “Be still, my soul.” He knew how to rest.

Liddell excelled with rest. Abrahams excelled without rest. One man was called by God; the other was driven by self. Each was victorious. Each received honor. Each is in the record books. But the movie makes it clear which man had peace: the man who pursued a personal God, not personal excellence.

Confrontation

The movie is clearly hostile to the British tradition of rule by aristocrat-amateurs. The movie begins in a railway station, with scarred war veterans loading the bags of the young men who missed the war and who were off to Cambridge. The class conflict is evident in the rude comments of one of the baggage handlers about fighting for the likes of them. The eating hall at Cambridge has a huge plaque which bears the names of those from Cambridge who died in the war. In the confrontation between Liddell and the Olympic Committee members, the gruff old chairman rejects Liddell’s explanation about not running on the Sabbath. “In my day, it was country first, God second.” Another Committee member remarks, “Yes, and the war was the result.”

The impact of this film was unpredicted. It won four Academy Awards, including best picture, yet a few weeks earlier, the United States distributor, Warner Brothers, had signed a contract with a Christian distribution organization which allowed the firm to sell tickets in bulk at steep discounts to churches and other religious groups. They frantically cancelled the deal within a few weeks after the Award. The distributors had been worried about too few ticket sales; soon, they worried about too many ticket sales — at a discount. They had excellence in their hands, and they did not recognize it. They did not expect the Academy to recognize it, either. It was a classic case of poor economic forecasting. It cost them plenty.

I attended a special screening of the film. A representative of the discount ticket program introduced it at a morning showing. He was a youth pastor of some sort. He was wildly enthusiastic. He said he had seen it 15 times, and learned something new each time. After the movie, he was asked by one man if it wouldn’t be a good idea to show the movie to the Dallas Cowboys, to try to convince the team not to play football on the Sabbath. The man was shocked. “Well, if you want to try to pursue that sort of sectarian position, go right ahead. But we want to show the film because it teaches young people about morality and patriotism.” It was incredible; what the movie explicitly was not about was patriotism. It was about precisely the “sectarian” position the man mentioned: Sabbath rest. Then he added, “You must have a lot more faith than I do. I don’t ever expect to see Sundays in America without professional football.” The man had seen the film 16 times at that point, and he still didn’t understand it.

Why was he still confused? He had not yet recognized an important message of the film: Christians are supposed to take seriously the words of Isaiah 40: “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity” (w. 22-23). This was what Liddell preached in the movie; this is what he told those who wanted to get him to run on Sunday. When patriotism conflicts with a fundamental biblical principle, we reject patriotism.

The pragmatism of today’s Christian leadership runs so deeply that they no longer recognize a confrontation when it is in front of them. Could men of Liddell’s persuasion play football with the Dallas Cowboys? Could they recommend that others patronize the games? What was this movie about, if not about restructuring lives, and then society, in terms of biblical principle? But our ticket salesman was interested only in giving young people a bit of entertainment that would teach them “morality and patriotism.” As long as the kids come out to see the film, all well.

But what if some of the kids see what the movie is all about? What if they see that the movie is telling them of a higher calling than simply running a race excellently? What if running the race of life excellently forces them to challenge the state, or totally compromised churches that sell discount tickets to big-time Hollywood movies? If men like Eric Liddell were to begin to fill the pews of the evangelical churches of America, or any nation, what would be the effect? Today’s church leaders would find themselves facing an army–an army which they are not prepared to lead.

Today’s churches are pathologically afraid of any confrontation with the powers that be. They may cheer on Eric Liddell, they may applaud Francis Schaeffer’s The Christian Manifesto, but the reality is this: cheering isn’t resistance, and applause isn’t a confrontation. Entertainment isn’t risk-taking. Discount tickets aren’t expensive.

Excellence and Mission

Liddell and Abrahams pursued excellence. The representatives of the British establishment could not deal with either man. The establishment no longer journeyed to the mountain of the God of the Bible. They were gentlemen, not pilgrims; they were leaders, not prophets. They pursued their goals elegantly, as the hurdler did, practicing his craft by having his valet place glasses of champagne on each hurdle, and then having him watch for the slightest jiggle. Liddell’s God was the God that Cambridge’s Master believed was dwelling on Abrahams’ mountain. Abrahams no longer took that God seriously, but his cultural inheritance still showed traces of that God’s covenant. He would pursue excellence, and carry the future with him.

The decline of the British Empire after 1918 was rapid. The pale shadow of greatness has become a farce. The British conquered the Falkland’s Argentine invaders by using a leased flagship (the Invincible, the aircraft carrier, had been sold to Australia). It took weeks, and the economic costs were horrendous. The outcome was in doubt for weeks. The geography of the situation points to an ultimate Argentine victory a few years from now. But the British defended their sovereignty one last time. The “stiff upper lip” is a bloody lip now. Watching the British fight a war is like watching Muhammad Ali fight his latest challenger. Even when he wins, it is pathetic, an embarrassment to watch.

What happened? Britain ruled the waves for centuries. How did the glow that was Britain fade? Simple: Britain refused to listen to the God of Mt. Sinai. Built in terms of future-orientation, the dominion covenant, and a will to bring Western civilization to backward nations, the Empire subdued whole chunks of the world. A few thousand young men governed India for two centuries. What they accomplished, no previous Indian in modern times could have contemplated, and no subsequent Indian has achieved. India exported not only cheap textiles, but grain. Peter Drucker describes this achievement of the Indian Civil Service:

“In its greatest period, the second half of the nineteenth century, it never numbered more than a thousand men. Most were very young, mere lads in their early twenties, for life expectancy was brutally short for the white man in India’s hostile climate, in which malaria and dysentery were endemic and cholera an annual visitor.

Most of these young men of the alien race who administered the huge subcontinent were stationed in total isolation in small villages or on dusty crossroads in which they did not see for months on end anyone who spoke their language or shared their concerns. Only a few survived long enough to retire, with modest pensions, to England from whence they had come and of which they always dreamed.

These young men who administered British India were rather dull and uninteresting. After a short apprenticeship, they were put into an assignment of their own to sink or swim. These men were younger sons of poor country parsons, with no prospects at home and little standing in English society. Their pay was low; their opportunities for loot or gain as their predecessors had enjoyed in the swashbuckling days of the East India Company a hundred years earlier had, by 1860, been completely eliminated.

These untrained, not very bright, and totally inexperienced youngsters ran districts comparable in size and population to small European countries. And they ran them all by themselves with a minimum of direction and supervision from the top . . . They gave India, for the first time in its long and tragic history, peace, a measure of freedom from famine, and a little security of life, worship, and property. They administered justice impartially and, at least as far as they themselves were concerned, honestly and without corruption.”

How did they do it? There was no top management. For two centuries they ruled without making fundamental policy–which was the cause of their demise, Drucker says. “The jobs the young men were assigned were big and challenging. There was enough scope in each of them to keep even a good man interested and occupied for many years. The job was the young man’s job, and not a job as an ‘assistant to’ anybody. He was accountable. He was responsible. And it was up to him to organize the job as he saw fit. Performance standards were high and uncompromising. A young, basically untrained and unprepared amateur was expected to give perfect justice; to be totally impartial; to maintain public order, safety on the roads and in the villages, and religious and civil peace. And he had to do this by persuasion, by the authority of his own person and by his mere presence; to have to invoke force, for instance to call in the military, was considered failure. And while the individual job was anonymous, the Service had high pride in itself and a deep commitment to standards and mission. It was imbued with the highest spirit.” (Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices [New York: Harper & Flow, 1974], pp. 403-5.)

In this century, the Western sense of mission has died. The bureaucrats are acting like bureaucrats. All of them expect to retire on a pension, and an early retirement at that. They shuffle papers, place responsibility elsewhere, avoid making decisions, and avoid conflict whenever possible. The system substitutes impersonal responsibility to a rule book written by other bureaucrats for personal responsibility to a holy God who has delivered a rule book for all of life. The sense of mission is gone, and with it went the British Empire.

Rule by amateurs failed when the amateurs lost their willingness to pursue excellence. Those who pursued excellence have carried the future. The Marxists have pursued excellence; they have a sense of mission. (See the fine book by the former British Communist organizer, Douglas Hyde: Dedication and Leadership [Notre Dame University Press, 1956.) Step by step, those with a vision of the future have captured the present. They have invested spiritual capital first, and then economic capital. They have invested the whole of their lives, just as those young men did in India a century ago. And as we have seen, a minority rules a vast majority, when that majority has no vision, no sense of mission, no spirit of excellence to draw upon. They are ruled by those who possess these inner qualities.

The Collapse of Bureaucracy

What hope do Christians have of capturing the seats of power? How can they escape the bondage of Egypt? First, they must trust the God of history to deliver them as He delivered His people in Moses’ day. Second they should expect to hear the law of God, as the Hebrews hear at Sinai, and to obey it. This was Israel’s tool of conquest. Third, they must be of good courage, as God commanded (Joshua 1:6-7). Fourth, they must find those men in whom the spirit of excellence dwells, in every field of human endeavor. Once found, they must be guided by them, as the Hebrews were guided in the building of the tabernacle, until such time as their spirit of excellence fails or they become misusers of the gift.

Bureaucracies do not survive the loss of vision and sense of mission by their members. The Soviet Union has few Marxists left, men who believer that the state will wither away, or that the freedom, as Marx and Engels promised. They are being ground down by a bureaucratic machine that they cannot admit even exists, for such things as bureaucracies are not Marxist, officially. Bureaucracies can persevere long after the light has gone out of them, but they cannot survive forever. They need capital, yet they squander it. They require vision, but they snuff it out. They must be small, lean, and flexible in order to perform efficiently, yet the imperative of bureaucracy is to grow, to lock in its position, and to become overstaffed. Advancement is by the number of subordinates you control. It multiplies its appendages. It centralizes. It seals its doom. As the mid-nineteenth French social philosopher, Lamennais, once remarked: “Centralization induces apoplexy at the center and anemia at the extremities.”

The goal is decentralization. We need a multiplication of profit-seeking companies that offer opportunities for gain to innovators and risk-takers. We need less civil government, less bureaucracy, and more Bible-governed law codes. We need a sense of mission to permeate the whole society, in every nation. We need men and women who are committed to the hope that in time and on earth, their efforts will count for something. We need people who are more afraid of boredom than they are of responsibility.

In short, we need men who will say to aging bureaucrats, “We pursue excellence, and we will carry the future with us.” But they need the God-given spirit of excellence — a personal spirit who links men’s hearts with God’s will, through their conformity to God’s law. We need a nation of Aholiabs and Bazaleels, in every field. We should expect to find them, in God’s good time. The fact that we have so few of them today, and that they are unrecognized, need not concern us too greatly. Their time will come. Their training for the great race will not be in vain.

Conclusion

One of the problems that plagues the Christian reconstruction movement today is the lack of qualified, dedicated workers who approach their callings in the way that those young British bureaucrats approached theirs. When we attempt to begin some project, we find it difficult to recruit competent workers. Furthermore, most Christian leaders today are amateurs. We have not been trained to lead. This lack of managerial experience, coupled with a lack of dedication on the part of subordinates, creates a major inhibiting factor in our efforts.

One of the best ways to become a good manager is to have worked under a good manager. Unfortunately, for over a century, Christians have not sought positions of major responsibility in every area of life. They have not become managers in the past, so those of us who are attempting to build up Christian institutional alternatives are not well trained. We are working on a “hit and miss” basis. Our institutions are generally underfunded, understaffed, and not highly efficient. Until we have mastered the art of management, not to mention policy making, we will continue to struggle. The funding will come only when we perform better in our callings.

The Christian school movement offers us hope. We will be providing the secular world a growing number of educated, literate graduates who are more willing to work and less willing to steal than their public school counterparts. If this future generation is motivated to view life as Eric Liddell did — as a race to be trained tor and won with humility and grace — then the Christian reconstruction movement will see progress within two generations. But if a vision of excellence does not become integral to at least a sizable minority of the graduates, then hope will be deferred again. As Proverbs says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but he that gathereth by labour shall increase” (Pr. 13:12).

We are under the terms of the dominion covenant (Gen. 1:28). We must perform to the highest standards. We must be governed by God’s spirit of excellence. Not excellence as such, or excellence for the sake of race, country, or fame, but excellence for the glory of God. When Christians once again accept this view of life, we can expect to see the world turned upside down.

****************

Biblical Economics Today Vol. 5, No. 4 (August/September 1982)

For a PDF of the original publication, click here://www.garynorth.com/BET-Aug1982.PDF

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It’s time for the Bad Guys to lose, and the Good Guys to win.

The Spirit of Excellence — dedicated to God’s Glory, Law-Word, Authority, and Victory — is a vital ingredient for victory.

COVID-19: The Vax Bond Between Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong-un

From Good news: more Biden stupidity struck down by Tom Woods

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Yesterday a federal judge struck down another useless mandate, this one in the Head Start program: no longer a vax and mask requirement for workers, and no longer a mask requirement for children.

Head Start is a preschool program, so they were actually planning to keep on masking 2-year-olds until this judge struck the whole stupid thing down.

Something else interesting has been struck down, this one not in the United States but in Canada. That country is dropping its vaccine requirement at the border on September 30.

That makes the United States officially more extreme even than Canada on the question of vaccine requirements for visitors.

In fact, as Phil Kerpen noted, that now leaves Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong-un with travel ban vax mandates in place.

Nice company there, Joe.

Meanwhile, I keep devoting a chunk of my time — the chunk I’m not spending reporting on world nuttiness, or recording the Tom Woods Show — to practical ways we normal people can improve our lives even as we have to endure such a wretched ruling class.

This week in my School of Life program I brought in two top names in the world of negotiation — business negotiator Allan Tsang and hostage negotiator Dan Oberlinger — to help teach my folks how to get what they want. How to get that raise. How to get that contract. How to get out of that speeding ticket (Allan says he’s done that multiple times with his methods). Everyone loved it.

In two weeks I’ll bring on the brilliant Larry Lepard of Equity Managament Associates to do a session on contrarian investing. Larry has a very impressive track record, as some of you who remember him from the Ron Paul days (when he spent $200,000 of his own money on full-page newspaper ads for Dr. Paul) will recall. He will help my people safeguard their wealth during the inflationary onslaught.

Lots of other great things, and very nice member victories, going on in there right now. Maybe when we reopen you might think about joining: http://www.TomSchoolOfLife.com

And finally, for the more adventurous among you — and I know you’re out there — in case you missed episode 2183 of the Tom Woods Show, I had a chance to speak to Mikkel Thorup, who is an expert on international relocation and expat issues, having visited 100 countries himself and lived in nine, and having been an expat himself for over 20 years.

I myself am too much of a homebody to leave the U.S., but I know for a fact that more of my readers than ever are considering their international options, whether that’s outright relocation or measures short of that, such as second citizenships and the like.

Mikkel is putting on a free virtual event that I thought you might be interested in. It will cover everything you need to know about the expat life: migration, residencies, citizenship, investment, the expat lifestyle and more.

It’s just been announced that Ron Paul will be speaking, alongside Doug Casey, Liberland founder Vit Jedlicka, and an array of experts whose combined expertise makes this surely the number-one expat event of the year.

If all this arouses your curiosity, you can still access a free ticket to the event at this link:

http://www.tomwoods.com/expatmoneysummit
Tom Woods

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“In fact, as Phil Kerpen noted, that now leaves Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong-un with travel ban vax mandates in place. Nice company there, Joe.”

It’s time for a change.

Regardless of whether corporates like Pfizer — and it’s unpaid Progressive step’n’fetch-its like Mother Jonesapproves or not.

Sometimes, contempt is unearned and unjustified.

Sometimes, contempt are just well-earned wages.

A Reason for the God-Kings

It isn’t because they were stupid: far from it.

It’s that every society needs a Source of Law.

And if you don’t have God? If you don’t know His Law?

Well, a parade of tyrannical substitutes arises — from the Ba’als to Zeus to Allah, from Natural Selection to the Nation to the Race to the Party, from Pharaoh to the Emperor to the straight-up Will to Power (as incarnated by The Leader) — to take the place of Christ the King.

Most people agree: tyranny is better than anarchy.

Fair enough.

But self-governance — the Law of God, inscribed on our hearts — is better than any tyranny of Powerful Men with Delusions of Godhood.

(Or the demons standing juuust behind them. As noted in Psalm 82, and spelled out in The Unseen Realm.)

A cut-n-paste from Divine Monarchy: Exploitative or Beneficial? by Sam Branthoover (Spanish: Monarquía divina: ¿explotadora o beneficiosa?)

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Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article.

There is an astounding number of historical phenomena with explanations lacking economic reasoning. Such is the case with the observed “divine right of kings,” or “divine monarchy,” commonly discussed in history textbooks. This ascribed status is common; aside from Europe, we find examples of divine monarchy in AsiaSouth America, and Africa.

If we were to extend our definition of divine monarchy to include tribal leaders, then our list might be even longer. The phenomenon also stretches much further back in time; Sumerians had god-infused monarchs, and the oldest written story in existence describes the Sumerian demigod, King Gilgamesh. While divine monarchy is often perceived as exploitative or absurd, I argue that it was not only wealth-maximizing for monarchs, but likely also for their subjects.

To begin, it is important to remember the nature of commitment issues in markets. Contrary to the contemporary layman’s perspective, trust is not a given; the cost of signaling commitment and trustworthiness to other market participants is higher in markets with lesser property rights. Save for some jarring criminal past, the contemporary reader could apply to a local McDonald’s for a job and likely be hired on the spot. Property rights are enforced so well that if one were to steal from McDonald’s after being hired, swift renumeration and punishment could be sought via courts and police.

Because postcontractual punishment is so easy to obtain, McDonald’s is inclined to hire anybody with a pulse, because trusting a random individual is near costless in situations like this one. However, in many parts of the world, this is not the case; while you may feel comfortable buying grapes from a random vendor in the United States, you may not feel the same way about a grape seller in war-torn Afghanistan, where there are no overarching authorities to guarantee postcontractual renumeration (and the risk of fraud or severe bodily harm is exponentially higher). In the past, markets were more like contemporary Afghanistan’s, and this sets the scene for a discussion on monarchy in the past. (My article here explains further the relationship between signaling and court enforcement if the reader is still interested.)

Monarchs are not immune to the aforementioned commitment issues. In fact, they were likely more susceptible to them. Richard Posner’s work on primitive markets enlightens us on this issue. A very real hindrance to building wealth in the past was the potential theft of said wealth. For every dollar earned, more must be spent on securing one’s wealth. Like it or not, monarchs (and nobles alike) were one of the only groups in medieval society that amassed and controlled sizeable fortunes. With great wealth comes great responsibility; that is, the responsibility to protect the wealth.

So, how did monarchs secure their property? They could rely on courts, but for nobles (and especially monarchs) there were no higher authorities to appeal to; if a monarch was “ousted” or murdered, any recompense would be decided by the successor, who conveniently benefitted from this role. I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s Macbeth; when King Duncan is slain, his son does not call the police or sue Macbeth, he lobbies foreign monarchs to recover the throne via force. Since court enforcement is a comparatively useless tool for preventing undue harm, monarchs must find other methods of securing trustworthy transactors, lest they succumb to theft and autarky.

On one hand, we would expect forms of signaling to stand in for court enforcement; this would allow for bad actors to be sorted out ex ante, or before the exchange occurs. I think an easy example of this is eunuchs—servants that “signaled” their safe intentions by voluntary castration. A eunuch that “reneged” on his contractual obligations would certainly lose a lot, as his “specialization” is rendered useless but he is left without childrearing capabilities. Gordon Tullock’s work on hereditary succession also explains the necessity of heirs for a stable monarchy, something that eunuchs could not have, incenting them against harming their masters.

On another hand, signaling is not the only solution to mitigating transaction costs. As the work of Peter Leeson (such as this) and others suggests, superstitious norms often act to solve issues in markets. As another example, Leeson also argues here that the use of superstition allowed for efficient dispute resolution in medieval Europe. I argue something similar: that the use of superstition allowed for monarchs to safely transact.

The idea of “divine monarchy” functionally renders everybody eunuchs. Everybody Christian, that is. If your subjects are Christian, and Christian norms uphold the idea that monarchs are divine (or are protected by an entity that is divine), then nobody can realistically replace a monarch, because only the “x dynasty” is divine or divinely protected.

It might be easy to imagine that divine monarchy is beneficial to monarchs, but logically, it is beneficial to any potential transactor as well, as long as the exchange is voluntary. Soldiers, staff, and courtiers would benefit. As extensions of the royal family, employees of nobility would benefit as well; in many historical countries, this would entail almost the entire population. The ability to transact with those of considerable wealth is incredibly lucrative and appealing.

While many view divine monarchy as an extreme version of megalomania, I conclude that it could possibly be a wealth-maximizing arrangement for all parties involved. Not only would it benefit monarchs by securing wealth, but it would also benefit any potential transactors, a list that would exclude very few. This is not to say that monarchs were not megalomaniacs, but only that divine monarchy exists for reasons beyond megalomania.

It is hard to believe that so many countries and populations would subscribe to a belief that only benefitted substantially less than 1 percent of the population. As with any prevalent phenomena in history, we should begin our explanation by evaluating how individuals would benefit, rather than how they are “exploited.” To do otherwise is to assume that historical actors were not rational, excellent for evaluating simple organisms, perhaps not so for humans.

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Gates and His Loving Plans for Africa

Because their birthrate is too high, and they aren’t enough welfare chains to tie them down and cripple them properly, as was done to Black Americans (and the Native Americans before them).

There is a risk that Africans may actually learn from their mistakes — their socialist mistakes, prompted by the White Progressives Who Love Them — and grow free.

The Loving Progressives are going to do their level best, to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Ever.


From Bill Gates wants to force everyone to live off of his patent pending synthetic corn, by Jordan Schachtel

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Bill Gates wants to force everyone to live off of his patent pending synthetic corn
Microsoft founder pivots from COVID Mania to Climate Change.

Given that COVID Mania is becoming increasingly unpopular with the public at large, the global ruling class has decided to rebrand their relentless campaign for technocratic tyranny. Bill Gates, for his part, is transitioning from a gene juice vaccine (mRNA) salesman to a monopolistic synthetic corn salesman. And once again, he is using the continent of Africa as the patient zero for his latest maniacal experiment.

At his annual Gatekeepers, I mean Goalkeepers, conference in New York City this week, Gates featured his lab made corn product as a solution to hunger in Africa.

The Microsoft founder is deeply embedded in the climate hoax movement, and has reoriented most of his “philanthropic” endeavors behind trying to change the earth’s temperature.

At Goalkeepers, Gates touted his GMO corn as a critical solution to climate change in Africa. If this confuses you, he means that he doesn’t want African farmers to invest in and consume nutrient rich livestock, which would actually improve their lives, because Gates believes the cows, chickens, and such are contributing to “climate change.” Therefore, Bill Gates has decided that Africans must subscribe to a lifetime of You Will Eat Corn And You Will Be Happy. 

Corn by itself has very little nutritional value, which is why many African governments end up subsidizing a maize meal product to citizens with added nutrients and vitamins. Many African societies already embrace a corn-heavy diet. However, this diet is a bug, not a feature. It is the product of a dysfunctional agricultural environment, and not some kind of cultural staple. 

The Gates plan takes a real diabolical turn when you learn that Gates and his foundation have spent the last several years buying up farmland and securing hundreds of patents for seeds and all kinds of lab made “food” products. 

Here’s some details on Gates’s mission from U.S. Right To Know, a healthcare investigative research non-profit:

“Gates says rich countries should shift entirely to synthetic beef. And he has the intellectual property rights to sell them. As a food that can help fix the climate, Gates touts the Impossible Burger, a plant-based patty made from genetically engineered soy and textured with engineered yeast. Its manufacturer, the Gates-funded Impossible Foods, has two dozen patents and more than 100 patents pending to artificially replicate cheese, beef and chicken and permeate these products with manufactured flavors, scents and textures.

Similar to the outcome of his COVID “investments,” there is a clear financial motive to Gates’s plan to coerce people into consuming his fake food. If successful, it will surely dramatically increase his wealth and power. Between March 18, 2020 (the beginning of COVID Mania) and May 4, 2022, Bill Gates experienced a wealth increase from $98 billion to $129.8 billion, driven in large part from his COVID-related “investments.”

Gates leveraged his wealth to successfully monopolize global COVID policy, causing devastation to millions, if not billions of people worldwide. He now seeks to do the same thing in the agriculture space, in attempting to force humanity to consume his patented “food” products in order to “save the planet.”

Hailed by the media outfits he controls as a great philanthropist, the late Jeffrey Epstein’s close friend has invested billions of dollars in Africa through his non-profit. Since retiring from the tech world, Bill Gates has dedicated much of his time and energy to the continent. However, regardless of his true motives, virtually everything that Gates “works on” turns into poison. Africans have suffered greatly because of him, and his campaign to coerce a synthetic corn-based standard of living will continue that theme.

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A Brief History of Slavery

For the record.

Also see:

from Mises.org

For more information, ask those Racially Patriotic Black Muslims for details.

And the Arab Muslims, for even more from the Master’s perspective.

COVID Vaccinations Destroy the Hearts of Children

From Huh, I wonder what’s causing this children’s health issue by Tom Woods

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For the life of me I cannot understand people who don’t respect Tucker Carlson.

Sure, like any of us he’s wrong from time to time. But he says things nobody else will say, and he’ll resist the entire establishment, including Conservatism, Inc., without batting an eye.

One of many ways you know progressives are phonies is that they should be saying of Carlson: he’s awful on so much, but excellent on the military-industrial complex. But since progressives have evidently made their peace with the military-industrial complex, or don’t consider it all that important, they never in fact say this.

Carlson just did a segment on the Covid shots and myocarditis in children. He said that in some people who received the shots, there “appears to be serious heart damage far more than the experts thought would occur.”

He went on:

“The Lancet just surveyed young people ages 12 to 29 who suffered from myocarditis heart damage after taking the COVID shot. According to The Lancet, 90 days after myocarditis symptoms emerged, roughly 26% of young people surveyed still needed daily medication because their hearts were so damaged, 20% said they had problems with their daily activities, 30% said they experienced pain. How will they be at age 60? You wonder. And of course, you know the answer.”

Carlson then showed an ad by New York Presbyterian Hospital making it seem as if myocarditis in children is just a normal thing that happens. The voiceover in the ad is that of a young girl, and says:

“I’ve been into fashion since I can remember. But one day I had a stomachache so bad I didn’t want to do anything. The team at New York Presbyterian said it was actually my heart. It was severely swollen, something called myocarditis. But doctors gave me medicines and used machines to control my heartbeat. They saved me. So now I can become the next great fashion designer.”

Tucker’s response to this bizarre ad:

“Severe heart damage in otherwise healthy children. Oh, yeah, we’ve always had that! No, we haven’t, actually.

“And Dr. Marty Makary [of Johns Hopkins University] was virtually alone in the medical community when he warned about the risks of this. He warned for months. In March, he wrote to the CDC and said, You’ve got a duty to ‘rigorously study the long-term effects of vaccine-induced myocarditis.’ He was not celebrated for this. of course. He was attacked, as always.”

Makary, Carlson’s guest, noted the CDC’s downplaying of myocarditis concerns:

“The CDC director last year said if we vaccinate a million children, there might be 30 or 40 cases of mild myocarditis. And they said, if you get myocarditis from COVID, that’s worse or it happens at a higher rate. But that’s not true. The studies have come out. Europe reacted by banning the Moderna vaccine altogether in young people, in many parts of Europe. And [in some places] everybody under 30, and in other places everybody under 40.

“The tragedy is that we’re now learning that there’s significant heart damage: 31% of people having physical activity restrictions. The Seattle study that 63% of children after myocarditis had evidence of heart swelling months down the road on MRI. So we were playing with fire. We didn’t know what we were dealing with. They undercounted the complication rate, making the vaccine look safer than it really was, overcounting cases in young people and hospitalizations, making the COVID infection look more dangerous than it really was….”

Carlson concluded: “It’s shocking. If your child has heart damage at the age of 14, how is she going to do at 50? And no one seems to be thinking about the future.”

Meanwhile, today I’ll be interviewing Dr. Pierre Kory about all these (non-Covid) “excess deaths” around the world that nobody wants to talk about. It will air next week — and trust me, I’ll let you know when it’s out.

Finally, for all you normal people who are concerned about this economy, prefer not to get stuck in a woke corporate job, or are simply ready to create better career opportunities for yourselves, I have a free resource to recommend.

It’s The Daily Job Hunt by Career Hackers, a super-short email with no-nonsense advice, teaching you how to be your own credential rather than just another resume. The brainchild of Isaac Morehouse, previous Tom Woods Show guest and founder of Praxis, Crash, and Career Hackers, the Daily Job Hunt is great for both active job seekers or anyone looking for a bright spot to kick off their day. Freedom isn’t just a philosophy; it should apply to your career, too!

Join for free with this 1-click link, and start getting The Daily Job Hunt.

Tom Woods

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Our current elites are disgusting.

What are you going to do about it, Christians?

Because you have my personal guarantee that the Woke, the Marxists, the Progressives will never murmur a word against our current elites.

They all share the same enemy, after all.

Among other things, I recommend getting out of the Woke corporate cubicles: Tom Woods has a way out. That’s as good as any other – and better than some – on the road to regain your liberty.