The nirvana fallacy (also called the perfect-solution fallacy) is another one that sounds obvious if you explain it calmly, but works all too well once emotional pressures are applied. This fallacy is the rejection of anything that can be portrayed as less than perfect, usually by assuming and implying that an alternative is perfect.
The nirvana fallacy typically works like this:
Two people are debating some subject; one of them has a new idea that he or she thinks would improve life, and the other remains committed to the existing way. As the “new way” person explains their idea, the “old way” person quickly imagines a scenario where the new way could cause a problem, then accuses the new way of being horrible because of that one possibility.
The nirvana fallacy says this: “If I can imagine one flaw with your new idea, it’s stupid, and you’re dangerous for promoting it.” That’s ridiculous, of course; you can use “one flaw and it’s trash” to condemn anything. Food can rot, clothes can tear, cars can break, children can be rude, old people are too slow, and so on. You can find a flaw with anything. And that means that absolutely anything can be rejected if you apply the nirvana fallacy to it.
Sadly, this fallacy does work. It intimidates the person with the new idea, protecting both the old idea and the person holding it.
I began running into this fallacy when I explained to people why I was home schooling my children.
Continue reading “Fallacy #2: Nirvana”
As I’ve mentioned before, between about 2007 and 2014, I was a regular participant in what we used to call “the offshore circuit.” Quite a few of us combined to teach people how they could structure their lives differently and gain some financial liberation. My part was teaching people to protect their data.
We had a lot of fun and we helped a lot of good people. But the market for our services eventually changed and the conferences wound down.
Several months ago I let you know about a virtual conference, and I know that several of you took advantage of it. Now, however, there’s an actual, real-life conference you can attend, featuring even more of the original team. It will be held in Las Vegas, from November 14th to November 18th.
The time for asset protection conferences has come back, and for obvious reasons: Things are ominously out of control and no one trusts the powers that be. We have to protect ourselves or we will not be protected.
To those of you who are interested in protecting your assets, I highly recommend this conference; it will be covering everything from offshore property to tax strategies to cryptocurrency. I’ll be speaking about Bitcoin.
If you’re going to attend, send me a note and perhaps we can meet during the show. I’ll be happy to make personal introductions if I can.
Now, before I finish, I should be clear that Free-Man’s Perspective gets a spiff for each of our readers who signs-up. Nonetheless, you’re going to find a lot of value in Las Vegas: from the speakers, from the workshops and perhaps even more so from your fellow attendees.
So, here’s the link and I hope you enjoy it.
I haven’t written about Ross Ulbricht for a few years, and so I’d like to remind as many people as possible of this horrible miscarriage of justice.
I’ll be brief, but I want you to have the facts. I think they matter a great deal, not only for getting Ross out of prison – a place he clearly does not belong – but because the administration of justice in America, at least in cases that people in power care about, has been deeply corrupted. And please understand that I’ve been in and around the US justice system for most of my life, including thirty years as an expert witness. I’m not writing out of mere passion.
Ross Ulbricht started the Silk Road hidden web site. I happen to think it was a worthy commercial adaptation, but you can make up your own mind. The site began as an experiment, selling books and other things, but soon enough became famous for selling peer-reviewed drugs from customer-rated sellers. It was an anonymous eBay, and it brought drug deals out of some very dark, dangerous places and into a modern commercial marketplace. I suspect that it saved numerous lives that way.
Drugs aren’t my cup of tea, but I believe people own their bodies and that peaceful commerce should be left alone. Again you can make up your own mind, but if you think the running such a service should be punishable, please decide what sort of penalty you’d apply to it… because we’ll be coming back to this question.
Continue reading “Why Ross Ulbricht Must Be Pardoned”
Before we begin covering fallacies, we should be clear on what the word means. A fallacy is a deceptive statement. It is something that is false, but is made to appear true. In other words, it is a trick of words and emotions, used to make people believe something that isn’t actually so.
But that does not mean that everyone using a fallacy is trying to hurt you. In most cases, they are doing it ignorantly, because they were deceived by the trick earlier. What they’re really doing is passing along the mistake.
So, while we want to notice deceptions (fallacies) that are thrown at us, we should remember that most of the people using them are not personally malicious; they’re acting out a malicious script that was started by others. The damage to you is the same, but their personal guilt is less.
Now, let’s move on to our first fallacy:
Continue reading “Fallacy #1: Either-Or”
It has become a common belief among Americans that they should “respect the office” of an official, even if they don’t respect the person holding that office. The same, of course, goes for “the law.” And while I understand that people saying such things are trying to be virtuous, they are mistaken.
Respecting the office and the law are unAmerican, and I’m going to show you precisely why, and mainly from the mouths of the American founders.
I’ll start with a passage from the soul of the American experiment, the Declaration of Independence, which I’ll condense to make my point:
We hold these truths to be self-evident… that all men are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights… that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted.
What I want you to see from this is the relationship between primary and secondary. According to the Declaration, we are the primary and governments are the secondary… the derivative.
Government exists because people create it, to serve themselves. They are in no way secondary to it. It is secondary to them.
And if that wasn’t clear enough, the Declaration gets specific in the very next line:
Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.
Again, the people are primary, government is derivative. Government serves at our pleasure. It is our right to abolish it if we so desire, just as we have the right to close our business if it no longer turns a profit.
Yes, There Is More
Continue reading “Why Americans Shouldn’t Respect Offices or Laws”
Critical thinking is an essential human skill, but it is little-taught. Once upon a time critical thinking courses were held to be essential, but they have since vanished from schoolrooms, either rolled into optional Logic courses (which are deathly boring to most students) or pushed aside simply because teachers and administrators resented students tearing through their arguments.
But for whatever reasons, critical thinking has all but disappeared from modern education. Nonetheless it remains essential, and especially for young students who need reasons to trust themselves and their opinions.
Because of this, and because the parents of young children have asked me for it, I’ll be devoting a series of posts to the fallacies of logic. An understanding of the primary fallacies, and especially how to apply them, is central to critical thinking. This material will end up as a book, but I’d very much like for you to read these installments and send them to the young people in your life. Children should be mentally and emotionally prepared to face a difficult and confusing world, and this is precisely the kind of material that will prepare them.
Continue reading “Introduction To Critical Thinking”
Guilt, as I’ve noted before, is the great vulnerability of the Western world. I’ll pass up an explanation of why for today, but the validity of this statement is made ever so clear by the fact that political types rise to power by championing one class or another of victims, portraying everyone else as somehow guilty. It works brilliantly and regularly, all across the West. Bizarre and openly unbalanced people leap into power this way.
Guilt makes Westerners behave very stupidly. It has brought them low and could extinguish their civilization altogether. I don’t think it will go quite that far, but I’m an optimist.
Continue reading “We Must Stop Trying To Be Unassailable”
It struck me some time ago that the people we think of as “geniuses” tend to arrive, over time, at surprisingly similar sets of conclusions. It further strikes me that a simple list of such thoughts might be of value.
And so, here is a list pulled from my quotes file and presented without commentary. Enjoy:
- Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.
- Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it.
- The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.
- Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
Continue reading “What Geniuses Believe”
As we grew up, nearly all of us were inundated with stories of our glorious national fathers, our beautiful democracies, and so on. And being young, we for the most part believed them. The system gave us our prosperity, our comfort, our medicine, our sense of importance.
Soon enough we learned that the system was also stupid and perverse, but we found a way around that contradiction by blaming one segment of the system or another: The Blues or the Greens or the Red are the problem; it could not, must not, be that the system itself is the problem.
Then came 2020, and the system revealed its true face.
I suppose I should be fair and add that the system wasn’t always as rotten as it is now, but regardless, it wasn’t able to prevent the rot that overtook it.
Continue reading “2020: The Year The System Showed Its Real Face”
(Continued from part twenty-six)
I am now a year past these events and I think I’m effectively past the difficulties that rose upon my return. One thing remains, however, and that is a recurring need to get off this rock and to head out into the open. This is not something that eats at me every day, but it emerges and re-emerges every so often. And it shows no signs of going away. Sometimes I even shy away from science fiction shows (which I tend to like) because they would frustrate me: Needing to go but unable to go.
Ultimately it comes down to physics: If we can develop space tech that is effective and affordable, those of us who long for more and better can escape the barbarism that rules this planet. And as time goes on, more and more who realize they are built for better things will follow.
The fear, of course, is that we’d leave a “ghetto planet” in our wake. But I don’t believe that will happen, and for two primary reasons: First, that ruling systems would break down once the best milk cows ran from their pasture. Secondly, that the imaginations of those who remained would open, and they’d consider the possibility that there’s more to experience than the hive-life they’ve known. Sure, the process would be sloppier than this description, but I’m convinced those two things would bear out over time.
Continue reading “Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 27”