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Why Is No One Mentioning Unions?

I try to avoid all things political, but the recent mayhem required me to give it some attention. And I couldn’t help noticing that almost no one is addressing a fundamental factor in most of it: The unions.

Whether we like or dislike unions (I have mixed experiences, as I suppose most people do), they are a major factor in our recent events, and bear some attention. And so I’ll get the ball rolling.

The Police Unions

A few people have mentioned police unions following the sadistic murder of George Floyd, but let’s be clear on this: All the cops who kill people then get their jobs back are so privileged because of their unions. (And this, by the way, is actual privilege.)

Police unions have tremendous power over the municipalities in which they operate, and get their way nearly all the time. County commissioners and the like dare not cross them, because the union bosses will get other unions to join in opposing them, will have them portrayed in the press as hating their “heroes in blue,” and will likely ruin them.

The unions are enriched by dues, of course, and justify that by protecting their dues-paying members… the further the better.

Notice, please, that I haven’t mentioned the safety of people thus far. That’s because it’s a secondary concern. In the calculations of power, the citizenry matters only when they affect larger things, like when they riot, or when they as so stirred-up by media reports that will cost political offices. That’s when bad cops are fired, and very seldom before.

Without police unions intimidating politicians, it’s likely that George Floyd, Eric Garner, Duncan Lemp and many others would still be alive.

Teachers Unions

Not every municipality has teachers unions, but all the major urban centers do. Teachers unions, like police unions, protect their dues-paying members fiercely. There’s a reason why American schools spend $15,424. per student per year (according to Corey DeAngelis at Cato), while producing poor and declining results.

Here’s a great illustration of the problem, and in it you’ll see a parallel to police unions:

Back in the 1990s, the Secretary of Education visited the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, and they had a conversation that went about like this:

Secretary: So, how do you handle bad teachers?

Union leader: We don’t have any bad teachers.

Secretary: I understand, you train them well, but you have thousands of teachers in your union; some small percentage of them have to be bad. How do you deal with those?

Union leader: We don’t have any bad teachers.

And again, the unions have so much practical power that politicians are hopeless as a mitigating force.

Government Employee Unions

It would be hard to over-state the power of government employee unions. There will be no true “draining of the swamp” so long as these outfits retain their power. Take everything we’ve said above and multiply it, if you want to understand government employee unions.

Pension Fund Insolvency

A large number of states and municipalities are hopelessly insolvent, with the worst cases where unions hold the most power. And the real fiscal pain comes in the form of pension obligations. Unions demand rich pensions, get them locked into law, and never back down. Politicians have catered to them in hope of more votes. Union members, clinging to over-sized wages, do as the union advises. And so, state and municipal budgets are permanently broken.

The Big Picture

Having been empowered by legislation and policy over the 20th century, and riding on a series of effective narratives (Robber Barons, the Triangle Shirtwaiste fire, Caesar Chavez and so on), unions have amassed power on top of power. And like all narrow-minded and amoral power, they’ve over-fed to the point of destroying their food sources.

Bear in mind that I have no prescription for this and that I don’t want any further involvement. But if my neighbors want to deal with the present situation, seeing the structure of the problem is essential. Otherwise we’re blown from one opinion to another by each new narrative.

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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The Big Entrepreneurial Fix

This post began as an advertisement and morphed into something more. Call it both.

Millions of eager and productive people have been kept out of businesses that were natural to them, because of government regulations and second-order effects like unattainable insurance policies.

Most of us will recall a couple of African-American ladies having their hair braiding business closed by police officers who obeyed their servile bosses. But those were the few… the especially visible victims; there have been many, many more, and of all flavors.

We Live In A System That Will Not Allow Us To Thrive”

I’ve heard words like these for years, and often considered them leftist-inspired slogans… which they often were. But as time has rolled forward they’ve become more and more true.

I also chafed at such slogans because they assumed us to be powerless creatures. I still reject that, and vehemently.

Nonetheless, the fact is that government decrees (of innumerable types) have prevented us from thriving. That goes for blacks, whites, Latins and everyone else. Millions of us have been excluded from careers we could have pursued quite well.

I was kept out of an excellent career, not because I couldn’t do the work, but because I didn’t have government-mandated approvals. I ended up doing a lot of the same things, but through a back door that was only wide enough for one or two people to squeeze through. What of the hundreds like me who couldn’t make it?

I’ve also had to close businesses because of government edicts. And there have to be multitudes who join me in that.

My point is that the saying, no matter how it began, has become true. The system will not allow us to thrive. Whether by design or evolution, it squeezes most people out. The poor person complaining that the system holds them down may not be wrong.

I won’t go through the details, but I’ve been near the guts of this all my life, and I know quite well how it works.

The Solution

My point today (and I’m trying to keep this brief) is that this is a gigantic problem; a mass suppression of human ability and human happiness. There is almost no escape in the regulated economy (a few cracks can be exploited here and there), but there is one big, new escape: The crypto economy.

The new, cryptocurrency-based economy has formed outside of the rigged system. It isn’t fully-formed yet, but it’s as functional as we need it to be, and new tools are appearing on almost a daily basis.

And so, to all the business owners who were crushed by coronavirus lock-downs and finished-off by looters, to everyone who couldn’t bid on work because their skin wasn’t the right color or they were the wrong sex, and to everyone who couldn’t afford to spend a hundred thousand dollars on an approval certificate… please listen:

You now have a way around the system.

The crypto economy is here. If you’ve like a fast entry, see the course my daughter and I just released, it really is terrific. But if that doesn’t suit you, go to a Bitcoin meetup, start talking to people and start learning on your own. But don’t ignore the crypto economy; almost everything else is rigged against you.

Here’s the Crypto for Business course at Udemy.

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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The Crypto Apostles

Almost no one in the broader world knows about the crypto apostles. (My term, not one they apply to themselves.) Even rather few in the larger crypto community know much about them. So I’m not talking about famous names, but quiet people. I’ve decided to tell you about them with some hesitation.

I know some of these people, have heard of others, and I’m sure that I’ve missed many more. These are both individuals and families who have taken it upon themselves to travel to distant places to spread the knowledge of cryptocurrencies. They’ve done this mostly at their own expense, and definitely at their own risk. Many of their family members have to think it’s a foolish idea. And these people are spread widely, over more or less this entire planet.

In keeping with Christian metaphors I suppose I could call them “missionaries” – I’m sure they’d dislike that term less – but my respect for them is great, and so I’ll stay with the stronger expression today.

Why Do They Go?

These people – and they come in a wide variety of types – go because they’ve seen into the depths of Bitcoin and its children, into the decentralization philosophy… into the the better world model that rises, inevitably, out of it.

That is, these people have glimpsed that the crypto model liberates mankind, and they want to spread that vision as far and wide as they can.

Understand, please, that Bitcoin is a gateway drug. Once you’ve really tasted it… have understood how it creates trust in a decentralized way… have understood that decentralization (in many forms) is not only functional, but superior…

Then, sometimes slowly and sometimes in a flash, you come to understand that the way the world is presently organized is all wrong. There’s a reason we have endless wars, why the worst rise to the top of power hierarchies, why we’re abused on the streets by the agents of power. And it isn’t because of a few bad actors; the problem is the structure. It’s a crazy model developed by ancient conquerors and somehow passed down into what should be a space age.

That is what flows out of Bitcoin, and that is what these people have grasped. They have, as we would have said years ago, grokked Bitcoin. And as we might expect from self-referential, compassionate beings, they’ve gone out to spread the vision.

These people are planting the seeds of a better future, day by day.

These are not perfect people, of course; they struggle with the same sorts of internal conflicts and occasional bouts of foolishness that afflict us all… but they do their jobs all the same. Nor are they all full-time apostles; they face complications, limitations and difficulties like everyone else. And yet they go, they teach, they encourage and they demonstrate.

Without question, these people are pulling themselves past their conflicts and foolishness faster than obedient citizens, perpetually steeped in the way of the power-lusters and their associates.

What This Means

I’m sure I am embarrassing the crypto apostles – full-timers, part-timers and all the many variants – by publishing this, but again, I want you to know. And I’d also like you to appreciate what this means.

There is a scene in the second Godfather film where Michael Corleone sees a Cuban rebel give his own life for his cause. Upon seeing this, Michael decides to walk away from the deal that brought him. He understood that the rebels believed deeply in their cause, while the dictator’s supporters were only there for the goodies. “The rebels,” he said, “can win.”

So it is with those who have grokked Bitcoin. It is more to us than money. It is a new and better model of human life. And we do care about that.

The existing system has printing presses, glad-handing sycophants of many flavors and an endless stream of people paying for access to the money stream… but they’re all just there for the goodies.

The lesson of the crypto apostles, then… of all who have grokked Bitcoin… is that we can win.

And that, to be honest about it, is why I haven’t written about these people until now. I didn’t want the powers that be to notice them. Those powers, however, have now found more immediate problems, and are far less likely to spend their efforts on a few isolated enthusiasts. Hence this article.

You’ll make your own choices about what to do with this information, of course. In my opinion, the first move is to spend time examining decentralization (which I’m using as a catch-phrase, not a technical term)… to internalize how decentralization empowers and improves individuals and dis-empowers hierarchies of authority and violence.

Once you really see that Bitcoin’s model spawns a better humanity and better human life, you won’t need direction from me or from anyone else. You’ll still have to sort through your internal issues, but you’ll find yourself with a why and with a vision… and that will carry you forward, faster and farther.

God speed to us all.

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 10

(Continued from part nine)

After my speed-thinking experience, my friends took over the conversation, asking me about space travel. That helped me, because while I could still feel things roiling around in the back of my mind, no more were added. More than that, their raw enthusiasm for the subject began cleansing me in some way. The got excited almost the way that three year-olds do. There was a naked thrill to it.

As we ate our meals I explained in some depth about the Gemini and Apollo programs I grew up with. I recounted all the stories of spacewalks, disasters and near disasters, docking maneuvers, orbital trajectories and so on. They were mesmerized.

And then, as an aside, I mentioned something about airplanes, after which they wanted a description of that whole industry. And when I explained to them that my 19 year-old self was, at about this time, working at O’Hare, the world’s busiest airport… and that it was a fairly short drive away… well, they had to go.

And so we left the Chandelier. But before we headed out, they wanted to walk around the block to soak in the atmosphere. I waited in the car and tried to let my mind be as blank as possible.

Soon enough, however, we were on our way to O’Hare. We parked and walked long circuits through a couple of terminals (there were no armed checkpoints in those days), me answering questions nearly all the way.

Finally, the airport being all but empty by this time, we headed out again. But as we arrived at the car, I could feel that Jens had something to say.

What is it?” I asked him as we got back into the car, with him in the front seat this time.

Is there someplace we can stop on the way back? Somewhere where we can be left alone to speak for a while?”

Immediately I knew where to go, and I took them to the old Howard Johnson’s oasis, bridging the Tri-State Tollway1. It was slightly seedy but easy to get to, open all night and certain to be mostly empty.

We’d like to tell you what we did with the Corwins,” Lara said as we found a table and sat.

I nodded.

Micah was about to die… as in tonight or tomorrow morning. We can tell such things.”

I nodded again.

Dorthea had another four days. So… since it would make so little difference to the larger world, and since we were sure you’d agree… we thought we should make their exits more pleasant for them.”

To that I certainly agree,” I injected, and this time they nodded.

So, we very gently informed them of this fact and offered to equalize them. They will now die at roughly the same moment. Two nights from now, they’ll both become very, very tired, then fall asleep in both senses of the term.”

And they’d very much like your help and comfort until then,” Lara added.

I pondered for a moment. Of course I’d do what I could for them, but there was more implied in her little statement.

And what did you tell them?”

We said that your mission was highly important, but that they had become part of it, and taking two days out for them would please you. Then they asked how they might help you and your mission, to justify the time spent on them.”

These really are thoughtful people,” I mumbled.

They are,” she said. “They belong in a better world.

And so,” Lara continued, “please see if there’s something they can do to help your mission.”

I shall,” I assured them.

From there, the conversation turned back to what they’d be doing on this temporary Earth, and for how long. And again they began by asking if it seemed a good idea to me.

Their plan was to drive to NASA in Florida and spend a day or two examining the spacecrafts, meeting the designers, and so on. I advised them that it was a highly protected set of facilities with access severely restricted, but they just smiled. “We’re good at ins and outs,” they assured me.

I had earlier explained that this was a slow moment at NASA, but that didn’t concern them. They mainly wanted to see the equipment and know the engineers who had built it.

We went back to the car and headed back to the apartment, where they’d drop me off. We were all quiet on the way back, but I had one question that kept nagging me, and I decided to take the opportunity while I could.

Earlier, you said that you were hesitant to deal with the people of this time because you were too far removed from them. But I’m more or less from this time. You’re dealing with me.”

Lara, in the front seat this time, took the question.

But you’re also an outsider to this world; that attitude makes a tremendous difference. You are already informed of many things they are not… and have acclimated yourself to those things.”

I waited for her to continue.

In addition, you’re an important four decades removed from them, as well as working at the forefront on a daily basis.”

Am important four decades? ran through my mind… Most of those years were boring.

Why do you say those four decades were important? I saw a lot of it as dull.”

Ah,” Jens added from the back seat, “but you were looking at the outer world more than the inner worlds.”

What did you see,” I responded, “when you looked at those decades?”

What I saw,” he went on while pulling himself between the two front seats again, “was people progressively clarifying their experience of themselves. Your increasing knowledge of psychology, for example… regardless of the tangents it sometimes took, made people aware of entire classes of errors.”

You mean things like denial and cognitive dissonance?”

Yes, precisely. And being aware of them, they began to clean them out. Slowly and erratically, of course, but steadily.

Haven’t you been saying that what your people needed to move forward was not so much mental strength but emotional strength?”

Yes, I’ve been saying that in a couple of ways, and I think maybe I should say it more.”

Perhaps so,” he said. “From my perspective, such things provided solid ground upon which people could stand to do other things… more overt things, like your Internet and cryptography movements.”

Maybe you’re right,” I said. “Slowly and quietly, that continued through the whole time. And with the Internet, it spread all the faster.”

I could see him in the rear-view mirror smiling.

Thank you,” I said to them both. “I very much appreciate your perspectives on things.”

I could feel a joy oozing out of them. We arrived at the apartment and parted while still engulfed in it.

**

1 If you’re curious, you can see this place in an older movie called Thief, starring James Caan.

All of Book Two on Kindle

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Between about 2007 and 2014, I was a regular participant in what we used to call “the offshore circuit.” It consisted of a fairly small group of providers and consultants, teaching people who were sick of being reamed by taxes, how they could structure their lives differently and gain some serious financial liberation. My part was teaching people why and how to protect their data.

We had a lot of fun and we helped a lot of good people… and, we got to travel to fun places like St. Kitts, the coast of Belize, the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Antigua, Panama and others. Plus, it was good for Cryptohippie, the anonymous VPN I was managing then and still manage.

Alas, for a variety of reasons the offshore circuit wound down. Some of the sponsors changed their focus, one of the guys became an ambassador, Snowden came along and I didn’t need to convince people about surveillance anymore, and so on. But it was a gas while it lasted. Good people doing good things for good people. Life should always be that way.

Now, however, Mikkel Thorup at The Escape Artist has pulled most of the old gang back together for a virtual conference. I even updated my old presentation and recorded a session on Why You Must Protect Your Data Offshore… And How To Do It

To those of you who are interested in protecting your assets, I highly recommend this group of presentations.

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 great material in this course.

So, here’s the link and I hope you enjoy it.

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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Geniuses on Education

The educational monolith of the past century, whose absence from modern life was all but unthinkable, has all but vanished, and for months now. This has thrust millions of families into a reassessment of their children’s education. And so I want to contribute something that may be of some use to them.

Here you will find a set of passages from my files: The thoughts of notable geniuses on the subject of education. I hope that parents, especially, will find them informative.

**

Albert Einstein

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like sergeants. I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam… I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement.

I learned mostly at home, first from my uncle and then from a student who came to eat with us once a week. He would give me books on physics and astronomy.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Baruch Spinoza

Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men’s natural abilities as to restrain them.

Ivan Illich

School is the advertising agency which makes you believe you need the society as it is.

Bertrand Russell

Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.

Mary Wollstonecraft

There is not, perhaps, in the kingdom, a more dogmatical, or luxurious set of men, than the pedantic tyrants who reside in colleges and preside at public schools.

Agatha Christie

I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Truth has to be repeated constantly, because Error also is being preached all the time, and not just by a few, but by the multitude. In the Press and Encyclopedias, in Schools and Universities, everywhere Error holds sway, feeling happy and comfortable in the knowledge of having Majority on its side.

A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows on rows of natural objects, classified with name and form.

Celia Green

Education by the State is a contradiction in terms. Intellectual development is only possible to those who have seen through society.

It is easier to make people appear equally stupid than to make them equally clever, so teaching methods are adopted which make it practically impossible for anyone to learn anything.

John Stuart Mill

A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another: and the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.

Ludwig von Mises

Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought. The mark of the creative mind is that it defies a part of what it has learned or, at least, adds something new to it.

H.L. Mencken

The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.

Sigrid Undset

I hated school so intensely. It interfered with my freedom. I avoided the discipline by an elaborate technique of being absent-minded during classes.

Abraham Mazlow

We know that children are capable of peak experiences and that they happen frequently during childhood. We also know that the present school system is an extremely effective instrument for crushing peak experiences and forbidding their possibility. The natural child-respecting teacher who is not frightened by the sight of children enjoying themselves is a rare sight in classrooms.

Isaac Asimov

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.

Aldous Huxley

Children are nowhere taught, in any systematic way, to distinguish true from false, or meaningful from meaningless, statements. Why is this so? Because their elders, even in the democratic countries, do not want them to be given this kind of education.

Buckminster Fuller

Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth and the exercise of this desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic.

Our greatest vulnerability lies in the amount of misinformation and misconditioning of humanity. I’ve found the educations [sic] systems are full of it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing.

Buddha

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Simone Weil

Conscience is deceived by the social.

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 9

(Continued from part eight)

A few minutes later the Corwins were up and about, meaning to serve us coffee, tea or something… anything.

Immediately both Lara and Jens stood and guided the Corwins to chairs.

Please,” Lara said, “it is necessary for us to serve you, and not be served by you.”

The Corwins didn’t know what to think, but sat all the same. Lara and Jens went to the kitchen and shortly returned with some hot water and tea bags that Dorthea had set out for our return. In the interim, I tried to keep them calm. From their perspective this was a thoroughly Bible-worthy event, and they were alternately feeling overwhelmed and unworthy.

Tea served, Lara sat down and turned to address the Corwins and myself.

There are two things we’d like,” she said. “The first is that we’d like Paul to give us a few moments to talk to Micah and Dorthea privately. The second is that we’d like Dorthea and Micah to excuse Paul for the evening. We’d like to take a drive with him and discuss a few things.”

The three of us agreed on both points and I excused myself from the table, heading to my guest room.

A few minutes later, I felt that ‘spiritual surge’ from them again, though it was different than last time. The first one was clearly an outpouring of love. This one felt utilitarian, like a movement of something.

Several minutes after there was a knock on my door. I said “Come in,” and Lara did.

It was gracious of them to give you this room,” she said, looking around and wiping away tears.

It was,” I said. “Whatever damages they carry, these are good people.”

We see it less as damage and more as developmental voids,” she quickly responded, “but in the midst of struggle, as you are, seeing it as damage is quite understandable.”

That, I was sure, was something I’d think about later. But for now I’d have to file it away.

Are you ready to come with us now?”

Just about,” I said, and began gathering my things.

Within a few minutes we were out the door and at the car. They asked me to drive and we combined our efforts to get the convertible top up. The temperature was dropping, the sun was declining, and it had been rather cold to drive with the top down even earlier.

* * * * *

They said they were hungry and asked me to take them somewhere I’d go whether or not they were with me. And that made it easy; I took them to the Chandelier restaurant on Dempster Avenue. It was long gone from my perspective, but I used to go there with my friends at this time. I had thought their blue cheese salad dressing was the best I’d ever had, and I wanted to try it again to see if my opinion held up. (It did.)

They were very quiet as we made our way north on Pulaski Ave., so I decided to ask.

Are you being quiet because you’re taking in a lot of impressions from the people here?”

Lara, in the front seat, smiled. “We are,” she said, “but we also don’t want to divert your thoughts.” Again they were carefully non-interfering, but I had an answer for them this time.

No diversion at all,” I said with a small laugh, “I often talk to imaginary people as I drive. I have for decades. I like it, and it helps me clarify my expression.”

Then talk we shall,” Jens effused as he slid forward from the back seat and leaned almost into the front. “Tell us about these people and places.”

From there I dropped into a travelogue that ended only when we were seated at the restaurant. It was very easy to talk to these people. And once we sat I was thrilled that we would be served by Hazel, who had been my favorite waitress. I had forgotten about Hazel long ago and was happy to see her again.

Jens and Lara went silent, which took me a moment to notice because I was caught up in thinking about all the people from the ‘70s I had forgotten. I was feeling lonely for them, and my new friends let me feel that way for as long as I needed.

As my loneliness slipped away, I realized that the the gentleness of these people would be one more thing that I’d hold in the back of my mind till I had time for it. That, in turn, made me consider how much room I had remaining in the back of my mind (more than half-way to maximum it seemed)… the fact that this same thing happened to me on my last insertion (a cluster of important events and the risk of burn-out)… that they were again waiting for me, but were in no way hurried or resentful of the wait… that talking more than listening might save my free brain space and prevent burn-out… that they might be acting toward that end already… that I’d still like to get more information from them… questioning whether there were any special measures I could take (coffee, perhaps, so long as I was sure of sleeping in tomorrow)… and that I should probably get back to experiencing them as beings, whether or not we spoke.

And then I realized that this entire train of thought had taken only two or three seconds… I had been thinking at tremendous speed, but it had been comfortable. I raised my eyes to examine their faces. They were smiling.

Jens leaned in toward me. “You see, you are able think at a high rate of speed, and pushing isn’t the way to do it.”

I nodded my head. They clearly helped in some way, but it was unquestionably me doing the thinking, and in the kind of pattern I normally took, except that it was faster and maybe more relaxed than usual.

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A New And Dangerous Book

Today I am posting a new book called Recovering Jesus. And it really is dangerous, particularly to me.

“Woe unto him,” wrote Will Durant, “who teaches men faster than they can learn.” At first that may sound incredibly presumptuous, but it really isn’t, because the “faster than men can learn” part isn’t properly attributable to me, but rather to Jesus: I’m just calling attention to what he said and did.

The dangerous part of what I’ve done is to ignore all of the  traditions and authorities – including “apostles” – who have told mankind who Jesus was and what to think about him. That is, I’ve taken a raw look at Jesus… and only at Jesus.

The truth is that mankind has never been able to take this man directly; he was simply too much. And so they adapted him to their psychological comfort level. (Humans are shockingly creative when assembling facts to meet a compulsory conclusion.)

That said, we’ve come a long way in the past 2,000 years, and I believe that many people are ready to take this man straight. I wouldn’t put this into the world if I felt otherwise.

For anyone with a traditional view of Jesus, there will be difficult passages in this book. I’ve tried to minimize any discomfort, but that’s not entirely possible with material that’s out of sync with strong and sensitive expectations.

So, I’ll ask two things of you:

First, please feel free to put the book down if you find yourself getting upset by it. I don’t need angry readers and it isn’t good for you either.

Secondly, please pass it around to inquiring Christian minds. The odds are that this book will have minimal effect for a significant number of years. Opinions on Jesus don’t turn easily. But I am convinced this is an important line of inquiry, and I’d like to get it started rather sooner than later. Christianity now embraces well over two billion souls. And so any improvement in Christianity will spawn serious second-order effects. And, being convinced that Jesus is qualitatively better than Christianity, I’m of the opinion that a clearer view of him is in our best long-term interests. Thanks.

The book is posted in sections on this page.

It is available on Kindle for $4.99

**

Paul Rosenberg

freemansperspective.com

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Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 8

(Continued from part seven)

The next morning I awoke to two ninety year-olds who wanted me to take them for a walk. After 73 years of waiting they were feeling vindicated. However much I hadn’t wanted to play holy man, I had to admit that it made a huge difference to these two. Yes, the benefit to them could have come earlier and by what I thought were better means, but they were nothing less than blessed by it.

Truth be told, it wasn’t a bad day for a walk. The temperature had risen to a balmy 42 degrees and the piles of snow were melting, complete with slush in the streets and dirty ridges on the tops of the piles. The sidewalks were mainly clear.

And so we ate a breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and juice, then took a walk up and down Lawrence Avenue. About halfway through I realized what they were doing. It was as if they were back in 1905 and they had walked to the center of town. They were entertaining themselves, slowly critiquing the items in the store windows.

1905 was well before my time, of course, but I knew people who lived through that era, and this was as they described. It also made sense for people who had held to a dream for so many decades to return to the beginning in some way… to reclaim their young selves. I soaked it in as best I could. There was a peculiar healthfulness to it.

As we were almost back to their apartment, walking east, a white Mercedes 450 with a red leather interior pulled up next to us. This was a high-end sports convertible with its top down. In it were an exceptionally good looking couple, the man seemingly 40 years old and the woman perhaps 30, both perfectly dressed. They stared straight at me.

We missed you in ‘63,” the woman said, “but we’re glad we didn’t miss you this time.”

I stared back, first absorbing what she had said (initially it barely registered as real) and then considering what it might mean to Micah and Dorthea.

Yes,” she added, answering a question that was still forming in my mind, “we’re friends of Robert’s.”

I nodded an acknowledgement to her, then leaned in to the Corwins. “These are advanced beings,” I whispered to them.

Angels,” they muttered to each other in awe.

Before I could look back, both the man and the woman were out of the car and stepping briskly up to us, taking Dothea and Micah by their hands, and saying, “Greetings, our long-suffering friends. May we walk you to your home?”

The Corwins squeezed out yeses, and all four turned to continue east. But before the man turned fully, he looked back at me and said, “Would you please bring the vehicle?”

Of course,” I said, and proceeded to do so.

* * * * *

This couple… at first they looked like over-aged and overly-pampered rich kids, albeit beautiful ones. But with the Corwins they were as authentically warm and loving as anyone I’d ever seen.

I drove the Mercedes (a stick) around to the apartment the long way, using the few extra minutes to digest what had just happened.

As I stepped up the short stairway to the first floor where the Corwin’s lived, I felt a surge of appreciation and love. To me it seemed palpable, and so powerful that it stopped me in my tracks. I remained still for a second or two, and then it subsided. I walked through the door to find Dorthea and Micah laying back on their couch like a couple of 1970s stoners.

The pretty couple were standing in the center of the room, smiling. As I found out later, Micah had asked them something about Jesus. The couple, Lara and Jens, hadn’t ever met Jesus, though they knew of him. But what they knew of him was in the deeper-then-words way that Robert had previously explained to me, and so they did in fact love him.

Knowing that Jesus was a very sensitive topic to these people, they said, “Better than words, why don’t we show you how we feel about him?” The Corwins agreed, Lara and Jens made them sit down, and then they let loose.

I accompanied my new friends into the dining room while the Corwins lay on the couch absorbing their experience.

What a beautiful thing to bless such people,” they said to me, almost in unison, “thank you.”

I barely knew how to respond, but I did say “You are most welcome.” There was something about this couple. They were a wholly unexpected but immediately recognizable combination of warm, open and otherworldly.

The three of us sat at the table and Jens began to explain things to me.

We’ve never met your friend who is bringing you to these momentary worlds,” he said, “but Robert passed along what he knew, and we were intrigued. Not only does this make your world better, but it gives us a chance to see things we never could have otherwise.”

Things that are like your own people’s remote past?”

Precisely,” he said, “and we wouldn’t have come unless someone from this world was also coming. That has always seemed too much an intrusion for us to undertake, given the carry-over effects… even for a short stay.”

I nodded my understanding.

So,” Lara interjected, “is it all right with you that we explore your world a bit?”

It’s consistent but still shocking, I thought, that the more sublime the creature, the more gentle they are. Still, I had to take the request seriously.

Is there is something you might do that would cause damage?”

They responded, in overlapping statements, that they didn’t think so, and that they’d be careful.

Then I have no objection… and if you find a circumstance where you can create improvement, please feel free to do so.”

Thank you,” Jens said, “but we’ll start slowly.”

Okay,” I said, “but the door remains open to you.” It was a little strange to grant permission to beings such as these, but I did it all the same.

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Nothing Changes As Long As You Obey

serfdomI hear the same complaints about politicians that you do. And while I understand them, the fact is that complaining accomplishes almost nothing. And there is a very simple reason why complaining has no real effect:

Because the complainers keep right on obeying.

As long as you obey, the things you complain about will keep on happening.

The Proof

This idea that “nothing changes as long as you obey” has a modern proof – that of American blacks in the southern United States. Specifically, between the civil war and Martin Luther King Jr.

King is badly misunderstood. His legacy has become a tool for garnering of political power. He has been turned into a semi-mystical symbol and used by power grabbers of many types.

The real Martin King, however, was a minister who exposed the truth that obedience keeps us in chains. His crucial synthesis was to combine disobedience with goodness. His crucial work (and this is greatly under-appreciated) was to hold disobedience and goodness together.

Blacks suffered for many decades in the American south. They complained endlessly, but the laws were against them and remained against them. A significant number of white people were sympathetic, but everyone obeyed the law and little changed.

Until King came along, of course, with his new strategy of goodness plus disobedience.

King, for whatever his shortcomings, was a serious minister, and had a clear vision of what goodness entailed. And, he became very good at communicating it. King added disobedience to goodness, and combined them with teachings on courage and self-control.

Within a decade or so of using this strategy, things changed in the American south. First, individuals changed. And, after a while, laws followed.

There is far too much to tell of this decade, so I will give you some quotes from Dr. King:

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.

We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully because our aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself.

Most people can’t stand up for their convictions, because the majority of people might not be doing it. See, everybody’s not doing it, so it must be wrong. And since everybody is doing it, it must be right.

Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

How to Stop Obeying

First of all, understand that how to do this must be YOUR decision. If you follow the “blueprint” of anyone but yourself, you’ll be falling right back into the same trap of obeying an authority. Yes, we’ve been trained in that all our lives, but it remains a fundamental error.

You must decide for yourself what path to take, and you must – inside of yourself – summon the courage to act upon it, without anyone else telling you what to do.

You must choose and you must act. Until then, your suffering will remain. But when you do choose and act, you make yourself a free man or woman.

So choose a good path, then break the inertia of compliance and step out on your own. Make yourself into someone you’ll be proud of.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

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