A Full Confession, Part One

You can’t write about this till I’m gone,” he said, “but that won’t be long.”

I hadn’t been to Jay’s Bar since the events I recorded in The Rise of The Superfluous Class, and I hadn’t intended on returning any time soon, as much as I love the place. But I was invited by my old friend Martin, whom I mentioned in those articles. He was a basically nice guy who ended up working for an elite group.

I ran into Martin at my old gym, as I stopped one day to visit. He wasn’t looking well. I knew he had a fairly serious condition and was getting on in years, but he had been holding it at bay the last time I saw him. This time he was clearly close to his end, and had come to the gym to say his goodbyes. And so, when he invited me to meet him at Jay’s (“the same place I saw you last time”), I had to go.

We sat in a quiet spot, and I listened as he told me how close he was to death. That was two weeks ago as I write this. I saw his obituary this morning but will skip the funeral for reasons that may shortly become clear.

The Confession Begins

Martin ordered a triple scotch. I had never seen him drink before, except a bit of white wine. But I followed his pattern, ordering a double scotch on the rocks.

“I have things that I need to tell you,” he began. “You know most of it fairly well, but you’ve never had confirmation before, and that makes a difference.”

I nodded.

“I’ve read two of your books and half a dozen issues of your newsletter, you know.”

“No, I didn’t,” I replied, “but thank you.”

He smiled, raised his glass slightly, and took a big drink.

He seemed like he was trying to relax, but his body was limited in its ability to feel comfort. It was an odd and troubling thing to notice.

“Let’s start with the industrial revolution, shall we?”

“That’ll be fine.”

“As iron and steam power moved across the continent they brought an economic revolution, and political revolutions followed. Through the middle 1800s nearly every monarchy was disrupted and brought down in one way or another. The aristocracy was pulled off the stage. Such people, however, don’t just accept displacement, and they fought to retain lordship in some form. I haven’t read it yet, but you wrote on this, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, in the subscription letter((FMP #76.)). I said that these people seem to have demonetized silver and moved into central banking.”

“Well, it wasn’t ‘seemed to.’ They very definitely did.”

“Thank you,” I said. And he was right, getting confirmation helped me in some internal way.

He went on.

“Land was no longer the store of value it had been since the beginning, and currency was taking over. And so the aristocrats plunged into banking. This put the British royals at the top of the hill, since they retained their positions and had a central bank that used debt as currency.

“So the displaced aristocrats opened one central bank after another, on the model of the Bank of England. And since they had connections to Queen Victoria, they could be authorized by the major power of the day, the owner of the most important currency. Central banks became new duchies, keeping their owners in elevated positions.”

Then he stopped and took another long pull from his scotch. He was clearly using it as a painkiller. I took a sip of mine.

“You realize that this isn’t going to change anything,” he said.

I said nothing and waited.

“I’m telling you these things because I care about you. You’re an honest man, and you shouldn’t be stuck in uncertainty. But telling this to the world won’t change anything. They’ll just tune you out. They already tune you out, don’t they?”

“Yeah, Martin, lots of them do. And I can’t tell you how many people have read my stuff, got excited, then wandered away.”

“Exactly. It deprives them of illusions. They can’t live without them.”

“Well, I’m not sure it’s just illusions. A lot of them are so battered by daily events that the outside voice soon fades away.”

“I think you’re being kind to them, Paul. I have studies saying that they live in a ‘society’ bubble and can’t listen anything outside it.”

He had a point, of course, but I quickly responded with, “Not all of them, though.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have people who’ve subscribed to my newsletter for years. Not a huge number, but not a trivial number either. They pay to hear things that go past the illusions… or at least as well as I can get past them.”

“You do plenty well,” he said, to which I responded with a non-verbal thank you. “And these people stay with you over some significant period?”

“Ten years or more for some of them.”

“Well, then perhaps there is some hope… but we’re still talking about a tiny fraction.”

“True enough,” I admitted.

The Thorn In Their Side

Our conversation paused for a few minutes, while the afternoon bartender came around, asking if we wanted anything else. (We didn’t.) We each had a few of the nuts he left on our table, and we sipped more of our drinks. 

“America was a thorn in everyone’s side,” he said. “Even after they had a central bank. These people believed they were given their rights by God… and it made no end of trouble.”

“How do you mean, Martin?”

 “Oil was the big one. None of the rulers saw the internal combustion engine coming, and once it did oil and refining become huge… but Americans owned the mineral rights to whatever land they held. That meant that the greatest new source of wealth was firmly in the hands of plebs… of common people. That was a problem.”

“Yes,” I injected,” I heard an old oil man talking about that once. In Europe mineral rights remained with the rulers, not the land-owner.”

“Right, which is why American oil production led the way, and why American oil companies weren’t state-owned, like in Europe. Huge power fell into the wrong hands…”

“As your old bosses saw it, at least,” I quickly added.

“Yes, of course,” he said. “I’m giving you their point of view. But,” he went on, “ that only mattered until the industry was developed. After that, our groups could just hire American engineers. Then they could do things as well as the Americans, and our groups gathered the oil everywhere else.”

We’ll run part two of this confession next Tuesday, and return to the podcast the week after.

* * * * *


A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.

  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

  • Get it at Amazon or on Kindle.

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

How to Gain Confidence and Courage


For more than two years I wrote a free monthly newsletter called Individual Virtue. Recently I’ve received some interest in those articles, so I thought I’d republish some of them (with light editing). This is the first.

Confidence and Courage

All of us enjoy feeling confident, or at least we dislike feeling confused and weak. We also like feeling that we’ve been brave and not cowardly. But how do we get these things? If you’re at all like me, how to get them was never really explained to you. It all seemed like magic. Either you have the secret ingredients or you don’t.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s start with the basics:

Confidence is an opinion that you hold about yourself. It would have to be, wouldn’t it? You either believe that you are able to do a thing, or you don’t.

Courage is your ability to make decisions and hold to them in the face of fear. Courage is about what you do, not what you feel. Someone who feels no fear at all in the face of real danger isn’t brave; they’re irrational.

Building Courage

Confidence and courage are not magic. They are built, just like most other aspects of human character. Do you want confidence? Do you want courage? You can have them! But you’ll have to develop them the old-fashioned way: by working on them.

By the way, this is the only way you’ll ever get them. The ‘fast and easy’ methods of building character traits don’t work; they are empty promises from people who have something to sell. Don’t fall for them; you’ll waste your time and end up no place better than where you started.

So, beware of counterfeits. There are many people and groups that will tempt you with them. Their game is this: They give you something that looks and feels like confidence or courage, but only if you are inside of their group. Don’t fall for it. Real confidence and courage come from inside of you, not from an exterior group.

Now, let’s start with specifics on getting confidence and courage. We’ll start on courage with a quote from John Wayne:

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

And this is true. Courage is your ability to act in the face of legitimate fears. You have to build this ability like you build your muscles. That means you start at a low level of courage and build up to a high level. Courage grows little by little and only with effort.

So, if courage is built, then something else is true: To act cowardly does not make you a permanent coward.

Imagine a weightlifter who can lift hundreds of pounds. But when he started, he failed many times to lift a fraction of the amount he lifts now. He only became a champion after he decided not to quit – even when he failed repetitively and things were very hard.

It’s the same with courage. If you face a scary situation – and act as a coward – that is not the end of it for you. You can come back next time and do better… and come back the time after that and do still better. And after a long time, people will watch you and wonder how you can have so much courage in the face of adversity.

This has been done by millions of others and you can do it too, but it requires hard, consistent effort.

Building Confidence

As we said earlier, confidence is an opinion you hold about yourself. If you believe you can do something, you are said to be confident. If you don’t believe you can do it, you are not confident.

Judging yourself is where confidence gets complicated. For example, many of us have vaguely decided not to acknowledge our abilities because we fear that people would dislike us for having them. Turning your back on your own ability might have made sense at one time in your life (such as when we were children), but we must always acknowledge our abilities to ourselves, even if we hide them from the world.

Thinking that you can do more than you can is usually only a temporary error; once you try, you learn the truth.

The second part of confidence is having ability. This part is simple, but not easy. All types of ability are built by practice, from physical skills to making moral judgments. If you want ability, act. And as you continue to act, analyze your actions and improve them.

Analyze yourself from time to time. Find your gaps and decide which abilities will be more or less important to you in the future. Keep acting and keep improving. Soon enough, you will begin to be a confident person. In time, you will be highly confident.

Here’s a tip: Don’t think that you should be able to do everything. You can’t. No one can. There are simply too many things that are done in the world, and no one has the time and energy to learn them all.

Carefully choose the abilities you will develop, and never be afraid to say, “No, I’ve never learned how to do that very well.”

And remember this:

Other people’s opinions of you don’t really matter. It’s only when you accept their opinions that you suffer.

Paul Rosenberg