I was born and raised in an American suburb and attended a public high school. We studied the Communist Manifesto in 10th grade. I never encountered capitalist or libertarian philosophers until I had finished my Bachelor’s degree.
I spent some time watching Chris Martenson’s Crash Courses on Economics, a topic I had minored in, but quickly realized I had learned little in practical terms. Only then did I endeavor on my own to read Hayek, von Mises, Rand, Popper, the Austrian school, and others.
I read Atlas Shrugged and it was like all the doors opened. This is a story that effectively illustrates the ideological divide between those who build our civilization and the vampiric.
I decided that what I really needed to do was to discover the line between free choice and manipulation.
I saught to discern how to differentiate between information and events that were put in front of me by a machine algorithm, or the same but enacted by another human seeking to influence me, or events arising and the natural course of the world, or by the miracle of divine intervention.
I can tell you for certain that while there are always mists of uncertainty, there is a distinct difference between these four phenomena.
It takes a certain degree of awareness and understanding to be able to ascertain the impetus of what is happening around me, but the attention to the present is worth it, I ultimately believe. Attaining such an awareness provides one a much firmer understanding of how to adjust the sails and steer a course through life.
My interest in this pursuit was driven partially by the events of September 11, 2001. I happened to live in DC from 2004 to 2008 while I attended university. I drove by the Pentagon from time to time to go to the malls in Arlington. In 2001, I distinctly remember sitting in Calculus when the events of that day occurred. I was in 10th grade in advanced track math, the only sophomore in a class of juniors and seniors. I really didn’t understand the significance. I had never paid much attention to world news up until then.
It wasn’t until 2008, my senior year of undergraduate study, living in DC, that I looked into it in great detail. What I found piqued my curiosity.
What had really occurred on that day? I remember looking at pictures of the Pentagon and then driving by it thinking, a full-sized 737 would have caused much more damage, and the pictures obviously indicate it was something much smaller, like an early model Reaper-class fixed-wing drone.
I found myself living in China circa 2010. This gave me considerable vantage on American society and global affairs. While I had studied international relations from a Washington perspective as the main focus of my Bachelor’s, I was now looking at the world and perceiving from a Beijing perspective.
The nature of such a shift is difficult to describe.
Canberra, Brussels, Moscow, Lagos, Johannesburg, Oslo— they all have their own distinct perspectives on geopolitics. Any city does. Yet the Chinese perspective may be one of the oldest civilizationally speaking. The legacy of the Chinese empires dates back millennia, far longer than any of the European powers except perhaps Rome and Athens.
In the modern-day Americas, the Aztecs may be able to relate, but not to the degree of sophistication.
Then, there was that theory that the world would end in 2012. I had been among the first of my group of university friends to read into this idea further. I didn’t bring it up to them, but I did take note when they started talking about it. It was over a year from when I first started reading about it to when they found it on the internet. This was the idea that the Mayan long count calendar indicated that the world would end in 2012.
Where this came from, I can only posit. Maybe it was a publicity campaign for the film 2012. Maybe something else. Either way, the world didn’t end. And I found myself wondering what exactly the effects of that fear-mongering conspiracy theory were and how they had impacted society.
I greatly increased my awareness of what stories and ideas were spreading around me.
Not only China, but also India, Israel, and Mesopotamia can claim millennia-old civilizations. Such a historical bearing is imperative to have a firm grounding in current events.
One image I have seen explains this clearly when it juxtaposes a screw-driven into the earth fifty threads deep next to some pine trees with firm roots, reaching only to the twelfth or thirteenth thread. Humanity has been developing civilizationally for millennia, and we would do well to keep that in mind in the face of the enormous amount of information designed to sway our opinions and determine our psychological makeup that we allow ourselves to be bombarded with day in and day out.
We must steel our minds against this onslaught of potentially manipulative and often carefully crafted messaging. Developing a firm belief in what one believes is just, true, and moral, is crucial. Yet, these are not concepts that are taught in most schools. Especially public schools.
We are raising our young to be easily manipulated and morally bankrupt.
We have permitted first the tenants of nihilism to infiltrate society— the belief that nothing is real and life is meaningless, and these past few years we have become completely obsessed with race, sexuality, and identity. Is this even an agenda that is driven by Americans? Or have we lost sovereignty over our own education system?
There is no moral footing, and to many, this is seen as a good thing. Would it ever occur to you that the men and women who rule the world are not very competent at what they are attempting to do?
Asking this sort of question leads one to think that this is another level of the rabbit hole. This is a fun analogy that is sometimes used as a scare tactic to prevent folks from spending too much time chasing after answers to their questions on the internet. Or to suggest the futility of trying to find a concrete sense of how the world works and what is actually happening on the planet right now.
With such a vast ocean of information out there, surfing is an intellectually entertaining and potentially endless pursuit. After all, the nature of knowledge is evident in the word itself — there is no edge to it. Knowledge is endless. New Information can be constantly constructed.
The individual has three choices, essentially: to give up and submit to the powers-that-be. To continue to search for a firm footing of their own. Or, develop the faculty to determine what is real and good from what is meaningless. This is the edge of the knife that must be sharpened regularly if one expects to be able to thrive as a sovereign individual. It is the establishment of a moral footing that enables this.
I have discovered these ideas on my own. I am not divulging secrets, but simply observing the world and commenting on what I see and am able to fathom with my own reasoning mind.
I would encourage you, Dear Reader, to strive for such a perspective as well. Establish your own sovereignty, and become well-grounded in the present.