The Definition of Happiness

The bulk of my thinking on happiness comes from Aristotle. I won't say that my thinking is identical with his since I have the advantage of 2000 years of history to draw upon since his day. But I can say that his thinking stands the test of time especially his thinking on the subject of happiness.

Happiness is a life of rational activity. That's it. This is a very simple and easy definition, but the application of this definition is what makes it so complicated. What is rational activity? That is person relative and demands reason and judgment. Most people are not able to accomplish this which explains the frustration of their lives.

Everyone seeks happiness. It is the endpoint and goal of all our activities. The reason people are unhappy is because their activities are irrational. I will give an example. It has been known for many years that a great way to break someone's will is to give them labor with no purpose. The Marine Corps used this to great effect by making the recruits in their motivation platoons move piles of dirt all day. Nowadays, they just boot these people, but the motivation platoon worked because the human mind abhors such lack of purpose. The Greeks told the story of the myth of Sisyphus condemned to a roll a stone up a hill for eternity. To them, hell was senseless labor. People in real life situations of Sisyphean futility will opt for suicide rather than carry on.

The challenge for any person is to find meaning in all of it which leads to a tautology. The meaning of life is happiness, and happiness is the meaning of life. The reason happiness is like this is because it is the final end. For each of us, we must find our own happiness or end. To accomplish this is to be called "autotelic" which means self-directed. Here's a quotation from Wikipedia:

Autotelic is defined by one "having a purpose in and not apart from itself". It is a broad term that can be applied to missionaries, scientists, and innumerable other vocations.
Autotelic is used to describe people who are internally driven, and as such may exhibit a sense of purpose and curiosity. This determination is an exclusive difference from being externally driven, where things such as comfort, money, power, or fame are the motivating force.


Too often, people look to something outside of themselves for happiness. It could be a drug, a religion, an ideology, a group, or what have you. But these are false roads, and once they dead end, you are left bereft of purpose and meaning. This is why people will cling so tenaciously to these things even when they know they are false. But this is irrational which is definitely not what happiness is all about.

I think psychologists focus too much on the feeling that comes from autotelic activities or "flow." Aristotle placed happiness within a larger framework of rational activity. This is why he spends so much time talking about the Golden Mean and refuting misconceptions about what happiness is and is not. Happiness is not a feeling but a state of being. This implies objectivity. A person high on cocaine can be said to be experiencing flow but not be happy. His feelings will not reflect reality, and we can say that he is not happy but deluded.

Happiness comes from activity. You can't be idle and also be happy. You have to be doing something. This is why vacations and retirements make no sense. If they are used to pursue some other rational activity, they make sense, but this activity will look a lot like work except you aren't getting paid for it. This is how you get middle aged men rounding up cattle on a dude ranch for a week and paying for it. I have to wonder why they can't experience the same flow on the jobs they are paid to do.

The easiest and surest way to happiness is to fill your life with activities. Happy people do things. If you wonder where they get the energy from, it comes from the flow experience which is energizing. You can find flow in work, a sporting endeavor, a creative act, or studying a difficult subject. If it ever becomes boring, you have to change it up to increase the challenge.

My favorite example of an autotelic person is the character of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption. The guy was in real shithole of a situation, but he turned it to his advantage. He fought against his attackers. He built a library. He built up the fortunes of the corrupt warden and undid him. And he escaped through a tunnel that took 19 years to chisel in the concrete. You would think a person in this situation would just give up, but he didn't. He found his flow. He did things. He acted. Those 19 years were probably a blur to him.

You will know you are happy when you hate having to sleep. You know you are happy when you wish that your life could go on forever in that state of being. Happiness is not dependant upon having a perfect life in a perfect world. It is finding perfection in the moment and losing yourself in it. This is rational activity. Arrange your life in such a way that you always live in this moment, and you will always be happy even when you die. The word Aristotle used was eudaimonia which means the "god within." This is what autotelic means. It is to have a god within you directing you and empowering you and making you who you are.

VILLAINS-Bill Gates


I have lost count of the number of times I have cussed Bill Gates and that whore mother of his that gave birth to him. You have cussed the fucker, too. Doubt this? CTRL+ALT+DEL. I rest my case.

Bill Gates is not an innovator. He is a copycat artist. Remove him from history, and we would be here today as we are. Remove Steve Jobs from history, and the world is a radically different place.

I am an ardent capitalist, but Bill Gates gives capitalism a bad name in much the same way that the ebola virus gives evolution a bad name. Gates is an aberration in the history of the free market. He achieved not through innovation and customer satisfaction but from leveraging the impact of prior victories going back to the one single coup of his life--convincing IBM to let him provide an OS he bought off a hacker for $50,000 and then keeping the copyright to the code for Microsoft. This was MS-DOS. DOS gave Microsoft and Gates a stranglehold on the personal computer market which he has defended ever since.

Without a doubt, Gates engaged in anticompetitive behavior in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Of course, I think that act should be repealed. You can't have protection for intellectual property and also call that a violation of the law. One negates the other.

Bill Gates became a bad guy when he ripped off the Apple OS and came out with Windows. Everyone knows it was a rip off. I remember when Windows came out, and I said it was a copy of what I had used on the Mac. Critics will point out that Xerox were the ones that developed the GUI before either Apple or Microsoft. Clearly, the Xerox argument is important, but the fact is that Xerox had no idea what they had and tossed it in the garbage. Left to Xerox, we would still be entering text commands at a prompt.

The Apple vs. Microsoft debate is an important one because it shows two diametrically opposed ways of doing business. The Apple way is to take ideas and to make the best quality products they can. There really are no new ideas, but Apple is innovative in taking things that are already out there and making them better. The Microsoft way is to rip off ideas, offer an inferior product, and leverage market position to gain a stranglehold on the market. They have done this with every product since DOS. First, there was Windows vs. the Apple OS. Second, there was Netscape with their browser which was demolished by Explorer. Then, you have the Zune vs. iPod. Now, we have Bing vs. Google. The only good thing I can say is that Microsoft is slipping. Windows Vista represents the low point for that company.

People use the other products on the market because they genuinely want to use them. People use Microsoft products because they have to. This is the genius of Bill Gates. His career was made not from pleasing the public but from hardball tactics. Compare Gates to a guy like Steve Jobs who is motivated primarily by his pure love of the creative endeavor. Jobs innovates because he wants to. Gates innovates because he has to. Jobs is about thriving. Gates is about surviving.

What Gates learned from the game of the marketplace is that bigger or faster beats better. In the case of Apple, Gates was bigger, so he used that to his advantage. Microsoft virtually patented the not-quite-done method of software development where he shipped products that were incomplete and buggy. Jobs is known for his hesitation and insisting that it be right before it ships. Gates could care less. This is why people revile the man so fucking much. They end up buying shit that doesn't work.

It is one thing for competitors to hate you. It is another thing for your customers to hate you, and customers hate Microsoft. I can't think of any company that engenders so much hatred while simultaneously being so successful. But it all goes back to Gates.

Gates is the ultimate obnoxious nerd. He has been hated his whole life, and when he dies, his gravesite will be littered with garbage, obscene grafitti, and human feces. He might want to consider cremation. This is because everyone who has dealt with the man feels like they came out a loser on the deal. A whole world full of people despise that cocksucker. He is the main reason hackers plague his software and no one else's with viruses. Steve Jobs will have a monument erected in his honor, and people will mourn his passing for years to come. Even now, the health of Jobs is a big concern for a lot of people, and Jobs is an asshole. But he gives good value.

I am an Apple fan, and I am going to make my next computer an iMac. I use Windows machines because I have to, and I will probably keep one around just for that reason. But I hate Bill Gates, and I cuss him endlessly. Computers shouldn't be this way, and I shouldn't feel like I got screwed on a computer especially when they cost so much less than an Apple. But you get what you pay for, and Microsoft products are shit.

As for Gates, his turn to philanthropy is understandable. He wants to buy the love of all those people he fucked. It won't work. If there is a hell, I hope Gates goes there and faces the blue screen of death for eternity. A fitting punishment for a cocksucker son of a bitch.

The Definition of Rich

Lou Pai was the CEO of Enron Energy Services when he cashed out everything and resigned from Enron in 2001 before the company imploded into the biggest corporate scandal of the decade. His resignation was abrupt, and he is called a "lucky guy" and a "mysterious figure." The reality is that he liked strip clubs and had a stripper girlfriend who he later married. His wife was not pleased with this. Pai left Enron with approximately $300 million.

Did Pai know what was coming? I don't think so. He was never charged with criminal wrongdoing, and the stock sale seemed to coincide with the divorce settlement with his wife. But such a thing did not necessitate his resignation nor the sale of all his holdings. I have a better idea of why he did it. Pai knew he was rich. At that moment, he took his chips off the table.

"Rich" is a relative concept. Compared to Queen Victoria, we are all rich. My current lifestyle is the envy of 96% of the rest of the world, and I am a nobody. Or look at Bill Gates, his wealth is so large that he could own a small country. That is pretty damn rich. Or is it?

For me, rich is related to that cash out point. The reason a guy like Lou Pai raises our suspicions is because we think people cash out of the game the moment the risk becomes too much. But the Pai story is really about those strippers. The guy had a weakness for women, and he knew what made him happy. Enron was just the means to an end. Once the end was achieved, he cashed out. But when do you know when you are rich? What is the definition of rich?

You are rich the moment you have all the material means necessary for your happiness, and you are secure in those means. This will be person relative. A surf bum living in Costa Rica will be rich on far less. The rest of us require a bit more. And when asked how much money was enough, John D. Rockefeller famously replied, "A little bit more."

Being rich is tied intrinsically to being happy. Happiness is the goal of every life on this planet. Everyone wants to be happy. As someone who understands happiness, I can tell you that you can't be happy apart from some material means. Even our surf bum requires a board and a wetsuit. Plus, he has to eat.

I don't think you have to be rich to be happy despite needing material means to achieve happiness. Being rich is less about the amount needed so much as being secure in those means. Give me a happy person, and I can calculate what that person's "rich point" is. For Lou Pai, it was $300 million. Whether he was happy or not is another debate, but he clearly knew how much he needed.

To become rich, you need to decide what constitutes happiness for you. Without this, it is a waste of time. You will never be rich no matter how much you earn and acquire. Most people substitute status as a proxy for happiness, but this is really dumb. I don't see Lou Pai ever doing this. If he did, he would have stayed at Enron. No, Pai was a guy who didn't give a shit what other people thought. The fucker had stripper parties in his office.

Once you have decided on what makes you happy, all you have to do is extrapolate from there how much money it would cost to maintain that lifestyle. I tell people not to go for a Spartan existence because this is cheating. Living like Diogenes and calling it "rich" is not rich. With that rough figure in hand, you know what it will take to attain material security in your life. For most people, this will not require becoming a millionaire.

I can only speak for myself, but I know where my rich point is. I need enough cash to cover at least 6 months of living expenses. That is it. This would be about $12,000 to $15,000 give or take the inflation rate. The reason why my rich point is so low is because I live to work. For me, happiness will always revolve around my work. I will always have a day job. I will never retire. My avocations of writing and voracious reading cost very little, and I can only do this for a couple of hours per day. I have no interest in golf or yachts or fine wines. Even if I won the lottery, I would never quit my job though I might take two days off each week to go back to school to explore other careers. The six months salary is what I think would weather me through the worst thing that can happen to me--unemployment. I've been sick. I've been homeless. I've been cheated on, dumped, robbed from, and what have you. But nothing in my life has ever felt worse than not having a job.

I never play the lottery, and this is because I have better things to do with a dollar than dream of winning a jackpot. The appeal of the lottery comes from the fact that it frees you from having to work, and for a nation of shitheaded slackers, this is a grand thing. Their lives are miserable every fucking day, and they dream of the day they can sit at home on their asses drinking beer, smoking dope, and watching Jerry Springer. I am someone who lets his paid vacation time lapse unused. I don't like having a day off.

I realize that not everyone is going to be like me. For them, the job is the means to doing something they really want to do. This would be the surfer who tends bar at night, so he can catch waves during the day. Winning the lottery would allow him to quit that job and get some sleep. But the surfing remains. As I said, it is person relative.

So, we have an idea of the amount we need. For me, it is $12K. For you, it might be $12 million. It is different for everyone. But we must also consider the idea of security. You must have some relative security in what you have to be considered rich. Let's use an illustration.

A black jack player has amassed $1 million in chips at the table. It has been a really good night for him. Invested in treasury bonds, the coupons from those bonds will give him a yearly salary of $40K. But until he takes those chips off the table, he isn't rich. Because he has no clue what his rich point is, he will keep playing and lose it all back. This is a very important concept and explains why Rockefeller was never rich.

An entrepreneur can never be rich. The goal is capital accumulation which requires risk. The entrepreneur leaves a state of security for a state of risk in order to gain more capital which he hopes to reinvest in more of the same. He can hedge his bets by buying gold or index funds or whatnot. But if his happiness requires that business he is in, he can never be rich. He can be quite happy but security in the material means for happiness will always be questionable. To give an example, Mark Cuban cashed out of his internet venture to buy a basketball team and start some other businesses. This guy is not rich. He is a billionaire, but he will never be rich. He lives for these risks, and they are substantial.

At this point, people confuse their survival needs with their happiness needs. Someone will take me to task by saying that Cuban could set aside some cash to cover his living needs for the rest of his life quite easily, and I am sure he has done this. Bill Gates has done the same thing. He sold off some Microsoft stock to diversify his portfolio. But take away their respective businesses, and they would be crushed. This is why a fall from a great height feels so much worse than always being a nobody. This is also why superstar athletes are so miserable when the game is over for them. This is why Brett Favre will be playing this season.

Life is not about surviving. This is what animals and white trash do. They survive. They eat, shit, sleep, and fuck. This is not happiness. With this definition, we can say that prison inmates are happy give or take the fucking part. But this will have to be covered in an essay on the definition of happiness.

People envy rich entrepreneurs but only because those people have a ton of money. That wealth will meet our needs easily, but they don't meet the needs of the ones with the money. I'm not saying these people are avaricious and greedy. But they lack security. The archetype of so many stories is the rise and the inevitable fall. We see these people much like the black jack player at the casino. The lesson comes from the fact that for gamblers, it isn't about the money. It is about the thrill of the risk. Playing it safe is not what it is about for them. But such a need requires an infinite amount of money. This does not exist.

This point was brought home to me by Taleb's talking about the "fuck you" money in The Black Swan. Taleb got this money in 1987 when he hedged his company against the stock market crash that year. It set him for life. He continued to work because this brings him happiness, and Taleb strikes me as Aristotelian in this endeavor. But it also afforded him the freedom to work where he liked, pursue his studies, write books, and hit the gym each day. By Taleb's own admission, he could have tried to become the next Soros or Buffett, but his interests are far ranging. He knew his rich point. Taleb knows his life changed in a permanent way in 1987.

I try and balance the issue of money between the extremes of the ascetics and avaricious. Money serves a purpose, so it is important. But unlike others, I acknowledge an endpoint in the endeavor. Taleb did the same thing. Trading was his day job. He likes the job, but his life is diverse in the style of the Renaissance Man. The working stiff wants to be a millionaire, and the millionaire wants to be a billionaire. But for the wise, they just want to be happy. They know when they can cash in their chips.

You are rich when you have all the money you need to be happy and will always be that way until the day you die. Find out what makes you happy. Find out what it costs. Acquire that amount. Secure that amount. This is being rich.

Google Trends

Jaycee Lee Dugard
http://www.examiner.com/x-14795-Page-One-Examiner~y2009m8d29-Jaycee-Lee-Dugard-today

Girl kidnapped at 11, imprisoned, and raped for 18 years. This is some messed up shit.

Lottery

Lot of lottery entries. People must really want to win that jackpot.

DJ AM

Another druggie bites the dust. Man survives a plane crash to eat it like this. What a waste of life. BTW, he used to be a fat ass until he got gastric bypass surgery. I'm sure his pallbearers will be thankful.

Vauban Germany
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/story?id=8440108

This city has virtually banned cars, and everybody rides a bike. Don't ask me what they do when it rains. As long as they don't ban the flush toilet next, it must be a nice place to live if you don't mind being dominated by an incringing nanny state. I'd like to tear through there on a big loud Harley and give them all the finger.

PRODUCT-SIGG Water Bottles



The only time I buy bottled water is if my SIGG is in my dish strainer at home. I won't get involved in the debate over whether BPA water bottles are safe or not. The answer is the good old canteen, and SIGG has simply updated the concept for the 21st century.

I love my SIGG, and it is taking some abuse. I have dinged it up, but it takes a beating. It is hardy gear and fits conveniently in my lunch bucket. I fill that bitch up and drain it all day long. Tap water is cheap, and the SIGG has already paid for itself.

Reusable water bottles are a good practice, and the SIGG is a quality product. You can get one at any outdoor supply store or you can order one online at http://mysigg.com/.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. TEDDY KENNEDY

Those who remember Teddy fondly are the ones who used to drink and party it up with the guy. I am sure he was a blast, but you didn't want him behind the wheel because you might wind up dead at the bottom of a river along with Kennedy's presidential aspirations. As the Liberal Lion of the US Senate, Kennedy was largely a piece of shit in my humble opinion. Aside from championing some deregulation, Kennedy was the epitome of a limousine liberal, a person who was born wealthy but feels guilt they must assuage by spending the stolen money of other people. This would be you, the American taxpayer. I'm sure the folks he gave the money to can be counted on to miss Teddy. As for me, good riddance to that fucker. I regret never having the chance to wipe my ass with his face.

2. BACKLOG

The lack of a computer has made the gears of my brain turn a great deal lately, and I have a bunch of new bloviating to drop here at the C-Blog. I'm also going to create links to favorite articles of mine here at the C-Blog.

3. ONE HIT WONDER

I do have one bona fide hit article here at the C-Blog and that is "Love is Bullshit." It gets more hits from Google searches than anything I have written. Undoubtedly, the subject of love being a myth hits a nerve with a lot of people. The comments I read on that one are heartbreaking.

My girlfriend asks me if I still think love is bullshit, and I did not hesitate in answering. YES. Love is still bullshit. The science backs me up on this as well as the reams of anecdotal evidence I have collected as well as my own experience. Romantic love serves no function except to dupe people into reproducing. It feels good for a time but crushes you later. It is nature's trick to keep the human race going.

I love my girlfriend, but I don't love her in the same way as all my previous girlfriends. This might upset her, but I hope it doesn't. I've never been with anyone as long as I have been with her. My relationship with her is stable and free of drama. I enjoy being with her. I think this is true love and not the fake kind that nature produces to trick us.

Chemical love is what makes a man like Mark Sanford destroy his career and his reputation and hurt his family. When you realize the false nature of this love, it is easy to say no to the temptation. Scar tissue on the heart is a good thing. It makes you wise. I've been burned so much that it is what keeps me with my current girlfriend. She is the best thing that has happened to me in that part of my life. I'm not likely to find another one like her.

4. COMMERCIAL ENDORSEMENTS

There are certain consumer products and services that I use in my life that I really like. I review movies and books, but I've never had anything to say about consumer items except for a diss on the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner and Fatz Cafe. I thought I would sell out a bit and include links to products and services that I like, and I think you will like as well. I am not paid for these endorsements, so you can rest assured that my judgment of these products are not biased by filthy lucre. I will also post some reviews of these products.

5. GOOGLE TRENDS

My brother's GT idea has generated additional traffic to the C-Blog here, but I find many of the topics to be irrelevant to the USA audience or is duplicated. I will continue the feature, but I will not be pressed to have a Top 10 list. I'll just comment on the ones that I think are kinda cool and include some links to relevant articles. Part of the continuing evolution here.
There is no life without java.

Dead Computer

My main machine died yesterday and is in the shop. I am writing this on a friend's netbook. This really sucks because I wanted to hit CareerBuilder. I will see if I can my laptop back from my girlfriend.

In other news, I think Mark Sanford should go ahead and call it quits. They must have the votes for impeachment now if Bauer is having public press conferences. Sanford is done in politics, and I am looking forward to Nikki Haley's campaign.
Ted Kennedy was immoral slime. He was a do-gooder with other peoples money.
CHAPPAQUIDDICK.
Rock stars drown in their own vomit. Pop stars get the help of a doctor.
WORD OF THE DAY: I dont give a fuck. Not really a word. More like a sentence.

Google Trends

1. patti davis playboy



People must really want to jerk off to this. Not sure why.

2. solheim cup sunday pairings

Women's golf. BORING!!

3. all fall down



This song blows.

4. vinayaka chavithi katha

Hindus run the internet and blast it wide open with their elephant god bullshit. In the future, I will exclude all Indian bullshit from the Google Trends feature. Cows should not be worshipped. They should be eaten with special sauce on a sesame seed bun.

5. ricky james

Rick James was a Funk Music superstar. But Ricky James is a funky off-road driver who is moving to the superstar status even if he has to roll into the spotlight from his wheelchair. Ricky James is a paraplegic but that's barely a hurdle on his radar. Ricky is too tricky to let a wheelchair stop him. Enjoy a few minutes with a great athlete who happens to drive.

6. vinayaka chavithi pooja vidhanam

See item #4.

7. jasmine fiore body

TMZ had a pic of the suitcase, but they took it back down. I never saw it.

8. antwon tanner

Two bit TV actor busted for selling SS numbers. I suppose One Tree Hill doesn't pay shit in syndication.

9. max baer

Former actor Max Baer Jr. is contemplating the purchase of the Silver Club in Sparks and transforming the property into Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Hotel and Casino. Sparks Mayor Geno Martini tells the "Reno Gazette-Journal" that Baer has discussed the matter with City of Sparks staff and at least three city council members. Baer played the character of Jethro on the 1960's TV sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies." The Silver Club is now closed and is one of six casinos in Nevada owned by Harold Holder that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

I wonder if they will have possum stew.

10. ganesh chaturthi pooja

More Indian bullshit.

This my second Google Trends article, and I have come to the conclusion that people use the internet secondarily to look up trivial shit they see on TV. The primary thing they look at is porn.

Wright on Resolving the Conflict Between Science and Religion

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/opinion/23wright.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

I bring good news! These two warring groups have more in common than they realize. And, no, it isn’t just that they’re both wrong. It’s that they’re wrong for the same reason. Oddly, an underestimation of natural selection’s creative power clouds the vision not just of the intensely religious but also of the militantly atheistic.

If both groups were to truly accept that power, the landscape might look different. Believers could scale back their conception of God’s role in creation, and atheists could accept that some notions of “higher purpose” are compatible with scientific materialism. And the two might learn to get along.


Is Robert Wright an idiot? Yes, I am afraid so. I must now tear a new asshole into him.

I once dated a woman who was a theistic evolutionist. She attended a mainline Methodist church and hoped to sway me to her beliefs which were a form of sophisticated theology, a smidge of science, and a whole bunch of leftard peace and love hippie shit. I told her she should become a Unitarian, so she wouldn't have to duke it out with the conservatives in her congregation.

Wright argues that peace can be made between the religious and the science minded folks by an appeal to the general moral sense of the universe that is akin to mathematics. The thinking is related to Pythagoras who made a cult of numbers, so Wright argues that we can make a cult of sensibility that will alleviate the divisiveness between smart people and shitheads. This is simply shitheaded thinking.

The universe is a wondrous place, but we don't need to make it more wondrous by deifying it. I can use trigonometry without worshipping it. I can enjoy the outdoors without exalting it. And I certainly don't need to invent a new god out of the golden rule.

Why do people persist in trying to invent some new religion? Why do fools insist on trying to reconcile faith and science? There is no reconciling religion to science because religion is bullshit. It isn't real. Science can never make peace with delusion. Science is the opposite of delusion.

I watch as atheists attempt to make peace with fringe cults like the Wiccans or even attend church with Unitarians with some Unitarians professing to be atheists. Spirituality is all the rage, and I wonder how it is that people who know that religion is false can still want to get their jollies from it. What purpose does any of it serve?

In my book, Peace Without God, I make the argument that religion persists not because of any claim to truth because it has none but because it fills emotional needs in the lives of people. This is still a work in progress, but my thesis is that people need to move away from this infantile reaction to reality and learn to live with reality without the crutch of religion. This is something I had to learn how to do. I see too many atheists trying to sneak religion in the backdoor because it continues to fill some need for them. This new god of theirs is akin to a mystical force in the universe that orders everything, viz. the logos of Greek philosophy particularly the Stoics.

Bad ideas never die.

Sirota on Guns

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/08/22/sirota_guns/print.html

While the First Amendment doesn't ensure credibility or significance, it is supposed to guarantee freedom from fear -- a freedom that is now under siege. Citing the Second Amendment and the increasingly maniacal rhetoric of conservative media firebrands, a small handful of violence-threatening protesters aims to make the rest of us -- whether pro- or anti-health-reform -- afraid to speak out.

Let me begin by saying that David Sirota is an idiot. I can go on and make a passioned defense of the Second Amendment, but that would take all day and reinvent the wheel. So, is democracy and freedom threatened by an armed citizenry? That is the question.

The biggest gun is the one held by the government to our heads. The government exercises its right to bear arms. But this government was established by people who defied their government and exercised their right to bear arms. This right was reinforced by the Second Amendment, and its intent was all too clear. Those people could foresee a day when the present government might get out of hand, and the revolution would have to be fought all over again.

Sirota is right in seeing gun owners as a threat, but the threat is not to democracy. The threat is to tyranny. Sirota is concerned because he fears the loss of government power which is currently on the side of the leftards. Secession and revolution irks these people because they cannot abide a rowdy citizenry rising up against their socialist tyranny. Claiming to fear for his own safety is a bit of a stretch.

The problem with statists is they believe they have the right to take away other people's rights, and they always justify it for some greater good that doesn't actually exist. The reality is that they want to rule over other people. They can't leave other people alone and mind their own goddamn fucking business. But when we see a gun on a man's hip, suddenly, we get the message. This guy wants to be left alone. He wants to keep the money he earned, and he wants to live his life according to his own choices. He wants freedom. Fucktard busybodies like Sirota should get the message. But they don't.

Leftards are apologists for a criminal class of people known as politicians who essentially steal from the people and give the loot to their friends. The American people are tired of this, and you will see more of these guns as people get more and more pissed off. It behooves politicians to simply stop stealing and stop interfering in the freedom of the American people. The writers of the Second Amendment knew what they were doing. They were ensuring liberty.

Krugman on the Punking of Progressives

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/opinion/21krugman.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

A backlash in the progressive base — which pushed President Obama over the top in the Democratic primary and played a major role in his general election victory — has been building for months.

It's good to know that the leftards are pissed at Obama as well though for much different reasons. The reality is that Barack Obama is a lying sack of shit. I don't know what leftards thought they were getting when they elected the son of a bitch.

The economic toll of the Idiot-in-Chief hasn't hit yet, but it will. As for us libertarians, we know the truth. Medicare is bankrupt, so Obama wants to take over the whole system to fix it with the only solutions government can provide--rationing and price fixing. These solutions are horrible and shows the economic illiteracy of the Left. Then, comparing the public option to the US Postal Service was a stroke of pure imbecility on Obama's part.

Krugman is an idiot but not a complete idiot. Where I agree with leftards is on ending the war and the indefinite detention of prisoners without due process and the torture question. Obama has shown that his scrotum is an empty sack on this. In fact, he is worse than Bush because he is now escalating the war in Afghanistan. They just crawl deeper in the shit.

The status quo endures.

Google Trends

My brother and I were having a conversation the other day about increasing blog traffic, and he recommended Google Trends which is a site that tells you what the hot topics people are searching for on a given day. I checked it out, and I thought it would be a neat idea to roll their top 10 search topics into a single post to see what happens. This will be a regular feature here at Charlie's Blog.

1. Ramadan Prayer Times

Alright, I'm not Muslim. I'm an atheist. I also don't believe in fasting which may explain why I'm a fat ass. My advice? Stop praying and get some Taco Bell.

2. Virtual Counselor

You know school is back in session when this is a hot topic. A virtual counselor is where parents can log on to see that their kids are going to turn out to be fucking rejects in life like me. What it won't tell you is how much booze they are swilling from your liquor cabinet.

3. Inglourious Basterds Quotes

I definitely am going to see this movie. Here are some quotes I googled for y'all:

Lt. Aldo Raine: My name is Lt. Aldo Raine and I need me eight soldiers. We're gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. We're gonna be doing one thing and one thing only... killing Nazis.

Lt. Aldo Raine: Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps... and I want my scalps!

Lt. Aldo Raine: The German will be sickened by us, the German will talk about us, and the German will fear us.

Lt. Aldo Raine: If you ever wanna eat a Sauerkraut sandwich again take your Wiener Schnitzel lickin' finger and point out on this map what I wanna know.

Col. Hans Landa: What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none... And that Monsieur is what a Jew shares with a rat.

Lt. Aldo Raine: So you're "The Jew Hunter."
Col. Hans Landa: [giddy] That's a bingo!

Lt. Aldo Raine: I need to know about Germans hiding in trees. And you need to tell me right now.
Sgt. Werner Rachtman: I respectfully refuse, sir.
Lt. Aldo Raine: Actually, Werner, we're all tickled to hear you say that. Quite frankly, watching Donny beat Nazi's to death is the closest we ever get to going to the movies.

4. My Lai Massacre


This is not to be confused with the McBee Diner Massacre where Ralph Jenkins wiped out the olfactory senses of the entire breakfast crowd from the previous night's dinner of pork and beans, deviled eggs, cabbage, and fried chicken with the grease on some rice for gravy.

5. Ramadan 2009 Calendar


More Ramadan shit?! Go back to item 1 to reread clever joke.

6. Seeking Arrangement

This is a website where hot young bitches can hook up with rich old geezers on Viagra who will lavish dinero upon them after blowing spunk in their hair. You can find the site here:

http://www.seekingarrangement.com/

7. Urvashi Dhanorkar Photo

This is some Indian TV bitch who abused a 10 year old girl. Here's the news quote:

MUMBAI - TV actress Urvashi Dhanorkar was arrested here today for physically abusing her 10-year-old maid.

She has been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act and the Child Labour Act.

The actress arrested after medical reports confirmed that Urvashi was responsible for physically abusing her domestic help.

The girl was brought from Amravati to Mumbai in pretext of adoption and education. She was brutally punched in her eye and was left with black and bruised marks, besides burns on her forearms.

When she was rescued by her neighbours last night, the girl’s eyes was closed due to severe injuries.

Urvashi will be produced before a court later today. (ANI)



I can't find a single photo of this chick. She must be fugly as hell.

8. Annapolis Movie

Don't ask me why people are googling this shit movie no one has seen.

9. Jeff Conaway

This is the Philadelphia Eagles coach who gets to hear the crowds go "woof woof" everytime Michael Vick takes the field.

10. Ryan Jenkins Arrested

This is rumor shit. He killed his wife Jasmine Fiore. I did a google image search, and she is not that hot even though she was in Playboy. She was a filler for that mag. They identified her remains from her breast implants. I'd make a joke, but a chopped up body in a suitcase just ain't funny.

Jenkins is charged with strangling his wife, swimsuit model and Howard Stern ad campaign girl Jasmine Fiore, to death and removing her fingers and teeth from her body to obscure positive identification of her body, cramming her into a suitcase and throwing the suitcase into a dumpster near her apartment building. Jasmine Fiore’s body was discovered by a man searching the dumpster for recyclable bottles and cans.

Charlie's Take on Global Warming

I get called a "denier" a great deal. The whole point of that term is to equate me with Holocaust deniers who are crackpots. These are ad hominem tactics, and the people who use them are predictably FUCKTARDS. But this does leave a question. Where do I stand on global warming?

First of all, I want to get one thing out of the way. I am not a climatologist. I'm not even a scientist. My qualifications in this area are probably equal to that of Al Gore who is not a scientist or a climatologist. What I can say is that I have received no money from any oil companies for the views I will express here.

I break the debate down into three parts. Here they be:

Q: Is global warming happening?


YES! I believe it. I see the pictures of melting glaciers. I see the stats they produce. We are approximately one degree warmer on average than we used to be. I do not deny this reality, so I am not a denier.

Q: Is it our fault?

I DON'T KNOW. No one has made an open and shut case that the current warming is anthropogenic. What we do know is that we have increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of fossil fuel burning. I am inclined to think that this would contribute to the warming. But there are other factors to consider such as solar activity, cloud formation, ocean currents, etc. I have tried to fathom all of these factors, and I have concluded that it is impossible to understand at this stage of our understanding. In the lack of understanding, we usually fill in the blanks with our prejudices, and if you hate Exxon, then anthropogenic warming is true. If you like Exxon and toilets that actually flush, then you are less inclined to feel guilty for driving that SUV.

Q: Are we utterly fucked?

TAKE A CHILL PILL. The reason libertarians like me part company with Mr. Gore is because we have heard this story before, and it was much ado about nothing. The debate is not over. Gore follows the familiar pattern of scaring the shit out of you and urging immediate action and dire consequences if you don't listen to him. But don't question what he says. Just shut up and get on board. FUCK THAT.

Back in the day, the hole in the ozone layer was the big crisis which necessitated immediate drastic action. It all turned out to be nothing. Then, there was Mad Cow Disease. I soiled my shorts on that one. I gave up Big Macs, but it was all bullshit hysterics.

My viewpoint fits exactly where the science is right now. I can hear some leftards snickering, but my assent to things is not all or nothing. If Mr. Gore turns out to be right, then I think all fossil fuels should be outlawed. Fuck cap-and-trade. Suddenly, this is where my leftist friends try to sound the moderate tone. We don't need to eliminate pollution. We can just cap it and build a new Enron style trading scheme around it. This is utter bullshit. You know the leftards are not serious because they don't believe the things they are saying. If they did, they would go for this drastic action.

Gore and Co. like to quote the "scientific consensus." This means nothing to me. This is because the scientific consensus has been dead wrong many times. When I argue with creationists, I don't use the "scientific consensus" argument. I use facts. I talk about geology and fossil findings and vestigial elements in our bodies to show that evolution is a fact. The global warming people do not argue like this. The moment they used the consensus line and said the debate was over I knew it was horseshit politics. The only thing I can liken it to was the Bush administration's WMD arguments for the invasion of Iraq. They cherry picked the data and rolled the dice. The global warming people cite polar bear deaths (an abused fact), record warm days, melting glaciers, etc. to bolster their argument. But what about record cool days or advancing antarctic ice sheets, or the fact that temperatures have not increased over the last decade despite an increase in carbon dioxide? Suddenly, global warming becomes an imperceptible "long term trend." You can't have it both ways. They are playing the "heads I win, tails you lose" game. They have established an unfalsifiable theory here. They exclude all evidence that does not support their conclusion.

The environment is a complex system, and we don't fully understand it. I know this because economics is a complex system that we do understand, and we can't figure that out either. The only proper attitude to have towards these systems is a loosely held skeptical empiricism. Mr. Gore never goes on about the impending collapse of Medicare or Social Security which takes simple math to understand. He also never goes on about killer asteroids that might be rare events but are almost certainly planet killers and make his global warming hysteria look like Chicken Little fiddling on the deck of the Titanic.

Based on what we know, the most catastrophic outcome of global warming will be some trouble for people with beachfront real estate on the order of a one to two foot rise in sea level. We do know from history that there have been much wider fluctuations in temperature with no ill effects except those pesky ice ages. That's when the glaciers push your beach house out to sea.

Critics will cite the precautionary principle. Better safe than sorry. But this makes no sense whatsoever. If we followed this principle the way we are with global warming, we wouldn't have AC electricity in our homes, natural gas in our stoves, or even drive on the highways. When you consider that you live in a potential firebomb and ride in high speed missiles on the highways and in the air capable of killing you, you have to ask yourself a question. What is an acceptable risk?

We accept the risks when we consider that the consequences of not taking those risks would be much worse. Riding in motor vehicles is dangerous, but when they pull you from the wreckage of a car, they are going to transport you to your next destination in another motorized vehicle. The alternative is to stay put and die waiting for the next horse and buggy. So, let's look at the alternatives we have in the global warming debate:

1. A rise in sea level accompanied by adverse weather.

2. The end of industrial civilization.

Which do you think will have the bigger impact on your quality of life? Critics will say that industrial civilization does not have to end. We can just switch to solar and wind. This is ludicrous. Such relatively free energy would be had right now because this is how capitalism works. Solar and wind are at best supplemental energy sources. You might be able to charge a cellphone with a solar panel, but these energy sources are not going to power the civilization we have. Nuclear is a relatively clean alternative, but the green people have already bedeviled that option into oblivion. On the horizon, I can see nuclear fusion as the best option. But we don't have it yet, and I don't see us getting it if we kill industrial civilization for the sake of the tree huggers.

The reality is that Al Gore was in need of a public issue to ride on for the sake of his personal ego. He took this one because no one else was talking about it, and he blew it all out of proportion. This is what politicians do. They find a constituency, play to their unfounded fears, and ride the wave, baby. Later on, it becomes embarrassing when the fact checking begins, and we see the lies and the distortions. The scientific community already knows about these lies and distortions, but they are keeping their mouths shut. Correcting Al Gore on the facts would serve to undercut the message, so they let the fool ramble on which undercuts science in the long haul.

As a skeptical empiricist, I deal with probabilities. It is probable that global warming could result in catastrophic consequences, but we need more evidence than the certain catastrophe that would occur as a result of these schemes meant to correct the first problem. And before we do that, we need to establish in a more concrete way the impact of human activity on climate. We could end up taking a cure for a problem we didn't create. So, what is the cure?

The answer to all of these problems is nuclear fusion. We need the power of the sun harnessed here on earth. Our next step in civilization is this energy source. This is the future. While the climatologists are telling us we are going to hell in a handbasket, it will be the physicists and the engineers who change this story. This is the antidote to scientific pessimism. It is technological optimism. Yet, I suspect there will be some alarmist telling us how "dangerous" this new technology is. He will probably have a movie, too.

All of this cuts down to the psychology of the environmentalists. Environmentalism is a religion. This is opposed to conservationism which sought to preserve areas of natural beauty for aesthetic reasons. The fact is that most Americans are conservationists. The irony is that these conservationist folks actually live in rural wilderness areas while the environmentalists are overwhelmingly urban. The fact is that urban areas are nasty with pollution, and these city dwellers feel some guilt about their lifestyles. So, they recycle plastic bottles and newspapers and tell people in Alaska they can't drive SUV's anymore.

There are environmentalists on the right except they aren't called environmentalists. They are called outdoorsmen, and they love to hunt, fish, and live in log cabins in the woods. They hate being preached at by city folks about "sustainability" when they see their outdoor areas exploited to fill the consumption needs of urban tree huggers. These Ted Nugent types love nature, but they don't worship it. They don't see Mother Nature as some angry deity that they must appease with carbon offsets. Lefty enviros are overwhelmingly urban and coastal and live in high proximity to beachfront real estate. So, they want Jethro to stop driving his Jeep out in Montana, so they don't get flooded out of their homes or wiped out in a hurricane. Pretty damn stupid.

As for libertarians, we like both cities and rural areas. They represent commerce and freedom. The ideal for us would be to live in the woods but still make city money. Thanks to the internet, this is possible. But that is another subject for another essay.

The thing that will end the global warming hysteria will be the discovery of new facts. This is what ended the previous hysterias. You learn new things and realize you were wrong. Or to quote Al Gore from Earth in the Balance, "In Patagonia, hunters now report finding blind rabbits; fishermen catch blind salmon." This was the evidence for ozone depletion. It was bullshit. As for global warming, new facts will shed light on current bullshit. I'm willing to wait for those facts.
I want my Nazi scalps.
Most of the people reading this have driven drunk at least once and never got caught.
Comparing the public option to the postal service was really stupid. Obama is a fucktard.
My blog one liners piss off more idiots than my essays. Less is more.

TUESDAY

1. I got some negative feedback about my shitty remark about smokers. The truth is I hate breathing their smoke and then watching them litter the ground with their cigarette butts. They don't give a fuck about anyone else or even themselves. Yet, I'm the asshole for wanting them to reap the consequences of their stupidity.

FWIW, I've gone to bat for smokers numerous times by opposing laws banning smoking from private property. I am a libertarian which makes me champion their freedom to be stupid. But don't mistake me on this. They are inconsiderate idiots who deserve to get cancer and die.

2. A co-op is the stealth version of the public option which is the stealth version of single-payer. The Obamanites think they can spray enough paint on this shit to fool us into thinking it is gold. Not quite, Mr. President. Try again.

3. The people who bash Sarah Palin for being stupid are really looking stupid right now.

4. Leftards are boycotting Whole Foods because the company's CEO turns out to be a libertarian who opposes Obama's healthcare tomfuckery. As much as I like Mackey, you should never build a capitalist enterprise to appeal to socialist leftards. They are shitty customers.

5. Brett is playing for the Vikes and will certainly break the record for consecutive starts for any football player. The man wants to play. So be it.

6. Sometimes, when things get really quiet, you can hear a woman expel all the farts she has been holding all day.

7. Usain Bolt shows the beauty and wonder of the pharmaceutical industry.

8. People tell me that I hurt other people's feelings. I wish they would stop telling me this because it is starting to hurt my feelings.

9. I like how anyone who disagrees with Obama is a "racist." This is pretty fucking sad when this is all the left wing has to offer in retort. The race card. What a shame.

10. People chide me for negativity, but I think I am a very positive person. I believe my life will be better in ten years, but this is predicated on Obama losing in 2012. You've got to have hope.
I hate smokers. Most inconsiderate idiots I know. They should all get cancer and die.
Boredom is the lull between spurts of creativity.

Groups vs. Individuals

Paul McCartney is my favorite Beatle. The guy plays bass, guitar, piano, and the drums. He had the best career after the Beatles. The songs he wrote strike me as the best ones to come out of the group. "Hey Jude" is simply the best thing they ever did.

Some people might think I am a Lennon man, but I'm not. Don't get me wrong. John was a helluva guy in his own right. But he had to get messed up with Yoko. That bitch destroyed the band. But that is all history.

The Beatles were great because you had two amazingly creative individuals. The combination of their talents made something great. But you don't have to be in a group to be great. Look at Bob Dylan. That guy is amazing, and his solo work beats anything he has ever done in collaboration. As for great bands, they almost all were lead by a strong individual with everyone else along for the ride.

I remember Gene Simmons saying that he imagined KISS as a four wheel drive vehicle with four equal members acting as a juggernaut. You had Gene as the businessman of the group and the spirit of the band. You had Paul who was the best singer. You had Peter who was the most sensitive. You had Ace who could flat out play. Each brought a strength to the band that the others lacked. They were stronger together than apart. But as Gene points out, drugs and alcohol took a toll with the drinkers separating from the non-drinkers.

The cool thing about solo acts is they never break up. They do it their way, and if they got big on their own, they can go the rest of their careers without the shadow of the band over them. You know Sting always caught shit about The Police.

For me, I've always been enamored with the idea of collaboration. I think of Jack White and Brendan Benson in The Raconteurs. They have their own thing, but they also have their joint project. Jack White is a humble guy considering the fact that he's one of the heavies in music today. He's in a position to flex his ego, but he doesn't.

We can cite examples where individuals did great things. We can also point to groups and also to collaborations as doing great things. But I think the bulk of creativity is done by individuals. This is true in music as well as business. This isn't to say the individuals did it all by themselves. Steve Jobs needed help on that iPod. But make no mistake. It would not have happened without him.

Individuals are the ones that make history. They are the ones that make it happen. Groups are along for the ride. Part of me recoils at the autocratic nature of this arrangement, but I shouldn't. Someone has to steer the boat, and if you don't like the boat's direction, you can always get off. On the flip side, when an individual does something I like, I have no problem hopping on. Ron Paul would be the most famous recent example.

Between helping others do their thing and doing your own thing, you are always better off doing your own thing. When you join a group, you give up your control over your efforts and the direction of those efforts. This is fine as long as you get something from the joint venture that you would not have by yourself. But you should always retain the option to leave. Groups by their nature can only pursue a few goals.

I think of Dave Grohl playing drums in Nirvana. He did his work playing the skins for the great Kurt Cobain, but who knew the guy had his own songs and his own plans? The Foo Fighters are the shit, but that is another group centered by an individual. What if Cobain had lived? Would he have allowed the Grohl opus to emerge under the Nirvana banner? Probably not.

Finally, I have the advice of my brother who has done both the group venture and the solo venture as a structural engineer. His counsel? Go solo. Avoid partnerships. Do your own thing. If you must join another effort, use it as a stepping stone to establishing your own thing.

For me, I need to be more confident about doing my own thing. This goes against the tide that tells us not to be selfish or be a troublemaker or what have you. But this is horseshit. The worst thing that will happen is you will fail which won't hurt anyone but you. Their real fear is that you will succeed, and in a world that can only think in zero sum terms, this makes you a threat. Fuck them.

Live your own life. Do your own thing. Be your own hero.

New Graphic for the FSM

I made up this new graphic for the new group which got ripped down by my militant atheist editor. But I have a press to which gives me freedom! Anyway. . .

I think this new logo is cheery, ecumenical, non-offensive, and positive. Why would anyone not like it?

The Demise of Godless Columbia

A couple of years ago, I became involved with a group called Godless Columbia through the Meetup.com website. I went to a meeting which was quite small at the time, but I was immediately hooked. I felt a kinship with this odd group of people.

The only thing I had in common with these folks was that we did not believe in God. There were a couple of libertarians in the group, but it was mostly a motley assortment of independent thinking people. Needless to say, we had the most interesting conversations, and the interactions were very stimulating for me. Surprisingly, we talked very little about issues of religion.

There was a cost to being part of this group. We didn't charge dues or any of that. The cost was a public cost. Being in Godless meant being in the light. You were coming out as someone who went against the majority. You were telling people and the world that you were an atheist. This meant pissing off friends and family and maybe even getting fired if you worked in a Christian bookstore. This cost was too much to bear for some people, and they didn't become part of our group.

I am not ashamed of being an atheist, and I don't care what other people think of me. I live in a country where a vast majority of the population elected a liar to be president and are now surprised to discover that this man has lied to them. My worldview is that the bulk of the population are unwitting dupes, fools, fucktards, shitheads, and idiots. You may call me arrogant, but you agree with me. There isn't a day that goes by that the stupidity of the masses doesn't piss you off in someway.

I don't feel bad about not sharing the majority opinion because that opinion is often wrong. Truth is not dependent upon winning a popularity contest. Truth exists because reality exists. Reality does not care what you think of it, and the more in tune you are with reality the less you think of what other people think about you. This is why mavericks infuriate the masses but are so often vindicated.

Closet atheists cannot be in the open. This would be understandable in Iran or Saudi Arabia, but I don't understand it here in the USA where the only real persecution you will face will be some negative opinions and weird stares. But for some people, being in the open is just too much. They can't take it, and I don't have a problem with it. Just don't expect me to have any respect for you. I don't care if people choose to hide but don't ever try to tell me that I am wrong for being outspoken or try to run a guilt trip on me or anyone else that has the balls to stand up for the things we believe in.

The first time I encountered this backlash from the rear echelon was when some fellow Godless took me to task for calling Christians a bunch of shitheads. Granted, it is uncivil, but I think it is mild in response to Christians telling me I will spend eternity in Hell or equating me with mass murder, Satanists, child molesters, etc. When people say shit like that to me, I want to feel my fist beating their faces in to a bloody pulp. It pisses me off, so responding with savage insults is my tempered response to idiotic people. I don't play nice with people like this.

All of this makes me a "militant atheist" which I now recognize is a smear from closet atheists. Christians don't call me this. Other atheists call me this. Fucking amazing. The Christians in my life gave me respect a long time ago, and I get along just fine with every one of them. But I now have to put up with insults like this from people that are supposedly on my side. It boggles the fucking mind. But I am digressing from the story.

Godless Columbia began to grow. Part of this is a result of the openness of atheists in the wider culture, the high profile of the New Atheists such as Dawkins and Hitchens, etc. The other part is the fact that we were a group with a strong identity. Godless attracted "militant atheists." To me, these are people who are individuals. Each one of them had a strong individual identity, and it is something I celebrated. I am usually the loudmouth wherever I go, but I could just sit back and enjoy the dynamics of this wild group of people.

The beginning of the end came with advent of a person we will call GILLIAN. Gillian is a militant atheist. She waves the flag. She has an offbeat personality. She is a polyamorist and an aficionado of roller derby. Her enthsuiasm for life is infectious, and she is extremely likable, personable, and popular. But for all her good traits, she doesn't get it. There is a line between individualism and narcissism. Gillian steps over that line.

Gillian's presence in the group supercharged Godless as a result of her popularity and her ceaseless organizing efforts. These can only be good things. Then, Gillian dropped the bomb. She made some suggestions for changes to the group which involved a scheme of compulsory attendance to events, measures for group expulsion, etc. I was not pleased with this. I was a total Gillian Fan Club member until that moment. It nauseated me.

I am a take it or leave it type person. I have organized events where a hundred people have shown up and other events where I was the only person there. I never take it personally either way. I find attendance is like Brownian motion. It is random. This is why I would put together weekend meetings at different places and different times, and I always brought a book and my iPod in case people didn't show. Naturally, the meetings I thought would be sparsely attended would be surprisingly large while others I thought would be popular were not. I even toyed with having one at McDonald's.

For Gillian, I can only imagine the force option was her answer to this "problem." If you go through all the trouble of organizing a meeting, dammit, people need to show the fuck up. But like I said, it is Brownian motion. You learn to take the good with the bad and leave your ego out of it. I don't think Gillian can do this which led to some Gestapo measures. Naturally, I opposed them, and she lost.

The Gentle Reader at this point will say that this is just a pissing match between two outsized egos, but you know I am the good guy in all of this. I'm the one writing the story, so I get to be the hero. Blah blah blah. But most people who know me also feel a great freedom to tell me exactly what they think, and they do. I think my critics will say that I thrive on conflict and hostility, and I admit that I get a high from other people's anger. But when they blow their wad, everyone feels better. When people are free to say what they think, this actually leads to peace. The end of the Cold War was brought about precisely because of Ronald Reagan's belligerence. Tear down this wall. It made Gorby do something, and it brought about a momentous change. But I am digressing again.

People who are "militant" actually bring about positive change. It is ironic, but there you have it. Strong words lance boils of resentment. It leads to truth which leads to change which leads to flourishing. I've seen this process so many times that I am a believer in it. Tyranny is built upon people keeping their mouths shut. Remember this.

I kept my mouth shut about Gillian's coup attempt to the wider group, and this was a mistake. I also let slide by a measure to take our group "private" to appease the chickenshit atheists who couldn't abide being outed to their friends and family as atheists. That changed the group dramatically. The "cost" was now gone or at least reduced considerably. But when you are in a group called "Godless" then it leaves no doubt where you stand if you belong to it.

The other shoe dropped when Gillian changed the name of the group to Freethought Society of the Midlands. It is just a name, and I didn't care a whole lot. Then, I realized I was the frog in the boiling water. Well, contrary to the myth, frogs actually get the fuck out of that water and so did I. The chickenshit atheists had swelled the ranks, and Gillian had taken charge of them. It was a lesson in group dynamics. The name change was a way for closet atheists to hide their identity from the larger public that is clueless to what "freethought" is. Since closet atheists outnumber militant atheists, this would make the group bigger and give Gillian more ego strokes and acolytes.

Gillian doesn't like "militant atheists." Nevermind that she is one herself. The reality is that narcissists cannot abide individuals. They are irritating and annoying. They have to question everything. In order to lead, you must have people to follow, and the best followers are cowards. I imagine this is what happened with the Bolsheviks.

Gillian has expressed that she had friction with her old group back in Ohio, and it was with people like me. Gillian has a gigantic ego, and it needs satisfaction. This explains her free love ways, overscheduling of events, overbearing ways, tyrannical impulses, etc. She even said the name change would also make it easier for the Christians and Wiccans in our group. (Yes, there are religious people in Godless now that believe stupid make believe bullshit. But it is really the Gillian Fan Club not Godless or anything else.)

Folks, I agree with you. This is some stupid shit. Gillian upbraids a guy with a Rational Response Squad T-shirt at an event but says not a word about witchcraft. Now, I'm someone who believes in diversity of thought and opinion, but that also includes my own thoughts and opinions. I would never exclude anyone for being religious, but I'm not going to exclude someone else from an atheist group because I might piss off my religious members. But it really isn't an atheist group anymore. It is something else. It definitely isn't Godless.

The group I know is dead. I stopped attending long before this name change. I wish they would throw me out, but I am always denied the martyr's exit which sucks. The clever atheists figured this out. So, I'm left with this disappointment and absolutely no desire to be among these people. This must have been what it was like for Chicago when Peter Cetera sold the group out with those sappy love ballads.

As for Gillian, she will be all pissed off and hurt because like I said, she doesn't get it. The irony of people who gain power is just how fragile and weak they are. Her husband revealed this to me when he said I just needed a hug. A hug would be nice, but I have never needed one in my life.

As similar as Gillian and I are in being outspoken, we are very different people. I collect around me people who disagree with me and tell me what they think. This is because the only person I am afraid of is myself. An unchecked ego is a dangerous thing, so I depend upon others to keep this ego in check. I don't want asskissers in my life. I want people who tell me the truth even if it may piss me off a bit. This is why I liked Godless so much in the beginning. My favorites were the ones who disagree with me the most, and I don't see them anymore.

I am now a maligned "militant atheist" which Gillian thinks is bad for the group. The truth is that I am bad for her. People like me aren't followers. We don't stroke egos. We crush them.

It is frustrating to see this happen, but I see it as evidence of a wider phenomenon involving groups and individualism which I may write on in the future. Basically, groups are overrated, and it is individuals that make the difference. But I'm still dwelling on all of that.

As for the group, they should keep the name "Godless Columbia" and make it public again. That's it. We might lose members in the short term, but in the long term, I think people will grow to respect the group for standing for something. I think atheists being out of the closet does more for freethought than any public education campaign or political endeavor ever could. There are a lot of atheists out there. Unfortunately, most of them are invisible.

As for Gillian, I don't know what to say. There isn't a person that exists that can keep from liking her. But I'm not into psychobabble bullshit about liking yourself and being secure in yourself and all that. All I know is that people like you because they choose to like you, and that is not in your control. Gillian demands it, and this is precisely what makes me stop liking her.

As for my atheism, it is a non-issue in my life. The only difference between me and the average American is that I stopped feeling guilty about the fact that I sleep in on Sunday mornings just like the rest of America. I spend no time debating the existence of God or trying to get the Pledge of Allegiance sanitized of the God reference. I don't try and convert believers. When it comes to militancy, I am the least militant atheist I know and still carry the title of "militant atheist." All I do is wear the label and make no apologies. That's it. One lone individual act, yet everybody gets so pissed off.
Stop watching roid freaks on TV. Go for a run. Be your own hero.
Nothing unifies better than a common enemy, and that enemy is the socialist Barack Obama.
It is fun watching town halls go from political theater to a political circus.

Is Tim Ferriss a Scam Artist?



Tim Ferriss is a very interesting guy. My first reaction to his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, was one of skepticism. But I read it, and I liked it.

First of all, I could do a short bio on Tim, but you would be better looking up his bio on Wikipedia here.

Second of all, you can get the flavor of the Ferriss Experience here.

So, let's get to the point. Is Tim Ferriss full of shit?

The answer to that question depends on what bit of Ferriss wisdom you are talking about. I think the first issue to deal with is the four hour thing. Is it possible to only work four hours a week? My answer to that is no.

To get out of "work" which Tim defines as the things you would rather not do, Tim tells you to delegate. The way he does this is to outsource stuff to overseas where the dollar buys more. Unfortunately, the dollar will grow steadily weaker as a result of government tomfuckery and this recession. My advice would be to determine your hourly worth and see if you can pay someone to do it cheaper than you could do it. A rich CEO would quickly see that a good housekeeper and a driver are actually moneymakers. You would hate to lose billions because you were cleaning your own toilet.

If you're broke, the best you can do is pay some kids to wash your car and mow your lawn. The difference between Ferriss and me is that he thinks it is ok to delegate work for the sake of play while I think lesser tasks should be delegated in order to accomplish bigger tasks.

Does Ferriss actually work four hours a week? I don't think so anymore than Jimmy Buffett lives in Margaritaville. Buffett works pretty damn hard, and I think Tim Ferriss does, too. But it isn't work if you enjoy it. The most impressive feat of both men is that they also pursue their leisure pursuits with almost the same amount of dedication as their professional pursuits, and that is a revolutionary idea. Is this possible? I think so.

The only person who can live the Tim Ferriss lifestyle is Tim Ferriss, but the value of his book and blog comes from his zany way of looking at problems and all the ideas you get from his lifestyle experiments. He is a lifehacker extraordinaire.

Another one of Tim's bold ideas is the "mini-retirement." This is basically a sabbatical or extended vacation. Tim's brilliance was in giving it a different name. Essentially, the problem with retirement is that it is wasted on the old. You should not postpone the things you want to do with your life until the end of your life. Let's face it. If you had raided your 401(k) two years ago, the money you blew would probably be less than what you lost in the meltdown. In addition, if you wait until you have all your shit straight before you can enjoy your life, your life will probably be over before you ever get to enjoy it.

There you have it. Two blows against the Puritan work ethic--leisure and immediate gratification. This is why Ferriss sounds like he is full of shit. We are so ingrained with the hard work mantra that we are unable to contemplate that there may be some other way of living. You can see how this would be appealing to some overworked Silicon Valley types.

My own advice is the one I've been giving for sometime now which I stole from Aristotle. Virtue is the mean between deficiency and excess. I think it is OK to work hard, but I think it is also OK to have some fun as well. I don't share Tim's assault on work, but I don't deny his leisure lifestyle either. In this respect, Tim is not unlike Jimmy Buffett or Yvon Chouinard who seem to blend work and leisure.

Instead of shirking work, I think people should learn to enjoy it more, so that it is more like play. Conversely, I am warming to the idea that maybe we should take our leisure as seriously as we take our work.

Tim has all kinds of other neat shit in his writings, but I think the Gentle Reader is still asking me at this point the question that started all of this. Is Tim Ferriss a scam artist? All I can say is that he hasn't ripped me off yet.

UPDATE: Tim Ferriss Revisited

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people's money.

MARGARET THATCHER

How to be Successful

Infomericals, personal development gurus, self-help books, and the like all exhort us to be successful, but we still get the idea that it is all bullshit. Let me end the debate for you. It is.

What is success? That is the fundamental question. For many people, success is being rich, having status, being recognized for a particular talent, etc. If you make a good salary, drive a Ferrari, and have a hot looking significant other and abs of steel, you are a success. But Stephen Hawking doesn't have these things. Is he a loser?

The problem with success is that we have no definition for it. As such, it is really a waste of time to consider someone a failure or a success. Consider Paris Hilton. She was born into money she did not earn. But she has made a lot of money on her own. But she can't sing or act, and she has big feet. Is she a success or a failure?

Defining success relative to others is also problematic. Status is the most ephemeral measure of success. There is the distinction between fortune and merit. Clearly, Paris Hilton is fortunate while Stephen Hawking has shown merit. It is an apples and oranges comparison.

There is also the fact that to be successful in one endeavor is to also suck in all others. Michael Jordan showed us this with his baseball career. This is also the creation of the has-been and the one hit wonder and the late bloomer. Being successful while young makes the rest of your life an anticlimax. Michael Jackson never made another Thriller.

The problem with not having a definition of success is that it makes you feel miserable. You don't measure up. You are a loser. And the more you try to change this, the worse it becomes. You work hard, but success eludes you. You have a fortunate stroke of luck, and you feel like a phony. And there is always someone better looking, more talented, richer, etc. You can't win on this shit. To add to it is that most people are average which isn't so bad unless you live in a society that condemns being average, middle class, and unknown.

All of these problems are cleared away when we do find the definition of success, and I have it. The goal of life is to be happy, and you are successful when you achieve this goal. That is it. The guy who quits his high salary job to spend his days rock climbing is a success. The surf bum who spends his days at the beach is a success. The rich guy who hates his life and his job is not a success.

When you take your eye off of others and look at your own life measured against your own values, that will tell you if you are a success or not. Are you happy? If you are, you are successful. You have achieved the goal of life.

You will know that you are successful the moment you stop envying other people. This is because you won't care. When you are happy, you don't give a fuck. As for happiness, this comes from a life of meaningful and rational activity. And you know you have met a successful person because they show no trace of status consciousness or snobbery. They are secure in who they are, and they don't need anyone to tell them who they are.

No one else can decide for you what constitutes happiness. It is an individual affair. No one else can make you happy but you, and your success or failure in this endeavor is your business. But I can tell you this. When you are happy, miserable people will envy the hell out of you, and some of them might drive Ferraris.

Charlie's Prescription for Healthcare Reform

It is within the power of the federal government to offer universal coverage at any time. All it has to do is open the nation's VA hospitals to people without health insurance. They don't have to touch any other program or piss off anyone with this approach. This will be the safety net for the 40+ million uninsured people out there.

I know what you are thinking. This is bullshit. VA hospitals suck. Even veterans find a way not to go there if they can help it. And this points to the fatal logic of the leftards. To oppose this proposal is to admit that the government runs hospitals in a rather shitty way. The true aim is to get all that great healthcare they have in regular hospitals but to get other people to pay for it.

There is no true free market in healthcare in the western world. You can't say it doesn't work because it hasn't been tried. Efforts to bring egalitarianism to healthcare has resulted in universal shittiness as we see in the UK. Meanwhile, rich folks overseas come here to get the good healthcare. So much for equality.

My prescription for healthcare reform is simple:

1. ABOLISH MANDATORY ER TREATMENT.

If you have been gutshot in a drive-by, there isn't a hospital in this land who can refuse you treatment by law even if you can't pay. This is wrong. As tragic as it is, people who get free medical care end up putting their costs on others. The result is a snowball effect as fewer and fewer people are able to afford healthcare as the costs are passed along. This is why healthcare prices are rising.

2. ABOLISH MEDICARE/MEDICAID.

These programs are also horrible because they cost more and more each year while insulating people from the costs of healthcare. Old people especially never turn down a doctor or a procedure. They don't care about the cost which is why hospitals and the like gouge the hell out of the programs.

3. DEREGULATE THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY.

This industry bears the brunt of all kinds of regulations which forbid them from offering new products or services or competing across state lines.

4. ABOLISH THE FDA.

The FDA is more trouble than good by approving dangerous drugs that the people think are safe while also keeping helpful drugs off the market. These decisions are best left to the medical establishment. The FDA makes it prohibitively expensive to bring new drugs to market which also drives up costs.

All of these proposals can be supercharged by offering tax deductions on all healthcare expenses.

At this point, all my leftard readers are howling in indignation. How can you propose such draconian measures? How can you turn out the elderly like that? What kind of heartless bastard are you?

All of these emotional questions cut to the fundamental problem in our country as well as abroad. People see healthcare not as a product or a service like a computer or a Big Mac but as a human right. When we see it as a product or a service, we see low cost LASIK eye surgery and affordable plastic surgery. Even racehorses can get an MRI for far less than it costs for a person. This is because we don't see these things as fundamental rights.

On the things we do see as fundamental rights, the costs are tremendous. It doesn't matter if it is here in the US or abroad. Government intrusion into healthcare drives up costs, and the government's only answer is to install price controls and rationing. The result is diminished healthcare. This is why a working guy can buy his wife a new set of tits with cash, but he can't do the same if she gets pregnant. The irony of socialized medicine is that it actually results in inferior and less healthcare.

The fundamental problem in healthcare is that people can't turn off their emotions on this issue. There are two things people can't abide. The first is people going without healthcare because they can't pay. The second is people getting better care because they can pay. But despite their good intentions and policies, socialized medicine results in the very two things that proponents cannot abide.

By divorcing emotion from this issue, we can establish a true free market in healthcare. The result will be lower healthcare costs and better care. Free markets have given us cheap computers, cheap cellphones, DirecTV dishes on every mobile home, etc. Capitalism works. I know it works because my brother got both his eyes done for less than the tuition for a semester at any university here in SC.

But emotion will never leave this issue. People can't be logical or rational on this issue. These are the same people who think nothing of us going to war and killing people. If you get the impression that human thinking has not evolved much beyond the tribalism of ancient times, you would be correct. Tribes cared for their own while not hesitating to go kill off some other tribe.

What happens to the people who can't pay? They do without. It drives you nuts to contemplate it, but we don't have this problem when someone can't afford a cellphone. But I know a lot of poor people, and every damn one of them has a cellphone. In my harsh world, the ER would be as cheap as a cellphone. Because we can't let the market work, we have middle class people who can't afford basic medical care. I know if I didn't have insurance I would be fucked. It shouldn't be this way. We should live in a world where not having health insurance is a minor inconvenience and not a ticket to financial ruin.

I know my prescription will never happen. People are too stupid and emotional to do the smart thing. But there is always the black market, and someone willing to flout the law or maybe convert a cruise ship into a hospital will open a thriving business to cater to the people who can pay. This is already happening in Canada. Freedom will find a way.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. BILLY MAYS

Mays was a cokehead. Who knew? I bet that guy that sells the Slap Chop is on something, too.

2. RAUCOUS TOWN HALL MEETINGS

I like how the MSM jumps on these townhall people as "extremists" and "troublemakers." If anyone doubts the leftard slant of the MSM, here is all the evidence you need. The vast majority of Americans oppose the government healthcare plans now being considered in Congress, yet they are the "fringe."

3. OBAMA THE SOCIALIST JOKER

They are calling those posters of Obama as the Ledger style Joker racist. That is sad. This is all they can come up with against an image that has hit the mark. Obama is a socialist fucktard. His being black is inconsequential to his being stupid and evil.

4. CASH FOR CLUNKERS

Blatant broken window fallacy in action. Destroy the used car market to get people into debt on overpriced new cars. And who pays for it all? All of us. The triumph of economic illiteracy.

5. JENNY SANFORD

Jenny moves out of the governor's mansion. Those divorce papers will be filed any day now.

6. DISINFORMATION CZAR

Just when you thought this administration couldn't get any dumber. I've lost count of the number of czars he has, but this one is definitely the dumbest. This is a desperation move.

7. HEALTHCARE

One way or another, they will get a bill passed. What it contains is in question, and it will be bad. Here's an idea. Tax breaks for people who pay for their own health insurance, medical expenses, etc. They could also deregulate the industry and maybe repeal Medicare. But I'm hoping for too much. The agenda for Washington is control, and they will never favor a bill that will decrease their power.

8. CLINTON

Billy Boy got those journalists back. This is probably the only good thing I have seen out of the Obama administration. They refrained from saber rattling and resorted to diplomacy. John Bolton will say this emboldens them to do more shit, but I think that is a consequence of sanctions and giving them foreign aid.

9. SCHIFF

The money bomb raised $500K. Not bad for a senate race. Plus, I can't name another Republican who is running in the primary. Schiff vs. Dodd will probably be the most important libertarian race ever because it will show what we can do against an entrenched incumbent.

10. VAN WILDER

This is the finest thing Ryan Reynolds has ever done. He should have done Van Wilder 2. It is time for another Harold and Kumar movie.
The King is coming! Are you preparing for your vacation in Heaven or Hell?--BILLBOARD
The only people who want socialism are the busy bodies who want to run our lives.
Keynes fills your left pocket by emptying your right pocket.
The hardest problem in business is not lack of ideas or capital but figuring out customer desires.

Weekend Recap

I didn't do anything this weekend except housekeeping. Exceedingly boring.

I did watch some Obama cabinet folks on the Sunday talk shows lower the boom on the American people. Yes, folks, Obama is going to raise your taxes. Tell me you didn't see this coming.

Barack Obama is a lying cocksucking shoe clinging piece of dogshit. That promise to not raise taxes on households making under $250,000 a year was bullshit from the start. I knew he was lying then.

Obama is a bad president. Things aren't going to get better from here.

As for televised sporting events, I did feel a bit of withdrawal. I was thinking about baseball and wondering what it would be like if it was a free-for-all. Players would get to dope without penalty. You would see corked bats and vaseline covered spitballs. If this sounds intriguing, you are not alone. It would be one hell of a spectacle.