Searching for Vindication


It's easy for people with contrarian ideas and opinions to long for public validation. After years of being mocked and worn down, there's a tendency to fantasize about one great moment where all your opponents are owned and utterly embarrassed.

This is true in politics, business, and even sports. When you see something few others seem to see and you get ignored, or gaslit into thinking you are all alone and crazy for what you see, the desire for vindication and comeuppance grows. Sometimes it's innocent, but the vindication fantasy can become dangerous.

Being contrarian and right is powerful. It takes courage, but it can have big upside. But if you let all your energy go into fantasies about some external person or event out of your control revealing to the world that you're right, you become impotent. You slip into cultism, idolatry, delusion, frustration, delayed action, and uselessness.

Useful contrarianism requires that you accept that there is no big reveal that will happen where your enemies will be vanquished and doubters will bow and apologize.

The only person who can vindicate you is you. And the world almost certainly won't acknowledge it even when you're right. They'll pretend they always knew, or you got lucky.

Don't focus on being taken seriously or perceived as correct. Act on what you know, get the results you want in your own life, don't look to anyone else for salvation, and don't become desperate for acceptance. The great reveal is not coming. Only what you do today will manifest in your life tomorrow.

Anyone promising to vindicate you is probably playing you.

It’s Symbols All the Way Down


https://soundcloud.com/isaacmorehouse/symbolic-meaning-of-trump-protests-and-covid-policies?in=isaacmorehouse/sets/isaac-morehouse-podcast

Statelessness and the Burden of Proof


Normie: "It's not possible to live without govt"

Voluntarist: "Here are dozens of examples of stateless societies, many lasting hundreds of years"

Normie: "Life without government would be worse"

Voluntarist: "No stateless society has done nukes or genocide"

Normie: "It's not possible to live without govt"

----------

Normie: "You must prove that government is bad"

Voluntarist: "Why is the burden of proof on me to prove that an institution that has murdered more than 100 million people in the last century alone is bad?"

Normie: "Because Hobbes said we couldn't live without it"

Voluntarist: "But we have lived without it"

Normie: "Because its good"

The Myth of the Rule of Law, by John Hasnas


“The Myth of the Rule of Law” was written by John Hasnas and originally published in 1995 in the Wisconsin Law Review no. 199.

I read it (with a few mumbles and mistakes) in its entirety from the written version here.

Thanks to Prof Hasnas for writing this excellent essay, as well as another called "The Obviousness of Anarchy", both of which were profoundly influential on my thinking.

https://soundcloud.com/isaacmorehouse/the-myth-of-the-rule-of-law-by-john-hasnas

 

What is Reality?


Had a really great conversation with Steve Patterson about the nature of reality, materialism vs idealism vs dualism and his attempted resolution with pluralism, and a lot more.

 

https://soundcloud.com/isaacmorehouse/what-is-reality

 

Epistemic Humility and Confidence


I allowed myself to briefly engage in a conversation on Twitter that I normally avoid. It was about data. Worse, it was someone asking me to opine on data shared by someone else. I really had no business engaging, but I was feeling charitable so I did.

It was a waste of everyone's time. I shared the data I found, they shared theirs which did not agree, and everyone was supposed to base their interpretation of reality off one of these conflicting data sets. Inevitably, the motives or credulity of the person sharing the data comes into question, since the conflicting data itself can't be resolved by staring at it.

Of course neither of us can prove the veracity of any the data. It's all aggregated from third parties (most of whom have a history of poor data and all of whom have bad incentives and public choice problems). Does that mean beliefs about reality must be formed a priori, and not need any data?

Probably not. But it has to start there. That's inescapable. Data is meaningless without a theoretical lens through which to interpret it. That lens is always there, acknowledged or not. So you've got to at least work out a foundation a priori.

After that, when it comes to external data, I try to work in concentric circles of probability. Things I observe and experience first hand have the highest probability of being true and useful. Things one layer of reality removed have slightly less (e.g. something I have observed before, but not this time, being shared by someone I know in a context where motives are known). The further removed the data from my own experience, the lower the probability it is true and the less it should factor in to my view of what is real.

I consider this epistemic humility. To discount the probability of truth in proportion to its closeness to experience. I don't have to have solid true/false answers to everything. Nor do I need to pretend such answers don't exist. I can approach what I know directly with high probability and lower it with each step beyond experience.

Where does the confidence part come in?

It's the part that keeps me sane.

Epistemic confidence is to not need anyone else to perceive reality the same way you do.

It's incredible how freeing this is.

At any given time, I have ideas about reality, informed first by my a priori theories (law of identity, non-contradiction, action axiom, etc.), then by my direct experience, then by lessening degree with increased remoteness, data shared by others. It's always probabilistic, and changes as the information changes. Any conclusion is temporary fair game except those which violate basic logic. And at any given time, I don't need anyone else to understand or agree with this flux of worldviews.

That's when enjoyable discourse and discovery are possible.

Still, I sometimes get sucked into conversations about data and counter data that is so far from my experience I have no reason to weight it enough to justify serious debate.

My Summary of 2020


Prevailing narratives determine "reality" for society.

There's always a gap between those narratives and on-the-ground experience.

In 2020, that gap blew so wide open that two different realities seem to be co-existing.

New Threats Don’t Demand We Stop Living


One of my favorite entries from Present Concerns, a collection of essays by C.S. Lewis.

On Living in an Atomic Age

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat at night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented… It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds...

What the atomic bomb has really done is to remind us forcibly of the sort of world we are living in and which, during the prosperous period before, we were beginning to forget. And this reminder is, so far as it goes, a good thing. We have been waked from a pretty dream, and now we can begin to talk about realities...

It is our business to live by our own law not by fears: to follow, in private or in public life, the law of love and temperance even when they seem to be suicidal, and not the law of competition and grab, even when they seem to be necessary to our own survival. For it is part of our spiritual law never to put survival first: not even the survival of our species. We must resolutely train ourselves to feel that the survival of Man on this Earth, much more of our own nation or culture or class, is not worth having unless it can be had by honorable and merciful means.

Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs. Those who care for something else more than civilization are the only people by whom civilization is at all likely to be preserved. Those who want Heaven most have served Earth best. Those who love man less than God do most for man....

Let the bomb find you doing well.

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the CEO of Crash, the career launch platform, and the founder of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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Searching for Vindication


It's easy for people with contrarian ideas and opinions to long for public validation. After years of being mocked and worn down, there's a tendency to fantasize about one great moment where all your opponents are owned and utterly embarrassed.

This is true in politics, business, and even sports. When you see something few others seem to see and you get ignored, or gaslit into thinking you are all alone and crazy for what you see, the desire for vindication and comeuppance grows. Sometimes it's innocent, but the vindication fantasy can become dangerous.

Being contrarian and right is powerful. It takes courage, but it can have big upside. But if you let all your energy go into fantasies about some external person or event out of your control revealing to the world that you're right, you become impotent. You slip into cultism, idolatry, delusion, frustration, delayed action, and uselessness.

Useful contrarianism requires that you accept that there is no big reveal that will happen where your enemies will be vanquished and doubters will bow and apologize.

The only person who can vindicate you is you. And the world almost certainly won't acknowledge it even when you're right. They'll pretend they always knew, or you got lucky.

Don't focus on being taken seriously or perceived as correct. Act on what you know, get the results you want in your own life, don't look to anyone else for salvation, and don't become desperate for acceptance. The great reveal is not coming. Only what you do today will manifest in your life tomorrow.

Anyone promising to vindicate you is probably playing you.

It’s Symbols All the Way Down


https://soundcloud.com/isaacmorehouse/symbolic-meaning-of-trump-protests-and-covid-policies?in=isaacmorehouse/sets/isaac-morehouse-podcast

Statelessness and the Burden of Proof


Normie: "It's not possible to live without govt"

Voluntarist: "Here are dozens of examples of stateless societies, many lasting hundreds of years"

Normie: "Life without government would be worse"

Voluntarist: "No stateless society has done nukes or genocide"

Normie: "It's not possible to live without govt"

----------

Normie: "You must prove that government is bad"

Voluntarist: "Why is the burden of proof on me to prove that an institution that has murdered more than 100 million people in the last century alone is bad?"

Normie: "Because Hobbes said we couldn't live without it"

Voluntarist: "But we have lived without it"

Normie: "Because its good"

The Myth of the Rule of Law, by John Hasnas


“The Myth of the Rule of Law” was written by John Hasnas and originally published in 1995 in the Wisconsin Law Review no. 199.

I read it (with a few mumbles and mistakes) in its entirety from the written version here.

Thanks to Prof Hasnas for writing this excellent essay, as well as another called "The Obviousness of Anarchy", both of which were profoundly influential on my thinking.

https://soundcloud.com/isaacmorehouse/the-myth-of-the-rule-of-law-by-john-hasnas

 

What is Reality?


Had a really great conversation with Steve Patterson about the nature of reality, materialism vs idealism vs dualism and his attempted resolution with pluralism, and a lot more.

 

https://soundcloud.com/isaacmorehouse/what-is-reality

 

Isaac Morehouse


Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program making degrees irrelevant for careers. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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