Keep Extending the Franchise – But Do It Backwards

“Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.”  G.K. Chesterton I love this quote from Chesterton, and it highlights the obligations we have to the dead and the benefits we can gain from listening to them. The “march of progress” has included much […]

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You’ll Deal With This Forever

There are many natural moments that bring us to adulthood. One is the moment we realize that we will deal with some limitation or other for the rest of our lives. Maybe we have speech impediments. Maybe we have an orientation toward social shyness or submissiveness, or talkativity or neuroticism. Maybe we have poor physical […]

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Treat Historians (Almost) Like Journalists

When you first start reading history, you treat the historian as an infallible reporter of historical fact. Then you read other historians, and you see that historians disagree. That’s when it’s necessary to understand how historians can come to disagree, honestly or dishonestly. To do that, it takes understanding how historians do history. In the […]

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Just Because It Sounds Boring Doesn’t Mean That It Was

“How was your day?” is a hard question to answer well. Have you ever tried to describe your day to someone, only to have it come out sounding dry and boring? I spent the whole day pretty much shoveling dirt, and when I shared that, I noticed how dry and boring it must have sounded. […]

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It Is Probably Not Possible to “Build” a Tribe

“Back in the day, you were stuck with the tribe you were born with. Now, with the Internet, you can build a tribe (!) of people who share your values and beliefs!” I’ve liked this idea for a long time. I still like this idea. I have partially played out this idea. But it’s in […]

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A Different Vision of Work From Home

Americans love working from home – or at least, a good deal of those usd to corporate offices do. But why do we fantasize about working in our pajamas in a foreign yard when we could be *really* working from home. Imagine “going to work” each morning just by stepping outside your door. Imagine your […]

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History as the Red Pill

It’s a meme now to call any radical mind-changing moment or idea a “red pill,” hearkening back to the red pill which awakens Neo to the nature of his machine slavery in The Matrix. Everybody has their own version of the red pill, and their own idea of what is being revealed when it is […]

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The Right To Opt Out of “Progress”

In order for “progress” to be worthwhile, it must meet some requirements. One of those requirements is testability – there must be a control group against which to test the claims of progress. Another is consent – it shouldn’t have to rely on forced adoption. With these two things in place, attempts at progress can […]

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Energy and Stamina Make the Difference

I work a physically demanding job, and I do it in the sun and heat. So it’s not unusual for me to return home feeling pretty bushed at the end of a workday. On a typical day, this isn’t a problem: I can just do the minimum cleanup and prep tasks I have and rest […]

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Interior Design Is a Never-Ending Task

We tend to think that interior design and decor for a house or apartment are one-time projects, or big periodic renovations. In fact, every time you clean or even every time you just walk past an area of your home can be a good time to do some work. The key is to look for […]

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Rural Refugees and “I’ll Just Move to Montana”

My hometown is getting crowded. A place that used to only have a couple of restaurants has plenty, and old farms are becoming subdivisions by the year. And a lot of rural people are thinking about what they’ll do when the passing of generations or rising property taxes or crushing debt cause them to turn […]

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Small Town Fame Is All You Need

“Every last one, route one, rural heart’s got a story to tellEvery grandma, in law, ex girlfriendMaybe knows you just a little too wellWhether you’re late for church or you’re stuck in jailHey words gonna get aroundEverybody dies famous in a small town” Miranda Lambert, “Famous In. Small Town” You could argue that we all […]

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Compound Interest on Good Memories

Imagine having the memory of the perfect day: maybe going on a mountain trail run with your friends, or going to the beach with your girl, or riding horses with your family. Now imagine having those memories starting at 15 vs. having them starting at 25. Technically, the same experiences and same memories come to […]

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Be Careful of Winning the Culture War

Some people are born with a rebellious streak, or at least an obstinate one. I guess I am one of those people. And for me, social liberalism has been one kind of iconoclasm I’ve embraced. Coming from a conservative, religious upbringing, the ideas of inclusion and tolerance for just about anything and everything seemed refreshing […]

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Five Rules for Studying History

Remember that all historians are biased – read multiple perspectives  “History” is a product of human beings. History of the same events and people may be done (will be done) differently from generation to generation. Sometimes, due to advances in archaeology or new discoveries of old texts, history done 500 years after the fact will […]

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What’s the Point of Education When You Have Hallmark?

I hate Hallmark cards and everything remotely resembling them. When they are congratulating someone for a birthday, they do it in the most vulgar or cliched ways. When they are soothing someone for their loss of a loved one, they seem to do it in the most hackneyed and pastel and milquetoast ways. But the […]

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Cure the White-Collar FOMO

I love my blue-collar job in the (pre)-construction industry, but I get the feeling that some of the other young folks who work in building might idealize the cushy white-collar job. After all, blue collar jobs come with relatively little pay and lots of dirt, sweat, sun, and bugs, as well as occasional physical danger […]

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Maybe You Shouldn’t Get Paid for Doing What You Love

There’s a certain part of the population that’s really good at speaking, writing, and generally persuading people. We score high on verbal and written SATs (not so much on math), and we were the kind of kids that people said should become lawyers. When we move into the world, we think about how we can […]

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Our Responsibility To Protect Innocence

I really want to live in a world in which most people don’t have to know about things like the #1 song in America, a song whose lyrics a number of people (who are likely at different spots on the political spectrum) rightly find horrifying. Insofar as we can do nothing or little about an […]

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We Have Taken the Countryside for Granted

When we tell the story of Superman – the everyman, the visible representative of Truth, Justice, and the American Way – where do we have Clark Kent spending his formative years? In the countryside, of course. It’s an archetype, or a trope, depending on who you ask, that cultures throughout the West (if not the […]

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The Apparel of Relaxed Readiness

Back in the day, when I wanted to lounge around my house in the morning or evening, I’d wear the same kind of clothes I’d wear to bed, or I’d wear a t-shirt, or some-such piece of clothing made to maximize comfort. My philosophy has shifted somewhat. Comfort is nice, but readiness is better. What […]

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Your Reputation Will Matter To Descendants You Will Never Meet

I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I learned my line of farming ancestors was interrupted by the presence of a banker. Now I mean no offense to the wonderful, hardworking, and valuable members of the banking community, but this Walpole of the 1800s threw a cog into my romantic historical conception […]

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The Tragedy of Paved-Over Farmland

I don’t think people understand just what they are doing when they decide to turn farmland into a subdivision or a shopping mall. It’s the worst kind of social experiment: an irreversible one. Once you pave over land, you cant just change your mind and turn it back into fertile topsoil. You’re going to be […]

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The Camping Reset

The Roman Stoic Seneca said that each month, he would set aside some days to live simply and roughly (like a condition of poverty). In so doing, he reasoned, he would see the condition he feared and perhaps fear it less in the future – and become more virtuous as a result. For a modern […]

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What Isn’t Done Boldly Is Done Badly

There is a good rule of thumb for human behavior: whatever isn’t done boldly is done badly.  Courage is of course, as CS Lewis argued, a sort of meta-virtue, “the form of every virtue at its testing point.” But I’m specifically speaking of boldness, in the sense of daring confidence.  The man who is bold […]

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Disregard Is the Only Proper Regard

“All men die – not all men really live.” William Wallace, Braveheart All men should have the highest regard for the gift of life. But the gift-giver had a sense of irony when he put us in the world. Because for men to properly regard their lives, they must disregard them – put them in […]

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The Thoughts of Procrastinators

At least half of the time I use Twitter, I am procrastinating on something more important I need to do in my life. Now I know it’s arrogant to assume that everyone else has the same faults as me, but let’s just imagine that about half of other Twitter users have the same problem. Given […]

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Your Father Is Your Metric of Progress

“A great doom awaits you, either to rise above the height of all your fathers since the days of Elendil, or to fall into darkness with all that is left of your kin.” The Lord of the Rings For all of the problems with what some call “the gospel of progress,” it’s undeniable that we […]

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Give Your Kids a Unique Identity

I am what I am because I was brought up on a farm as the son of farmers. That now puts me in a very proud minority of people – rural people – who think and live a bit differently from city folks and suburbanites. Right or wrong, I remember thinking and feeling different from […]

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Let a Place Be As Much Itself As Possible

Almost every day I drive to work down the brilliantly landscaped two-lane road of a local resort island. And what I see is nothing like what I see on the side of pavement in most of the rest of my state. The place is swarming with wildlife. Despite development of many golf courses and houses, […]

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