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Flawed Humans and Their Ideas

Flawed Humans and Their Ideas

Part IV: Do people’s improprieties automatically invalidate any ideology they represent?

One of my frustrations with the state of political discourse these days, is the focus on people rather than on the ideas or principles that they are supposed to represent. For example, during the 2020 US presidential election, most of the ‘reasons’ I heard for supporting a candidate amounted to personal and character attacks against the other candidate(s). When asked what their preferred candidate actually represented ideologically, or what their platform or policy proposals were, many people drew a blank. Usually, the answer was something along the lines of, “Well, he’s not the other guy.”
Anatomy of a Romance Scam

Anatomy of a Romance Scam

I Very Love You!

When I was preparing to give overseas dating a try back in 2017, I heard many stories and warnings about Email romance scams. People (typically men) spend hours corresponding with someone overseas who they believe is a romantic interest. In reality, the person they’re talking to is not who they say they are, and they are most certainly not in love. In fact, these are often sophisticated operations—ran like call centers—involving teams of Email writers who make money ‘stringing’ victims along with hopes of romance, companionship, future visits, and intimacy.
New Jersey to Utah by Train

New Jersey to Utah by Train

Aboard the California Zephyr

My lease was up in New Jersey at the end of September 2020, so I decided to move to Idaho to save on rent, take an extended break from work, and be closer to family during the COVID-19 pandemic. I drastically downsized by selling or getting rid of most of my furniture and possessions,shipped a few boxes of stuff I wanted to keep to Idaho,and then took Amtrak trains from Newark, NJ to Salt Lake City, UT.
What Form of Government Gives Common People the Most Power?

What Form of Government Gives Common People the Most Power?

What system is best for preserving rights and guarding against those who wish to consolidate power for themselves?

In his most recent letter, my dad shared some thoughts and asked a really interesting question that I’ve been pondering on for the past few of weeks. I decided to share and respond here, mainly so that I could link to some sites and graphs in my response that I found to be of interest, but also to ensure it’s legible!
Economic Systems vs. Political Systems

Economic Systems vs. Political Systems

Part III: Socialism does not preclude democracy

Another myth I often encounter regarding socialism is that it is somehow antithetical to democracy; that it breeds despotic regimes and runs counter to the American notions of freedom. We often hear about ‘communist dictators’, but rarely ‘capitalist’ ones (though they most certainly exist).
Latter-day Saints and Anti-Mormons

Latter-day Saints and Anti-Mormons

Part I: A lie is a lie, even if it’s about something you don’t like

I was raised in a family that were members ofThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsand like other children of Latter-day Saint families, I was baptized at the age of 8. My mother was also raised in a Latter-day Saint family, and my father was a convert to the Church in his 20’s.
QAnon Quackery

QAnon Quackery

A socialist perspective

Recently, I received the following text from a family member eager to share a compelling video they had viewed. This isn’t the first time I’ve been sent a link to QAnon-related content, but it has been a while (especially since I ditched social media) and I was a little surprised that this stuff is still making the rounds. I don’t know if this is due to the conspiracy theory gaining something of a ‘second wind’, or if it just never really subsided like I had imagined, but either way I’ve finally decided—reluctantly—to address it here and share some of my thoughts.

Coconut Island: The Right-Wing Talk Radio Edit

Coconut Island: The Right-Wing Talk Radio Edit

Part I: Warning! Lazy communists are stealing your stuff!

A libertarian friend once explained his grievances towards socialism or—as he put it: “Taking a man’s property by threatening force if he did not comply in order to benefit those who did not work for it.” To him, socialism meant the theft of the fruits of his labor by taxation or force. He then proceeded to use an allegorical tale to animate his point that was essentially a rehash of The Little Red Hen. It went something like this:
The Real Tale of Coconut Island

The Real Tale of Coconut Island

Part II: The actual history of private property among its inhabitants.

Two men found themselves stranded on a desert island with no provisions. Realizing that they would need food, both struck out to survey the island to see what was available. One headed inland, while the other, David, decided to skirt the coast along the beach. After roaming for a day and a half, he found nothing to eat or of utility along the coast. The beaches of the island were truly devoid of anything that could be used for sustenance. Exhausted, and thirsty, he too realized that heading inland towards the center of the island was perhaps the best hope of finding food and fresh water after all.
Lessons From Coconut Island

Lessons From Coconut Island

Part III: This land was made for you and me

In part 1 of this series, I touched on the opinion often pushed by advocates of capitalism that the poor are merely trying to take advantage of or ‘steal’ from the wealthy. This sentiment is used as the rationale for various arguments against any sort of public spending, taxation, welfare etc. It’s used to portray any sort of financial or social obligation not voluntarily or willingly fulfilled by an individual as theft.