Transcending Politics

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Transcending Politics

October 20, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the power of medieval guilds and the social power structure, so too will cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature of corporations and of government interference in economic transactions… And just as a seemingly minor invention like barbed wire made possible the fencing-off of vast ranches and farms, thus altering forever the concepts of land and property rights in the frontier West, so too will the seemingly minor discovery out of an arcane branch of mathematics come to be the wire clippers which dismantle the barbed wire around intellectual property. Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!” – Timothy C. May

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,144. Gold closed at $1,270 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $51.72 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.75%. Bitcoin is trading around $630 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Today is little Maddie’s birthday! I still remember, two years ago to the day, witnessing her first breath of life. I can see it in my mind’s eye just a clearly as I see the computer screen in front of me. She has become a fantastically sweet and clever young lady in two years time, and her father’s cup runneth over with pride and joy.

Due to scheduling constraints, we actually celebrated her birthday on Tuesday. A few months back I asked Madison what she wanted to do for her birthday. “I want to ride Leo the horse!”, she responded without hesitation. So that’s exactly what we did. Continue reading “Transcending Politics”

The Only Debate Topic That Matters

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Only Debate Topic That Matters

September 29, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Loading up the nation with debt and leaving it for the following generations to pay is morally irresponsible. Excessive debt is a means by which governments oppress the people and waste their substance. No nation has a right to contract debt for periods longer than the majority contracting it can expect to live. ” – Thomas Jefferson

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,171. Gold closed at $1,327 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $47.12 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.57%. Bitcoin is trading around $605 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Nearly one-third of all Americans – almost 100 million people – tuned in to watch the first presidential debate earlier this week. This represents an increase in viewership by nearly 40% from the 2012 presidential debates, and it almost rivaled television’s biggest draw – the Super Bowl – which received 112 million viewers last year. Apparently the debate was aired on television throughout Europe as well.

I see these numbers and the first thing that pops into my head is a question: how in the world do the ratings agencies know how many people are sitting on the couch in front of a given television?

I didn’t spend too much time with this, but all of the numbers I have seen reference “viewers” and “people”, not “households”. They are very specific about this.

I can’t help but think about poor Winston in George Orwell’s 1984 – he sits down in front of his telescreen and while he is watching it, it is also watching him… Continue reading “The Only Debate Topic That Matters”

The Gamma Phenomenon

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Gamma Phenomenon

September 5, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Humanity in our time remains in infancy. We are essentially unlimited creatures, yet we have been wallowing in abject poverty – physically, mentally, and spiritually. We have natures that are suited to high adventure, yet we remain stagnant. Why? Because we’ve been conditioned only to exist, not to live.” – Prester John, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

The S&P closed out Friday at $2,180. Gold closed at $1,329 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $44.25 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.60%. Bitcoin is trading around $605 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Little Madison is approaching her second birthday, and somehow she has already picked out her own birthday gift. “I want to ride Leo the horse…”, she says with a hopeful sparkle in her inquisitive blue eyes.

Naturally, her father considers all of the things that could possibly go wrong in such a scenario. Do you want to mommy or daddy to ride with you?

No! I want to ride all by myself.

As best I can tell, to observe a toddler is to observe human nature in its purest form… before all of the social conditioning, group-think, and peer pressure begin to alter behavior.

Assuming this is correct, the need for high adventure, exploration, and excitement seems to be embedded into the core of human nature. Madison possesses a zeal for life, and she does not tolerate any restrictions on her freedom to play and explore. Any curtailment, indeed even the threat of curtailment, is met with fierce resistance and extreme displeasure. Continue reading “The Gamma Phenomenon”

Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

August 4, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” – H.L. Mencken

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,163. Gold closed at $1,364 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $41.08 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.54%. Bitcoin is trading around $584 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Election season is now in full swing here in the U.S. – much to the agony of those of us who believe in human liberty, voluntary association, and participatory networks.

Once again the intelligentsia have convinced people that their future hinges directly upon the outcome of the next presidential election, and inevitably we non-voters are denounced for lack of patriotism by the 40% of the population who still place their faith in the voting booth. Naturally, our first reaction is to stand up for ourselves and explain our position:

“The essence of politics is coercion and, if necessary, violence…”, we attempt to explain in vain. Continue reading “Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting”

Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution

June 22, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Bitcoin is the beginning of something great: a currency without a government, something necessary and imperative. ” – Nassim Taleb, Author of Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,088. Gold closed at $1,271 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.95 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.70%. Bitcoin is trading around $670 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Bitcoin flirted with $800 last week before dropping all the way down to $630. Today it is hovering around $670. Such volatility is usually feared by the general public, and it is often cited as one of Bitcoin’s weaknesses. To me, this volatility is a beautiful example of price discovery in one of the freest markets on Earth. Continue reading “Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution”

What America Forgot

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
What America Forgot

June 14, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Think about this, Frances: For the past several thousand years of recorded history, humans lived at the edge of starvation, usually in abject poverty, perpetually at risk. But in just the past few centuries, and primarily in only one or two parts of the world, we suddenly develop medical science, cars, telephones, airplanes, refrigeration, central heating, electrical power, computers, and spaceships. Why here? And why now?” – James Farber, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,079. Gold closed at $1,286 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.56 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.61%. Bitcoin is trading around $705 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

As I mentioned in last week’s entry, wife Rachel and I just celebrated our third wedding anniversary, and this one may have been the best yet. There were no gifts, no fancy dinners, no nights out… Rachel didn’t even get me a card! I was so proud of her!

It reminded me of the Christmas following our engagement a number of years ago. With the wedding looming, we agreed not to give each other gifts for just one Christmas holiday in the interest of saving money.

Believing very strongly in contractual agreements, I followed through diligently on my end of the deal… Rachel did not. I found myself receiving several gifts from her on that Christmas morning, and I didn’t have even the tiniest trinket to offer in return. She was devastated!

I tried to plead my case: But I thought we agreed not to give each other gifts!? Continue reading “What America Forgot”

Markets and Economic Calculation

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Markets and Economic Calculation

June 7, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Monetary calculation is not the calculation, and certainly not the measurement, of value. Its basis is the comparison of the more important and the less important. It is an ordering according to rank, an act of grading (Cuhel), and not an act of measuring.” – Ludwig von Mises

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,109. Gold closed at $1,247 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $49.71 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.72%. Bitcoin is trading around $585 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel and I will commemorate our third wedding anniversary tomorrow! When she asked me what I would like to do to celebrate, I naturally suggested that we could do anything in the world she wanted. Her response:

I would kind of like to do something fun, but I would settle for a major house cleaning day…

Does that mean we are officially marriage pro’s?

Moving on… I think this is a fascinating time to be alive. Based on what I know about recorded human history, I doubt there has ever been a more interesting point in time to be a keen observer of civilization. How lucky we are!

As I have reckoned on before, human civilization is currently transitioning from the Industrial Age and into the Information Age. Pre-Internet society was drastically different from post-Internet society, and indeed all of modern civilization has been made dependent upon a functioning Internet. This dynamic will only deepen as all of the Big Data and Internet-of-Things trends continue to play out. Continue reading “Markets and Economic Calculation”

The Future of Money

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Future of Money

May 18, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Just like the Internet gave information back to the people, Bitcoin will give financial freedom back to the people. But that’s only the first step… Bitcoin will allow us to shape the world without having to ask for permission. We declare Bitcoin’s independence. Bitcoin is sovereignty. Bitcoin is renaissance. Bitcoin is ours. Bitcoin is.” – Julia Tourianski

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,047. Gold closed at $1,280 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.54 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.759%. Bitcoin is trading around $457 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel: Honey, look! Madison has a pet caterpillar in this jar! She put leaves and twigs in there so it can eat and turn into a butterfly…

Philosopher Joe: Oh… why does it look like all of the oxygen has been sucked out of the jar?

Wife Rachel: What do you mean…?

Philosopher Joe: Did you punch holes in the top to let air in?

Wife Rachel: Wha… oh crap.

Spring is in full swing here in the mountains of Virginia. The caterpillars are crawling, the butterflies are flying, the wildflowers are blooming, and the all-encompassing green foliage is a bright celebration of new life! Continue reading “The Future of Money”

The Future of Commerce

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Future of Commerce

April 20, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Commerce, by its very nature, is born free. And more than this, it forever fights to remain free. At almost every time and place, commerce evades regulations and controls; it serves its own will, not the wills of rulers. Markets spontaneously emerge at every opportunity, even when they are outlawed and punished. Commerce seems to have an existence of its own, like an independent organism.” – Paul Rosenberg

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,100. Gold closed at $1,252 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $42.46 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.78%. Bitcoin is trading around $437 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

The institutional foundation of the Industrial world is crumbling all around us. Governments are broke. Social welfare programs are severely underfunded. Unions are broke. Pension plans are underfunded. National currencies have been trashed. Blue-collar jobs in the developed world have been lost to low-wage countries. Low-wage jobs have been lost to robotics and automation. Many of the jobs just disappeared entirely. Everyone’s retirement account is propped up by the constant creation of money out of thin air required to keep the financial markets afloat.

Welcome to the Information Age! Continue reading “The Future of Commerce”

A Golden Reset?

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
A Golden Reset?

April 15, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”Thomas Jefferson

The S&P closed out Thursday at $2,082. Gold closed at $1,226 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $41.50 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.78%. Bitcoin is trading around $430 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Last week we examined a potential path to the Great Reset triggered by the global adoption of negative interest rate policies (NIRP). The entry was not just speculation, however, but it was prompted by a report outlining a meeting in Manhattan between some major players in the world of finance and a source sitting at the nexus between government policy and the financial industry.

This meeting was not about the possibility of negative interest rates in the U.S., however. The unnamed source assumed NIRP was already baked into the cake. According to him it was not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Continue reading “A Golden Reset?”