Non-intervention is Comprehensive

submitted by jwithrow.non-intervention

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Non-intervention is Comprehensive

February 27, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,110 today. Gold is checking in at $1,216 per ounce. Oil is floating around $49 per barrel. Bitcoin is up to $253 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 2.02% today.

Yesterday we discussed the merits of the non-intervention philosophy specifically as it relates to natural childbirth. We realized what is true about non-intervention in childbirth is just a true about non-intervention in the rest of health care. Non-intervention is just as applicable to the fields of personal finance, economics, education, and the role of government as well. Let’s examine this in a little more detail today.

To start with, think long and hard about what you value in this life. Clear your mind and think about what’s important to you.

Notice the clutter and the conflict?

We are constantly assaulted with polarized messages on a daily basis competing for our support. Every single advertisement you see or read is designed by very skilled people to convince you that you want that particular product or service. The corporate media constantly inundates you with messages designed to drum up your support for a particular idea, policy, or position. The various institutions you are a part of (school/work/church/community service/political party/etc.) all convey different expectations for how you should live and what you should spend your time doing.

When we accept and identify with these external expectations we shift away from self-reference and end up with a piecemeal system of values and a hodgepodge of beliefs. Then we say things like:

-This religion is absolutely right and that religion is absolutely evil.

-People should spend their time doing these things but they shouldn’t be allowed to do those other things.

-Government should force everyone to comply with these policies and it should stop people from engaging in alternatives.

Why do we say these things? Because that’s what our institutions say; we substitute our own values for the values of our chosen institutions when we identify with external expectations.

The non-intervention philosophy is about getting back to what’s best for you. It’s about a self-referential reawakening. Modern society tells us that self-reference is selfish but nothing could be further from the truth. If we look within and decide it is acceptable to stand on our own values and pursue our own wants regardless of what modern culture says then we necessarily recognize that others are free to do the same. This understanding sparks a respect for non-aggression and tolerance in a world that has seemingly forgotten these ideals.

”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Hurt not others.” “Live and let live.” “Laissez-faire.” Moral thinkers have come and gone throughout history and they each arrived at some variation of this same message. Let’s apply this message to our world today.

Non-intervention in personal finance is about thinking a lot but doing very little. Contrast this with mainstream personal finance which is frantic and disorganized. Jim Cramer epitomizes this on his television show where he runs around screaming “buy, buy, buy” or “sell, sell, sell”. We are sold the idea that a sophisticated financial portfolio involves moving in and out of the right stocks and that this is the key to reaching a retirement “number”. If we don’t want to do the stock picking for ourselves then we can purchase target date mutual funds that are actively managed by professionals who move in and out of stocks for us.

All of this buying and selling churns up commissions and fees and, if we follow mainstream analysis, likely gets us into stocks when they are popular and expensive and out of stocks when they are unpopular and cheap. That is to say we buy high and sell low. The rationale behind this is simple – if a stock is popular enough to warrant coverage on CNBC or in the Wall Street Journal then it is popular enough to draw a lot of attention. It would be far better to buy the stock when it is obscure, hated, and cheap then sell it to someone else if it becomes popular enough for mainstream financial publications.

When it comes to investing in equities, studies suggest it is the beta – the big picture idea – that is more important than the alpha – the individual security. In other words identifying sectors that have been beaten up but are beginning to trend higher, buying those sectors while they are cheap, and then sitting on your hands until the trend changes is the application of non-intervention in personal finance. Of course, stocks should only make up a small percentage of your asset allocation model as we have touched on numerous times here at Zenconomics.

We have also harped on the importance of non-intervention in economics on many occasions. The ‘free market’ is an incredibly complex web of exchanges created by individuals who, by acting of their own free will, engage in production and commerce. The free market sets price levels based on individual activity and these prices fluctuate in response to continued individual activity. This economic system is self-regulating and to intervene in any capacity is to distort the entire free market system.

Simply put, free markets require absolute non-intervention by definition. The moment you intervene is the moment the market ceases to be free. Somehow, however, we have accepted the idea that Ivy League graduates should be pulling strings and pushing levers to manage the economy. We put these “experts” in front of expensive computers in big government buildings and tell them to keep unemployment low and prices stable as if the economy were a simple child’s game of connect the dots. And we pretend like this is still a capitalist system.

I suspect we put up with intervention in our economy largely because our educational system conditions us to accept intervention every step of the way. Public education in the United States very clearly emphasizes invasive authoritarianism. Instead of allowing children to learn naturally by pursuing their interests, discovering their passions, and cooperating with one another, the public school system segregates children by age and lumps them into a classroom where they are told to be quiet and listen to the teacher. In school students are told what they will learn, when they will learn it, and they are permitted very little free time during the day. Then they are loaded with homework that eats up their free time after school and prevents them from pursuing their own interests. Their textbooks are homogenous, boring, and designed to be read and memorized unquestioningly. The textbooks have also been scrubbed by the Department of Education to ensure no politically incorrect material can be found on the pages. In this environment learning is seen as something to be forced on students – such is the interventionist approach.

Intervention in education promotes group-think and dependency. Non-intervention promotes self-education and self-responsibility. There is a reason why many wise and ‘successful’ people prior to the 20th century never went to school at all and it is the same reason that numerous prominent people since the 20th century dropped out of school before becoming ‘successful’ in their own way. Even Albert Einstein loathed the interventionist approach to education: ”Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school”, said he.

Which brings us to the role of government. Regulatory democracy works hand in hand with coerced collectivism to convince people that government is some type of benevolent service organization. People have been sold the notion that the U.S. government should take care of everyone from cradle to grave, regulate all aspects of the economy, prohibit immoral or unhealthy behavior, maintain a military empire with 300 bases in 170 countries, and fight wars on poverty, drugs, and terror.

Government is more than happy to oblige by intervening in virtually every aspect of your life and the lives of those living in foreign nations that become a “strategic interest” for the military-industrial complex. The corporate news stations (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) work diligently to promote public support for all of this government intervention and their success is nothing short of amazing. The corporate media’s marketing genius is the promotion of the left-right paradigm. These stations divide the public into a “blue” team and a “red” team and they promote the idea that the other team is the enemy. The fact is each “team” supports government intervention on a massive scale; they differ only in the prescription and distribution of this intervention.

The predictable result of all this government intervention is poverty and misery as the economy is wrecked and the currency is destroyed. F.A. Hayek pointed this out way back in 1944 in ”The Road to Serfdom” as central planning and government intervention really began to rise in popularity.

How different is this from that which is truly American? The American vision was a divergence from the mercantilist statism and bureaucratic despotism of the ancien régime. The best of the American revolutionaries envisioned a society free from politics and indeed free from any visible signs of government. They called this Liberty.

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force”, said Washington. “Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Sure the American experiment wasn’t perfect – there were prejudices and inconsistencies – but there was a vibrant and healthy respect for non-intervention. We would be wise to rekindle this understanding and respect.

More to come,







Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift underway please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Individual Solutions: Building Home Resiliency

submitted by jwithrow.home resiliency

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Individual Solutions: Building Home Resiliency

February 13, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,089 today. Gold is checking in at $1,229 per ounce. Oil is floating around $53 per barrel. Bitcoin is priced at $237 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 2.01% today.

Yesterday we examined the massive credit expansion that has been ongoing for four decades now and we noted that Austrian Economics tells us this won’t end well. We discussed building financial resiliency via a logical asset allocation model as an individual solution to the economic problems we face. But there is more to life than just personal finance.

Home resiliency is about building a self-reliant homestead, no matter the size. This entails having secure shelter with back-up energy sources and access to a reasonable supply of food, water, and basic necessities. The greater your home resiliency, the less you have to worry about external factors; be they natural disasters, financial disruptions, or simple power outages.

We are not talking about doomsday bunkers or expensive power generators; we are talking about simple and reasonable emergency back-up preparations. This is considered weird and looked down upon in modern society today but that is a recent phenomenon. The spirit of self-reliance and rugged individualism permeated American culture from the colonial days on up to the turn of the 20th century.

We see home resiliency simply as a matter of getting back to our individualist roots but it is especially important given current macroeconomic trends as we discussed yesterday. The eventual mass liquidation of debt and malinvestment resulting from four decades of fiat-fueled credit expansion will inevitably lead to disruptions within the financial system. Who knows what other dislocations this will cause in daily life? It would be far better to weather such a storm from within the comforts of your own home with adequate food, water, and energy than to risk being dependent upon external factors for these necessities.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Water Resiliency

  • Store as much bottled water as you can. The rule of thumb is that households require one gallon of water per day for each member of the family.
  • Exposure to sunlight will cause problems for water over time so either store water in opaque containers or away from sunlight if possible.
  • It is advisable to employ a ‘rotating’ system whereby you drink your stored water and replace it constantly as you go while maintaining adequate storage.
  • Consider a gravity water filter. These systems fit on your kitchen counter and are capable of filtering water from any source into clean drinking water. We recommend Doulton’s Big Berkey system with ceramic filters, but there are other quality systems available also.
  • Consider setting up a system to catch rain water. Rain water can be used to bathe, water plants, or to filter through your gravity water filter system for drinking.
  • Food Resiliency

  • Maintain a deep pantry. Analyze what you are currently eating and keep two or three times as much in the pantry and freezer. Replace meals consistently so your pantry does not diminish.
  • Supplement your pantry with items possessing a long shelf life like canned goods, beans and rice.
  • Consider investing in pre-packaged food specifically designed for storage. Many of these foods have a shelf life of up to 25 years and are surprisingly appetizing. Some long-term storage items are even certified organic and certified GMO free.
  • Consider planting a small vegetable garden, fruit trees, and/or nut trees depending on your location. Supplementing meals with home grown food is a great way to cut expenses and maintain health.
  • If you do plant vegetables or fruit trees it may be worthwhile to take up canning to store your own food for future consumption.
  • Consider investing in alternative cooking/water boiling sources. Propane grills are a popular option – just be sure to keep an extra propane tank or two on hand.
  • Consider investing in a solar compatible power source. These systems consist of batteries and solar panels. The batteries can be charged via a standard wall outlet or by the solar panels. Any household item can be powered for a period of time by simply plugging it into an inverter which is powered by the batteries. This is a great way to run your refrigerator during a power outage. A portable generator large enough to run the refrigerator/freezer, a few lights and a power strip to charge phones and laptop computers might also be a good option to consider.
  • Seek out local food vendors in your area – butchers, meat markets, farmer’s markets, etc. These are places where you can buy local food that is not as dependent upon the corporate ‘just in time’ process. Not only will this food not be as affected by macro disruptions, but it is also more nutritious as it has not gone through intensive corporate processing.
  • Basic Necessities

  • Make sure you have several alternate heating sources – wood-burning fireplace/stove, propane heater, kerosene heater, etc.
  • Stock up on candles for lighting the home during power outages and consider purchasing a few LED lanterns or oil lamps for lighting as well.
  • Keep a generous supply of lighters and matches on hand.
  • Keep several flashlights handy and maintain a supply of batteries.
  • Store several first aid kits and any medicines your family relies on.
  • Store extra paper towels, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, dental floss, hand sanitizer, saline, contacts, and any other household item you use frequently.
  • Taking these simple actions will increase your home resiliency immensely. Once these action items are implemented you will:

  • Have drinking water stored for a reasonable period of time.
  • Have the ability to purify water from external sources.
  • Have a deep pantry and the ability to run your fridge/freezer for periods of time during power outages.
  • Have long term food stored away for use if your deep pantry were to be exhausted.
  • Have access to home grown vegetables, fruits, and/or nuts to supplement food storage.
  • Have access to several modern cooking sources in the event of a power outage.
  • Have alternate heating and lighting sources for use in the event of a power outage.
  • Have sufficient household items and cosmetics stored for use if needed.
  • Taking simple steps to build home resiliency does not require a change in lifestyle, and it does not require a tremendous financial commitment. Recent history shows that the majority of people in a given population are nearly 0% self-sufficient and thus experience unfortunate anxiety and discomfort when a major disaster occurs. History also shows that major disasters do occur periodically no matter where you live. It is far better to prepare ahead of time than to be one of the unsuspecting victims who find themselves completely incapable of coping with a disaster in a self-sufficient manner.

    Home resiliency is another individual solution that can help mitigate collective problems. Pair home resiliency with a resilient financial portfolio as we discussed yesterday and you will be more self-reliant than 99% of the population. Then you will be free from worry to focus on those things in life that truly matter.

    More to come,







    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift underway please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    The Ills of Compulsory Schooling Continued

    submitted by jwithrow.compulsory schooling

    Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
    The Ills of Compulsory Schooling Continued

    January 30, 2015
    Hot Springs, VA

    The S&P opened at $2,019 today. Gold is down to $1,263 per ounce. Oil is still floating around $44 per barrel. Bitcoin is up slightly at $230 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 1.70% today.

    Yesterday we discussed the majesty that is childhood and we opined that compulsory schooling severely curtails the childhood experience and sets children up to struggle in adulthood. Today we will expand upon this and try to present a positive alternative.

    First we must ask a question: why do we send our children to school?

    Is it because we went to school when we were a child? Is it because we don’t have time to watch them during the day? Is it because we think they won’t learn unless they go to school? Is it because we think they must go to school in order to get into college? Is it because we think they need to go to school to learn social skills? Do we know?

    Let’s glance back in time a little bit to the formative years of the modern school system:

    Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.” – William Torrey Harris, United States Commissioner of Education from 1889-1906

    Fitche laid it down that education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished.” – Bertrand Russel, British philosopher

    Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society…” – John Dewey, “father of modern education”

    Eww. The school’s history textbooks left those little tidbits out.

    We are on the record saying the public school system fails but that’s not entirely true. The public school system certainly fails to foster critical thinking and self-reference but that’s by design. The public school system has actually been wildly successful when judged by its original mission.

    What compulsory education really does is prepare our children for an institutionalized life of subordination. We send our children to school not so they can flower into beautiful individuals capable of accessing their infinite potential but rather to mold them into obedient worker bees that will willingly assimilate into the status-quo as maintained by the establishment (governments/central banks/Wall Street/multi-nationals/Big-Agra/Big-Pharma/Big-Insurance/Big-Science/mega non-profits). This is why the public school system exists. As we’ve mentioned many times, this is not an indictment of teachers and local school employees – most of them work diligently to improve their school. But how do you reform an institution that already wildly succeeds at doing what it was created to do?

    In school our children learn to hide their true self by putting on a mask and conforming to whatever is popular. They learn to follow arbitrary rules and to unquestioningly obey the “authorities”. They learn to uncritically memorize whatever information is presented to them and to regurgitate that information back in a way that is pleasing to the teacher. They learn that their job is to sit quietly and listen to the teacher without interrupting; anything else requires explicit permission. They learn that grades are the sole measurement of success thus they are conditioned to constantly seek external confirmation. They learn that life is a series of hoops to be struggled through because their educational curriculum consists of a tiered system whereby students advance to the next “grade” year after year. Children are constantly told that getting good grades is necessary to get into a good college so it is implied that the purpose of life is to successfully navigate the current system in order to make it to the next system.

    So after they have successfully navigated the public school system for twelve consecutive years our children are told to mindlessly rush off to whatever college will accept them. The school system has taught them absolutely nothing about money and finance but nevertheless our children are told to take on massive student loans to pay for the next step. Some public school guidance offices will even walk children through the student loan application process. “Don’t worry”, they are told, “you won’t have to start making payments until a few years after you graduate.”

    So they get to college and most students view it in the same light – as a series of hoops to jump through to get to the next level. Now the goal is to maintain a good G.P.A. so they can get a good job. A few frat parties later they find themselves completing college and going to university sponsored job fairs.

    What comes next? The 8-5, new suits, public transportation, parking passes, a promotion, a new car, a mortgage, a promotion, marriage, children, a new mini-van, a promotion, a home equity line to renovate the kitchen and the next thing you know our children are middle aged, stuck in a mindless career, deep in debt, and stressed to the max. They have spent the vast majority of their time working a desk job to pay for their car, their house, their vacations, and their weekend entertainment because that is what they were conditioned to do. Sure, there are plenty of people who have found fulfillment following this path but there are far more who have not.

    Suppose we changed the script? What if our children were provided the time and freedom to discover and pursue their passion at a young age? What if they were not herded into school for twelve years but instead spent that time learning about themselves and the world around them? What if they developed useful skills instead of mindless dogma?

    What if they then deemed college to be a waste of time and money and instead crafted a superior higher-education curriculum. The possibilities for this are endless!

    Maybe they spend one year traveling the world to learn about other cultures first hand. Maybe they find a compelling opportunity during their travels and set up an international business or charity dedicated to meeting real needs and demand. Maybe they come back and seek out an internship with a master in a field they are passionate about. Maybe they skip the internship and start their own business in their chosen field. Maybe they set out to build multiple microbusinesses designed to provide diverse income streams. Maybe they decide to pursue a specialized career and seek out additional education in that field. Maybe they decide to purchase an old neglected farm and spend their days healing the land and producing superior food products.

    The point is this script would allow our children to make mindful decisions about how to spend their time free from modern society’s incessant dogma aimed at guilting people into feeling the need to fit in. This script would also allow for much greater flexibility if our children decided to change careers or lifestyles at a later time – which would be extremely common. The notion of working one job for forty years and then retiring is an unnatural New Deal relic that will soon be extinct. This model is simply not viable in any capacity; the economics just do not work.

    Life is not a series of rigid systems to struggle through until retirement; it is a robust opportunity for temporal exploration and spiritual growth. It would be a shame to waste such an opportunity.

    More to come,







    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift underway please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    The Majesty of Childhood

    submitted by jwithrow.majesty of childhood

    Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
    The Majesty of Childhood

    January 29, 2015
    Hot Springs, VA

    The S&P opened at $1,993 today. Gold is down to $1,271 per ounce. Oil is back down to $44 per barrel. Bitcoin has drifted to $225 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 1.75% today.

    Systemic risk in the global economy seems to be growing. The Swiss National Bank recently announced a target interest rate range of -1.25% to -0.25%. The Gnomes of Zurich must have gone into hiding. Now Singapore has announced its intent to pursue a form of easing (money-printing) in order to slow the appreciation of the Singapore dollar. No one seems to want a currency that maintains purchasing power anymore – welcome to fiat bizarro world! It would be wise to have at least 10% of your capital in physical gold and silver bullion at this point.

    Moving on…

    Childhood is a magical experience full of awe, wonder, excitement, and purity. Children have no paychecks to earn or mortgage payments to make. They have no investment portfolios to monitor or insurance policies to structure. They may find it to be pretty, but children could not care less about what’s happening in the gold market. With no degrees, certifications, specializations, or political experience to speak of children are completely tuned out to any implication of status; they seem to understand innately that all people are endowed with individual rights that should not be violated. Children naturally expect to be treated with honesty and dignity which is why they so often use phrases like “But you said…” or “But that’s not fair…”.

    Free from these trappings, children are able to live wholly in the moment. Several Eastern philosophies hold up that very state – living wholly in the present – as the highest ideal and many hours are devoted to meditation, yoga, and other techniques designed to train the mind to be still in the present. Children are able to perfectly achieve this present mindfulness without expending any effort or energy whatsoever. This is why children will enthusiastically collect pebbles and sea shells. Adults deem these objects worthless but children are able to appreciate them for their own natural beauty and uniqueness.

    Children are almost entirely self-referential until we train them to submit to arbitrary rules and restrictions. Children gain fulfillment and satisfaction from their own accomplishments, no matter how minor, with little need for external incentives and motivations. I suspect this is what Jesus of Nazareth meant when he said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    The truth is all children are born with an inner brilliance and an indomitable will. Children are natural-born learners and their thirst for understanding is unquenchable. Childhood curiosity is unmatched as children want to know the ‘why’ for everything. A child’s mental activity is through the roof!

    As we discussed last month in our entry about raising children in the modern world, modern society extinguishes curiosity and subverts individual will by institutionalizing learning and imposing harsh external expectations upon children. Simply put, hierarchy is not natural to children. By enforcing a strict hierarchal structure chock full of arbitrary rules and regulations, modern schools drown the majesty of childhood in wave after wave of contradictory authoritarianism.

    On the one hand we talk endlessly about freedom and independence but then we herd our children into compulsory schools that regiment their entire day with mandatory classes and their evening with mindless homework. How can the child be free and independent if he has no time for his own interests? We tell our children that every individual is special but then we tell them they must raise their hand and ask for permission to go to the restroom. That doesn’t make the kid feel particularly special. We encourage our children to play together in cooperation but then we punish them if they try to communicate with their neighbor in the classroom. What’s the kid to make of this?

    Of course we justify all of this by saying the children need to learn to follow the rules and obey authority. We never make the distinction between natural rules such as “do not steal” and arbitrary rules such as “do not go to the bathroom without a hall pass”. Likewise we never make the distinction between “respect your parents” and “do not question your teachers”. This breeds a passive populace that will unquestioningly submit to all manner of arbitrary rules, regulations, licenses, restrictions, mandates, and taxes in adulthood as long as someone in “authority” issues them. Then you end up with dishonest money and a parasitic society.

    I just can’t help but wonder… what if individuals with infinite potential were not automatically plugged in to institutionalized systems of compulsory education? What if more children were left free to learn in their own way on their own schedule? What if the majesty of childhood was not crushed by a regimented schedule and arbitrary rules as soon as the child reached a particular age? What if, instead of learning to hide their brilliance and subvert their will, children learned to be self-governing and self-driven?

    Until the morrow,







    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift underway please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    The Emerging Cultural Shift

    submitted by jwithrow.cultural shift

    Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
    The Emerging Cultural Shift

    January 23, 2015
    Hot Springs, VA

    The S&P opened at $2,056 today. Gold is still at $1,296 per ounce. Oil is back down to $46 per barrel. Bitcoin is hanging around $233 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 1.82% today.

    Yesterday we examined the cultural shift towards top-down authoritarianism that occurred in America during the 20th century. We also observed a promising new cultural shift beginning to emerge; this time away from politics and towards non-coercion and free markets.

    Mind you, the emerging cultural shift is still quiet and small so few people are aware of it at this time. It is also non-uniform in nature which is somewhat foreign to our way of thinking about culture in modern times. We are accustomed to thinking along the lines of hard-coded doctrine that must be accepted, believed, and adhered to. Everyone must agree on the specific bullet points handed down to them: If you are “conservative” then you must agree on these issues; if you are “liberal” then you must agree on these other issues; if you are “green” then you must agree on these issues, and so forth.

    The emerging cultural shift does not fit into that top-down paradigm – it is more holographic in nature. The shift is comprised of many different ideas, views, and philosophies that sometimes overlap in certain places and other times overlap in different places. The hologram is held together by one underlying sentiment: non-coercion. The individuals who make up this emerging shift share the understanding that it is neither right nor necessary to force your ideas upon others. The old “Do unto others…” philosophy is making a comeback. With this mindset firmly in place, individuals are free to come together in those places where they overlap and they are free to diverge in those places where they do not overlap.

    Everyone wins.

    R. Buckminster Fuller once said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

    Guess what? The emerging cultural shift renders the current paradigm based on politics obsolete. Politics is nothing but a tool used by one group to force other groups to conform against their will. This is a win-lose model; politically connected groups win and all others lose. Politics is the almighty dragon within a top-down societal model; it is the shunned cockroach within a decentralized holographic model.

    To some the holographic model sounds unrealistic. They just can’t fathom a community without a leader or a November without an election. They are like the Israelites in the book of Samuel who asked for a king to rule over them – they just couldn’t envision a better way. And who’s to blame them? For most of recorded human history people have identified with hierarchal institutional structures.

    But the highest ‘entity’ in society is not the institution, it is the individual. All humans operate individually; there is no getting around that fact. Humans can choose to cooperate with one another but that is always an individual choice. All individuals are endowed with an indomitable will and they are left with the decision to either use their will or to subvert it. Institutions specialize in convincing individuals to subvert their own will for the benefit of the institution.

    The emerging cultural shift is gaining steam for two reasons: ethics and economics.

    Most of us are taught some variation of “love your neighbor as yourself” in our youth but we can very clearly see that this ideal is at odds with our authoritarian societal model. Political institutions litter the face of the Earth and they each subject individuals to all manner of taxes, regulations, mandates, restrictions, licenses, tags, identifying documents and they back these edicts with the threat of force and imprisonment. Sometimes these political institutions compete with each other and resort to violence as a resolution. Other times these institutions collude with each other to further enrich the ruling class at the expense of the public. It’s very difficult to expect individuals in society to exhibit a sound code of ethics when political aggression rules the day.

    Further, most of us fundamentally understand we must produce before we can consume; there is no such thing as a free lunch as the old cliché goes. We also understand that if we consume less than we produce in the present then we have a surplus. That surplus can either be saved for future consumption, invested to increase future production, or it can be given to a neighbor in need. Each of these surplus scenarios is a win for both the individual and for society.

    Our authoritarian society makes it extremely difficult for individuals to create a surplus, however, because it skims roughly 50% of individual production off the top via taxation. We are taxed on all income earned, all investment gains, all real estate owned, all vehicles owned, all gas purchased for those vehicles, all food and goods purchased, and any inheritance received. The political institutions then destroy all of the surplus skimmed from individual production on warfare, welfare, political favors, and unsustainable public works projects. This is why government buildings are always and everywhere the most prestigious buildings in existence – they are built with stolen money! To add insult to injury, the most powerful of our political institutions have not been content with their portion of the skim so they have borrowed massively against the production of future generations to enhance their spree of warfare, welfare, political favors, and public works. Such economic activity destroys capital and creates a net deficit which is a tremendous loss for both individuals and for society.

    Free, innovative, entrepreneurial commerce creates an economic surplus while political intervention, aggression, and redistribution creates an economic deficit. Surpluses enrich while deficits impoverish. Factor in the ethical implications and the choice is clear, is it not?

    More to come,







    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift underway please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    Raising Children in the Modern World

    submitted by jwithrow.Family

    Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
    Raising Children in the Modern World

    December 17, 2014
    Hot Springs, VA

    The S&P opened at $1,972 today. Gold is back down to $1,198 per ounce. Oil is down to $56 per barrel. Bitcoin is down to $322 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 2.08% today.

    Both oil and the 10-year rate are closing out 2014 at price levels much lower than most analysts anticipated which sets up for an interesting 2015. Will crude prices remain at current levels and put the squeeze on the U.S. Shale revolution? Will interest rates remain low and complicit in enabling the Treasury to service the $18 trillion national debt without much fuss? We shall see.

    As for the S&P, it has been 6 and a half years since it experienced a correction of 10% or more. But markets cannot go in one direction forever – that 10% correction is coming. I have seen some predictions of a major 10%-plus correction sometime in the spring of 2015. It may be more like 50% if the correction is coupled with the fiat monetary crisis that is on the horizon but I think we may still be a few years away from that one. Instead, it is more likely that a major stock market correction will spur the Fed into QE4. Either way, it is advisable to be very vigilant if you have money in the equity markets.

    Shifting gears, I have been thinking quite a bit about child-rearing given the arrival of Maddie Lynn eight weeks ago. I have come to the conclusion that our culture today has become much too rigid and regimented when it comes to raising children in our fast-paced modern world.

    School days have gotten longer, homework loads have increased tremendously, grades are now emphasized heavily, standardized testing has been implemented and enforced across the board, the number of adult-organized activities for kids have exploded and, as a result, childhood stress, worry, and fear have increased dramatically.

    Studies conducted by Jean M. Twenge at San Diego State University suggest that youth anxiety and depression have been trending higher rather sharply over the last fifty years. Perhaps more troubling, Twenge’s research suggests a shift in motivation amongst kids from intrinsic to extrinsic values; kids now tend to be more motivated by popularity and money than self-acceptance, moral character, and community.

    The reason for this shift is rather clear to me: American childhood is now more about meeting adult expectations and less about personal growth and development. Observe the parents at a youth sporting event and see if this statement isn’t true. Now the parents mean well, don’t get me wrong. But too often they think their child’s future depends exclusively upon performance in school, performance in athletics, performance in extra-curricular activities, or some other external measurement of performance so these things are all pushed on kids to the point where their own interests and talents are subordinated.

    Studies by Peter Gray show that childhood free time has been declining steadily since the 1950’s including a decrease in free play as well as time spent talking to others at home. Meanwhile, time spent on homework has increased 145%.

    The government school system equates more homework with more learning. In reality, homework serves only to replace students’ individual interests with the Department of Education’s mandated curriculum. At best students memorize the mandated curriculum long enough to pass the standardized test and then they let it go. At worst they think the curriculum is useful and they retain it at the expense of pursuing their own passion. The truth is memorization is not learning; it is a waste of time and energy.

    Real learning can only occur when the individual has an interest in the topic and is free to explore that topic in his or her own way. Children need to be free to make mistakes, analyze those mistakes, and then attempt to correct the mistakes. Instead, the current model of education teaches children that they will be judged and punished if they make a mistake so students learn to fear mistakes above all else. This mentality has the potential to set them up for a very restricted adulthood in which they shy away from opportunities for fear of making a mistake.

    Ultimately we need to ask ourselves what is truly important for our children. This will be different for each family and that should be embraced, not ridiculed. There is no reason to think everyone must adopt the same parenting style or that every child must receive the same education. In fact, a free society requires diversity and the sharing of unique ideas in order to thrive.

    So what’s really important for our children?

    Good grades and getting into a good college? This looks like an outdated model to me – it is exclusively designed to produce good employees. But we are moving away from a ‘jobs’ based economy and the availability of traditional full time employment with comprehensive benefit packages will continue to diminish over the coming years and decades.

    Becoming a superior athlete? My observations suggest that youth athletics are much more important to the adults – school employees, coaches, parents – than they are to the kids. Too often youth sports are a chore rather than a joy.

    Participating in as many extra-curricular activities as possible? Again, these are often more important to the adults than the kids. Children should certainly be free to participate in whatever groups or activities interest them but too often they are pushed in the adult’s favored direction instead of their own.

    I am convinced that a childhood free to grow and develop in a unique way is the most important gift parents can give their children. I think children need more guidance and less teaching; they should be encouraged to discover and pursue their own passions and interests without the pressure of forceful expectations. Pair this method with sound financial education and an IBC insurance policy that has been capitalized for 18 years and I think you have the makings of a creative, self-driven adult capable of thriving in a rapidly changing world.

    Of course these are just this philosopher’s humble opinions.

    More to come,






    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the Infinite Banking Concept please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    Shedding the Institutional Mindset

    submitted by jwithrow.empowerment-e

    Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
    Shedding the Institutional Mindset

    November 19, 2014
    Hot Springs, VA

    The S&P opened the day at $2,047. Gold is up to $1,197. Oil bounced back above $75. Bitcoin is still hanging around $379, and the 10-year Treasury rate is 2.36% today.

    Yesterday we examined some of the prominent macroeconomic trends and we reasoned that, from the American perspective, the world will be a much different place eighteen years from now. We pondered: how can we help prepare a child growing up today for adulthood in a world that will not resemble the one that currently exists?

    To answer this question we must first examine the script as it exists for the average American child coming up today. For this I will defer to one of my favorite analysts, Paul Rosenberg over at Casey Research, who summed it up rather succinctly:

    Do well in school (an institution).

    Rebel with music from the entertainment corps (institutions).

    Wear the new shoes/jeans/etc. with the best corporate logos (institutions).

    Get a university degree (from an institution).

    Take student loans to do so (from an institution).

    Take a job at a big firm with great benefits (interacting institutions).

    Get a home loan (from an institution).

    Build a 401(k) (more institutions).

    Believe in democracy (a multilayered institution).

    Be a good citizen and vote (same as above).

    Send your children to daycare, then school (institutions).

    Buy brand-named goods (from other mega-corp institutions).

    Watch the best in entertainment (corporate institutions).

    Conduct your relationships on Facebook (a vampire institution).

    Trust in Social Security and Medicare (Ponzi institutions).

    I read this list and have to nod my head in agreement – this is pretty much the script that has been sold to every individual in American society for quite some time now. The script has worked out fairly well for people over the past seventy years but I must ask the question: is it still viable? After all, past success is not indicative of future results.

    I am skeptical. To be frank, I am not so sure this script will even work out well for the Baby Boomer generation (though it has up to this point). Time will tell.

    So, getting back to the original question from yesterday, how best to prepare Madison for a changing world? Logically the first step would be to change the script. Maybe even set fire to it.

    But to change the script first requires a change in mindset.

    The current script represents the institutional model which operates under the assumption that individuals are inferior, weak, and ignorant; that they are objects to be molded and formed in the institutionalized image. The institutional model suggests that each individual should spend most of their time working as a “productive” member of the institution. While rarely stated explicitly, the institutional model implies that each individual is subordinate to the institution. Those who subscribe to the institutional model tend to develop the mindset that everyone must participate. Everyone must play.

    To walk away from this institutional mindset requires courage but a beautiful thing happens when you do – the world opens up and becomes more free. Then you discover your boundless potential and begin to trust yourself implicitly. And then you can start to envision a better way to prepare little Maddie for adulthood.

    Instead of treating birth as an emergency and rushing off to the hospital you can do a homebirth. Instead of rushing her off to school to have indoctrination forced on her by the collectivists and bureaucrats you can develop a comprehensive, practical, and liberating homeschool curriculum. Instead of exposing her to mindless entertainment you can find wholesome hobbies that the entire family can do together. Instead of pushing her to mindlessly rush off to college you can capitalize an IBC insurance policy for her and, when the time comes, tell her to follow her passion. Instead of telling her she must get a corporate job with good benefits to be successful you can help her devise a plan to build a career pursuing her own interests. Instead of telling her she must be a good citizen and vote within a corrupt system you can tell her to “be the change you would like to see”. Instead of ignoring financial education and hoping Social Security will be there for her in the year 2079 you can teach her the merits of asset allocation so she will be financially independent forever. Instead of instilling within her the institutional mindset you can help her remember that she is a sacred individual and nothing less than an eternal spirit of humanity.

    The possibilities are endless!

    Then it doesn’t matter what the world looks like in the future because she will be prepared to thrive physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually no matter what.

    More to come,






    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and regaining individual sovereignty please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    Macroeconomic Trends

    submitted by jwithrow.trends

    Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
    Macroeconomic Trends

    November 18, 2014
    Hot Springs, VA

    The S&P opened the day at $2,040. Gold is up to $1,193. Oil dipped just below $75. Bitcoin fell slightly to $379, and the 10-year Treasury rate is 2.32% today. All seems to be calm in the financial world for the moment…

    In other news: little Madison is one month old this week!

    I have spent many of the past twenty-nine evenings contemplating the intricacies of the infant experience. Maddie’s infant mind is as mysterious to me as this crazy world must be to her.

    What does she see as she gazes out from those blue-grey eyes? Why does her attention seem to be drawn to the top corner of the room? How does she interpret all of the data received by her sensory organs? What can she possibly be dreaming of while in the throes of R.E.M. sleep? How can she tolerate her mother’s off-tune singing all day long?

    Some evenings, when especially sleep-deprived, I can imagine an older Madison filling her father in on all the details. “I tried to tell mom to stop singing those ridiculous songs to me but I just couldn’t find the words”, future Madison would say. But then I come-to and accept that I will never have the definitive answers to my reckonings.

    Not one to be discouraged, I then focus my reckonings on slightly more concrete topics.

    What will the world look like eighteen years from now when Maddie is ready to go her own way?

    Fortunately I don’t need to rely on future Madison to answer this question; I can make an educated guess by projecting current macroeconomic trends out to their logical conclusion. I have been tailing macroeconomic trends for several years now and no matter how close I follow behind, they always seem to lead me to one inevitable conclusion: the debt-fueled, fiat-driven, consumption-oriented, entitlement-laden, militarily-enforced Pax Americana is coming to an end.

    Not a very popular thing to say in today’s hyper-sensitive politically correct world, I know. But I say this as a cold observation with no emotion attached. Just look at the prominent trends:

    • The U.S. government took more than 200 years to run up $1 trillion in debt. The national debt has since exploded to nearly $18 trillion in less than 30 years with $9 trillion of that coming from 2005-present.
    • The U.S. monetary base was relatively stable from 1781-1971. It has since exploded to the point where the U.S. dollar has lost 98% of its purchasing power.
    • Consumer debt has skyrocketed right along side public debt since 1971.
    • When calculated according to GAAP, the U.S. debt is actually north of $200 trillion and growing. This figure is predominantly made up of Social Security and Medicare unfunded liabilities.
    • Demographics show that roughly 10,000 people with celebrate their 65th birthday every single day for the next ten years. One can safely assume they will all be interested in signing up for Medicare and Social Security benefits.
    • The 10-year Treasury rate has been steadily declining since the late 1980’s with the help of the Federal Reserve. Despite record-low interest rates, the U.S. government paid out more than $420 billion in interest payments in 2013. Even a slight uptick in interest rates will dramatically impede the Treasury’s ability to service the national debt.
    • America was founded upon the principle of non-intervention. “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none”, said Jefferson. The United States has systematically morphed into a military empire with more than 300 military bases in over 170 countries. Militarism puts a measurable strain on the budget and a less measurable strain on the morality of society.

    It doesn’t take much analytical skill to see that current macroeconomic trends are not slowing: they are growing exponentially. One only needs to utilize a sliver of common sense to understand that exponentially expanding trends are not sustainable. The trends don’t tell me what the world looks like in eighteen years but they do clue me in on what it doesn’t look like. And what it doesn’t look like is the world of the past seventy years.

    Hmm. So, how best to to help Maddie prepare for adult life in a world that does not yet exist?

    That’s the problem with philosophical contemplations: rather than answers they tend to lead only to more questions. Fortunately, questioning is the philosopher’s strong suit.

    Until the morrow,






    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and regaining individual sovereignty please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    Preventative Care

    submitted by jwithrow.Spa

    Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
    Preventative Care

    November 12, 2014
    Hot Springs, VA

    The S&P opened at $2,028. Gold, starting to recover from its recent mugging, is up to $1,165. Oil is down to $77.25 and contemplating testing its support level. Bitcoin is up to $396 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 2.34%.

    Precious metals are still the asset class that most warrants your attention in the financial markets today. The U.S. mint sold 5.8 million ounces of silver in October which was a 40% increase from September sales. The Mint then started the month of November off by selling another 1.3 million ounces.

    Then it ran out of silver to sell.

    But guess what happened to the price of silver? It dropped from $19.50 per ounce on September 1 to $15.72 per ounce as the closing bell rang yesterday. Concurrently, the gold forward rate has just gone negative for the sixth time in fourteen years which suggests the market is pricing for a physical gold shortage. Despite this, the price of gold has been systematically beaten down in 2014 as well. What was that old saying about supply and demand?

    Both gold and silver will probably flop around a bit for a while longer but ten years from now you will look quite wise if you allocate some of your capital to precious metals at the current prices.

    Shifting gears to continue with our recent health care theme…

    Last week we pondered a new model for health care based on cash payments for personalized service in order to opt out of the big-government/big-insurance/big-pharma cartel. We reckoned such a model would be similar to the free market model of a bygone era where family doctors had the freedom to offer personalized service to patients without having to worry about an avalanche of insurance paperwork needing to be complied with or a legion of attorneys hiding in the bushes outside looking for a malpractice lawsuit. We also reckoned there will be a small but growing number of health care professionals willing to offer personalized service for cash as the health insurance industry in the U.S. continues to spiral down into a sinkhole of bureaucracy.

    What we didn’t ponder last week was how to afford a cash-based model and keep the insurance company in the waiting room unless an emergency occurs. The answer is simple: preventative care.

    No, not the preventative care where you run to the specialist and sign up for the latest and greatest test or screening every time you think you might have sniffled in your sleep the night before. We mean the preventative care where you actually take responsibility for your own health and wellness.

    The general guidelines are really pretty intuitive: get a good night’s sleep, stay active during the day even if you work behind a desk, walk as much as possible, eat real food and avoid the fake food that comes packaged in boxes and bags, drink plenty of water and not much soda, consider natural supplements and stay away from pharmaceutical drugs, reject stress and negativity, and maintain a positive state of mind.

    Do these things consistently and you probably won’t ever get sick. And if you don’t get sick you won’t feel the need to go to the doctor – not even for checkups if you trust yourself implicitly. Then you could take the money you would have spent on doctor visits and prescription drugs and work on your asset allocation model.

    Of course it is still advisable to maintain a wellness network. There are plenty of people and groups out there in cyberspace discussing natural health topics and answering each other’s questions at any given time of day. Though I gave it up years ago, I understand there are plenty of active Facebook groups in this space also.

    Wife Rachel and I are big fans of routine chiropractic care as well. Instead of pushing a pill for every ill, chiropractors embrace a more holistic approach to wellness by focusing on musculoskeltal health to ensure optimal functionality of the nervous system. We found chiropractic care to be an especially important part of Rachel’s prenatal and postpartum wellness and it is an excellent tool to monitor the development of little Madison’s nervous system. You know how the pediatrician taps infants on the knee with the little hammer tool? Chiropractors do that too along with numerous other more advanced bio-mechanical and reactionary measurements.

    Fortunately for the sake of this journal entry, many chiropractors operate on a cash-only basis. That is, they do not deal with insurance companies (they will accept credit cards). This eliminates the extra costs associated with insurance paperwork and compliance which means lower prices for clients. Some insurance policies may cover chiropractic care but it would be up to the client to file for reimbursement in that case. Ask the chiropractor whether or not his services are covered by insurance and he will probably say “I don’t know” and explain that your insurance policy is a private contract between you and the insurance company and has nothing to do with him (or her). How refreshing to know there is still a sliver of honesty and respectability left in the health care field!

    With the proper mindset, preventative care is really quite easy so why do most people ignore it? One cannot know for certain but I suspect propagated fear has a lot to do with it. We’ll save that for a later entry…

    More to come,






    Joe Withrow
    Wayward Philosopher

    For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and regaining individual sovereignty please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

    Debt Impedes Economic Recovery

    submitted by jwithrow.Great Seal

    Debt is nothing more than an obligation to pay for present spending with future earnings.

    A little bit of debt used to increase future earnings is a good thing. A little bit of debt used to increase present spending at the expense of future earnings is not a very good thing. A lot of debt used to increase present spending at the expense of future earnings is a good way to make it very difficult for there to be any earnings in the future at all.

    At the macroeconomic level, the U.S. has chosen option three. Japan and Europe have done the same.

    The great thing about economics is that there is a ‘response’ system built in that maintains a sort of chaotic order in the general market.

    When there is significant capital formation within the system, interest rates go down. Decreasing interest rates send a signal that it is a good time to borrow so homes are purchased and businesses expand.

    Interest rates then rise as more debt is taken on and thus capital available diminishes. This sends a signal that it is not a good time to borrow so mortgages are paid down and business debt is reduced. This leads to gradual capital formation within the system that will trigger a decrease in interest rates and the cycle perpetuates.

    But guess what happens when you have an Ivy League graduate that thinks it is his job to force interest rates lower and keep them suppressed?

    That’s right! The market does not receive the proper signal and it looks like it is still a good time to borrow. So even more homes are purchased and businesses keep on expanding.

    Then we get the idea that home prices should always go up, stock prices should always go up, businesses should always expand, and GDP should always grow.

    And we end up with more debt.

    U.S. debt has grown by more than 60% since the financial crisis began in 2008. Global debt has grown by more than 40% in the same time period.

    It turns out that a problem of too much debt cannot be solved by taking on more debt.

    The events of 2008 sent a signal that it was time to stop borrowing and to liquidate debt but we didn’t listen. The economy will undoubtedly blow up again and the next crisis will be even bigger because the debt is now even bigger.

    The only way for the economy to truly recover is for a mass-liquidation of debt to occur. Until then we can expect the Fed to keep fudging the numbers and blaming economic stagnancy on the snow.

    We happen to like snow and find it to be much more desirable than the Fed, both economically and ascetically.