Tag Archives: philosophy

Right Place, Right Time

The drop of a dubstep song and the scent of tequila: Las Vegas. A place where they pump extra oxygen into the casinos and clubs to keep you wide awake and dissipate the scent of cigarettes. I called it “home” for less than two years, but sometimes I feel I lived two decades inside them.

I like to believe that my life in Las Vegas made me a better person. It taught me so much about human interaction, the highs and the lows of life, and how you never know exactly what somebody else’s personal struggles are, no matter how perfect their makeup or how thick their wallet is. Living and working in Las Vegas was a study of the human condition – and how I can make someone’s day or night tremendously improved by my influence. Continue reading Right Place, Right Time

The State of the Avens

Judd & I at the Tesla event. I was so excited I could barely handle it.
Judd & I at the Tesla event. I was so excited I could barely handle it.

I turned 27 this past Friday. The night before, I had the good fortune to attend the unveiling of the new Tesla Model D. Friday night, a small group of incredible people I am so grateful to call friends gathered for dinner to celebrate my birthday. On Saturday, I went to the premiere of a new documentary called The Culture High (which I recommend highly). On Sunday, I spent the better part of a day playing with my adorable little niece-of-the-heart. It was an amazing weekend. I am tremendously lucky for all the incredible events and people in my life.

I haven’t done a formal update about my life in quite a while. I guess now is as good a time as any. I’m calling it The State of the Avens, because we all know I’m a little too obsessed with politics and nerdy references. Continue reading The State of the Avens

To Win Hearts & Minds

On Wednesday, my Facebook friend Antony Davis posted an excellent comparison in a status update that I had to share because I thought it was too good to ignore:

“Liberals see government as a complement to community. Libertarians see government as a substitute for community. So when liberals say “government should care for the poor,” and Libertarians say, “government should not care for the poor,” they are both saying that we should care for the poor.”

He posted a comment afterwards that I also thought was too good to get lost on a Facebook Timeline:

“This is the sort of thing we must stop doing: liberals characterizing libertarians as heartless, and libertarians characterizing liberals as brainless.

To be complete humans, our hearts and brains must work together. Without the former we are machines. Without the latter, we are mere animals.

Some Liberals are indeed brainless, just as some Libertarians are heartless. In both cases, they are minorities who should be ignored.”

This is something that I’ve noticed for a very long time (as in: my entire life) in the corridors of communication between and about liberals and libertarians: a lack of understanding of each other’s terms. To top it off, it often feels like there’s a willful desire to be misunderstood.

* * *

So, in the interest of terminology: I’m going to start by telling you that I dislike calling liberals “liberals” for dozens of reasons (one being that I refer to myself as a Classical Liberal) but I’m going to go ahead and accept the term here as being somebody who wishes to advocate progressive policies by government with the intended consequence of making a more equal and just world in their eyes.  That’s the general definition I’m using here, for clarity’s sake. Some of my libertarian friends prefer the term “statist”, which also displeases me, as it’s tremendously divisive and doesn’t foster respectful communication. So, “liberal” is the word, and the working definition is as stated above.

The word “libertarian” in this instance is going to apply to anybody who is at least aware of and somewhat guided by the non-aggression principle (the NAP).

Now that we’re defined our terms, let’s talk about how we respond to them:

An excellent example here is the knee jerk reaction of libertarians to the liberal proposal that “we should do something” is immediately equated to a proposal that the government must do something. If a liberal ever says the slightest hint of “but, how will we help the [insert oppressed group here]?” a libertarian instantly assumes that government is the proposed answer (it might be) and rails against that with such fervor that it scares the shit out of the liberal.

Ironically it’s what causes more people to feel government must because people freely won’t. Continue reading To Win Hearts & Minds

Stardust Spirituality

On January 13th, I attended a debate in Santa Monica between Rabbi Michael Gotlieb, Dr. Theodore Drange and Dr. Yaron Brook. The topic was “God vs. Atheism” and both Dr. Drange and Dr. Brook were representing the atheist side. The debate was engaging, entertaining and frustrating, as I have a number of other points I did not feel were properly addressed.

I walked away from that debate wanting to sit down with the Rabbi and engage in more of a discussion about religion, faith & science. I decided to write him a letter, which I will send him, but that I can share publicly to explain my own lack of faith to those who have asked me.   Continue reading Stardust Spirituality

My Socrates

On March 23rd, 2009, a great man passed away. I meant to post this on the anniversary of his death, but I’m off by a few days. I have recently been talking more about him, as he inspired one of my tattoos (that story is for another entry someday).

This is what I wrote, the day of his funeral.

I was a student at Manchester Community College from June 2002 until May 2005. One of my very first classes was Critical Thinking with Eugene Rice, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30-11am. I was 14, he was 72. Our connection was dynamic – we were both full of questions and answers. I developed my questions through rebellion and discovered my answers through speculation, and presented both arrogantly. He achieved both through experience and trial and error, and presented both in various fashions, from elegance to antagonism.

What we had in common was a desire for thorough knowledge, and an antagonistic spirit to achieve said knowledge.

He hated the word “teacher” he told us, one class, due to his belief that it implies indoctrination, preferring to refer to himself as a “mid-wife”. Knowledge was already inside us, you see, and he was simply there to assist with the birth of it.  Continue reading My Socrates

The Five Year Plan

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” he asked me.

I had thought this was a date, perhaps, and then it started to feel like a job interview. I sipped my glass of wine and gave a number of cheeky answers followed by a few of the five-year ideas that spin around in my head. I added more to the answer a few hours later.

I get asked variations of this question often recently, and my answers are usually in the same direction every time, but they’re not concrete. Still, since he asked me I’ve started to ponder it seriously.

As he said later, “one cannot think about one’s five year plan too often”.

See, I used to know exactly what I wanted. Granted, teenagers think they know everything – but I really did have some five year plans in mind.

I was fourteen the day I started college and when people asked me what I wanted to do, I told them I wanted to study law and politics and run for state representative four years down the road. I wanted to move up through New Hampshire politics all the way to Governor, where I’d facilitate the great libertarian experiment – the Free State Project.

I wanted to make a difference, you see, and I was an idealist. Continue reading The Five Year Plan