Tag: Joe Rogan

I was Tortured and Killed for Wrong Think

Well, not really, but I survived a totalitarian regime

If you listen to only one Joe Rogan Experience episode, make it episode 1639, Dave Smith. It came out last Friday. It’s three hours long. I’ve listened to 2.5 hours (out of three hours).

Smith is a comic and a libertarian. He also has a podcast (that, for some reason, I can’t warm up to).

But I definitely warmed up to this episode with Rogan. They covered an array of matters, with Dave Smith channeling Murray Rothbard, Tom Woods Scott Horton, and other alternative thinkers.

The COVID discussion was really good. At minute 33:48, Smith pointed out something I hadn’t thought of: We lived under totalitarianism in 2020, at least those of us who live in a blue state.

Now, it may have been good totalitarianism. It may have been necessary totalitarianism. It was “soft” totalitarianism (no one was arrested, tortured, and killed).

But it was totalitarianism: suspension of the Bill of Rights; governors ruling by fiat, often with apparent whimsy; rulers playing by a different set of rules; heavy propaganda, groupthink, and censorship (by private corporations with ties to government). Everything you’d expect from totalitarianism, we had here in 2020.


This doesn’t mean it was bad, incidentally. It simply means many of us lived under totalitarianism. The choices were (supposedly): die of COVID or live under totalitarianism. Okay. Given those options, I choose totalitarianism. Many of us did. Just because it was totalitarian doesn’t mean it was wrong. It just means it was bad, but not necessarily as bad as the alternative (dying of COVID).

Of course, we now know those weren’t really the only options (“false dichotomy”) and the COVID risk was way overblown, but still, reasonable people can disagree (though increasingly I’m abandoning that position, as the vaccine … Read the rest

How to Take a Stance without Taking a Stance

In this age of uncertainty, you need beliefs and practices but not dogmas and preaching

“Let me tell you about COVID, the COVID vaccine, and Bitcoin.”

If any person starts telling me about those things, I write them off.

All three of those things are new and huge. As a result, they occupy a weird spot in the world of opinion: Everyone needs to have a stance on them and nobody’s stance is worth anything.

It’s difficult to reconcile such a paradox, but here’s one way: Take your stance, be prepared to shift it, and keep it to yourself.

Beliefs and practices, yes. Dogmas and preaching, no.


A wealthy client of mine recently asked a well-known financial guru for his stance on Bitcoin. I was a bit surprised the guru replied to the email, but I wasn’t surprised to see him take a strong stance: Bitcoin, he assured my client in all caps, is another Tulip Mania.

How can he know that? Bitcoin isn’t like the tulip in 17th-century Holland. It might be in a bubble like tulips were, but it’s not a known thing like tulips. Bitcoin is brand new. At best, we can analogize Bitcoin to tulips.

Analogy is a great thing. It allows us to see things that are similar. The problem is, it first requires that the things be different.

That’s why the Tulip Mania reference is so compelling yet not. Bitcoin is not an instance of “This time it will be different,” which is the mantra of every person riding an inflated stock market, only to crash when it comes down. Bitcoin is an instance of “This time is the first time.”

A reference to a crashing stock market doesn’t need analogy. We’ve seen it crash many times. Bitcoin needs analogy because we’ve … Read the rest

Seven Days Make One Weak

The Left goes left, Taibbi, investments

I’ve noticed something lately: The liberals I opposed in my youth are the thinkers I enjoy the most these days.

I was born conservative. Not Alex Keaton conservative, but definitely on the Right and far more politically interested than my peers.

As a student at the University of Michigan and Notre Dame, I always found myself to the right of my acquaintances, often uncomfortably so.

But now, 30 years later? Those old liberals and I have moved closer together.

I no doubt drifted a bit to the Left. Although my history studies and innate conservatism initiated my interest in converting to Catholicism, once I joined the Church, I adopted a worldview and faith that tempered my more conservative instincts.

But I was still a JPII convert, which means I have remained conservative.

So I’ve concluded those liberals from my youth have drifted to the Right, which would be normal. People get more conservative as they get older, especially once they have kids and realize that it’s a beautiful world that doesn’t need to be torn down by a centralized state to create a world you’d prefer. When you hold that baby, you think, “This is alright. Right here, right now.” And at that moment, your mental landscape shifts to the Right.

Liberalism is discontent with present moment. Conservatism is contentment with the present moment. That’s why liberalism wants to change things and conservatives want to keep them the same. It doesn’t make one correct and one wrong. It’s just the way things are.

It also means that those self-identified “Lefties” in their 50s are beginning to think more like me. They’re still Leftists, but they have sensibilities more like mine. I’m talking about folks like Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, and Matt Taibbi.

These guys … Read the rest

McConaughey on His Way to Rome?

Recommended: Joe Rogan’s engaging interview with Matthew McConaughey

Delightful interview from Austin, Texas, with Matthew McConaughey at the Joe Rogan Show. I listened to it yesterday while using my new nifty leaf mulcher to create some great winter beds for my garden (the mulcher is great, but (i) it eats the whipping string pretty fast, and (ii) it goes a lot slower if the leaves are wet).

McConaughey has always struck me as a genuinely decent guy, and this interview confirmed it. He has no problem confirming his Christian faith and I’m pretty sure he’s right-of-center politically. How right? I don’t know.

But what really grabbed me: his prayer life. He says he spends time getting in touch with himself every morning, then he “bookends” it in the evening by doing a review of his day. He does the review, he says, right before he does his prayers.

Wow. The guy is doing the Examen. He didn’t call it that, but that’s clearly what he’s doing.

I love seeing Catholic practices erupt into pop culture like that. I call it “Accidental Catholicism.”

I swear, Ryan Holiday is creating an entire cottage industry out of re-packaging Catholic spiritual practices under the name of “Stoicism” (check out these Stoic medallions that he’s selling . . . the guy is really clever).

Here’s the thing: If we Catholics have the truth, or the nearest we can come to the truth on this earth, then we are all sitting on a goldmine of marketing possibilities. We all ought to be developing Stoic medallions and making money from them. Doing well while doing good . . . and tithing the proceeds.

Anyway, McConaughey appears to be a guy who has said, “Look. I made it big. I’m famous. I have money. It’s time … Read the rest