Pointless Intellectuals: Don’t Waste The Lessons Of Libertarianism

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March 9, 2015 by Liberty

I’ve got a bit of a cliched question to ask you. Lets say a guy you really trust comes to you with a stock tip. He’s telling you that investing in this stock would make you a fortune. What would you do with this advice?

The answer should be obvious to anyone that’s ever learned a thing or two about stocks. Do not invest in that stock for that reason. So, let’s take that same scenario and change it a bit. Lets say your stock broker you really trust calls you with a stock tip. He again tells you that investing in this stock would make you a fortune. What do you do with this advice?

Considering this is a person you’ve already entrusted with a large sum of your money, this question is a little more interesting. Personally, this would lead to one question from me. (I’d probably never follow the broker’s advice but I’d ask this question just to see how tempting it really is.) I think it’s the essential question to ask in any situation like this. I’d ask my broker, “How much of your own money have you invested in it?”

If he ends up saying, “Well… I’m not exactly liquid right now. I would but I’ve got this real estate deal and…” then I would quickly assume that his advice isn’t worth the risk. If he had a sure-fire way to make a fortune, he could have found a way to get a sizable amount on the stock for himself. Instead… he’s just trying to sell the idea to everyone else.

If he says, “I’ve bet my life savings and I’m going on the margin with it.” I’d give his advice a little more credence. (Of course, I’d probably really wonder if he’s lying or crazy but that’s beyond my point.) At that point I could at least know that he really believes in the information he’s claiming to know.

The Purpose Of Knowledge

There is one kind of intellectual that always confuses me. They systematically seek out knowledge that is essentially useless to them. They are the students that learn information without considering the benefits of that knowledge.

For a bit of a caricature of this personality, think about a trivia buff. They spend hours a day learning pointless fun facts about the world. They might come up to at a party and say, “Did you know… blah blah blah blah blah…” Yes. The blah’s are essential to my point. Really… know one really cares.

The purpose of knowledge isn’t to prove that you’re better than other people. It’s not an end in itself. Sure, you can try to use it that way but most of the world is just going to make fun of you for it. Knowledge is meant to let you interact with the world more directly.

If you learn how to build a treehouse, you could just use that knowledge for social advancement. At parties you could convince everyone you’re smart by saying, “I know how to build a treehouse.” You could write intellectual essays on treehouse construction with no intention to make a profit. You could convince people you’re the smartest brain on treehouses around. Despite all this, until you get an awesome treehouse built, no one cares. Quite frankly, a dad that built his child an ugly treehouse would get more love from society than the useless treehouse expert.

Knowledge is meant to be used to interact with the world. Not to feed your ego.

What Do You Know

This part of my article is going to be a little painful to write because I suffer from this as much as any libertarian.

Libertarian’s see a lot of things that the average person misses. A little knowledge on economics and history can change the way that everything appears to a person. Libertarian’s see the federal reserve running down the value of their money. They see the corporations milking the politicians. They see the average person virtually ignoring the whole charade.

Unfortunately, just like the treehouse intellectual, most libertarians act as if most of the information they know is just to prove they’re intelligent. Not to actually interact with the world better.

As a personal exercise, write down a list of the most important issues surrounding libertarianism to you. Focus on issues you study. If that’s too much for you then just think of one important libertarian issue. Do you think the federal reserve is going to collapse the dollar? Do you think the president is going to create a police state (Okay… an even bigger police state?) Any issues like that would do.

How Are You Prepared… And Then…

Go through the list of important issues. Or if you just thought of one issue then think about that. What are you doing to prepare for the issue/s?

For example, if you’re worried about the collapse of the dollar, you might prepare by buying gold. Or if you’re worried about ridiculous health care costs, you might be eating healthier.

If you’re like most libertarians, you’re only going to be preparing for only half of the issues on your list of important issues.

Everything you’re not preparing for is an area you need to deal with but there’s more.

Now go through the list and ask, what are you doing to BENEFIT from this?

Yes… You have more knowledge about the world than the average person. (Or you claim you do like the stock broker not investing his own money.) What is the point of that knowledge if you’re not going to use it to your own benefit? You’re being, at best, lazy to not use that knowledge. At worst, you may prefer to use your knowledge as an intellectual club to beat others down with, making you a complete a-hole.

If you’re worried about the dollar collapse then a small percentage of gold investing alone isn’t enough. You can’t expect gold prices to go so high that it makes up for your lost dollars. If you are really confident in the dollar collapse then invest in some options that pay out on the collapsing dollar.

If you’re worried about high healthcare costs then find a way to benefit from those high healthcare costs. Maybe you should invest in some big lobbying healthcare companies. Don’t take my word on it, find your route to benefit from the problem.

Of course, you don’t need to benefit from every major libertarian issue but it does a lot for your credibility. If you really believe in these issues, if you’re willing to spend your precious time arguing about them, if they really matter to you then you should be finding a way of benefiting from them.

The best part of all is that most of these issues don’t require a large investment. If an issue is going to cause a dramatic change to the world then you don’t need to bet a lot on that change to benefit a lot from it. You could easily get your investments multiplied by 100 on many of these issues (assuming you turn out to be right.)

Yes… You could spend your time in an intellectual bubble trying to prove everyone else wrong pointlessly. Or… you could actually do something to benefit yourself when you’re right.

Do you want to know how to live free today (instead of waiting for Obama to give you the freedom?) That’s what this blog is about. Check out the archives for hundreds of articles on this subject. Also, if you support the message, please donate to help keep this blog alive. (Use the bitcoin address in the sidebar.)

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