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happiness last won the day on January 4

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  1. I don’t see a great deal of rational value in reaching Mars at this point; we’ll all be long dead before any kind of industrial civilization is possible there. I’d have more respect for Musk if he focused on improving life on Earth. Then again, maybe a new age of Colonization and Martian revolution is the future counterpart of the American revolution.
  2. I can’t prove that I deserve credit for this, but after months of stating the positive case for health and medical freedom in my replies to Thomas Massie on social media, some of which earned “likes” from him, he is now adopting one of my core arguments—that health mandates are pseudoscience—in posts that reach multitudes of people.
  3. This is my official investment strategy, based on my view of the world. It has a macroeconomic theme. The US government is the biggest debtor nation in the history of the world and has horrible fundamentals, and is deficit spending and printing money like crazy to pander to the masses creating horrible distortions, bubbles that will lead to crashes, and inflation. The world still thinks the USD is a sound currency, but it isn't, and more people are realizing this. All governments are printing money, but the USD has more to lose because it's more overvalued. Neither I nor any of the people I listen to can tell how long this will continue, but it's likely to lead to serious problems worse than the ones we've already had. There is still value being created in the world, but I don't know how to find it, so pay mangement fees to professionals who might be able to. Cash, USD savings (55.5% of net worth) Investments (45.5% of net worth): Mutual fund managed by rational people, broadly diversified in a manner compatible with my view of the world. Includes a strong "hard asset" component, is but not decisively unconventional and USD-bearish. Includes conventional stuff like real estate, financial services, BRK.A, etc. (8.7% of investment account). Decisively USD-bearish funds by Peter Schiff (38.9% of investment account). Blend of four funds, will do great if the USD weakens relative to other currencies, and won't if it doesn't. These have done horribly in the 10 years since inception, but I think he'll be vindicated one day. Natural Resource funds: blend of funds of companies engaged in the exploitation of raw materials, which offer the opportunity to profit from inflation, and, according to many free-market thinkers, are in new secular bull market in themselves. Speculative, but I favor it. (8.7% of investment account) Physical precious metals, including exchange-traded trusts, allocated metals, and physical metals in my possession (50.1% of investment account). Precious metals mining funds are found in all three of the equity categories above and only arbitrarily differentiated from the physical metals and trusts category. That seems to be my leitmotif.
  4. I have no idea how this is going to end, and am heavily invested in gold and not at all in bitcoin. I'm enjoying the debate between Peter Schiff and his son, Spencer, a bitcoin fan, on this. The son reduces it to the false alternative of "intrinsic" vs. "subjective" value, so I think he's the one that's wrong. I don't understand the technology behind bitcoin, and I'm inclined to think it's merely a digital for of fiat captivating irrational people in an nutty society. However, I do grant the possibility that there could be some property or fact of the digital transaction system—the ability to barter things digitally—that does have an objective value in and of itself and therefore overcomes the conventional requirement for "real" money to have a commodity value.
  5. I can appreciate that angle, but also fear the possibility that masses of militant non-thinkers would organize on the grounds that the right-respecting government was violating their god-given right to vote.
  6. I'm far from an expert on this but it seems to me that this situation would be highly unstable. If non-voters came to vastly outnumber Objectivist "citizens," they could revolt and overwhelm the pro-rights government.
  7. I have no "issues" with Objectivism. I use the philosophy to lead the best life possible in an irrational society. I may be an outlier, but I'm better off knowing and acting on the truth than I would be if I were to invest in a bad cultural movement. I focus on tings I can control and enjoy, and limit my exposure to politics except to the extent that I enjoy crafting arguments on issues I'm passionate about as an end in itself, regardless of the likelihood that my views will prevail in my lifetime. I enjoy going online and saying things that are on a totally different wavelength than the mainstream political narrative, things that people have never heard before. It's an art to me. Supporting closed borders in our current situation is not a contradiction of Objectivism. Objectivism doesn't have anything to say about borders, it says that life is the standard of value. If open borders would threaten our lives under the status quo, Objectivism leads to the conclusion that we should keep them closed. Although this scenario is perhaps so unrealistic that it's worthless to consider, in my opinion, if a group of Objectivists somehow founded a free country today, a policy of free immigration would result in an influx of people who would corrupt the government in a short time, so I wouldn't support it.
  8. I am considering a choice for medical treatment. This is a self-driven choice; there is no one who can serve as a guide. I have written about this before, but will restate the basic facts here. The ailment: I have degenerative joint disease and degenerative disc disease, in many joints and many intervertebral discs. There is a novel type of treatment in existence called orthobiologics, which involves the use of the body's endogenous healing agents to treat orthopedic disorders. As they are currently considered "investigational," the procedures are cash-based. While some variants of this treatment are available in the United States, the FDA regulates the best kind of treatment, culture expanded mesenchymal stem cells, as a "drug," so there is currently no form of it that is legal here. But apparently, that doesn't stop some outfits from providing it. Outfit "A" is considered the world's foremost authority on orthobiologics. Though they are controversial, in my opinion, they are very conscientious about what they do, and go to great lengths to ensure the best possible outcomes and protect their reputation. In addition to their US operations, where they offer the legal kind of treatments, they operate a clinic in an offshore haven that permits them to sell their culture expanded stem cell procedure. Their process is very refined. Using precise image guidance, they deliver a small, concentrated volume of injectate to the exact locus of tissue damage in a joint, the rationale for which is that the cells adhere to the surface and to which they are injected. This is technically demanding and requires great skill, and all of their physicians are musculoskeletal experts. But is impractical for me to get extensive treatment at this offshore facility for two reasons: 1) they use bone marrow as their cell source, which is limited in the number of stem cells that it can yield, and 2) it is extremely expensive. Outfit "B" operates in the United States and does culture expansion illegally. The FDA does not have the resources to go after everybody in the field who is breaking the law, so they have been able to get away with it, so far. They use fat as their cell source, which capable of yielding more cells than bone marrow, and are MUCH cheaper than outfit A, allowing me to treat a large number of joints at a relatively low cost. So in one sense, they overcome the limitations of outfit A's offshore facility. The problem is that they have no reputation good or bad, and I know nothing of their skill level. In my estimation, they are significantly less conscientious and refined than outfit A. In contrast to outfit A's super-precise method, they simply ensure that the needle is inside the joint capsule and splash the fluid containing cells in. The fluid sloshes around in the joint, and while presumably some of the cells contact the aspect of the joint surface that needs them, other cells may not. Their doctors are not musculoskeletal experts, but treat many conditions, and call in a guy with a background in emergency medicine to do joint injections. I don't know how much these technical differences influence the outcome; I only know that outfit B is much less particular about how they do things. In my conversation with outfit B, they disclosed that they use a fluid volume of 5 mL to inject a disc. This is about 5x higher than what outfit A uses, and the doctors at outfit A have told me that it is actually impossible to inject a disc with 5 mL of anything. There are only a few studies on intradiscal injection of orthobiologics, and all of them use small fluid volumes (1-2cc). Someone doesn't know what they're talking about, and I trust outfit A's judgment. It is probably impossible to do much harm by injecting a synovial joint like a knee with more fluid than necessary, but intradiscal procedures are much riskier, as discs don't like to be injected with anything. The complications of an incompetently handled intradiscal procedure could be catastrophic. For this reason, I've already decided that I will not let outfit B inject my discs. But I might let them inject my synovial joints (knees, hips, fingers, etc.) because there is little potential for harm. The main risk is that it won't work, and I'll waste a significant amount, though not devastating amount of money. I am concerned about the implications of the fact that outfit B operates illegally. While I strongly believe that they have the right to sell this treatment, the fact that they risk losing their licenses, incurring huge fines, and possibly even imprisonment, concerns me. The likelihood of these things happening seems to be low—the FDA warns you before prosecuting you, giving you an opportunity to avoid prosecution, so there may in fact be no risk. But if there is a risk, and they are reckless and short-term with their own well-being, how can they be conscientious and long-term with mine? I asked the doctor orchestrating the operation at outfit B a question that I won't state here, because I don't want to give information that could identify them. It was a question about the regulatory status of the procedure and the risk of the FDA shutting them down after I invest in the tissue harvest and cell expansion, but before reinjection. The man lied to me outright about something I already knew the answer to. There was a change in the tone of his voice when he did so, because he knew I knew he was lying. I can understand that I was asking him to admit to a crime on the phone, so maybe it was a stupid question, but it was still a question pertinent to my well-being, and he lied to me about it. While it is exciting that outfit B could provide inexpensive culture-expanded cell therapy in the US, there is clearly a trade-off in terms of my confidence in them. I would be trusting the same mind that want to put 5 mL of fluid into a disc with my other joints, and all of the details of cell processing and handling. If I don't use outfit B for culture expanded stem cells, I will use outfit A for platelet rich plasma therapy, which is one of the forms orthobiologics that is legally available in the US. While not as powerful as culture-expanded stem cells, it is cheap and practical, and works (confirmed by both academic studies and personal experience). I would like to solicit opinions from objectivist life expert on the implications of the facts presented here: 1) outfit B is less conscientious than outfit A. 2) outfit B is operating illegally. 3) the proprietor of outfit B lied to me about the legal risk of proceeding. 4) outfit B claims to use and injectate volume that is impossible according to other sources, to inject high-risk structures. Thank you for reading.
  9. I'm nowhere near his match, but I’d like to be the Alex Epstein of abolishing the FDA when I grow up. I like the way he attacks along epistemological lines, which are the enemy's true vulnerability. I've been thinking about how to wage the ultimate existential attack on the FDA. It would champion the pro-reason concept of science and attack the mystical authoritarianism the FDA peddles. Since the base of science is reason, the side claiming to represent "science" must prove its claims. The claim that the FDA improves the individual’s or “public’s” health requires proof, of which there is none, so the FDA is the very quackery it claims to be protecting us from. To make it personal to people, I will state my opinion that the FDA takes years off their and their loved one’s lives—but how do I do so without doing exactly what I accuse the other side of (making unsupportable claims)? Ideas: Study the impact the FDA and Kefauver Harris Amendment has had on the rate of medical progress shechange in human lifespan. Conduct a scientific survey of inventors and investors and ask them what the greatest barrier to using their new technology to help people. In a talk about this issue, Yaron Brook said the great difficulty of proving the FDA’s true impact is that you can’t do a “parallel universe” study. There has got to be another way. If it’s a true and real fact, there has got to be a compelling way to capture it And while I know this cause has no chance of winning anytime soon, it will be satisfying to do it as an end in itself. Thoughts?
  10. I’ve distanced myself from former friends who are hardcore outspoken leftists, including a very old friend who married a socialist who never shuts up about politics. They might not be totally despicable people, might be nice and have redeeming qualities, but they make me uncomfortable. I have always self-censored my politics, so no one knows I’m an Objectivist. Maybe that’s been a mistake, and I should be more assertive and let others decide whether they want to hate me, but the differences still go too deep for me. Another longtime friend who is a successful insurance salesman, whom I mostly respected until a few years ago, became a leader in the disgustingly aggressive and sanctimonious local group that agitates to pass levies to fund the school district. I despise the schools and how members of that group act. I believe he wants to be first in line to get insurance contracts with the district. I feel so negatively toward stuff like that that I have a hard time setting it aside. That’s just me.
  11. I don’t necessarily like the particular summary I originally quoted—I’m not going to go back and read it now, but I remember it having an immature, cynical tone—but the red pill (TRP) philosophy emphatically does not in any way endorse “blaming” the opposite sex for your frustration in your sex life; just the opposite, it teaches you NOT to get mad at women for being women, and how to exploit an understanding of your place in the the sexual marketplace to get un-frustrated. It teaches that women who reject you are irrelevant to your life and to be politely indifferent to them. Not just feign indifference, BE indifferent, by understanding that women who are “too good” for you are not good for you at all. I like the writings of Rollo Tomassi (pseudonym), one of the genre’s most popular authors, and find most of his ideas very compatible with Objectivism.
  12. I’m not thinking TEOTWAKI. The question of economic collapse is always a question of degree. I don’t know what the future looks like, but I’m not optimistic. As stated in the thread title, my two great concerns are a large market correction and inflation. Since the government/Fed prints money to prop up the markets, are these opposite probabilities? And does this long term trajectory eventually end with both happening when the market rejects this mechanism?
  13. If you have a significant amount of money you want to protect against societal insanity, we’re so you put it?
  14. Anarchy ignores the concept of government—a monopoly on the use of physical force. Whoever is an a position to weild physical force autonomously IS the governor. The “private physical force entity” in the anarchist thought experiment IS a government.
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