Learn to Die

“To learn to die is to unlearn how to be a slave”


I heard this quote a few days ago in a Modern Wisdom podcast about stoicism and they haven’t stopped floating around my head. The phrase is provocative and brave in a way I don’t think people today would voice openly for fear of being cancelled. And that is the problem.

Today everyone is beholden to the luxuries of modern life. Not only are we afraid to die…we are afraid to live without the approval of our social media friends, we are afraid to live without our current jobs, we are afraid of anything changing to harshly. We have become slaves to the modern era.

That’s not to say I’m a Neo-Luddite. I think the internet and the freedom of information our technology provides is a net good in the world. Our dependence on those technologies, on the other hand, has become a hinderance. Today we can hardly imagine how to survive without our Netflix subscription. Hell, Disney+ still has millions of subscribers even after thanking the Chinese province that is, right this instant, detaining, sterilizing, and “re-educating” Uigher Muslims in concentration camps for their government’s security service’s help in filming Mulan. We don’t lack the knowledge of supporting a company that supports concentration camps…we are too weakened to tell that immoral company “no.”

We have become slaves to our technology.

To live free is to have nothing forcing your actions. In order to ensure that nothing has control over you, you have to learn how to give everything up when you think the fight is worth the cost. In learning how to die, you can learn to never let your soul be corrupted by powers that seek to control you. You can draw a line in the sand and say, “There is nothing you can do to me to make me cross that line. You will have to kill me before I cross it.”

You shouldn’t be vainglorious in this pursuit, nor should you chase after death with glee. Instead, think on what you could give up today if you decided to. If your morality called for it. Would you give up Disney+ to show that you don’t support their condoning of Chinese atrocities? Would you give up your smart phone because you believe that the companies have gone too far with invading privacy and selling private information? Would you risk your friendships to voice an opinion that the majority of society might disagree with, potentially costing you your job along with everything else, if you thought that opinion was morally correct? Would you die to protect your values?

What is your line in the sand?

The path to societal enslavement is usually caused by individuals too scared to speak up. To say what they believe is right in the face of systems bigger than themselves. Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pott’s Cambodia, Mussolini’s Italy, Nero’s Rome. Every violent, murderous regime has flourished because the masses wouldn’t stand up. They didn’t know how to die. And they were enslaved.

Our founding fathers knew how to die. They knew that signing the Declaration of Independence was the same as signing their death warrants should the revolution fail. They signed anyway because they believed in representative government. That every man is created equal with unalienable rights. For their bravery we live in the most free and diverse country in the world. We can learn many lessons from our founding fathers, but I think the foundational lesson is:

Learn how to die so you can learn to be free.

If you like what you have read I encourage you to check out my novella “The Butcher of Island, Kentucky.” You can pick up your digital or physical copy on Amazon. I’m also trying to build my Locals community where we will be able to talk about books, philosophy, or just share random thoughts and life moments in among our own community. I’m currently working on ideas on how to give subscribers more value for being paid subscribers to the community, so that will be an option eventually, but for now go to my Locals page to follow my content. As I release more books and figure out what kind of online product I want to produce I will build upon what I have now, but I see it as a contained community we can build away some of the more toxic social media environments. Until we meet again, Cheers!


You Harm Yourself with Excuses

How easy is it to make excuses? Any honest person would have to admit that they make excuses every day, and often multiple times a day, because that is often the easiest option in a situation. Why were you late to work? Traffic was bad. Why didn’t you take out the trash? Oh, I thought about it, but then I got distracted by this other thing and forgot.

Excuses are our way of preserving our ego from admitting failure. We use them to paint over our faults and excuse ourselves of blame. Sometimes we even do this over more consequential and ongoing issues in our lives. Why can’t we make meaningful emotional connections to others? Well, my parents didn’t hug me enough. Why did you cheat on your wife? Because she wasn’t having sex with me as much as I would like. Why do you drink yourself to blackouts every night? I’m under a lot of stress.

We excuse away all of our bad traits and behaviors so we can still tell ourselves that we are good people and that all of our problems are the faults of others. While this seems easy, meaningless, and sometimes justified absolving yourself of your faults does you more damage than you can understand.

Each of us is an individual who makes decisions in our lives. Those decisions shape the course of our existence. All of our success and failures stem from these decisions. If we discount the decisions that make up our failures we immediately discount those decisions that made us successful. By making excuses and refusing to live up to your faults and failures, you remove from yourself all agency.

Many people smarter than myself have stated that a person’s happiness and wellbeing are directly linked to their belief that they have agency in their lives. Therefore, refusing to face the darker parts of yourself that make mistakes on a regular basis, you are also defeating the brightest parts of yourself that have allowed you to succeed to whatever level you have in your life. You can only do this so long before you find yourself incapable of believing that you control your own destiny at all.

The best part of this message is, while looking at your faults honestly is painful and difficult, when you do this the strong parts of you only get stronger. Being honest about your faults is like weightlifting for the soul. And just like a real gym, only you can make the decision to go in and do the hard work. If I may be a little lame and quote lyrics from a mid-2000’s song to prove my point; Allow me to remind you of the words of Incubus…

“Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear

And I, I can’t help but ask myself

How much I let the fear take the wheel and steer

It’s driven me before

And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal

But lately I’m

Beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel.”

Drive by Incubus

A Case Against Collectivism

Collectivism has long been the vehicle of much human suffering. To discount the individual in order to promote the collective, a society can rationalize and enact a litany of injustices upon any number of people it deems unfit or dangerous to society. As an individualist, I oppose collectivism at all costs because I can look back at history and note when collectivism created catastrophic injustices upon innocent individuals.

When we look back in history at the government bodies that were created in Marx’s name, via collectivism, we are forced to peer around HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dead bodies. These people, who had hopes, dreams, families, and enemies just as all of us do, were deemed unfit for society and their bodies where thrown upon the self-righteous alter of collectivist thought. You see, collectivism doesn’t care about who you are, or who your mother or father is, they only care about the health of the collective. The evil of collectivism is the belief that they are righteous to take what they want from you, no matter what you think on the matter, because they are building a just society. What is just about killing someone’s mother for the betterment of the collective? Or their father? Or you.

Collectivist thought is not a new concept, it is an everlasting evil that exists within humanity. It is glorified tribalism and it was used to enslave and subjugate anyone outside of one’s tribe since we were stabbing mammoths with spears. Today, tribalism is rearing its ugly head again in the form of identity politics, and sadly I see a lot of my acquaintances on social media falling into the tribal trap. I plan to do everything I can to keep this evil from spreading again. The ease with which we can kill millions of people with our current technology makes tribalism and collectivism infinitely more dangerous than in the past and I refuse to sit back and watch the atrocities unfold. I plan to build upon this idea in later blogs to hopefully help turn our society away from a disastrous and lethal ideology.

Anti-Racism is just Racism in a Crappy Mask

The discussion of race in this country has become absurd to a point of insanity. The dialectic breaks down into two basic camps as far as I can tell. One camp, let’s call them the traditionalists, believe that race shouldn’t be a deciding factor in how people are treated and that we should expect the best of every person in our society regardless of their race. The other camp, we’ll call them the progressives, believe that systemic racism has oppressed people of color for centuries and needs to be destroyed in order to end the oppression. I know many people that would bristle at my description of the progressive argument, but I take that argument from the progressive camps own scholars. That, though, is a discussion for another blog. I try to keep these short.

One term or idea that has come out of this poisonous discussion is “anti-racism.” An anti-racist is a person who identifies and challenges the values, structures, and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism. Seems straight forward on the surface, but then we must dig into the definition of systemic, or structural, racism. Structural racism is a lens from which a person can view the world that allows them to see that, as a society, we take for granted a context of white leadership, dominance, and privilege. This is, basically, white privilege or “whiteness.”

With all of that out of the way, I think we can start to break down what anti-racism really means when we look at the article published by the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is a branch of the Smithsonian Institution museum (yes, this atrocious article, which I’m sure you’ve seen was published by an organization partially funded by our tax dollars. THIS is a moment where I say taxation equals theft).

In the article, they included a graphic that they have since taken down, but I’ll include it here. The graphic is titled “Aspects and Assumptions of Whiteness and White Culture in the United States” by Judith H. Katz and lays out the varying aspects of “whiteness” that apparently we should avoid. The list is confusing to say the least as none of the attributes on the graphic describe anything about a pale skin color. Instead it lists such items as: Self-reliance; Independence and Autonomy; Objective or rational linear thinking; Hard work is the key to success; Value on owning goods, space, or property; Plan for the future; Progress is always best; Following a schedule; Protection of property; Action Orientation; Must always do something about a situation; Decision-making; Being Polite.

This, I must say, is not an extensive list but it certainly drives home a picture of the person they want you to be. In this ideology “whiteness” is bad, so these are supposed to be activities that they would suggest you do not partake in. Considering this list, I believe it is safe to imply what kind of person the creators of this graphic would like you to be. If we reverse the wording the path away from “whiteness” (and evil) becomes clear:

  • Be reliant on someone else
  • Be dependent and controlled
  • Subjective or irrational thinking
  • Take handouts since hard work won’t get you anywhere
  • No possessions to call your own
  • Don’t Consider the future, act only on what you want NOW
  • Don’t better yourself
  • Don’t have discipline
  • Don’t protect yourself or your property
  • Don’t act in any given situation
  • Don’t feel the need to “do something”
  • Don’t make decisions
  • Be rude (so no one enjoys being around you)

These attributes have nothing to do with race. They are building blocks for a successful and stable culture. These people think you should be dependent, inactive, and unable to escape. To me it sounds like they want slaves. I know that’s a loaded term, but let’s be real. Any person that genuinely cares for another would NEVER give them this advice. Would you honestly tell a loved one to never make decisions? To never better themselves?

The implication this graphic makes, whether the artists meant to imply this consciously or not (I’ll say not to be charitable), is that non-white people are less able to embody these attributes and so these structures in our society must be destroyed so non-whites can be equal. That is a horrendous white supremacist message. To any black, brown, yellow, green, purple, lizard-skinned person reading this. You are just as capable of embodying the best aspects of man such as rational thought, discipline, and independence. The anti-racists say otherwise. They imply that you can’t do it…which seems pretty damned racist to me.

Being colorblind isn’t cool anymore. Somehow treating everyone the same makes me racist now to this crazy ideology, but I’m going to do what I know is right. I’m going to treat everyone as the valuable gift from God that you all are.

Below I have copied an archived version of the graphic. They don’t have the balls to stand behind their ideals, so I’ll gladly flaunt them as an educational tool.


Oh! Piece of racism!
Oh! Piece of racism!

Rooftop Koreans are Quintessential Americans

Americans protecting what is theirs. True Beauty.

The brave Korean-Americans that guarded their livelihoods during the 1992 Los Angeles riots have become something of legendary figures in our culture. When the chips were down and society in the city of Los Angeles was crumbling, they successfully deterred rioters from destroying their businesses. Their story sticks in our cultural subconscious, maybe not as strong as our founding fathers or the young men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, but nearly thirty years later we are still talking about them. Using their image as a rallying cry for bravery and grit.

The first lesson that should be taken from their story is that the government will not always be able to protect you. We have become fat and complacent in our lives and the Rooftop Koreans are a stark reminder that we are constantly walking a razors edge between order and chaos. Our system only runs effectively because 99.9% of people act in accordance with most societal norms. If enough people decide to act out, the police can quickly be over run. Couple this with politicians grandstanding about “peaceful” protestors and telling police to stand down while their cities burn, and police usually only showing up after a crime has been committed and you are left with one stark truth: You are your own first responder. You must protect yourself and your property.

The second message we should take from the Rooftop Koreans is that a little bit of backbone goes a long way. The men who patrolled their businesses didn’t have to kill anybody. The threat of violence was enough to deter the rioters. This is the best-case scenario when rioters and looters come to your door, but that outcome will only happen if you show them that you aren’t an easy target. But we must remember that a line in the sand shouldn’t be drawn lightly. You must be willing to stand up if someone crosses the line. If someone breaks into your property with intent to hurt you, your family, or your property as far as I’m concerned, they have forfeited their life.

I can already hear some of you balking at the idea of killing someone over attempting to break or steal “objects.” I plan to further explain my beliefs on private property and how your property is intrinsically a part of you in a later blog, but for now I wanted to talk about some of my personal heroes. We call them the Rooftop Koreans, but in all sincerity when they protected their property from vandals and looters, they were embodying the very spirit of America and for that reason I’m proud of them.

 P.S. There is a weird discussion about race when it comes to the topic of the Rooftop Koreans Americans, but this is silly so don’t bring your weird racist thoughts to my door. I don’t care who is doing the looting or rioting, I don’t care about a person’s skin when they are coming to harm somebody else, immoral behavior is immoral behavior no matter what region of the world your ancestors hail from. And to that end, a person who seeks to harm another person can catch a slug or two, I won’t lose sleep over it.

Why Wyrd?

Wyrd – pronounced “Weird” – A concept in Norse Anglo-Saxon culture roughly relating to fate or personal Destiny.

I grew up surrounded by stories. While other kids ran outside, rode their bikes, or played sports my focus was on a book, a TV-show, a movie, or a videogame. As long as I could experience a protagonist struggle against an antagonist, I was happy. This meant that I grew up, well, weird. I didn’t make the same connections as other kids and was generally an outcast until late middle school when someone in my class found out that I kept a folder full of jokes to amuse myself during school.

I tried my hand at writing a few times when I was younger, but I never had the discipline to sit down and really make anything of the talent. Instead, I played with action figures and pretended to be fictional heroes living out stories when no one was looking. I hadn’t realized it at that time, but I had discovered my wyrd, my fate or personal destiny, but I didn’t have the wisdom to follow it properly. I even shoved my wyrd to the side for years which only created anxiety and timidity.

In college I acknowledged my wyrd, but I didn’t think deeply about my path. I followed the stormy winds of fate across America to California to the city of L.A. where I believed I wanted to be a screenwriter. This is where I learned that blindly allowing fate to push you through life is a dangerous game. I was never going to be happy writing stories only to have most of them collect dust at the bottom of a drawer because I couldn’t convince someone to spend millions of dollars to create a film out of my script. And when I could convince someone to buy my story from me, they would have free reign to bastardize and destroy what I had created to make what they wanted.

When I decided to write novels, allowing me to tell the stories I want to tell, I started looking for a name to create a brand from. That’s when I first learned of wyrd. In Norse mythology fate is set in stone, a concept that I don’t believe in, but my path to writing has felt guided by the hands of fate since I’m one of the only people in my family that enjoys reading or is in any way creative. I grew to like the word in this abstract aspect, but it wasn’t until I dug further into the meaning of wyrd and the philosophy behind the word that is sunk home for me.

The followers of Norse mythology didn’t focus on the inexorable nature of fate, instead they believed that a person’s fate wasn’t as important as the attitude with which a person faced whatever fate had in store for them. There is no honor in passively surrendering to fate. One must face fate as a battle to fight heroically, even if the battle is doomed to lose.

This is how I see wyrd publishing. This is me turning to face fate head-on. Instead of waiting for an agent to accept my writing and then work to get me published, I’m going to do the work myself. I’m going to face my wyrd with determination and grit. If I lose, I lose. Either way I will retain my honor. Sit in a silent room and think about your wyrd. Consider where it has led you and where you would prefer to go, then turn to face your fate with warpaint and a guttural roar.