Monthly Archives: March 2014

Letter from Me to Jim DeMint

Writing in response to this letter from the Heritage Foundation. 

Dear Mr. DeMint,

There’s probably not another person whose motives I find more unquestionable in Washington (with the exception perhaps of Ron Paul) than yourself.  I have a great respect for your intentions, principles and desire to strengthen America, her institutions, and her people.

Yours is a good letter.  It’s not just a sorry piece of political machination like I’m used to receiving from the Republican party.  Respectfully, as a former Conservative, could I help you craft your message differently to reach moderates like myself?

1) “Tax Day is April 15. It’s a reminder of a grim fact: you’re surrendering a portion of what you have rightfully earned to Washington lawmakers, who squander it on wasteful government programs.

Washington doesn’t just control my money, it controls many aspects of my life.  It tells me how to pack my luggage and how much time I will wait in line to get on an airplane.  It tells me I can get married and pass social security benefits to my wife, but a gay friend cannot transfer benefits to his partner.  It prohibits 23andMe from giving me information on my genetic medical risks.  It tells my employer to cut my medical benefits.  Taxes are just one piece of a big pie.

2) “Like you, we believe that the government should be limited and accountable.”

Let’s step back and ask, “What is the purpose of government? ” Maybe it would be better to define that first and then ensure the government is capable of carrying out its purposes.  I believe a government should protect the citizenry and the things we hold dear.  It should be big enough to do that, but obviously not so unnecessarily big that the government itself becomes a threat to us and our value.

3) “We also believe that taxes should be simpler, fairer, and lower…”

Again, all of this focus on taxes.  What I want to hear is, “We want you to be more strongly protected, more equally protected, and have more control over the things that are important in your life: your liberty, your speech, your travel, your time, your labor, your money.

4) “…– and that government should get out of the way to allow free enterprise to flourish.”

Here, we part ways I’m afraid.  Can’t you see that everyone wants to control more and more value?  Did you notice how Steve Jobs controlled a multi-billion dollar corporation but still wanted more — wanted to ensure that former Apple employees didn’t work for Google?  We don’t need the government to “get out of the way”, we need it to strongly and equally protect us and our value.  That is when we can get on with the flourishing part.

I assure you Mr. DeMint, you and I want the same things.  With a more robust message, you’d have a lot more success reaching young people.



Letter from Jim DeMint to Me

The Heritage Foundation
Dear Brett,Tax Day is April 15. It’s a reminder of a grim fact: you’re surrendering a portion of what you have rightfully earned to Washington lawmakers, who squander it on wasteful government programs.At The Heritage Foundation we have taken a stand against Big Government for more than 40 years. You can add your voice to this fight today by signing the Taxpayer Declaration.

Like you, we believe that the government should be limited and accountable. We also believe that taxes should be simpler, fairer, and lower — and that government should get out of the way to allow free enterprise to flourish.

Will you join us in this mission?

Sign the Taxpayer Declaration and join the growing number of patriots who say “no” to wasteful government spending and excessive taxation.


Thank you for your support for limited government and low taxes.

Jim DeMint

Steve Jobs <3 Value

A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool?  A billion dollars.  ~ Sean Parker in the Social Network

You know what else is cool?  Being able to tell Google who not to hire:

Okay, sure, doesn’t sound so cool now, but Jobs was predictably trying to control as much value (other people’s labor and mind share in this case) as possible.  As least Jobs thought it was cool:

Alan [at Google],

We’d strongly prefer that you not hire these guys [former Apple employees in Paris].



Welcome Ryan Parker!

Ryan and I have been the best of friends for well over a decade and have corresponded about every week over the phone or by email for most of that time.  We were oddly matched roommates in college.  Ryan was more interested in reading the university newspaper cover to cover every day than doing his school work, and I was intent on getting a 4.0 so I could earn a scholarship.

I would come home exhausted from studying all day and then, after the lights went out, Parker would pepper me with questions.  I was tired, and I frankly thought this midnight speculation was pointless, but each question was just interesting enought, and Parker such an engaging conversationalist, that we’d often find ourselves talking until 2 or 3AM each night.

Both Parker and I grew up as poor farm boys, he on a real ranch in Montana, and myself on a hobby farm in Nevada.  Having little exposure, we were experiencing the world for the first time and didn’t know how it worked.  I guess neither of us ever lost that childlike curiosity.

Our roles have been the same every since.  Parker informs himself of everything going on in the world, and I consider everything he educates me on and try to recognize patterns and see deeper meaning.  Even though Ryan contributed most to my discovery of Valerianism, it took me a while to get him to realize that it was fundamentally different from the Conservative views bequeathed to both of us.  Parker knew so much that only a robust and universal world view could bring everything together and make sense.  Once he was converted, It was very liberating to be freed of conventional thinking.

Since that time Parker has made vast contributions to Valerianism.  Early on he changed the focus from fixing broken Conservative arguments to describing how we can best help the poor and disadvantaged in society — something that carries a lot more meaning.  I’m very happy to have him as a co-author of this blog.


Uncomplicating Vladimir Putin

Modeling Vladimir Putin on Marginal Revolution

1. Putin is a crazy hothead
2. Putin is rational…He simply wills evil ends
3. Putin…pursues his evil ends effectively.
4. Putin lives in a world where power is so much the calculus…It is hard for we peons to grasp the emotional resonance that power has for Putin and for some of his Russian cronies.

It’s amazing how difficult the analysis of intention is when we don’t understand value. When we think that money is the only thing that has value, we are constantly befuddled when we see people try to control any other type of value. When you understand that control of any value has value, it all becomes very simple.

Can you imagine this analysis if, instead of controlling Crimea, Putin seized billions of dollars?

Why has Putin seized this money? Is it because:

1) Putin was bored and it seemed like fun.

2) Putin likes the color green. Perhaps the long winters in Russia depress him and the green reminds him of Spring.

3) Putin likes the portraits of presidents on the bills. They remind him of power and Putin craves and relentlessly pursues power.

It seems absurd in this context, doesn’t it?  Humans appreciate value.  Like to keep the value they have and try to grow the amount under their control.  Putin is human.  Crimea is valuable (millions of people, a port on the Black Sea, oil, commerce, etc.) Putin is trying to increase the amount of value he controls. Simple.

Our collective lack of ability to see anything but money as having value causes to vastly underprotect the other value we control. Control of things like: who we buy products from, who can give us a ride in their car, who we let stay at our house. We protect our money and vigorously resist tax increases but our money is only a small part of the value we control and we should vigorously protect the rest of the value we control as well. Ukraine failed to protect it’s value and now we are left trying to infer what “the emotional resonance that power has for Putin.”

College Athletes Strike Back

Northwestern Wildcats Footballers Win Bid to Unionize


While improvements need to be made, we do not need to completely throw away a system that has helped literally millions of students over the past decade alone attend college. We want student athletes — 99 percent of whom will never make it to the professional leagues — focused on what matters most — finding success in the classroom, on the field and in life.

Oh yeah, the NCAA <3 value, too.

Athletes (coerced into being Student Athletes):

For me this was just an opportunity to make things right and stick up for future generations and make up for the wrongs of past generations.


CAPA [College Athletes Players Association] attorneys argued that college football is, for all practical purposes, a commercial enterprise that relies on players’ labor to generate billions of dollars in revenues. That, they contend, makes the relationship of schools to players one of employers to employees.

Notice how college athletes are using equality — equating themselves with employees — in order to gain more protections under the law.   That’s the way things work in Valerian society.  No minority should be stripped of the right to sue for equal protection.

Definitely a step in the right direction.  Still wishing for a world where college-aged athletes completely controlled their labor and could contract it out with any party they wanted, at whatever pay they agreed to.  #AthletesShouldOwnOwnValue