About theartfuldilettante

The Artful Dilettante is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, and a graduate of Penn State University. He is a lover of liberty and a lifelong and passionate student of the same. He is voracious reader of books on the Enlightenment and the American colonial and revolutionary periods. He is a student of libertarian and Objectivist philosophies. He collects revolutionary war and period currency, books, and newspapers. He is married and the father of one teenage son. He is kind, witty, generous to a fault, and unjustifiably proud of himself. He is the life of the party and an unparalleled raconteur.

Your Potential for Greatness Lies in Your Strengths

I received an email from a reader regarding a recent column where I wrote that a fear of success could be a fear of being “found out” as a fraud – whether you earned the success or not. The writer says that when she’s wrong about something or when there are smarter people around her, this feeling of insecurity and inadequacy creeps in.

We are trained at an early age by misguided parents and other authorities that we shouldn’t be “arrogant” or “confident” or, as the old saying goes, “too big for your britches.” In some kids, this (mercifully!) doesn’t stick, but I find that with most people it does. And it all comes out in my office after they grow up.

This ill-advised “advice” creates a grownup who feels guilty for his or her accomplishments. The emotional “logic” goes something like this: “I really have no business thinking that I have accomplished so much. And sooner or later, others are going to figure this out and I’ll be exposed.” A rational approach is needed to counter this emotion; specifically, to judge yourself objectively the same way you would a stranger. You might write down all your accomplishments and rate them in the same way you would another’s. If emotions start to contradict a positive self-assessment, then ask yourself, “Why the double standard? Why deny myself the praise and recognition I would give to somebody else?”

The writer says she feels like a fraud when she’s wrong. But being wrong doesn’t make you incompetent. Everybody is wrong sometimes. Obviously, the fewer errors you make, the better. But an error does not make you incompetent or less competent than your peers. Incompetence requires a lot more than that!

These feelings can arise from a flawed idea about certainty. Many people feel that capable and confident people never make errors. It doesn’t work that way. Errors are not a catastrophe. It’s all in how you handle them. If you have confidence in your power of objective reasoning to figure things out — despite occasional errors and corrections — then you’ll have greater trust and confidence both in yourself and others. When you have confidence in yourself, you love your own mind and what it’s capable of. And to love your mind you have to love the human mind at its best, i.e., when it’s thinking, creating and producing.

People with this feeling of incompetence tend to view others as smarter or less vulnerable than they really are. “I have this weakness, but others do not.” But how do you know that? How can you make such a generalization? If you overemphasize your weaknesses and limitations, you’re going to feel like a fraud when you’re applauded or recognized in some way. You’ll suspect, “They don’t know how I really am.” But there’s no basis in fact. As long as you’re being applauded, complimented or recognized for something that you actually did, then there’s no fraud.

Just because you’re not good at every possible thing doesn’t take away from the goodness or greatness in your accomplishment. If you did it, then you did it. Accept the applause with quiet satisfaction. Know that you earned it. And move on to your next goal, confident in the knowledge that you can.

If you accomplished the thing for which you’re granted recognition despite some flaws that others don’t know about, then that’s all the more credit to you for rising above whatever problems you might have. It isn’t flawlessness that makes people great at something. Infallibility is a myth. Look at all that human beings have accomplished to date — from the cave to the microchip, from illiteracy to quantum physics — and ask yourself if infallibility is required for people to achieve greatness.

It’s your strengths that make you potentially great. And achieving success in spite of your weaknesses is an even greater strength.

Michael J. Hurd, Life’s a Beach

Sadly, It is too Late for the Rule of Law

The Republican strategy re: the raid on President Donald Trump’s home may be doomed to failure.

The operating premise of this strategy is: Bring up the law. Prove that the Bidenistas at the DOJ and FBI didn’t comply with the law; and then all will be well.

But they’re counting on the Bidenistas who run the DOJ and FBI to cooperate in exposing their own already obvious wrongdoing. And they’re counting on the media to honestly report on it. Both assumptions are absurd. If the federal government had been taken over by a bunch of mobsters, would you expect the mobsters in charge to make available evidence to show that they’re running the government like a bunch of mobsters? If the media is 99 percent operated by people more loyal to the government than the state-run media of a literal dictatorship, do you think they’re going to emerge with a “smoking gun” exposing the outrages of the Biden regime?

It’s too late for the rule of law. NOT because the rule of law is an invalid thing; but because the rule of law is no longer in operation. We knew that well before the raid on Mar-a-Lago, which is why most of us were not terribly surprised by it, although it was still shocking.

I don’t wish to be negative. I’m just saying the obvious, aren’t I? The reply to this point I typically get from still hopeful conservatives is, “Well, what are we to do then?” That’s a difficult question to answer. But the difficulty of the question does not give one an entitlement to evade the gravity of the situation we’re in.

Pray and hope for the triumph of justice all you wish. Metaphysically, you’re not wrong. Evil is weak, because it only survives as a parasite on the good. Evil thrives only when the good and the just become afraid. But unjust, corrupt criminal gangs with zero accountability will never act justly. It’s not in their natures. And the fact remains: The federal government is now totally run by political operatives with no regard whatsoever for any rational, objective sense of law. This trend has been the case for a long time, I suspect; and it undoubtedly escalated during Obama’s terms in office. But it’s reality now, open for all to see, even with an overwhelmingly biased news media.

Whatever the solution or whatever the way out — not just for Donald Trump, but for anyone who values their liberty — it’s not the totally trashed, discredited federal government as we know it. That’s a difficult truth to accept, but accept it we must.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

America Now Looks a Lot Like Libertarians of Yesterday Said It Would

The media says “right wingers” want a civil war after Mar-a-Lago.

Not true.

Authentic, patriotic, freedom-loving Americans want a politicized, dangerous DOJ/FBI stripped of its power. They want the restoration of a rights-respecting republic.

To a Big Government leftist type, anything less than 100 percent control of everything by them is “anarchy” and “lawlessness.” When we had a President who favored a few tax cuts, a little relaxing of regulations and a slightly less expansive government than the near-totalitarian one we have now, they shrieked like insurrectionists. The moment they got what they wanted — unlimited and likely permanent power, effectively repealing our Bill of Rights — they shriek “insurrectionists” in the direction of anyone who so much as hints at dissension.

That’s what the DOJ and FBI are now for: Persecution of dissension.

Soon we’ll see how the IRS has taken that role on now, too.

Don’t kid yourself. If President Donald Trump can wind up in jail — and I’m predicting he will — then it can happen to any of us, at any time the government feels like it. Everything I have been writing for over a year now has come to pass. Only I’ve been understating it a bit, as we can see.

Libertarian types were warning us a century ago that the establishment of agencies like the FBI, the IRS, the FDA, the CDC, the FCC, the FEC the DEA and all the rest would, ultimately, lead to the enslavement of the people.

They were ignored and ridiculed.

What do you say to their objections now?

We’re the lucky generation who got to see that they were right.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Supersized IRS Will Shrink Liberty

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin recently claimed the 15 percent corporate minimum tax contained in the Inflation Reduction Act, which should be called the Inflation Creation Act, is not a tax increase. Instead, he claimed, the bill simply closes a loophole that allows corporations to avoid paying all the taxes they owe. Despite what Senator Manchin says, the fact is the new minimum tax increases the amount of money some corporations must hand over to the government; in other words, it increases their taxes.

It is common for politicians, policy wonks, and even some libertarians to demonize loopholes for making the tax system too complex, but loopholes are simply ways that individuals can keep more of their money. Loopholes are thus pro-liberty and pro-sound economics.

In addition to raising taxes, the Inflation Reduction Act provides 80 billion dollars to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Some of the money will go to improving taxpayer services so, for example, taxpayers may actually talk to a real person who can provide information about the tax law when they call the agency. But, over 50 percent will be spent on enforcement.

The IRS is expected to hire approximately 87,000 new agents. Supporters of the expansion say the IRS will use the enhanced enforcement capacity to target only “the rich.” However, it is not necessary to massively increase the IRS’s enforcement capacity just to go after “rich tax cheats.”

Furthermore, rich people and big corporations can hire attorneys and accountants to make sure they limit their tax liability while staying within the legal limits. They can also fight any attempt by the IRS to make them pay more. Middle- and working-class Americans are unable to afford legions of attorneys and accountants to limit their tax liability or fight the IRS, so they are more likely to pay whatever the IRS demands.

The IRS has a history of disrespecting due process rights of Americans, so creating a new army of IRS agents with a mission to extract more money will lead to massive liberties violations. Given the IRS’s shameful history of harassing the political enemies of whoever holds power at the moment, we should expect the new agents to target opponents of US foreign policy, gun control, government promotion of green energy, and other policies of the current administration.

The IRS recently ran an ad seeking agents who are willing to carry a firearm and use deadly force. This comes after the tax agency’s purchase this year of 700,000 dollars worth of ammunition. Perhaps the agency is worried that the latest attempt to get more taxes from Americans already suffering from the inflation tax will lead to violence, or perhaps the IRS wants its agents to carry firearms to remind taxpayers that the tax laws are backed by the threat of government violence.

The premise behind the income tax is that the government is the true owner of all property and thus has the right to take as much from the people as it desires. Therefore, the income tax, like the other monstrosity created in 1913 — the Federal Reserve, is incompatible with a free society but necessary for an authoritarian welfare-warfare state. To avoid 1984, repeal 1913.

Ron Paul

“The Free World Isn’t Free” (Daniel Jupp)

From Daniel Jupp:

“Not content with stealing an election, gaslighting the whole world, siphoning off billions with one massive and massively corrupt and untraceable spending package after another, the most evil political party in the western world have taken the final step.

If the sudden impossible vote spikes didn’t tell you, this does.

If the late night ballot deliveries and the mules didn’t tell you, this does.

If an inauguration with 30,000 troops didn’t tell you, this does.

If the witch hunt trials and Stalinist show trials and false impeachments and the murder of Ashli Babbitt didn’t tell you, this does.

If going after every Trump associate and every Trump loyalist didn’t tell you, this does.

The FBI are beyond redemption. The media are beyond redemption. An FBI raid on Trump’s home is beyond redemption.

This isn’t a federal Republic, it’s a banana republic. This isn’t a democracy, it’s a travesty.

The Free World isn’t free. What Stalin couldn’t do, what Hitler couldn’t do, the Democratic Party, tech billionaires and the most corrupt media in all of human history have done.

CIA sponsored coups take place on American soil now. The FBI are indistinguishable from the East German Stasi. Protestors are held without trial for over a year and tortured. Dissident leaders to the level of the man who won the election and is the legitimate President are raided by the not so secret police of a third world dictatorship.

Make no mistake when they go this far you don’t return to normality by winning the midterms or winning the Presidential race two years after that. When they go this far you are basically right before the point where they disappear and kill whoever they like, where the mysterious Clinton fatality list looks like a small preliminary sketch of the forty foot canvas to come.

An overblown response? Seriously, if Trump was murdered by them tomorrow would one TV station or one news outlet or one mainstream journalist report it? Would one line deviate from whatever lie was decided on to pretend the murder was not a murder? Why? Why would they suddenly find honesty for that? The only reason they haven’t killed him is because they don’t need to. They can disappear him in other ways, like FBI raids, like the whole apparatus of power ignoring him the way they did when he called out the steal.

If anyone gets past this level of corruption, if sanity is restored, it’s going to take a fundamental root and branch purge of the entire federal government, of every branch of government, and especially of the FBI and the CIA. You’re going to have to sack thousands, close the doors or better burn down the buildings, maybe salt the ground too. You’re going to have to cut off ten thousand lines of credit at the public spending teat, create a replacement for the FBI and have it just as partisan in your direction as the old thing was in theirs.

This raid is the final proof if any more proof were needed.

It’s war, and if you find your heart softened with the need for restraint, your civilised soul terrified of excessive response, your faith in the fundamental mechanisms that prevent tyranny only shaken, not broken, your chief desire that of peace, and compromise, and moderation….then you are no fucking use to anyone.”