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‘Patriots’ attack the US Capitol, January 6, 2021.

“What were you thinking?”

That’s the question the US conservative talk show host Erick Erickson addressed to his Republican friends earlier this week.

Specifically he was wondering how they ever thought they could get away with lying to their followers about the outcome of the 2020 election, and what they thought those followers would do once whipped up into a frenzy.

Read the transcript here:

This is the first time I’ve seen someone address what I’ve been wondering since November about Republicans who think they can lead and stay aligned with the base by lying to them.

Mobs are fickle.

The minute they decide or realize…

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Credit: Mathieu Joannon

A quarter century ago, information technology promised to spread liberty around the world. With the rise of AI, it’s fast becoming its worst enemy.

“They can blow out a candle
But they can’t blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch,
The wind will blow it higher.”

When Peter Gabriel wrote those lyrics in 1979, about the death of anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko in police custody two years earlier, it was true.

In the decade that followed, the world began watching in horror the final violent throes of South Africa’s crumbling apartheid regime, applying increasing international pressure through economic sanctions until its official demise in 1991.

It was comforting analogy, and at the time, apt. Yes, on any given day it…

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Source: Tulsa Police Department

Yes, defunding police forces might sound crazy. But to some economists the idea is neither new nor radical. Plus, it might even work.

“Everything Begins With An Idea.” — Earl Nightingale

London, December, 1996. A meeting of the Institute of Economic Affairs — a think tank of academics and policymakers that had come to prominence as the rational libertarian conscience of the British Conservative party. Many of its crazier notions (like allowing stores to open when they want to and council tenants to buy their homes) had already become real under Margaret Thatcher.

The IEA is also known for advancing even woolier ideas like “free banking” — the idea that if countries didn’t have central banks (like Scotland in the 1800s) they would have even lower inflation and more stable money…

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Expats returning to Kuwait, 16 March 2020 (Photo: Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP / Getty)

For all the pain it’s bringing, the coronavirus pandemic has a silver lining. Mass disruption of everyday life has opened the eyes of millions to its small miracles — paving the way for an ancient approach to living to find its moment.

This is why — and how we can all tune in.

1. A (very) brief history

The Aztec empire was at its peak. Rome had fallen. As Attila the Hun made his way west and King Arthur’s Britons fended off the Saxons, Europe slumped into its Dark Ages.

On the other side of the planet, meanwhile, an obscure group of monks in northern China decided to put a fresh spin on the religion their predecessors had imported from India centuries earlier — in the process inventing what was to become one of humanity’s pre-eminent approaches to life, fulfillment and happiness.

The year was 500 A.D., give or take. Steeped in Taoism…

Stephen Butler

Entrepreneur, Advisor, Recovering Philosopher.

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