Prisoners of Conscience in the The West

TL;DR – The resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich is another example of the erosion of civil liberties by those pursuing an ostensibly liberal agenda. They are gnawing at the roots of science and enlightenment values in the name of human rights. Thankfully principled members of minorities whose rights are being fought for are saying “Not in our name”. They understand that freedom – of choice, of belief, of speech – underscore minority rights and are appalled to see them undermined.

I have sitting on a draft post for months on this topic of contemporary Prisoners of Conscience, but have not found the time to write it. I will do a series of posts instead.

It was kicked off by something one of my favourite public intellectuals – Jonathan Rauch – said on an episode of On Being about a year ago (April 2013):

So gay people were the victims of majority intolerance for many, many decades, and public opinion in America is a ferocious thing. Tocqueville wrote about it — “Tyranny of the Majority,” he called it. Something very, very important happened around 2009. The Gallup poll for the first time showed a tie in people saying homosexual relationships were morally acceptable with people saying they were not morally acceptable. And the lines have now crossed. There is now I think it’s like a 9- or 10-point gap of a solid majority of Americans saying it’s OK to be gay. So this is new. This means we’re now the moral majority.

This means the burden of proof is now on the other side. And this means it’s going to be tempting for gay people to press our advantage and try to use the law to make it difficult for people who want to preserve religious traditions that are anti-gay to do so. And we have good reason for that. We have suffered very directly and very concretely and quite often with our lives from religious bigotry. It’s not to say all religion is bigotry. So it is very tempting for us to say let’s drive this out of society altogether. All forms of discrimination, whether religious or not, should be illegal and I’m saying to gay people, no, we’ve got to share the country.

There is a thing called the First Amendment. Religious liberty. We’ll get squashed like bugs on the windshield if we try to go against religious liberty, but more important, we want to be in a live-and-let-live society where no one gets treated as a prisoner of conscience and feels the need to stay in the closet, frightened because of what they believe.

That’s what we fought against all those years, long before marriage, and that’s what we will continue to fight against. And that’s why we need to be champions of all reasonable protections for religious people who may not agree with us and may not want to associate with us, but we need to let them share this country with us.

As a classic non-religious liberal who supports gay rights (including the right to marry and adopt) and all the other enlightenment liberties, Rauch’s comments really struck me hard.

Across the WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, And Democratic) countries, in almost every area of politico-social contention (immigration & race, gay rights, gender equality etc) we are creating prisoners of conscience, people “persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously held beliefs” or forcing people to self-censor out of fear of the consequences of free speech (being fired, prosecuted, publicly attacked, even murdered).

The latest victim of this illiberal enforcement of liberal values – my values – is Brendan Eich.

Eich is a gifted technologist and coder. He was forced to resign from his new position as new CEO of Mozilla because in 2008 he made a private financial donation to Proposition 8, the Californian law opposing gay marriage. Whilst some gay activists were crowing, and online dating site OKCupid was “credited” with being instrumental in forcing Eich to step down after blocking Mozilla Firefox browser (my favourite browser) on this site, many were outraged by the flagrant attack on Eich’s freedom of speech, livelihood, privacy and freedom of conscience.

OKCupid’s publicity stunt was a disgusting exercise in cynical populist bullying. I would boycott it except I would never go near such a site anyway, even if I were single.

Here is Rauch, again, commenting on the affair in the New York Times:

The online campaign that led to Brendan Eich’s resignation was intolerant and obnoxious. Also, stupid. But please don’t blame the gay community. Blame the people who did it and who do not represent or resemble mainstream gay America.

Two things are clear. One, a company is within its rights to dismiss a top executive who does not reflect its values or priorities. Two, activists are within their rights to criticize positions held by corporate executives. So what went wrong in the Mozilla/Eich case? A handful of hotheads forgot what the gay rights movement is fighting for: the embrace of diversity and the freedom for all Americans, gay and straight, to live publicly as who they truly are.

This is why the mainstream gay rights leadership supports free speech. L.G.B.T. people win when both we and our opponents can speak out. It is why most ordinary gay Americans want nothing to do with efforts to silence our adversaries. It is why Andrew Sullivan, a pioneer of the gay-marriage movement, was quick to say, “If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.” That is where gay America’s heart is, even if sometimes the hotheads are noisier.

Lest we forget, the campaign against Eich was not launched by gay rights groups. It was launched by an online dating company called OKCupid. Even OKCupid’s leaders had no plan other than to “raise awareness.” In other words, they were freelance activists engaging in moral grandstanding. Well intentioned? Maybe. Dumb? Assuredly. (Should we boycott every company whose leadership does not support gay marriage? Did these guys think for even 10 seconds?) But, whatever else this may have been, it was hardly the work of the “gay community.”

It’s a big country and there are intolerant and intemperate people on all sides of every issue. This won’t be the last time activists and publicity seekers call for the head of someone they don’t like. When gay-marriage opponents claim that a new reign of terror is abroad in the land, however, please remember that the large majority of gay and lesbian Americans share with the large majority of conservatives and Christians a desire to live and let live, and it is those large majorities that will prevail in our majoritarian country.

Brilliant and undeniably true. Time and again gay activists have shown tremendous integrity and consistency by coming to the moral and even legal defence of people who oppose their (e.g. Peter Tatchell supporting a man arrested for opposing gay marriage).

Rauch also mentions Andrew Sullivan, who I also read and admire. Sullivan was furious about Eich’s treatment at the hands of Mozilla, OKCupid and others.

“The guy who had the gall to express his First Amendment rights and favor Prop 8 in California by donating $1,000 has just been scalped by some gay activists. After an OKCupid decision to boycott Mozilla, the recently appointed Brendan Eich just resigned under pressure…Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.” – “The Hounding of a Heretic”

In a follow-up post

It turns out that Eich might have saved his job had he recanted, like all heretics must. But given the choice of recanting, he failed. Hence the lighting of the fires.

He did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell….what we’re talking about is the obvious and ugly intolerance of parts of the gay movement, who have reacted to years of being subjected to social obloquy by returning the favor

…It is also unbelievably stupid for the gay rights movement. You want to squander the real gains we have made by argument and engagement by becoming just as intolerant of others’ views as the Christianists? You’ve just found a great way to do this. It’s a bad, self-inflicted blow. And all of us will come to regret it.

The final post in the trilogy has the clincher

Of course Mozilla has the right to purge a CEO because of his incorrect political views. Of course Eich was not stripped of his First Amendment rights. I’d fight till my last breath for Mozilla to retain that right. What I’m concerned with is the substantive reason for purging him. When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance. If a socially conservative private entity fired someone because they discovered he had donated against Prop 8, how would you feel? It’s staggering to me that a minority long persecuted for holding unpopular views can now turn around and persecute others for the exact same reason. If we cannot live and work alongside people with whom we deeply disagree, we are finished as a liberal society.

..What if an employee went to a demonstration that his company found objectionable? Would that be a reason to fire him? What we have here is a social pressure to keep your beliefs deeply private for fear of retribution. We are enforcing another sort of closet on others.

…There is not a scintilla of evidence that he has ever discriminated against a single gay person at Mozilla; he was dedicated to continuing Mozilla’s inclusive policies; he was prepared to prove that the accusations against him were unfair, and that his political views would not affect his performance as CEO. But this was not enough. He had to be publicly punished for supporting a Proposition that is no longer in effect. This is absolutely McCarthyism from an increasingly McCarthyite left.

..There you have the illiberal mindset. Morality trumps freedom. Our opponents must be humiliated, ridiculed and “isolated as perverts”. I mean “bigots”, excuse me.

Orwell wept.

Let me finish off this monster post with a video of Jonathan Rauch last year.


Also see:

The Mozilla controversy suggests that the sexual revolution is getting ugly » Spectator Blogs

Free Speech Now! | ‘Everything should be open to question’ | Free speech | Interviews | USA | spiked

Against the tyranny of the majority by John Stuart Mill

‘Live by the light of your own reason’ by John Locke

Mozilla’s Gay-Marriage Purge – Bloomberg View

Mozilla and Brendan Eich’s resignation: Why don’t conservatives want to protect ordinary people from discrimination?

Corrosive Conformity – National Review

Mozilla CEO “resigns” after uproar over his opposition to gay marriage « Hot Air

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down –

Bill Maher: “There Is A Gay Mafia — If You Cross Them, You Do Get Whacked” | Video | RealClearPolitics

FAQ on CEO Resignation | The Mozilla Blog

Mozilla’s Gay-Marriage Litmus Test Violates Liberal Values – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

Why Gay-Marriage Opponents Should Not Be Treated Like Racists – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

After Eich resigns, conservatives slam Mozilla—and call for boycott | Ars Technica

MOBZILLA. The Purging of Brendan Eich – The Wilderness

Lesbian Author Tammy Bruce: Mozilla ‘Caved to the Gay Gestapo’ – Truth Revolt

The Ideology Of Totalitarian Humanism  – Radix


Ape and Essence

In was recently reminded of one of my favourite books from my late teens – Aldous Huxley’s “Ape and Essence” (1948).

Here are some quotes:

Vertical stripes, horizontal stripes, noughts and crosses, eagles and hammers. Mere arbitrary signs. But every reality to which a sign has been attached is thereby made subject to its sign. Goswami and Ali used to live in peace. But I got a flag, you got a flag, all Baboon-God’s children got flags; and because of the flags it immediately became right and proper for the one with the foreskin to disembowel the one without a foreskin, and for the circumcised to shoot the uncircumcised, rape his wife and roast his children over slow fires.

“Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him. “Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.” And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises out standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about.”

“The leech’s kiss, the squid’s embrace,
The prurient ape’s defiling touch:
And do you like the human race?
No, not much.


Everything2 entry on “Ape and Essence”

Avoiding Secularocity

The word religiosity means “excessively religious”. I would like to coin the term secularocity, a companion word that means “excessively secular”.

Now you might wonder why a secularist, agnostic and sceptic like myself is coining words that arguably have a negative connotation regarding secularism?

It is a good question, and I think the answer is balance. 

I have a theme – explored a bit in my post on The Orthosphere – about the role of religion in society (the beneficial role) and my dislike of radical atheism. 

Just like David Sloan Wilson and Alan De Botton,  I think that religion and religious thinking have contributed immense good to humanity. I think that religious thinking is inexorable or perhaps inalienable from the human mind, it is an emergent property of the way in which our brains evolved. I think religions have tremendous power to organise society, more often than not for the good. The author Aldous Huxley explores this very same in his book XXX about a post-nuclear California with the church is now entirely satanic but just as it was in the dark ages, it is the guardian of knowledge and in its own twisted way, civilisation.

As a non-theist I still have tremendous respect for my religious fellows. I genuinely enjoy watching and listening as moderate religious people address the important questions in life. 

Just as one should read newspapers that do not share your political outlook I think it is wise to expose oneself to philosophies and beliefs that I disagree with you or in which you do not believe.

I have absolutely no time for radicals and extremists, be they Islamists, the Christian far right or radical atheists.  I do however thoroughly enjoy hearing, seeing and talking to religious moderates.

My strongest religious sympathies lie with Buddhism. It is the least supernatural of the major religions, it is open to science and its practices like meditation are proven to be mentally and physically beneficial.

That said, the more I learn about religion and philosophy, the more I see that many of the distinctions are false distinctions.

Ultimately I am devoting of the perennial philosophy.

There seem to be threads of truth that bind all of these religions. Aldous Huxley again in his eponymous book “The Perennial Philosophy“, does a masterful job of showing the themes and essential truth as promulgated by the major religions are all pretty much identical. Even Norse mythology and African animist beliefs map against the perennial philosophy.

For any atheists, agnostics, non-theists or otherwise anti-religious people out there may I recommend some sources of religious thought and discussion where I think you might learn a lot from our religious brothers and sisters?






The Orthosphere

inside His cross
Inside his cross by Mon of the Loin (Creative Commons)

Even though I am not a believer myself I have a tremendous respect for religions and religious people. For example, I absolutely love the spiritually themed On Being radio show.

I have noticed an upsurge in interest on the theme of the “positives” of religion,  beyond those of faith and avoiding hell.

David Sloan Wilson, for example, has long argued that religion plays an important role in social organising and other eusocial matters. His book Darwin’s Cathedral was a fascinating exploration of this topic.

I recently heard an interview with Alan De Botton on the On Being radio show. He has an organisation called “school for atheists”. The idea is to take the very best of religion and make it available to the non-religious. I like this idea. I used to complain to my wife that I wished there were a secular church, somewhere I could go on a Sunday morning to sing hymns speak to like-minded people and enjoy all the benefits of a community of faith – but without the faith. My father, who was a lifelong atheist, used to regularly attend church because he loved the hymns and he loved the people who went to church, Even though he did not believe in the articles of faith or in god.

 Like father like son I suppose?

Maybe this is why I don’t like the militant atheists like Richard Dawkins. They fervour is as repulsive to me as the zeal of the religious bigot.  There is something frothy and unseemly about Mr Dawkins anti religious diatribes.

Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no time for religious bigotry in any form. But if you do give any year to religious folks, you will be very surprised to find that the vast majority have very well thought out positions that are consistent with having a considered life and, I suppose, faith.

 There is also something refreshing about the sincerity that I so often see in the writings and speaking from religious people. They make no apology for believing what they believe. There is a quality of knowing what you’re getting.  Okay this all sounds deeply patronising and in some ways obviously ludicrous. Perhaps I should modify what I’m saying to apply not to “religious people”, but to the religious people that I tend to encounter on my travels both across the Internet and in real life.

This post actually started out as an entirely different post. I was going to write about The Orthosphere, but that  was sidelined by my long-winded pean for  for the faithful.

What is the The Orthosphere?

Who We Are and What We Believe

Ortho: Right, correct, straight. As in orthodoxy (right teaching), orthogonal (literally, right-sided; thus, right angled; so, perpendicular, independent) and orthognomon (right knowledge, right indicator (as of a carpenter’s square or a sundial)).

Sphere: A domain, especially of influence. Thus,

Orthosphere: A domain of Christian orthodoxy independent of conventional conservatism.

We are Christians: Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox. We believe our religion is true, and we take the Bible and the Church Fathers as our guides to the faith. We do not innovate religiously, for that is folly.

We affirm our respective traditions where they disagree with the other branches of Christianity, but we do so respectfully, for we have much in common (catholic or mere Christianity) and our enterprise has as much to do with society as with religion.

Socio-politically, we can be called “traditionalist conservatives” or “Christian reactionaries.” Since we agree that Modernity—the fundamental principle of contemporary Western Civilization—is radically defective, we are branded “far-right.” In truth, we affirm what was regarded as self-evident by the vast majority of mankind until well into the Twentieth Century: Religion is true, authority is valid and good, man and woman differ in essential ways, and so on. If affirming reality puts us at the rightmost end of the political spectrum, as the world construes politics, then so be it.

We recognize that the societies of the West are radically disordered, and it is our desire that they move toward a more proper order, one which acknowledges Christianity. Although we are Christians, our primary concern here is not with how individual souls are to be saved from the wrath of God, but rather with how society ought to be ordered. Therefore both Christians and friendly non-Christians are welcome at the Orthosphere.

I cannot sign up to the belief in the Bible or many of the other things that members of this sphere believe, but I do follow this blog because I do believe that there is something valuable to learn from these traditionalists. I am a classic Western liberal who has spent his life fighting for, and arguing in support of, the Western Enlightenment  and all that it entails. I am a Democrat, I believe in women’s rights, I believe in gay rights,  I question all authority, I am a sceptic and doubter  to the point of disbelief in God. That said, I’m open to learning and challenging myself by listening to and reading what the authors here The Orthosphere has to offer.

More: The Orthosphere

The brute is dead

I am seldom happy to hear about someone being dead, but I am happy to hear that Mohamed Merah, terrorist , traitor and child murderer, is dead.

Just look at that ugly face. The grinning thug, now dead, attacked children. To purposefully murder children in cold blood is the worst of all crimes, although I would wish him dead for the killing of the soldiers too.

He shot a wounded little boy as he crawled away wounded from his dead father and brother.

This is one of the dead victims, 8 year old Miriam Monsonego:

The  held her by her hair to shoot her in the head:

Eight-year-old Myriam Monsonego clutched her satchel as the killer chased her through the school gates and into the courtyard. He pulled her towards him by her hair and raised a gun to shoot her.

The video footage appears to show that, at that moment, his gun jammed.

But determined to carry out his killing spree, he kept hold of the girl, changed weapons from what police identified as a 9-mm pistol to a .45 calibre weapon, and delivered a shot to her temple at point blank range. (Daily Telegraph)

I am glad he is dead, desperately sorry for the families and friends of the murdered, the latest victims of the despicable Islamist way of war.

I cannot image the pain of that mother. her husband and sons murdered, alone with her 10 month old baby.

Now round up  Merah’s accomplices and let them face justice now that the brute is dead.

"In my country, child rape is OK"

The horrors of the scandalous Child Rape and Multiculturalism story keep emerging, now though the criminal trials that have started. This is from today’s The Times (no link, behind paywall):

An alleged rapist and child pimp told a 15-year-old girl that he was doing nothing wrong by delivering her to numerous Pakistani men for sex because “in his country you’re allowed to have sex with girls from the age of 11”, a court heard yesterday. The 59-year-old man, who cannot be named, is one of 11 men accused of a series of sexual offences over a two-year period against young teenagers from Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

Five vulnerable girls, aged from 13 to 15, are said to have been groomed with gifts of alcohol, food and money by men whose aim was to use them for sex before sharing them with their friends and relatives.

…Despite speaking to detectives, the girl continued to be subjected to regular sexual abuse by a widening group of men. Her exploitation is finally said to have ended when she became pregnant five months later.

…In her 2008 interview, the slim teenager – her voice at times barely rising above a whisper – sat hunched forward, arms crossed protectively in front of her body as she gave a detailed account of her abuse. She said that pressure had repeatedly been placed on her to have sex with the man, his friends and once, “for a treat”, with his nephew.
…The court heard that he and other men subsequently had sex with her in cars, flats and houses. She was also taken to have sex with men in Oldham and Bradford. “He kept bringing people, making me have sex with them and then giving me money to keep my mouth shut,” she said.

She said that on one occasion, she told him that she was 15 and that he would “get done if I tell the police”.
“[He] was saying he won’t get done, because in his country he can have sex with girls from the age of 11.”

From “The Times”, “Alleged rapist “said under-age sex was allowed in his country”, 23rd Feb 2012

So there you have it.

This is the peril of uncontrolled immigration. All manner of savagery and barbaric practices and imported along with  immigrants from barbaric places. Politically Correct police and social services are too diffident to stand up to it. So the most vulnerable – children – end up being raped and exploited.

If ever multiculturalism’s wrongs were laid bare, this is it.

Tough questions for believers

Piet over at has posted a set of questions for believers.

These are brutal questions and a superb indictment of uncritical thinking.

I would love to see someone attempt to actually answer them all!

Nice work, Piet.

Here is the English translation:

Original Dutch here:

Lies about lying

On a recent series of flights to Las Vegas (18 hours in the air!) I finished Sam Harris’s new book “Lying“.

The book is a manifesto for truth-telling and as such reminds me of Brad Blandon’s classic “Radical Honesty“.

Both books argue persuasively that lying (“to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication”) is both morally wrong and deleterious.

Of the two books, Blandon’s is the more aggressive, but both insist that one must always be honest, even if it means apparent harm to others will come of it.

I do not have my cliff notes from Radical Honesty, but here are my clippings from Harris’ “Lying”:

“People lie so that others will form beliefs that are not true. The more consequential the beliefs—that is, the more a person’s well-being depends upon a correct understanding of the world—the more consequential the lie.”

“The intent to communicate honestly is the measure of truthfulness…It is in believing one thing while intending to communicate another that every lie is born.”

“Once one commits to telling the truth, one begins to notice how unusual it is to meet someone who shares this commitment. Honest people are a refuge: You know they mean what they say; you know they will not say one thing to your face and another behind your back; you know they will tell you when they think you have failed—and for this reason their praise cannot be mistaken for mere flattery.”

“Honesty is a gift we can give to others. It is also a source of power and an engine of simplicity. Knowing that we will attempt to tell the truth, whatever the circumstances, leaves us with little to prepare for. We can simply be ourselves.”

“It can take practice to feel comfortable with this way of being in the world—to cancel plans, decline invitations, critique others’ work, etc., all while being honest about what one is thinking and feeling. To do this is also to hold a mirror up to one’s life—because a commitment to telling the truth requires that one pay attention to what the truth is in every moment. What sort of person are you? How judgemental, self-interested, or petty have you become?”

“While we imagine that we tell certain lies out of compassion for others, it is rarely difficult to spot the damage we do in the process. By lying, we deny our friends access to reality—and their resulting ignorance often harms them in ways we did not anticipate. Our friends may act on our falsehoods, or fail to solve problems that could have been solved only on the basis of good information. Rather often, to lie is to infringe upon the freedom of those we care about.”

“False encouragement is a kind of theft: it steals time, energy, and motivation a person could put toward some other purpose.”

“A wasteland of embarrassment and social upheaval can be neatly avoided by following a single precept in life: Do not lie.”

“This is among the many corrosive effects of having unjust laws: They tempt peaceful and (otherwise) honest people to lie so as to avoid being punished for behavior that is ethically blameless.”

“What does it mean to have integrity? It means many things, of course, but one criterion is to avoid behavior that readily leads to shame or remorse. The ethical terrain here extends well beyond the question of honesty—but to truly have integrity, we must not feel the need to lie about our personal lives. To lie is to erect a boundary between the truth we are living and the perception others have of us. The temptation to do this is often born of an understanding that others will disapprove of our behavior.”

“Vulnerability comes in pretending to be someone you are not.”

“An unhappy truth of human psychology is probably also at work here, which makes it hard to abolish lies once they have escaped into the world: We seem to be predisposed to remember statements as true even after they have been disconfirmed.”

“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship. ”

“By lying, we deny others a view of the world as it is. Our dishonesty not only influences the choices they make, it often determines the choices they can make—and in ways we cannot always predict. Every lie is a direct assault upon the autonomy of those we lie to. And by lying to one person, we potentially spread falsehoods to many others—even to whole societies. We also force upon ourselves subsequent choices—to maintain the deception or not—that can complicate our lives. In this way, every lie haunts our future. There is no telling when or how it might collide with reality, requiring further maintenance. The truth never needs to be tended in this way. It can simply be reiterated.”

When I arrived back from Las Vegas, I was catching up with the fine reads on The Browser, and came across a great article on this very topic.

In a piece called, “7 Things Happen to You When You Are Completely Honest“, James Altucher explores the consequences of living a truthful life.

His advice is saner that Harris and Blandon.  He warns of the following consequences:


His advice is lovely though:

“My own personal motto is: honesty to a point. I will never harm anyone. I believe in what Buddha said to his son Rahula the day after he showed up after abandoning his son for 7 years:

before, during, and even AFTER you say something, make sure it doesn’t hurt anyone.

But even despite that rule, people will stop speaking to you because not every hurt you can control. Historical is hysterical for many people.”

In his final section, “#7 You become free”, he writes:

“At first we hug our boundaries in chains. We think “if we tell the girl we like her, she might not like me back”. We think, “If I say I like this candidate, my friends might hate me.” If I say X, everyone else might say Y. And so on. But more and more we start to feel where those boundaries are and we push them out. We push them further and further away from ourselves. Until finally they are so far away it’s as if they don’t exist at all. You don’t need money for that. Or a big house. Or a fancy degree or car. Every day, just push out those boundaries a little further.

We reach for that freedom. We never truly get there. We’re always striving to see how far they can go, just like a little child with her parents. But eventually, the boundaries are so far away we begin to feel the pleasures of true freedom.”

Finally, just tonight, I came across two stories in the Economist on the subject of lying and how technology can peek inside the mind.

The terrible truth: Technology can now see what people are thinking. Be afraid

Mind-goggling: It is now possible to scan someone’s brain and get a reasonable idea of what is going through his mind

Rules to Live By

Lovely et of rules by Buster Benson, creator of

# You must not dilly-dally.
# You must be your word.
# You must have good intentions.
# You must admit to being the maker of meaning.
# You must not feel sorry for yourself.
# You must have a vision that you are striving for.
# You must tie creativity and experimentation with survival.
# You must be the change you want to see.
# You must rally others with your vision.
# You must stake your reputation on your better self.
# You must be comfortable with the consequences of being who you are.
# You must share.
# You must make your own advice and take it.
# You must manage your stress, health, and clarity.
# You must study your mistakes.
# You must retry things you don’t like every once in a while.
# You must make time to enjoy things.

via Rules to live by « Scott Berkun