Saturday, October 20, 2012

Introduction to Know Stealing

1.1 Introduction

A people or nation that does not understand liberty cannot defend it.

I work late and rise early thinking about liberty, production and the nature of things. The stakes are high. Your time is valuable. Please permit me to be direct. We have been deceived, and I know how it was done.

The reader with an open mind, who actively questions everything including the ideas recorded here, will get the most out of Know Stealing. When you reach the last page, it is my hope that you will have demanded, and that I will have delivered, solid arguments capable of standing under scrutiny and pressure.

Consider the following brief statements:

We have problems that do not have to exist. They can be resolved.

Western civilization is crumbling financially at the level of the individual, the family, the business and the government. This is no small issue. Why is there a uniform worldwide collapse of economies?

We all know of some bad ideas that the other guy accepts. But it turns out that there are a few simple, important, highly destructive ideas which have been commonly accepted by most people for several hundred years. This confusion and error is causing us serious problems.

Certain commonly accepted ideas are measurably and objectively wrong. These ideas encourage destructive actions, which lead to bad outcomes.

Just like in a garden, we are reaping what we sow. It is time for us to clear away centuries of brush and debris, and it is definitely time to stop planting more bad seeds.

Consider these outcomes:

Job loss
Home foreclosure
Business bankruptcy
People have debt not savings
Retirements grow and disappear on paper
Big government
Government bankruptcy
Worldwide economic meltdown

The list goes on.

Ideas guide actions which have outcomes. Therefore, if society as a whole has common problems, then whatever ideas are commonly accepted about the world are suspect. There are several institutions that people claim are essential to modern civilization because of the good they do. It is true that there are institutions that do good work and have significant influence. However, if an institution is considered to be genuinely influential in society, then it must also be open to scrutiny and critical review.

In other words, how can a person say that institution A is all that is holding things together, and then suggest that the problems that exist are not the fault of the institution? Either the institution is weak and really not very influential, or the institution is influential and has a share in the blame for the global economic, moral and social wreck we are in.

There was a time when I would have argued against certain negative claims about my religion, my country, our marketplace and our government. But I knew something wasn't right, so I went on a journey of sorts to discover the truth about things.

Please accept the following short story as an allegory.


I once went on a journey seeking answers. After many years I found an old chest in a forgotten place that was overflowing with good things, including lost knowledge. I studied the contents carefully.

Once I understood the reality, cause and nature of the problems we face, I looked back to tell my friends what I had learned. But they were far away and there was a great wasteland between us. No matter how hard I tried, people could not understand, unless they were able to go back with me over rugged terrain to see what I had found.

What a strange predicament to be in. I loved my friends and people in general and I was sitting before a treasure that would benefit us all. In fact, the value to each individual is much greater if this treasure is shared.

But I couldn't tell people about it, I was too far away. I couldn't show them because the trip over the wasteland was too long and difficult. I had learned enough to understand what was happening in the world, but that is an altogether different thing from showing others. So I set my next goal.

I determined to learn how to effectively share a more complete understanding of the world with others. I set about building trails, roads and bridges. I started drawing maps for the journey. I labored until a dangerous, expensive, painful, fifteen year journey was turned into a few days of safe travel. That travel guide is in your hand.

Come with me. You will never see the world the same again.


So how does this trip begin? We need to look for common ground.

By training, our thinking is dangerously twisted so that we learn to perceive friends as enemies and enemies as friends. Our first step is to genuinely put all persons into one big category. Propaganda shouts about differences between people everyday. Is there anything that all people have in common?

Attributing Creation to God, the Bible states the obvious.

for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45b, NASB95)

We are all subject to a common enemy. For fifteen years I have studied to understand why American families and businesses are being pushed from savings and prosperity toward debt and loss. Besides the sun and rain, it turns out people have much more in common than many of us realize.

The course we are on as a nation is unsustainable. No great civilization expects to collapse, yet they all have. There are specific reasons for their collapse, which are discussed in these pages. The good news is that the powerful tools for restoring our individual wealth and prosperity are recorded here. The bad news is that the powerful tools for restoring our individual wealth and prosperity are not automatically clear and correct in the hearts and minds of people. In order to establish and maintain a free and prosperous society, each person must understand how the world actually works, and then teach others. Businessmen, pastors, politicians, professors, blue-collar, white-collar, young, old, wealthy, poor… We are all together deceived. I will prove this.

Understanding the simple idea that people depend on production is required to restore our liberty and personal wealth. When that idea settles in alongside a few others, a new and valuable framework of understanding comes into view.

The Bible verse above observes a simple fact about the world. The sun rises and the rain falls on every perspective, attitude and religion.

What if there is a small bit of common ground between all people, regardless of worldview?

For instance, I may not know you, but I still know the sun rises and the rain falls on you.

People have different religions, but religion should not be a test for public office, except from the voting booth where it should always be a test. Even though Romans 13 is often poorly translated and wrongly applied, it does state that a Christian must be subject to higher authorities, regardless of religion, political affiliation or worldview. At the same time, the power and actions of authority must be limited based on just law. Getting this basic relationship right in our thinking is essential.1

Perhaps there are other similar basics that can help restore our freedom. In fact, I am pleased to report that there are. I found these treasures by rejecting the false teaching commonly dressed in peer review, conventional wisdom and “it's always been that way.” For example, we all eat food and use things. Since food and things must be produced, we all have at least that in common. Oppressive power comes primarily from control of production. Power structures cannot exist without the labor and property of producers. A clear understanding of these and a few other essential ideas may forever change the way you perceive the world.

I hope those who already understand these ideas will find this a useful teaching tool. I am thankful for the centuries of great thinkers, writers and teachers who have produced more detailed work on liberty, production and wealth than any one person will ever exhaust. Even so, there may be important ideas here that are genuinely new to most people, regardless of education or worldview.

I labored to make this very basic writing as short as possible, while still being careful to cover essential ideas, so that these ideas can travel quickly. Restoring our liberty and prosperity depends on the speed with which these misplaced old ideas become commonplace again in our society. Every chapter has a purpose and role supporting that end.

One of the great challenges is engaging the audience. I want to engage the economist, scientist and pastor. I also want to engage the cattleman, mechanic and truck driver. I want to draw in the grandfather and his grandchildren. I am hopeful that these ideas will become the buzz in middle school, high school and college. I want mothers and daughters to be informed and encouraged.

In order to genuinely engage such a diverse audience, there must be a common denominator. One would think that an interesting common denominator that speaks to the educated man and the working man, as well as the young and the old would not exist. But it does.

In some ways I am uniquely qualified to present these ideas. You will see from my biography that I am at home with young and old, formally educated or not, grease and dirt or suit and tie, chewing the fat or presenting formal testimony. At every opportunity, I gladly advance the ideas of liberty and openly debate those who hold a different view, whether around the campfire or in the classroom, boardroom or in some public venue.

One of my challenges is to explain where we are wrong in our thinking without unnecessarily offending people. At the same time, I would debate any citizen, businessman, pastor, professor, teacher, leader, political activist, elected official or journalist on these ideas at any time, in any place. The bottom line is that our thinking is extremely mixed up and, in many important areas, just flat out wrong. The errors in our thinking and understanding are costing us our liberty, our homes, our jobs, our retirements and our children's future.

Liberty and prosperity are always at stake in every nation for every generation. Eventually bad decisions in the past force a generation to come to terms with the truth about what is necessary to sustain a free society. We are one of those generations. In our case, we can no longer naively depend on past production, new land, old-style immigration, industrialization, available cheap energy and paper wealth to maintain our standard of living.

We must learn how the world actually works.
We must learn to identify root causes.
We must learn how to defend our individual rights and personal property.
We must understand how power is developed and aggregated.
We must understand how nations are built and how they fall.
We must understand liberty, production, and the nature of things.

These pages contain keys to understanding which will enable a person to see through the errors that surround us daily. We have the power to overcome destructive ideas that exist in business, politics and religion.

My single objective is to share the very best of what I've learned with those who are willing to open their minds and think, in order to understand how to restore and preserve our great nation as a land of liberty and production. I welcome all challenges with regard to these ideas.

Of course the reader will find in these pages opinion, preference, analogy, anecdote, hyperbole, allegory and other literary devices which aid in conveying ideas and communicating meaning. When I claim that something is objectively true, it will be clearly stated as such.

The Bible is referenced as a guiding document for those to whom the book is Holy and as literature for others. Since Christian beliefs significantly impact the culture for both the Christian and non-Christian, understanding how the Bible influences society is useful for all. While there are significant sections which deal with typically misinterpreted Bible passages, the main case can be made using math, reason, logic and history. The Bible passages and teaching are necessary to help resolve certain problematic conflict in Christian teaching and thought.

The material in this book is powerful. It will teach a bold middle school student all that is necessary to debate and defeat a formally educated economist or an experienced politician. Imagine a magnificent skyscraper that is built on a lie. If a person, even a child, can show that the foundation is a lie, then the whole building has to be an illusion. Many things we believe are true are no more than illusions. Children who study the ideas presented in this book will have a better understanding of the world we live in than most successful and formally educated adults.

Sadly, we will discover that for the past 1600 years the Christian community has maintained at least one specific error in Christian thought which makes Christians largely responsible for the disaster we currently face as a nation. Amazingly I've been unable to find any person or literature that makes the specific case that you will read here. Neither have I met anyone who would even make the effort to present a reasoned argument against these claims. I'll be most appreciative if a reader can connect me with literature on any of these uncommon topics.2

The goal of this book is to restore sound thinking about liberty, production, and the nature of things so that a growing number of people may experience the blessings of liberty. In order to do that we have to cover a lot of ground without getting bogged down on any one point. This is a slow-starting, then faster-moving book of ideas which will point the interested reader to a wealth of literature which goes deeper into related theory and detail.

Liberty and prosperity are the prizes. So let's get started.

1Romans 13:1-7 is quoted and discussed in significant detail in the section on Authority.
2My argument here is multifaceted. First, these concepts are critical and basic which means they should be common knowledge. No search should be necessary. Second, I have physically and electronically searched many resources where these ideas should be present, and they are either not present, or at least not obvious enough for me to find. Third, I have asked many well educated people from various disciplines and have met no one who has been previously aware of these facts and ideas. Fourth, the commentaries and writing I have found include error which the information presented here illuminates as error.