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Circle of Competence Issue #113


"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." - Soren Kierkegaard



I love the practice of meditation. When I sit for long periods of silence, I have noticed my mind's ability to occasionally connect seemingly disparate ideas into a cohesive framework.

I was meditating and a thought occurred to me about how the varying responses to coronavirus, the riots surrounding George Floyd, and Elon Musk might all be connected.

Each of these is connected by a fundamental urge in humans - the desire for Freedom, one of the most fundamental forces of humanity.

There are two types: freedom from something, and freedom to something.

It is unfortunate that responses COVID became divided along political lines, but it was inevitable. Both sides desire freedom, but just don't see eye to eye about what that freedom is for.

Conservatives's response was driven by the desire for the freedom to come and go as they please, notwithstanding COVID-19.

Liberals's response was driven by the desire to remain free from the the virus and thus advocate a lockdown strategy.

News is made when approaches to freedom clash.

And what of the riots this week? What are they seeking? Freedom.

Freedom from oppression and freedom to be treated as equals.

Riots occur when freedom is stifled.

Elon Musk? What is his modus operandi? Freedom. The problems of SpaceX and Tesla are both driven by his quest for some form of freedom.

SpaceX's mission - advancing rocket science to allow cheap space flight, which will allow for the freedom to explore the universe unabated and freedom from the possibility of a mass extinction event on earth.

Tesla's mission - advancing the transformation from combustion engine powered transportation to all electric transportation - freedom from the negative effects of climate change.

Freedom is the engine that powers economic innovation, the fulcrum upon which rests virtue and vice, and the power of each individual to be, to the extent possible, sovereign over their life’s decisions given the hand they’ve been dealt.

News is made when freedom is fought over.

Riots occur when freedom is stifled.

Entrepreneurship occurs when freedom is grasped.

Let's not forget that this is what makes America truly great - the granting of, the protection of, and the grasping of freedom.

Monthly editions

Speaking of freedom, with the addition of my now 6 week old child, I have much less freedom on the personal hobby side of things (as every parent knows), so I'll be dialing back the weekly editions to a more-manageable once per month edition. It is my intention to do so in order to accomplish two things:

- Allows me to read more and therefore cultivate a better selection of pieces

- Allows me to write at more flexible times, and have more polished thoughts to share



Learning from Copart's Willis Johnson (Masters Invest)

The unusual ambitions of Chamath Palipitiya (Institutional Investor)

Five lessons from history - the psychological scars of COVID-19 (Absolute Return Partners)


Tradition is smarter than you are (Scholar's Stage)

The story of A.P. Giannini's founding of Bank of America (Jason Zweig)

Are there laws of history? (Aeon)

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