by James Altucher: 11
Unusual Methods for Being a GreatPublicSpeaker
If I stand
in the center of Times Square New York City and said something like
“Moses didn’t part the Red Sea” or “Jesus never
existed” everyone would just keep walking around me, ignoring
what I said, etc. Whatever, they would be thinking, I have things
to do, very important things that have to get done. And this guy
is clearly crazy so not worth my time.
But if I stood
there and said, “going to college is the worst sin you can
force your kids to commit”, or “you should never vote
again” or “World War II was not a holy war” or “never
own a home again”, I would probably be lynched on the spot.
Religion is a fickle and false religion. Used to replace the ideologies
we (a country of immigrants) escaped from with tenets that don’t
withstand the test of time. With random high priests lurking all
over the Internet, ready to pounce. Below are some of the tenets
of the American Religion. If you think there are more, list them
in the comments.
For me: I’m
not religious. I want to be happy. Every day I want to do
things that increase the odds of my happiness and quality of
life. Every day I want to do things that reduce
the obstacles to my happiness. That’s it. Nothing more.
Commandments of the American Religion
- So then
you owe the banks money for 30 years or more (after second, third,
fourth mortgages). The banks need to borrow from your checking
account at 0.5% and then lend right back to you at 8%. That’s
how they make money and its one of the largest industries in the
- So you are
not flexible as to where you can move. The job market is ruled
by supply and demand. Supply of jobs in an area is finite. So
they want to make sure you can’t move so quickly so that
demand only goes up (you can’t move and more and more people
hit the age of 18 or higher).
- Note that
many people equate owning a home with “having roots”.
Its as if owning a home connects you in some immortal way with
the 3 billion year old planet. Your roots are now connected to
it. It’s linking “home ownership” with the “fear
of death” that every religion attempts to assuage (through
“heaven”, “reincarnation”, etc).
- [See, Why
I would Rather Shoot Myself In the head than Ever Own a Home Again.]
#2 Go to
college. There’s the myth that going to college leads to
“a better life” or a “promised future”. Almost
like how the contract Abraham had with God would lead to Judaism
being a group of “chosen people”. A couple of points:
there’s no proof that smart, ambitious, aggressive people,
won’t benefit enormously from a five year head start against
their peers who choose to spend five years doing homework and
drinking beer and going to frat parties. (don’t quite me
the stat about the differences in salaries between college grads
and non-college grads because there’s enormous selection
bias in that stat and its like comparing apples and oranges right
- The government
needs to pay off $74 trillion in Social Security in the next 50
years. They have to make money somehow so student loan debt is
now higher than credit card debt for the first time in 50 years.
Imagine that, we send our young, fresh, children off to college
and then 5 years later (5 years is average time spent in college
by those who GRADUATE) they come out owing the government $100,000+.
Thank god the government gets to exploit our kids so they can
pay off the promises they made under Lyndon Johnson during the
- There are
so many exciting alternatives to college. I
list some of them here. I’m excited for my children,
because I hope they have experiences that will change their lives
forever rather than sending them into the rat race so they can
end up ignorant, in debt, and working at nonsense jobs so they
can pay off the gangsters who have guns pointed right at their
- One anecdote:
the guy who caught Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. He was a young
man in the stadium. He’s a salesclerk at Verizon. I have
nothing against that job. Anyone can do what they want. But he
also has $150,000 in student loans to pay back. Why couldn’t
he get a better job with his college degree? Why did he just give
Jeter his ball back. Jeter is going to make $100 million in the
next few years. This guy could’ve paid his loans back and
been free. Freedom
is everything. He wanted to be a “good guy”.
- The American
Religion needs you to be in debt. Needs you to pay hundreds of
thousands of dollars to read the same Plato you could’ve
read in the bathroom at your local library. “You’ll
have a better life”. “life is secure now”. Yes,
you are fully secured by the shackles they hand you on graduation
- [See, Living
Life Is Better than Dying in College.]
Wars. Everyone argued with me in my post about “Name
me a war that was worth it”. Apparently some wars are “holy”
and can’t be argued against. All I want is to prevent 18 year
old kids from dying. That’s the basis of my argument. We can
argue all the history we want after that. No matter what the war
is, I will never send my 18 year olds off to college. I’d rather
go in their place if there was a forced draft.
We can all
agree Vietnam was no good. Korea was probably no good. Iraq was
no good. But are other wars “holy” and justified. When
other countries (UK, for instance) released their slaves in 1833
we had to fight a war to release the slaves. And note that the slaves
weren’t released until 1862, when Lincoln, who could care less
about them, was afraid we were going to lose the Civil War, a war
fought over whether or not the North could still control the tariffs
of the Southern cotton when the Southern states seceded (as was
their right). And if we had never fought the Revolutionary War (a
war fought over Sam Adams’ taxes) Britain would’ve set
aside money to buy out all of the US slaves in 1833. Both wars were
senseless. And what about WW II? Time had Hitler as “Man
of the Year” in 1938. What a bunch of fools we were and still
No matter what
the argument is: don’t send 18 year old children to their death.
If you want to fight a war, go yourself and fight it, or be willing
to admit you would fight it at the age of 40.
#4 The US
Constitution. There’s no document more sacred (as it should
be) in the American Religion. And yet, just like the principles
of the Bible are often forgotten by its highest adherents, ditto
goes twice over for the US constitution. For instance, who has the
power to declare war? The House of Representatives according to
the Constitution. The House hasn’t declared war on anyone since
1941. The US Constitution is HOLY HOLY HOLY in the American Religion.
Until those moments when we break the rules. Then everyone looks
the other way. “We had to do it that way”, is the common
refrain. “To protect our way of life.” Someone is always
protecting me and my way of life. I’m fine thank you.
Because the American religion, unlike most religions, doesn’t
have a strict code of ethics giving to charity is often considered
the sign of a “good person”. A couple of points on that.
to charity costs money. So the best people in the American Religion
then are the ones who have the most money to give.
is more and more difficult for people who have to pay back student
loans and exorbitant home loans. Good luck volunteering when your
children need to be fed or when you are an indentured servant
thanks for your advanced learning in the ivory tower.
go over the math of every dollar you spend on charity. When you
give $100 to a major charity, most of that goes into the bank.
They then invest the money. On the interest they make on their
investments, a percentage of that money goes to actual charity,
another percentage goes to salaries. So for every dollar you give
to charity, about 2 cents a year, give or take, goes to the actual
charitable cause you wanted to support. Now lets break that down
even further. How
many charities have executives making over $500,000 a year. A
lot. And lets say it’s a medical charity. Now most of the
money is going towards drugs that costs billions of dollars to
approve. See the next point.
- [See my
Better Way to Donate to Charity.]