Recently 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 didnt 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.
The American Religion is a fickle and false religion. Used to replace the ideologies we (a country of immigrants) escaped from with tenets that dont 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: Im 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. Thats it. Nothing more.
The Ten 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%. Thats how they make money and its one of the largest industries in the country.
- 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 cant move so quickly so that demand only goes up (you cant 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. Its 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. Theres 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:
- Statistically, theres no proof that smart, ambitious, aggressive people, wont 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. (dont quite me the stat about the differences in salaries between college grads and non-college grads because theres enormous selection bias in that stat and its like comparing apples and oranges right now).
- 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 Vietnam War.
- There are so many exciting alternatives to college. I list some of them here. Im 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 heads. A Nation of Sheep Best Price: $1.00 Buy New $3.99 (as of 04:45 EST - Details)
- One anecdote: the guy who caught Derek Jeters 3000th hit. He was a young man in the stadium. Hes 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 couldnt 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 couldve 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 couldve read in the bathroom at your local library. Youll have a better life. life is secure now. Yes, you are fully secured by the shackles they hand you on graduation day.
- [See, Living Life Is Better than Dying in College.]
#3 Holy Wars. Everyone argued with me in my post about Name me a war that was worth it. Apparently some wars are holy and cant be argued against. All I want is to prevent 18 year old kids from dying. Thats 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. Id 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 werent 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 wouldve 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 are.
No matter what the argument is: dont 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.
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#4 The US Constitution. Theres 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 hasnt 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. Im fine thank you.