Licensed insurance agent W965746. National Producer #20666979. Presidential candidate 2016. Inventor. Entrepreneur. Philosopher. James has two grown children, cares for the disabled, and blogs in his spare time when he's not on the road helping families optimize their awesomeness.
I am am an independent life, accident and health insurance producing agent based in Florida, licensed in multiple states: Florida (W965746), Georgia (3650990), Virginia (1398323), Texas (3069623/3069636), Arizona (20666979) and California (pending). My license information and up-to-date certifications for continuing education requirements are included below for those who may need to check my credentials and eligibility.
I got into the life insurance business in my sixties after graduating from Arizona State University with a 4.0 average. My degree was in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Organizational Leadership and Philosophy. I already had a degree in Music Composition from the University of South Carolina that I’d earned in 1980 while on a springboard diving scholarship. And then after that I earned a theology degree, as well, after six years of study in two small colleges in South Florida – St. Vincent de Paul Seminary and St. Michael Academy, where I also served as an adjunct professor. I am a highly dedicated, very detail oriented person, who loves to teach and lead. JamesCarvin.com is a comprehensive web site that tells you more about me. Last year I completed Season One of my Awesomeology solo podcast. I’m currently looking for a co-host for Season Two. My motto is “Maximized Awesomeness.”
I am an Independent Broker with Multiple Carriers
The list of carriers below is not exhaustive. Family First Life is one of the largest private insurance brokers in the USA. My goal is to help you locate the ideal product for your personal qualifications and budget. Please note that I do not personally have contracts with every carrier. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it is largely repetitive and unnecessary. Secondly, some carriers are not as efficient at simplified underwriting and instant approvals as others. Thirdly, not all are highly rated. Service often matters as much as price and it won’t help if a company advertises a lower price if you don’t qualify because of their underwriting process. Also, you need to be on the lookout for renewable term policies that look like whole life but they’re not. Many come in the mail. Trust my experience. I will make good decision making easy for you.
Be aware that if you can find a product you qualify for for less, so long as the reputation and service are good, all things being equal, I will seek to contract with that carrier. You should also be aware that that rarely happens because I already have so many insurance carriers and products to choose from and that work has already been done. My goal is to save you hours of searching and to prevent you from getting endless phone calls from captive insurance agents who can only sell you one line of products. Keep in mind that the more online forms and mailers you fill out, the more you will get solicited. Let me be your final stop. I make it easy for my clients by providing expert guidance and by helping you shop for the right product for your qualifications and family’s needs. You can also set up an in-home or virtual consultation using the scheduler below.
What to Expect
While I am with you, whether in-home or virtually, allow me to review any current policies you have. I will not recommend any changes unless it will make a significant positive difference for you and I will disclose both the upside and downside of switching any policies you already have. In-home and virtual appointments usually consist of a brief budget and needs assessment, a few basic medical questions, a solution and identity verification, and a quick approval and application. Expect visits to take about fifteen minutes per policy. It is normal for me to underwrite a policy when I visit so expect to be fully cared for before I leave. Husbands and wives often require two and sometimes more.
How to Prepare
If you are married, be sure you are both present and attentive. I am sometimes a few minutes early and other times run late. If I’m more than thirty minutes behind helping a family before you, I will call or text to reschedule. There are several things you should have ready for our visit.
Any policies you think I should review. (If you can’t remember who you are insured with, check your bank statement because you are probably paying them every month). If you don’t have the policy, ask them to mail you a copy. They should do this for free. And you should ask for as many copies as you have beneficiaries so everyone has one.
Work policies are sometimes tricky. People often think they have life insurance policies through their employer but it is something else. If you have a copy of your employer’s policy, it should be about thirty to sixty pages long. Otherwise, you probably only have a certificate, which means you don’t actually own the policy. Policy ownership would mean that you have control over it. And if it is a whole life policy, you would be able to borrow on the policy’s cash value. Otherwise, it is a term policy. When I assess your family’s needs, I will help guide you through whether a term policy is best suited for you. Often it is best to have both a whole life and a term policy. The important thing is that you know what your goals are and you know what you have. I will quickly help you assess this.
Be sure you are ready to apply. You may not need a check book, but you will probably need your account number so you can pay your monthly premiums through EFT and if you have a separate account from your spouse and both enroll in a program, you’ll need both sets of numbers.
Have other identification and contact information ready, including your drivers licenses and social security numbers. The social security number will be needed to check your medical history through the Medical Information Bureau as part of the simplified underwriting process and is subject to HIPPA portability laws.
One of the conveniences of in-home visits is the fact that you have your prescriptions right in your medicine cabinet. I will need to know what the insured (you or your husband) takes, how long they’ve been taking it and what conditions they have that require it so I can match them only with programs that won’t disqualify them because they take them.
Think about who you want as beneficiaries and what sort of policies you might like before I arrive, but please be open minded as I might have some very good ideas too. Typically, I’ll write one policy for a husband with the wife as the beneficiary and one policy for the wife with the husband as the beneficiary, and when there are children, the children are usually listed as contingent beneficiaries each receiving a portion based on how many children you have. You can also list grandchildren and many people also want to leave some portion of their benefits to their favorite charities when they pass, as well. This is something you should discuss with your spouse and be in agreement on, at least to some extent, before I arrive. Keep in mind that insurance benefits are tax free and creditors won’t have any claim on them.
Work on your budget. If you buy more insurance than you can afford, everything will fail because your policy will lapse. Typically insurance policies are one of the first household expenses people decide to trim. As soon as people go through some financial stress or get tempted to buy something they really want, they convince themselves they can get insurance any time later. Not only is that not always true, but it is often more expensive too. What’s more, if that happens, then any money they’ve put in so far will be wasted and we’ll have all wasted our time together. I don’t want that to happen. That’s why it’s so important to start every meeting with a budget assessment. So, perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare for my visit is to get your budget started.
Okay. Now that you know what to expect, let’s set aside some time. You can easily book or cancel and reschedule using the form below. I won’t typically answer my phone while I’m visiting families, which is what I’m normally doing all week long, because I’m giving my undivided attention to the people I’m helping, but I do check my schedule between visits. So, I’ve found that the best way to reach me while I’m on the road is either online or by text. Are you ready to get started?
Choose a date and time when both you and your spouse will be present.
Begin by tapping on one of the dates below.
Fill out the form completely.
This online booking tool only extends for one week. People tend to forget I’m coming if I book more than a week in advance. If the time you want isn’t available or you need to schedule your visit more than a week from today, send me a text. More often than not, I can work something out.
You can send your texts to the phone number on the business card below. If you do attempt to schedule by text, be sure to include all of the information requested on the scheduling form. In other words …
What your Goals Are
If you have a gate code, apartment number, dogs, parking instructions, hard place to find, etc.
That you’ll be prepared with the prep list above.
You can also send all that info in an email, but you must book the appointment by text. Otherwise, it may get lost in my junk mail.
Choose a date and time when both you and your spouse will be present.
Begin by tapping on one of the dates below.
Fill out the form completely.
NOTE: If you are NOT seeking Medicare or Medicare options such as supplementary insurance or Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or equivalent, do NOT check the Medicare Disclaimer on the Scheduling tool. The disclaimer says, BY PROVIDING THE INFORMATION ABOVE, I GRANT PERMISSION FOR A LICENSED INSURANCE AGENT TO CONTACT ME REGARDING MY MEDICARE OPTIONS INCLUDING MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT, MEDICARE ADVANTAGE, AND PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLANS. Medicare and Medicare options constitute a portion of my business but not all of it.Therefore, this disclaimer is required by law. However, many and perhaps most of the families I help are looking for other types of products, such as life insurance, annuities, group insurance or health insurance and drug plans that don't require Medicare qualifications, limitations and restrictions. Do NOT check off the Medicare Disclaimer field if you are NOT looking for information about Medicare plans, Medicare Supplementary plans, Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Prescription Drug plans or options. If you DO check this option, all calls will be recorded and stored for up to ten years, as required by law. You will then receive a text or email asking you to complete a separate Scope of Appointment Form, which will describe the exact purpose of the following appointment, as required by Medicare marketing and compliance regulations. This option is unchecked by default. You do not have to complete a Scope of Appointment Form unless you are inquiring about a Medicare program or options.If you aren't, then just schedule a regular unrecorded in-home consultation by following the prompts.
While my Medicare consultations are all virtual, I prefer in-home consultations whenever possible. I can also help over the phone or use Zoom for any type of service. For every in-home consultation, the purpose of the visit is threefold:
Determine your needs and prequalifications to determine the optimal solution.
Get you approved.
To apply, you will need the following five items:
A list of your prescriptions and a summary of when you started/stopped taking each one.
A summary of your health issues including when you experienced these conditions and when the most recent occurences were. (No medical exam, blood or lab tests will be required for policies under $500,000).
Your bank account number to pay your premiums with. (Some carriers accept credit cards and social security cards, while others only accept electronic funds transfers.
Social security numbers, dates of birth and contact information for all policy owners, beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries.
Your drivers license or ID.
Be sure to have this information ready at the time of your appointment. I can’t help you without it.
Your Existing Policies
If you have access to your existing policies, please have these ready to review when I arrive so we can determine whether you should keep, cancel or modify them. If you do not know which carrier your policies are with or what your current premiums are, check your bank statements. If you are not making payments monthly, you probably don’t have a policy. If you don’t have a copy of your policy, show me the phone number on the bank statement where you are making your payment when I arrive. I will make sure that both you and your beneficiaries have a copy of all of your policies before I leave. If a policy is with an employer, you probably do not have a policy since you don’t own it. Instead, you may have a certificate. Employer insurance policies often offer far less than what employees assume they do. The same is also the case with PreNeeds policies, renewable term policies, graded policies. I will discuss this with you when I arrive.
All in-home consultations must be in the greater Tallahassee, Florida region, where I live, or possibly Southern Georgia, where I’m also licensed. If you live outside of the Big Bend region or far from town, I prefer to help you by Zoom rather than by phone, so I can see you and you can show me your ID. I also prefer to see the faces of the people I help. Visit my Licenses & Certifications page to see which states I am authorized to serve families in.
Be aware that I am not licensed in every state and not every carrier offers the same products in every state. However, if you are not a Florida resident, in most cases I can still help you. Be sure to let me know what state you are an official resident of before booking your session with me, so I can prepare for our meeting in advance. Otherwise, I will assume that the address you list is the address of your official residence. Florida residency requires that you generally live at your address for 180 days out of the year or more. A Florida drivers license is normally sufficient to establish that you are a resident. If I am not licensed in your state, please let me know where you are. I am always interested in expanding and need to monitor demand.
Arranging a Consultation through Zoom
If you live outside of Tallahassee or the immediate region and I am licensed in your state, I can help you through Zoom. Be prepared for your session with all of the information listed above. For virtual applications, whether by Zoom or telephone, some signature verification by text or email may be required. If you are married, your spouse will have to join our meeting. Make sure they are available before you choose a time. Tap on one of the dates below, choose a time and answer all questions completely. Please note the Medicare Disclaimer above before completing.
Arranging our Consultation over the Phone
If you don’t have Zoom, I can help over the phone. This may involve a two call process, depending on the carrier and program. Each carrier has its own application procedures. Rule number one is be patient. Sometimes, I can help in just minutes, but other times, it will take twenty or thirty – and if you need multiple policies, and from more than one carrier, which is often the case, then we will need more time than a single session normally allows, so I’ve set phone appointments to fifty minutes instead of the usual thirty. I know everybody on the Internet these days wants instant gratification. Be patient. To book a consultation over the phone, click on a date below and choose a time when you and your spouse can both talk. Also, please note the Medicare Disclaimer above before completing. If you are inquiring about Medicare or Medicare options, the process will require some additional steps. Otherwise, simply proceed.
Every Monday and Thursday I spend all day booking appointments to help families with their life and final expenses. I like to meet families face-to-face when I can. It helps me know who I’m helping. I literally love helping people. It gives me a sense of purpose. And I love the way people think about the people they love. It renews my faith in humanity. But a lot of people won’t let me help them because they are confused. This is a very serious problem. So, today I’m going to clear up this confusion by addressing the twelve most common erroneous assumptions people make about me when I call to book an appointment, almost always hurting those they care about in the process.
Look at the list below. Click on the myth that describes your last conversation with a life insurance broker like me. It will show you what we were thinking when you told us you didn’t want our business and hung up …
Watch the video below that fits. And then if you want to become a quick expert on life and final expense insurance, watch the rest. When you’re ready to do business, fill out the form at the bottom of this page to book an appointment. Then after I’ve helped you, join in the fun and satisfaction I get out of all this by sharing this page with your friends. 🙂
Myth #1 – I am a telemarketer.
If I am calling you, there is only one reason I’m doing it. You requested information. I don’t make cold calls. Now to be sure, depending on how the request came in, there may be more than one agent who follows up on it, but more often than not, people looking to protect their loved ones will make the mistake of submitting multiple inquiries while it is on their mind. That can trigger a flurry of never-ending phone calls. Even if you just filled out one online form to the wrong place, many agents will call, rather than one. And the problem just begins there. Something that makes me even angrier is that social media, Google, and other generic sources, will often sell “leads.” In fact, big data, as it is called, is even known to resell the same leads to multiple buyers.
So here is my reality. I don’t ever know when any of that has happened when I call. If you’ve received too many calls, then you’ll hang up on me, thinking I’m a telemarketer. At that point, I can pretty much guess the reason, but by then it’s too late. Of course, I can totally relate. I hate to get sales calls too. It drives me bananas. I don’t blame you for hanging up, or even cussing me out in the process. What does bother me most though, is that I’m not helping someone. I happen to know that more often than not, people actually do need my help. They just don’t know it. And when they hang up on me, I’m not given the chance to help them.
While some people are natural-born salesman, I am not. I stutter when I speak. And the older I get, the more pauses there are as I search for words. Plus, I have ADHD and easily move off topic. I’m the opposite of a smooth talker and I’m no extrovert. If I make a video, I’ll have to edit it a lot just to speed it up to a normal pace and remove the ands and ums. I can also write. At least I can do that. I know this about myself. That’s why when I graduated from ASU and started to get offers from Insurance companies, I didn’t apply. I knew they needed smooth talkers to push their one-size-fits-all products onto people that those products might not be best suited for.
It seemed both better suited to my own personality and to my sense of ethics, to be in the business of helping people find what they needed, rather than to convince them they needed what I happened to sell.
You should know how this works. I am in business for myself. I’m an independent agent who works with dozens of companies that each has many products. Most agents work for insurance companies as employees. Those agents are very limited in what they can offer you and they have to sell one-size-fits all policies. Very typically, those policies will not be in your family’s best interest. Me, I make a great teacher. I prefer to help someone shop and make the best decision. My role is that of a consultant. I save you time because I can connect you to the products that will help you the most within your budget. If you ultimately are able to find an insurance product that gives you more coverage, or the same coverage for a lower price than I can find you, I will thank you for finding that for me and seek out that company so I can contract with them to provide that product to any future clients I have that fit your profile. But that rarely happens because I’m plugged into a very sophisticated system that has already done most of that work for you. I already have contracts with all the best A-rated carriers.
Look. Let’s be realistic. I’m here to help people – not waste my time or yours. If a letter doesn’t have a first class stamp in my house, it’s going into my trash. How about you? And if it’s going to my email, I’m probably going to delete it. How much of your junk email do you read?
But even if that wasn’t the case … even if you did read it, what would I send you? I need to know what you need first. And I need to know what you qualify for. Otherwise, you’ll be shopping for something you can never have. Do you want a multi-million dollar mansion? So do I, but if I don’t qualify for it, I won’t waste my time, or my realtor’s, trying to buy it. That realtor is going to prequalify me. Until I’m prequalified, they won’t even talk to me. So, ask yourself this question: how much time and effort does getting prequalified to buy a home take you? You have to supply bank statements. Don’t you? You have to have a credit look up. Right? That means you have to give them your social security number and your bank account info. Doesn’t it? Yes, it does. And you’ll need to verify your identity with something, probably a driver’s license. I’m going to need certain information too.
It won’t be quite as detailed as buying a home, but I can’t give you a quote without knowing what you qualify for. You should be aware that that’s going to happen no matter where you go for insurance. If you do get a quote without that information, there will be a catch. I’ve warned you. Beware. I do want to give you a quote, but I’m going to have to prequalify you first. That should take about ten or fifteen minutes. Most of the information you need, like what prescriptions you take, will be at your home. That’s one of the reasons I prefer in-home appointments. Sound fair?
By the time I reach you, it’s always possible that you’ve already bought insurance, but when I’m calling back about the information you’ve requested and you tell me you’re not interested, I’m going to think that either you tried to get insurance somewhere but weren’t qualified, or that you did qualify but it was too expensive, maybe somebody already came over to help you, or maybe you bought something you found in the mail. I’m not going to think you weren’t interested. That would mean you didn’t care about your family and at some point you were asking about benefits for them. I’m assuming you just don’t want to talk about it.
So, put yourself in my shoes for a moment. When you tell me you are not interested, expect me to ask you why you changed your mind. And if you do give me time to ask you that before hanging up, please try to understand why I’m asking. I’m asking because I care. And I care because I know that in every one of the most likely explanations I just mentioned, it’s most probable that you could have made a better decision. What’s more, if you would just give me the time, I would be able to show you how to correct it. And that could make a huge difference both for you and for those you love. The most common underlying reason is that you already took care of it and just don’t want to talk.
Caring for those you love is something you maintain and double-check. It’s not something you don’t periodically review, and I want you to really think about this. If you had a child who was sick, you would take them to the doctor. And if the doctor gave you a certain drug you had never heard of before, would you trust them? Or would you trust your friend who used home remedies? Even if you had a doctor, if your child was about to die and needed surgery or some difficult treatment, wouldn’t you seek a second opinion? Of course you would. You haven’t taken care of your child if you haven’t consulted a licensed professional. And even if you have, you haven’t taken care of them without a second opinion. You allow your doctor to revise your prescriptions. Allow a licensed independent agent to review your policies. You are not truly taking care of your family if you don’t. So, you haven’t really taken care of it.
Now these days, a lot of people go to Google to learn a lot of things and people self-prescribe the right thing more often than they used to. And that’s a good thing often enough, especially for those who avoid doctors because of medical bills. But second opinions from independent life insurance agents cost you nothing. An agent like me will check your policies without charge because more often than not we will be able to make a significant improvement over your current policy – either qualifying you, when you couldn’t qualify before, or getting you more coverage for the same price, or perhaps the same coverage at a significantly lower price.
And it involves much more than mere price. It also involves misunderstanding. Check through the other myths I’ve singled out here. For those who’ve already purchased insurance policies, it is very common for people to think they have more coverage than they actually do, or to think that a policy is much cheaper than it actually is. Be sure to watch all of the myth busting videos on this page and see for yourself what I mean. Even if you have already taken care of it, then share this page with a friend who probably hasn’t. Even if you’ve truly taken care of your family, have you cared for your friends? Share this with them.
Employers contribute to health care plans and sometimes offer life insurance policies as a benefit, in addition to retirement plans. However, there are several things you should be aware of before relying on an employer’s insurance plan for either your health or to protect your loved ones when you pass away or if you become disabled.
First, be sure your company’s life insurance is not “key employee” insurance. Key employee insurance is not a policy for you or your family as a beneficiary. It is a policy taken out on you with the employer as the beneficiary. It keeps a business running when a key employee dies. It does nothing to help the employee’s family at all in the event of their death.
Second, only a handful of employers anywhere offer individual policies for their employees. Most often, if they offer life insurance at all, they will offer group term policies that will lapse when an employee is no longer able to work, which is unfortunately typical if an employee suffers from a long term illness. It is very tragic, but when an employee gets a fatal disease and is unable to return to work for a given period of time, usually just thirty days, they may be able to extend their health benefits if they personally contribute to a COBRA policy, but the life policy will not be offered without a health examination. Of course, no one with a terminal illness will qualify for a life insurance policy. Unless your employer is offering a whole life policy that is portable, your employer’s life insurance policy will be of no value to your family.
Third, you should own your own policy. Even if your employer was providing you with fully portable whole life policies, they could still decide to cancel every policy every employee had at any time, all in one group fell-swoop. If its going through an aggressive hiring phase, an employer might over-buy benefits to attract new employees. But if it is going through a lay-off phase, it will typically choose to trim benefits rather than lay off employees. Your family matters too much for that sort of risk.
The bottom line is that you should own your own policy – not rely on an employer’s policy. Statistically, only 2% of employer policies pay out as employees expect them to. So, when I hear someone on the phone tell me their employer offers a policy, I cringe. How can I explain all this before they hang up? It’s hard to know where to begin. That’s one of the reasons I prefer to discuss this at someone’s home rather than over the phone. At your house, I can look through your employer’s policy with you. I can check every policy you have with you. Think of me as a doctor giving you a check up. You are not the professional. I am the professional. Google is great, but it doesn’t have a license. I am the one who studies this round the clock so I can protect you.
Typically, a person will choose to prepay a funeral home or crematory when they’ve discovered the hard way that final expenses can be a huge burden on a family mourning a loss. This motive is a really good one. You don’t want the same thing to happen to those who survive you as what happened to your family when someone you love passed away. But to be frank, it’s not as good of a solution as final expense insurance. And its not hard to understand why. So think about how all this works.
When you prepay for your funeral, your plot, your casket, the burial service, maybe a ceremony with a pastor followed by a luncheon, your cost will be something a little greater than the cost of a luxury car, even if you try to trim expenses through cremation, assuming cremation is allowed according to your faith tradition. And like the cost of cars, the cost of funerary services and items for sale keeps increasing year after year, often out-pacing inflation. So, when you pay for all of this ahead of time, you are thinking you are skirting inflation and solving the problem by removing a huge burden from your family. You are sending them one last message that says you thought about them. You told them you loved them one last time. It is such a beautiful gift. And it gives you peace knowing you’ve taken care of it.
The problem is that unless you pay for the whole thing in advance with cash, you will be making payments to the funeral home, and until you have paid them in full, the remainder of the cost will be imposed on those who survive you. Funeral plots have deeds and like any real estate, deeds are subjecty to liens. And the truth is, most funeral homes won’t do anything for your family at all, unless the bill is paid in full. There will be a lien on that property untill all bills are paid. So, you may just have created a problem rather than solved one.
Contrast this with final expense insurance. With final expense insurance, you get the full amount of a policy from day one. It doesn’t have to be paid in full. If you have an accident and die tomorrow, all of your final expenses will be covered. Whereas, when you prepay a funeral home, unless there is a clause in your contract stating otherwise, any credit you have paid in advance to the funeral home, they get to keep. Just like a bank, they can foreclose on your property when you don’t pay. So, if your family can’t pay the balance, that’s their problem. This is so tragic. I hate to have to explain this but this is what it looks like. Whereas you thought you picked out your final resting place, your body, or cremains, can easily wind up spread out over a lake or under a tree somewhere. Who knows, but it won’t be where you thought. And more importantly, the ones you love will be anything but relieved with that arrangement. I hate to be frank about these things but it is important. You do not want them to be upset with you after you are dead for mishandling what you’ve left them with.
Now all this begs a question: what if you’ve been paying a funeral home in advance, hoping to care for your family, but now you realize this whole arrangement may have been a huge mistake? I know I’ve painted a very bleak picture here, but there’s good news. Don’t worry about it. All you have to do to fix this is take out a final expense policy. Keep paying the funeral home. You’re on the right track. The policy will pay the remaining expenses owed to the funeral home in the event of your death, plus whatever more you decide to bless your family with. Problem solved. You’re going to need me for that, of course. So please don’t hang up on me or close your door telling me you’ve taken care of your final expenses, when all you’ve done is start prepaying a mortuary. Good for you. Now let’s really protect your family.
Seeing the basic problem I just addressed in Myth #7, the Funerary business came up with a sort of insurance policy that would pay out the full amount of the cost of Funeral expenses known as “PreNeed.” PreNeed policies are a step in the right direction, but they are far from ideal. Yes, they do pay out the full face amount of a policy so long as you pay your premiums. But that’s where the benefit ends. And they’re not what you might expect.
For one thing, suppose you have a PreNeed policy for $10,000 that you take out when you are sixty five years old and you pay a $100/month. That’s $1,200/year. So by the time your seventy three, you’ll have paid in the full amount of the policy. So, what will happen if you live to eighty? Well, you’ll have to keep paying $100/month to keep your policy or you will have nothing at all, even though you’ve paid in $10,000. By the time you’re eighty, you will have paid in about $19,000 for your $10,000 policy. Do you see what a bad net outcome that is? And that’s just one problem…
A possibly even greater problem is that PreNeeds policies from funeral homes don’t assign the family as the beneficiary – at all. The funeral home is the beneficiary. Think about that. So, what that means is that the funeral home is going to upcharge all it can, while it scrimps on as many of its costs as possible, so that it gets 100% of the face amount of the policy with a minimal expenditure and maximum net profit – even if that happens when you’ve paid more than the policy’s face amount, like I just showed you.
So, let’s be realistic here. Businesses are in businesses for profit – even businesses that serve families in their time of grief. By paying a business a set amount, the business is most likely to trim its costs and upsell more and more services as necessary, to retain all it can of the face value that the insurance offers. You’ve seen health care companies jack up prices to do this. The funerary business is no different. Once you contract with the company and have an insurance policy that will pay a set amount, free market competition is no longer a factor. A competitive market place is what serves the public, driving down prices. And once the funeral home is chosen as the beneficiary, the family can’t exactly take their business elsewhere.
Now to be sure, there are some laws regulating funerary contracts. Some are irrevocable and fall under planning laws, depending on your state, and those laws may require expense planning to avoid the exploitation of consumers this way. Revocable contracts, on the other hand, may allow you up to a 90% refund at any time during the contract. The upshot of all this is that it may be worthwhile to switch from a PreNeeds contract to a whole life policy for a number of reasons. Certainly, you should weigh it out. For one thing, whole life policies normally assign the family as the beneficiary, not the funeral home and give the family the liberty to spend proceeds as they see fit. This may involve the cost of airfare and other expenses such as time off work, that are often overlooked, and definitely not covered in PreNeeds contracts. Always keep in mind that any monies left over after final expenses are paid, are not subject to probate or taxation. They are gifts to those you love. That’s why life insurance policies are the ideal way to bequeeth savings.
As true as it may be that the older you are the more expensive final expense benefits become, I should let you know that there is at least one A-rated carrier that covers those up to age 89. You might also want to consider that when you are that old, you are likely to not pay premiums for as many years as someone who is much younger, so your total cost may not be that much higher than your younger peers would pay after all.
I also know which carriers offer the best coverage for those with serious health problems, including cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, kidney problems and so on – you name it. Typically, these will be graded policies, which means you won’t get the full face amount of the policy until the third year, but as graded and modified policies go, I know how to find you the best value. The first thing I should say about this is to look closely at the terms. Most graded policies offer something called a 10% return of premium. This means you are offered a benefit of 10% of the total premium you pay during the first two or three years on a policy. Compare that to a savings account. Where can you get 10% guaranteed interest on a savings account? Nowhere. And show me a savings account that suddenly pops up in value in the third year to tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a no brainer investment. I’m a specialist in finding you these.
That’s good news, but it gets even better. Modified policies, with the right companies, pay even more even faster. As long as you pay your premiums, the value of your policy will jump up from year to year. So for instance, if you’ve got a $30,000 policy that pays 30% of the value after the first year, 70% after the second year and 100% of the value after the third year, your family would receive much more than their return of premium plus 10% back, as they might get with a graded policy. For example, if you passed away in month 15 and the policy paid out 30%, that would be $9,000 to your family. If your premium had been $100, you would have only paid in $1,500 at that point. That’s much more than 10%. It’s 600%.
I’m not going to say that I can qualify every single person for all the insurance they want. But I am going to say that in over 99% of cases, it is going to be a myth to say you don’t qualify at all, and I can get more people qualified than most other agents can due to the large number of carriers I can call on. Therefore, you probably will qualify – maybe not for a million dollar policy, but for enough to help your family out when you pass, having done what you could. If your family wants more than the best you can do, then please give the money to me instead. They are ungrateful and I wouldn’t be. I can think of all sorts of charities I would rather give that money to.
Okay. I’m kidding. Give the money to your family. But do be realistic. I’m here to help you. I don’t want to waste my time. And I don’t want to waste your time. I’m happy to help you do what I can.
This is probably my favorite complaint. When people say they don’t have the money for life insurance, it tells me they are responsible people who have priorities. They may value a policy, but they are figthing the good fight of daily life, quite possibly living from paycheck to paycheck, as they start to see inflation get the better of them and defeat them in the rat race. As they seek to trim expenses wherever they can, to stay within their monthly budget, especially husbands and wives, they see a final expense policy as something they might be able to put off until some later date when they can finally get a break in life … some good news, maybe a new job, maybe some windfall like winning the lottery or being the beneficiary in some lawsuit.
I do deeply appreciate that thought because I’ve experienced that thinking myself. But it overlooks the fact that the cost of insurance is never lower than what it is today. Year by year two things happen. #1 – Our age increases, bringing us closer to our last day on Earth. And #2 – we start losing our great health. Both of these factors chip in to increase the cost of life insurance at a later age. And for couples, the chances of bad news are doubled. Typically an income will disappear. Who will pay the bills when they are gone? How long will it take to make an adjustment to living arrangements? Will a bank foreclose on your house so the surviving spouse loses their hard earned equity?
Think ahead and keep in mind that younger people qualify for better policies that older people can’t get – and they’re cheaper. Many of these policies offer cash back options too. Whole life insurance, in particular, is easy to borrow on. Its cash value can be used to collateralize loans, maybe buy a house so you don’t have to pay rent any more. Other policies serve to force savings you wouldn’t have the discipline to lay aside otherwise. And if a person is older, there are many policies that offer living benefits. This means that if the policy amount is needed early for things like chronic or fatal illnesses or assisted living, the policy will cover those expenses. It saves your family from paying for your medical expenses when you get old. And that’s as much of a final “I love you” as paying for a funeral expense. It may be something you all want.
We all do what we can. But if you really want to have value, where you don’t have to compromise in the end, start early. When you are young, you may think that you can’t afford it. Just be aware that I can show you policies that allow you to build up incredible cash value. Ask me about IULs. Not only do they build up cash value, but they are indexed to stock values in such a way that if indexes like Standard and Poors go up, they go up with it, but if the S&P goes down, they hold at 0%. Amazing, and you can borrow from them at very low interest rates. You might just discover that the whole policy has a net zero cost.
Finally, you should consider accidental death benefits. The number one cause of death among young people is accidents. The younger you are the truer this is. Among teens – accidents account for almost half of all deaths. The nice thing about accident insurance is that only dare devils and people who die committing federal crimes don’t qualify for it, and it’s the cheapest insurance there is. Even if a younger person just puts in a few dollars a month into a policy, they can make a huge difference to their families when they die. Minors are typically covered with a few extra dollars added to an adult’s policy too. Always ask about children and grandchildren riders on your policy. Some of those riders offer options to continue insurance as separate policies when the child gets older. And that gives them even more value.
A lot of people think they have insurance they don’t really have. It’s very common and here are the main reasons why. To start with, ten thousand Americans turn sixty-five years old every day, which means suddenly they can officially collect social security. They are on a fixed income for the first time in their life. The banks know it. Direct mailers know it. And they know that everyone needs to make a plan for their final days so these people are top targets. What senior citizen hasn’t filled out a few forms in response to this? Mailer after mailer will offer policies for pennies. A lot of citizens get tired of thinking it’s too good to be true. Even your local bank, in whom you trust, has offered you some free starter insurance, hoping you’ll buy more. How can you resist?
Insurance consultants, like me, know something about all this. We’d be willing to bet that that convenient form that got filled out leads to one of three things – a graded policy, a renewable term policy, or to an accidental death policy. The first type doesn’t pay the full benefit the first few years. The second keeps increasing the price and ends at a certain age. And the third is really accident insurance. It won’t cover any death by natural causes. Even if a well known and trusted bank name is under it, senior citizens need to understand what they’re paying for.
And I have a question. Are banks really in the insurance business now? Rest assured, your bank is not in the insurance business and neither is your credit union.
But maybe I’m wrong. It could be a valuable policy – or at least seem that way. Beware because there’s a very good chance it has an introductory price that is scheduled to increase after five years. It’s actually renewable term insurance rather than whole life. At an older age, this matters a lot. A five year term at age 65 is pretty cheap. Most people live past seventy. From 70-75, a lot more people die. So what happens to the premium cost? It goes up. And then what about the five years after that? You may have a renewable term policy that says it’s good to the age of a hundred. Don’t let the high age on that contract fool you. That insurance company is hoping you won’t notice the fact tht the premiums are not level. They are going to increase. Have they made it clear to you how much the premiums would be once your reached the age of 80? How about 85?
Do you see what I’m up against? You might just have several of these types of policies before you meet me. And you’ll likely ask yourself, what do you need me for? You’re thinking to yourself, you can just keep adding more and more policies you’re getting in the mail. They’re cheap. You’re insured to the age of a hundred, for some huge amount, and you’re pretty sure that you can afford it. But really you can’t. And you won’t know that because you won’t let me in your door.
So, what I have to do, if you let me in, is get you to call all of your insurance providers and get them to tell you directly what’s going to happen when your term renews, when it will renew, how often, and what the price will be when that happens. I’ll also want to know what sort of graded policy you were issued, because you may just have no insurance at all. This may require you to look for your policy, but I will help you. If you’ve lost your policy, you can get a new one. And if you can’t remember who your insurance providers are… (Good grief, I can’t remember why I was looking for my keys in the refrigerator a minute ago)…. If you can’t remember who your insurance providers are, then all you have to do is check your bank statements.
Thank God for bank statements. Every month, you pay your insurance bill and every month, your bank statement will show you both how much you paid and who you paid it to. If you want me to help you go through that I can. I’ll put us on speaker phone talking to your insurance carrier myself, both of us together. I’ll make sure they send copies of your policy both to you and to your beneficiary, so they’ll know that you have it. You do realize that your loved ones and the charities you want to bless when you die won’t receive a penny unless they know you have a policy. Right? So I’ll make sure you have all the copies of your policy you need.
But do you know what I won’t do? I won’t ask you to cancel any of your policies unless they are completely worthless. We’ll figure that out together. And then I’ll see what kind of an actual whole life policy you would qualify for – one that won’t have increasing premium costs; one that will last until the day you die; one you can afford when it’s most likely to be essential that you can.
Friend, in your final years, you are on a fixed income. You can’t risk making bad decisions. It’s my job to protect you. It may take some work to give you a good insurance check up. Be ready for that when I come to your home, both you and your spouse if you’re married. It’s some work, but that’s what I do. And it’s worth it. I’m a licensed professional. I don’t work for any insurance carrier. My business model is built around helping you avoid the misakes that thousands of others do so that you can get the best coverage and protect those you love for a price you can afford. That’s my job. I rarely give a thought to what I get paid for it. All I care about is you. I just need you to let me help you. A consultant and a salesman may both be paid commissions but they are two very different things.
If you don’t like whole life, I can consult with you on term life instead. As I said in a previous video, the carriers I work with have dozens of products each. Many of them are the best term products in the industry. Everybody shops price, price price, but my job is to educate, educate educate.
Of course, I know you can get a much larger policy for a far lower premium! Particularly when you are younger, term policies make really good sense. All I ask is that you think about what you’re betting on. You see that a term policy would certainly help those yoou love if you did happen to die within the term. But if you outlive your term by even one day, and you don’t pay extra for a cash back or return of premium option, then you’ll lose every penny you paid in. So what seems like more policy per dollar can easily become valueless the day the term expires. See how that works? It’s a tradeoff. It’s a gamble.
But did you know that you can have it both ways? If you want the high value of a term policy with a low premium that converts to a whole life policy at the end of the term – irrespective of your health at the end of the term, I know of a carrier that will convert your policy. You can also stack policies – one can be whole life while another is term and you can pick and choose products from multiple carriers to optimize your protection. If you can afford it, I recommend you start stacking insurance policies of different types early because your health and age are going to keep driving up the cost of any whole life policy you eventually buy. Conversely, if you don’t buy young, you risk being forced to apply for a policy when your health is declining. That will drive the price up much higher than it is right now.
In the long run, I’d generally recommend having a good whole life policy as a base. That should be your core long term policy. Let it build up value as you age. Consider it a savings plan you can borrow from for the rest of your loife. You can’t borrow on a term policy. Unless you have a rider for return of premium or a cash back option, a term policy has no cash value. Add a term policy to your whole life policy.
Following my advice is particularly important for young couples. Not too many people live forever, and bad things happen to good people way too frequently. When you and your spouse take out policies for one another, if the worst imaginable news comes to your home, at least you won’t have to feel the full brunt of the financial impact of losing part of a two person income while you’re grieving. You may be able to prevent a foreclosure on your house. You may save its equity from going to a lender with a lien. You may buy yourself enough time with your benefits to make new living arrangements.
Whole life may cost more than term, but if it acts as a savings account and also protects you against life’s worst nightmares, it isn’t all about face and premium amounts. It’s about dealing with life itself. If it pays for itself, as many do, then your net cost is zero. Which is more expensive then? Let me help you with both term and whole life policies. I’m here to help you think it through. I would never steer you wrong.
As I gazed into my phone on January 22nd 2021, it occurred to me that AI was tracking me in many ways. It happened while I was hearing the news. I hadn’t always agreed with Tucker Carlson. I’m progressive in a number of important ways – more than progressive really – I envision a very different America, a much better one, but I always found Carlson fascinating. I liked his independence. I liked that he didn’t support foreign wars. I liked that he would expose hypocrisy wherever he saw it. And that night, he warned us that the Democrats wanted to de-program Trump supporters. Anyone who voted for Trump was being treated as seditionist. A Trump supporter vetted National Guard in Washington, in the days following January 6th, was a sign that they, and me by association, were now considered enemies of the state. It didn’t matter that I had actually written my own name in on the ballot instead of checking off Trump.
For all appearances, it did look like I just voted for Trump, and I half-way did. I agreed with him on some vital points. It looked like I’d disagreed with the election outcome, as well, and protested at the Florida state capitol. And I had. There are pictures of me on the Internet dressed like George Washington, standing in front of a yellow “Do Not Tread On Me” flag someone was waving. I thought it was amusing at the time I took it and that flag stated very brilliantly why I was there – not because I wanted to start a war, but because I wanted to decry the abuse of power.
Protests are a blast that way. And dressing up is fun. I’ve been seen at the Capitol dressed as a leprechaun before. I’ve also worn my rainbow suspenders during Pride Fest. But just because I’ve attended Pride events, neither does that mean that I agree with everything the LGBTQ+ movement thinks. Protests give each of us a chance to express ourselves individually, not just as groups. Freedom of expression is one thing I like very much about America. And people like me, especially, people who have very independent opinions – we really need an outlet to communicate our thoughts. But unfortunately, because of the way groups communicate and brand themselves, the thoughts of independents like me are often misinterpreted. Sometimes, we have to take a step back and clarify what we mean. So today, I’m gong to help you interpret this picture.
The first thing you should know is that I stand alone. I am a leader. If you find you agree with me, come join me. I do not belong to any group. And to be clear about what was going through my mind on January 6th, I thought there may have been sufficient evidence that Trump had actually won the 2020 election.
Many say this thought had no basis in fact, but that’s not the case. I had looked at both the evidence from the hearings, starting in Philadelphia, and I had also read the fact checks and responses. In themselves, those were not conclusive. There were too many anomalies and I was not convinced by what the fact checkers were saying about it. They claimed that the evidence was invalid. They claimed they had debunked it. Universally, they used the term “baseless.” And that term was then applied by the corporate media and cable news.
But wait a minute. That same corporate media had just been complicit in impeaching that same president with a Russia hoax, and then with a Ukraine hoax. Those same news organizations had just finished repeating ad nauseum countless falsehoods and misrepresentations. Excuse my skepticism, but my confidence in the fact-checkers and the media that utilized them was at an all time low. In my opinion, the matter of the 2020 election would have rightly been fought in court. And almost every court case had been refused on standing. The merits of the case had not been considered in 98% of the decisions. The case was, for the most part, never heard. It didn’t feel right. I had seen compelling evidence that the election may have been stolen – most prominently Syndey Powell claiming she was about to release “the Kraken.”
As it turned out, no Kraken would ever be released, but no one knew that at the time. All we had was Powell’s alarming certainty. And it begged the question: why would a highly paid lawyer express such confidence publicly, knowing she would fall on her face? How could she not have seen the evidence she was boasting of? She was putting her career on the line. I found that one simple question significantly compelling.
In hindsight, there may have been some fair explanations. Perhaps, she had misinterpreted the material facts. Maybe she herself had been misled. That might explain it. Or on the conspiratorial side, was there some Seth Rich or Jeffrey Epstein-style intrigue going on that removed some evidence she once did possess? Arguments by abduction put the idea that there was no evidence in the first place into an unlikely category. The most implausible explanation is that she was just lying through her teeth. I didn’t know the answer, but I sure did want to let the facts be thoroughly explored in court. And I was guessing that maybe some of these facts may have arrived into the hands of those who would object to the certification of the election in key states. I was wating to see how the Congressional procedure that day was going to work out. If the courts had denied a venue, the Constitution hadn’t.
My presence at a protest was intended to show I supported a legal constitutional fight. My understanding of the constitution was that if both a house member and senate member challenged a certification for a state, that a two hour debate would ensue. I was praying that truth would prevail. The Arizona certification was challenged first. I listened to some of the comments by senate and house members. I was disappointed that none of them presented the evidence I had seen, but chose to talk about sixty court cases rejecting Trump’s case, even though I was of the understanding that almost none of those cases considered the merits of the complaints.
Quite the contrary, it had seemed the judges were afraid to challenge the election. Their careers were on the line. And then I saw Lindsay Graham say things about the use of this constitutional provision that would have made that provision meaningless, as if it was just a ceremonial procedure built on tradition, rather than meaning. I didn’t buy it. It didn’t seem to me that there would be any point in having the ritual that constitutes the business of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol if it has no purpose beyond a ceremonial one. Is that what we pay these people for? Song and dance? And to be sure, Democrats had challenged several certifications this same way in the past. No one had accused them of an insurrection when they did. January 6th, 2020, as it turns out, was all about treading on George Washington’s ideals. Graham’s interpretation was a watering down of the intended potency of the Constitution – the will of the people.
But I know that the costume and flag made me look like a radical. Looks can be deceving, epsecially at protests. Messages are bold. Lots of people dress up to express themselves. It’s festive. Like I said, I blend in as an independent at Pride Fests too. I’ve always admired George Washington and I’ve had that costume for decades. I even have his death mask on my bureau. I once tried to make a silicon replica of the authentic face of George Washington. It was part of the Ghost Machine experience I had invented. Did you know I had invented an app? The app would pay to have actors dress up as famous dead people. They would appear at parties and shopping centers. What fun!
But January 6th was an expression of the hope I had that justice would be served and America could be restored unstolen if it had been. I was using the costume for another reason.
Maybe it was. Maybe the election had been stolen. Or maybe it hadn’t. A lot of people thought it had. They spoke of fighting for justice. I don’t think they meant physical fighting. I think they were referring to legal remedies and campaigning in future elections, but political enemies then turned the word “fight” into proof of an incitement to physical violence and lawlessness instead. They proceeded not just to ratify the certifications but impeach Trump one last time, claiming he incited a riot – as if he had planned what broke out. D.C. Courts later convicted hundreds of protesters at the U.S. Capitol for not just for rioting, but for “seditious conspiracy” and “insurrection.” They claimed the protesters were there to disrupt Congress. But that is the opposite of why we were there. As I just explained, we were there because the proceedings themselves were created to deal with the problem of disputed election results. Disruption was the opposite of what we wanted.
It was a surrealistic day. It just so happened that an undercover FBI agent, had released the leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio from prison, and Tarrio, a Floridian, showed up at the Florida Capitol that day along with a troop of Proud Boys. I had heard of the Proud Boys before. I had heard that they were white supremacists. This was the first time I had ever been in the same place with any people who would proudly admit they were white supremacists, I thought. And I had been an independent journalist of sorts before, a proud member of the Fourth Esrtate, so when the Proud Boys stopped marching around, I started interviewing them to see if they really were what the media I had seen had said they were.
The general response I got was that the white supremacist label was a media smear job. What they represented was free speech. The reason they got into fights with ANTIFA was ANTIFA always showed up wherever they did and harrassed them, making that claim. They defended themselves, saying they only fought when provoked. They didn’t carry weapons illegally. They just had radios. Some had mace, but the mace was strictly for defense, they said. The reason they were targeted this way was they were against the enforcement of politically correct speech. That was why before their website got taken down, they spoke of “chauvanism.” They explained that this word was not being used by them the way everyone thought it was. A French army officer named Chauvan had been one of Napoleon’s generals. He was known for his loyalty and enthusiasm. In America, the meaning of that word had been transformed. For most people it meant arrogant mysogeny. It was always coupled with the word “female.” A “female chauvanist” was understood to be a jerky traditionalist who looked down on women. The Proud Boys were proud of American tradition. That’s what they meant by chauvanism. In speaking to several, I was told they were proud of the liberty afforded in the Constitution. Uniformly they condemned mysogeny and white supremacism both. That was not what they were about at all, they claimed.
I have a way of believing what people tell me over what others say about them. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially if its charitable to do so. How about you? Maybe I’m naive. But they sounded more credible in that moment than the media did. So, take it or leave it, that was their side of the story. And then as the day progressed, I chanced upon Enrique Tarrio himself and interviewed him too
I asked Tarrio the same questions I’d been asking the Proud Boys he lead. If you don’t know, Tarrio is presently in prison for leading a seditious conspiracy to disrupt a Congressional proceeding. Serendipitously, this interview took place at the very hour the U.S. Capitol riot was just breaking out. In my opinion, he did not seem concerned about commanding some operation in Washington. He looked remarkably calm. Maybe he’s just incredibly good at covering things up, or maybe I’m just naive, but this video seems to run contrary to that narrative. Check it out and let me know your opinion.
As it stands, here two years later, I’ve now read the transcripts for the 60 day trial of the Proud Boys, having taken an interest because of that encounter. Most people are unaware that the defense counted approximately fifty federal agents that had been embedded in the Proud Boys in Washington alone. Some were confidential human sources. Some were FBI. Others were Homeland. If there were as many embedded in other groups identified as radical white supremacists who were also at the U.S. Capitol that day and similarly convicted of seditious conspiracy and insurrection, then that would bring the total number of embedded personnel on J6 to at least 150. We might also speculate that even more than that were there if we account for some amount that would likely have been disbursed among the crowd at large.
The person in the red cap who was seen on video knocking out a window, for instance. And if all that is true, then Federal agents outnumbered the Capitol police on January 6th. This sheer number of preplanning on the part of the Federal agencies, leaves us with believing one of two things – either the lack of police staff was the greatest blunder in history given all that prepared before-hand surveillance, or the whole thing was a set up and the ingorance required was just a part of a plan. Make no mistake that if that is the case, then the majority of the actual insurrectionists and seditious conspirators, were planning their operation from inside a D.C. swamp, not from the crowd on the outside.
I’m open to that idea because it makes better sense politically. I found myself surrounded by Trump supporters. None of the Trump supporters I talked to said they wanted to disrupt Congress. On the contrary, like me, they were relying on that very Congressional process to resolve a disputed election based on the Constitutional provisions for doing so. And although I didn’t discuss this with any of the Proud Boys that were there, I imagine they were marching for the same reason – to express their support of, rather than to disrupt, that process.
However, the narrative went the other direction. Just as the Democrats and their sympathetic media denied there was any evidence of massive voter fraud overturning the election, they just as vehemently denied that there were any propagandists pretending to be Trump supporters on January 6th, who had preplanned an uprising. I don’t know who these “Fedsurrectionists” were. I have seen evidence of several. I have seen video of cops actually directing protesters into the capitol. I have seen a video of a CNN camera operator in the capitol having a gleeful moment on a hot recording talking about how “I told you.” They were very happy about the fact that, as they said, “we did it.”
This really disturbs me. I saw photos of police politely standing back for a photo of a man carrying a Confederate flag into the Capitol building rather than tackling and arresting him. It turns out he is a registered Democrat from Delaware. I don’t know who he voted for but I suspect he was there to make it appear that Trump supporters support white supremacy. If it is repeated often enough that this was planned entirely by Trump supporters and they are white supremacists, such contradictory footage and facts won’t matter. That part of the news can easily be suppressed by Google and Facebook algorithms. Prior to Elon, Twitter wouldn’t let anyone see it either.
So that is what I’m made out to be by agreeing with Trump that Biden may have stolen the 2020 election. A picture like this, along with that interview, stand to make me look like a dangerous white supremacist. Neither am I dangerous nor am I a white supremacist. I’m just a person who thinks America won’t be able to help the rest of the world if it has a government that embodies an Orwellian dystopia. A strong America is George Washington’s America. Partisan politics hadn’t divided America when Washington was elected. A thoughtful Constitution was written instead – one that attempted to prevent uprisings and sedition through rule of law.
I have mixed feelings about Donald Trump. I ran against him in 2016. It’s easy to forget that I was a presidential candidate once because I never had any intention of winning. My goal was to bring attention to a political party manifesto I had written. I was concerned about government corruption and saw the two-party system as a failure. As I saw it, America had become an oligarchy, a plutocracy, a corporatocracy. We were ruled by the very wealthy and by large corporations who had more of a voice in Washington than all of the rest of us combined. I was opposed to the nightmare of a war machine we had become on account of those who profited from war and worldwide chaos. Our children were being sent to battlefield’s abroad and I was certain that that was no expression of the will of a country governed of the people, by the people and for the people.
Anyone familiar with my blogs knows I’ve been concerned about America’s accumulating national debt, as well. When I speak of strength, I am referring to our ability to pay off that debt. I supported Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports for that reason. With the way things can get twisted, I have to clarify every little position I’ve taken. In the case of tariffs on Chinese imports, it wasn’t because I thought Americans were better than Chinese. It was because I thought Americans were more likely to help the world than the Chinese were. I should make it clear where I stand, lest a few pictures miselad you. I’m still very much a globalist at heart. I may have interviewed some Proud Boys, but my own sense of nationalism isn’t a matter of pride, and I really don’t care much about American traditions.
Any “America First” sentiment I have is merely an acknowledgement that we need to rebuild first or we won’t be any good to anyone. If we hurt, the rest of the world will feel our pain. If we are strong, the rest of the world will also flourish, including the Chinese. The tariffs simply leveled the playing field. Sure I support a more secure border too, but I’ve also defended Mayorkas. He’s right that the ports of entry are where most of the drugs are being seized, where most of the illegal immigration is taking place. But the drugs and human trafficking, the gun running, and much more, are taking place along the whole border, not just the ports of entry. Let’s not kid ourselves. We have an immigration crisis. Saying so does not make us xenophobes. It makes us reasonably cautious.
Neither is it xenophobic to be concerned about infiltration by the Chinese. The Chinese Communist Party – the CCP – is our enemy. It is the world’s enemy. It is the enemy of its own people. The Chinese people, on the other hand, are not our enemy. They are among our best friends. It’s their government, the CCP, that is the enemy of us all. Saying so does not make a person a white supremacist. And ultimately, I found that this also was the case with just about every Trump supporter I’ve ever encountered. Some may wear more red white and blue than I ever would, but none of them are white supremacists. They are just distrusting of the very powerful in the world who don’t value American superiority – who view America as a key competitor that may stand in the way of their own agenda. Like me, Trump supporters believe that a stronger United States will make the world a better place because it will put us back into a position of helping those, outside our borders, who are in need. Sadly, we have wasted that opportunity. Instead, we have invaded, pillaged, stolen, ravaged, overthrown, interfered, dominated and ruined. We have thoroughly abused our power, often in the name of promoting “Democratic ideals.” In many ways, we have hurt the world more than the CCP has. It saddens me very much to admit this. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are more capable of helping the world if we are economically strong.
This is the real me. I’m not so proud of America. I see America as the land of opportunity. I see a potential future for it. It’s its potential that thrills me, not its past accomplishments. Sure, we may have prevented Axis powers in World War II. We may have contributed more to charity globally than any other country. That’s good. But we’ve hardly scratched the surface in terms of what we could do for this world in terms of our full potential.
All this contributes to why this picture bothers me. The Google and Facebook AI, especially, and that of other apps, allows governments to spy on us through our phones. A corrupt D.C. swamp, right now, can accuse anyone they want of being a possible seditionist. We are all being put on lists just because we showed up at Trump rallies, even if we didn’t vote for him. To figure out whether we might be violent or plan something, the AI is being used to produce red flags against us. Those now in power, have announced that they are actively engaged in identifying possible threats. The same people who brought in a Democrat to pose with a Confederate flag in the Capitol on January 6th and then accused Trump of inciting violence, are the ones who will be telling us whether or not I might be violent and dangerous or in need of re-education. They could put me in jail if they wanted to. They can put innocent people in jail – people who want nothing more than to make this world a better place. Think about that.
And something else occurred to me. The CIA and NSA and other three letter agencies that framed and spied on General Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, characterizing them falsely, are empowered to do the same to any political enemy of theirs that they want. Google has had decades to perfect its search techniques. Spying and search go hand in hand. There is nothing about my own phone that I trust anymore. These people could be taking pictures of me from the other side. It’s called “unmasking.” I have no reason to trust their intentions. Look at what they’ve already done and what they’ve declared they will do.
I don’t know to what extent they are actually capable of tracking us in live time. I know that tracking terrorist threats involves sophisticated technology. Patterns are discovered based on inquiries. Those inquiries can take place faster if they are automated, if the self-learning of the machine can create its own inquiries based on patterns it has already found. Maybe not a person or people, but a machine, is recording a remarkable number of things about me – not just film clips, but stats that predict what I might do next, that profile me, that identify me as either friendly or a threat. The will of the people doesn’t matter. The will of the machine will override it, control it, guide it into its corrales.
Politically speaking, I’m a threat if I do nothing more than tell the truth about all this. I understand enough about how companies are using AI to know there is substance to this formerly paranoid sounding thought. I can see how those same companies are in bed with politicians. This is just a fact. Both money and algorithms and censored news, and promoted news prove this beyond dispute. Big tech helps politicians gain power. Politicians help big tech.
Those who oppose the swampiness in all this, have to create their own big tech if they wan’t to circumvent it. We shouldn’t make being corraled like livestock be so easy. Our own political commentary matters, even if its just in places like the blogosphere. If I say nothing to suggest that I may become violent (I have never even thought about hurting anyone), then hypothetically, stuff could still be made up. Someone can hack into my social media and start posting things I never said. They can upload photoshopped images on my timeline if they want. If I’m a pacifist in reality, reality matters not. They can create the evidence. And that frightens me.
I don’t know what they will do, but they certainly have that power and have certainly stated plainly they intend to come after people they claim are white supremacists. It doesn’t matter whether there actually are any true white supremacists. They will still make out that there are. And the most efficient means of doing so is through the big tech that gives them their power. My phone – my constant companion – my hope for changing the world for the better, is also capable of serving them in their war against reality.
And another thought occurred to me. Just as that same demonic swamp plans to start spying on Trump supporters this way, so also can the Chinese Communist Party gather up info from us. It is all data they are just as interested in as the D.C. swamp is. The swamp is, in fact, doing their work for them. So if the CCP is hacking the NSA and the NSA is unmasking Trump supporters, that means the CCP is spying on Trump supporters, as well as on Democrats and the Republicans who also seek to defeat him.
If the CCP then does what it does with the rest of its data on its own citizens, and what it is now starting to do as it provides the 5G infrastructure all around the world, and what it hopes to do as it creates its own Yuan-cryptocurrency, then some of us, perhaps many of us, will eventually be treated like the Uygher muslims in Xinjiang. There is a gulag archepelago waiting for us.
My Trump-hating friends, in their extreme TDS, were not satisfied to defeat Trump in the election. They have literally declared war on all who fit a certain profile. It isn’t the other way around. January 6th was a last hope for many Americans of upending this frightening new reality. Whether the election results should have been certified or not, they were certified. We are a nation of laws. That makes Joe Biden a legitimate president, by any measure. Trump and his supporters lost that fight. It’s the law Trump supporters say they live by. You won’t hear me say Joe Biden is not my president. He is.
This blog is a warning though. It is a warning about spying on citizens and treating people as political enemies just because of their possible voting decisions and their decision to post public blogs or offer their opinions on social media or to protest. For now it is Trump supporters being censored and abused. The CCP will, in turn, do the same to you. I don’t want that to escape your notice. For now, they are letting you destroy the United States from within. You’ve saved them the trouble by setting a precedent for fascist totalitarianism when you claim something was an insurrection that was not an insurrection. Are your political victories so important to you that you don’t care about the precedent you are setting? The power may be intoxicating in the moment. But at this pace, you will be drunk with the blood of the saints in a matter of years, maybe days. What are you treading on? Think about it.
I haven’t updated my resumé much because I haven’t planned on applying for work anywhere for a few decades. I’m drawing Social Security now. I don’t plan to retire until I’m a centenarian though. I’m still as much of an entrepreneur “wannabe” as ever and I come with a background that deserves some explanation. So, I’ll offer a curriculum vitae, blended in with some explanatory detail, to help you make sense of it.
Before I start, I don’t want it to look like I’m too good to work a regular day job. I actually love hard work. The last three jobs I had were for trucking companies. I took a two year hiatus from obligations at home after my sister and brother died, and saw the country for the first time – from an eighteen wheeler. I got caught up on my bills at that time and had a good cry. I’ve had many jobs throughout my lifetime.
You may know that my wife, Lisa, stayed home while I was trucking. Thirteen years into our thirty plus years of marriage, she had a stroke that left her paralyzed in her left side. As her caregiver through the years, it wasn’t easy leaving home six weeks at a time, but my business plans weren’t working out and Uber and Lyft were wearing out my vehicles. I’d been seeking funding to get some apps I’d designed built -Vois Technologies. I was unable to pay the developers without funds. I was unable to obtain funds without developers. Click here to see the many Vois projects I have in store down the road.
I’ve pivoted a lot in my life. The “Ghost Machine” is an example of one of the projects I worked to get off the ground. Those were the years from 1998 through 2013. In the case of the Ghost Machine, I had some of my own money to begin it with at the turn of the Millennium, and again by 2013 but again, the project was never funded – not by any third party. Just me. And that wasn’t enough. Click here to read about the decades I spent working on the Ghost Machine and learn what it was.
As much as I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur all my days, I’ve had a few strikes against me. My education was in the wrong field. I didn’t have money. I didn’t have a team of helpers. I learned things the hard way, mostly as an adult. I had advantages when I was very young. My father was a wealthy business man. I was white. I was a man. I had privileges. My father encouraged me to be a musician and I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a music composition degree in 1980. That was right when he started to lose his money.
If Dad had lived longer and not gone bankrupt, he would have likely invested in my music studio. I wouldn’t have had to pay for and operate it by myself. I worked in banking a few years and then took a job at the Postal Service and invested in music and recording equipment with what I could save or get on credit. Dad encouraged me to become a Catholic priest. I enrolled at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary 1982-1986. He wanted me to write some beautiful new church music. I was up for that. But I had no orchestra to play it and no venue to earn from it, nor did the thought occur to me to profit from religion. So I led worship in some churches and groups for a while and that was about it. No major recordings ever came from my little back door studio, called Wisdom Studios. I thought maybe when I finally did retire, I could put some time into music again. I set my mind on retirement at a very young age for that reason.
I was serious about religion, enough to forge my own path. My mother wanted me to be Presbyterian, like her. My dad wanted me to be Catholic, like him. A girlfriend I had wanted me to be Hindu, like her. I read a lot about each. I learned to meditate, and then I learned to pray the Catholic way. And when I met another gal I liked, she taught me to be charismatic, like her. Then when I finally did get married in 1990, my wife wanted me to be Pentecostal, like her. I just kept reading, and wherever people seemed to be right, I grew. From 1991-1995 I completed my masters degree at St. Michael Academy of Eschatology. Their accreditation was with something like the Kentucky School of Accreditation. It was an Orthodox Seminary in a controversial jurisdiction, led by a controversial bishop. Not many people have masters degrees in eschatology, for whatever that’s worth. Neither do they have mission letters from bishops commanding them to preach the message of Elijah to Protestants.
How did that happen? I was very open-minded about Biblical interpretation. I asked questions and rarely condemned the other side in any setting. Perhaps I seemed too Protestant for my Orthodox bishop to consider me for a mission within Orthodoxy. If I had supported one institutional view or another, I might be able to use that degree to get a regular job. I was open to Biblical criticism. I was the kind of person that might give Bart Erhman and the documentary hypothesis a chance. The only place something like that would serve is in liberal academia. I also loved and taught first through third century Christian history as an adjunct professor at the seminary.
Whatever, the right interpretation of the Bible may be, or of other Scriptures, I had developed through the years a different approach to theology, which I came to call “Pamalogy.” Pamalogy is more of a philosophical system than a religion. It is based on logic, rather than text or tradition. Pamalogy is not to be confused with “Palmology” – which is the reading of palms. It has nothing to do with that. Pamalogy is the philosophy of awesomeness, or “awesomeology.” What would it mean to maximize awesomeness?
This is not a treatise on Pamalogy. I’ll simply say here that there are two sides to that question. On the one hand, it means doing the best we can with what we know we have. For instance, it would be good to have a world full of art, free of suffering, made sustainable for abundance, enjoyable, full of love, respect and justice and so on. On the other hand, it means something beyond what we do. It is the best of all possibilities. That type of maximized awesomeness is a God-sized aweseomeness. It is divine perfection. For perfection in the divine sense to be real, no good possibility can be lacking. No bad possibility can be part of it. It requires as many Universes as that takes – a multiverse. Nothing in reality adds to maximized awesomeness that maximized awesomeness does not possess of itself already. God contains a Multiverse.
An astronomy is a Universe. A “Poly Astronomy” is a Multiverse. Pamalogy is short for “Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeology.” For awesomeness to be maximized in divine perfection, it has to be poly astronomical. Otherwise, every good possibility will not exist within it. Note that I did not say astrological. I said astronomical. Pamalogy is not astrology. Pamalogy is not palm reading. Neither one. It is the philosophy of awesomeness. It believes that for awesomeness to be maximized, in the divine sense, it has to be poly astronomical. Pamalogy is poly astronomically maximized awesomeology.
There a lot of people who think that perfection is possible without a Multiverse. A Pamalogist thinks a Multiverse is a necessary truth. I won’t explain what logic brings us to that conclusion right here. Suffice it to say for now that given the fact that I had developed a philosophical system, I put some thought into what I should do about it. To be realistic, who cares about philosophy nowadays? I risk losing a reader’s attention just telling you about it.
But there was something I discovered. I found Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeness to be much more than a thought exercise. It was a source of encouragement to live by and dwell on. It oriented my worship. It helped me confront my challenges. It helped me cope when considering loss. It gave me a sense of what I was and why I was here. And finally, after thinking on it at great length, it gave me a vision for the Pamalogy Society.
I have to keep this brief. The two sides of what it means to maximize awesomeness I call the metaphysical and the axiological. People tend to be set in their ways when it comes to metaphysics. They have their religion. They don’t care to hear the opinions of others. Maybe a few do. That’s all. That’s why providing details about Pamalogy as theology is a low priority. For now, my focus is on the axiological side. “Axiology” is the philosophy of what is worth doing or having. “Axios” is the Greek word for “worthy.” Philosophers break axiology down into ethics (what is right or wrong) and aesthetics (what is beautiful).
To maximize awesomeness in the sphere of axiology is to seek to maximize beauty and goodness in the world. How would anyone go about that? Well, I don’t know how you would answer that question, but I can tell you a bit more about my own journey and what I want to do in founding the Pamalogy Society but before I do, I need to take a step back.
In 1981, I took a job as a Savings Counselor at a savings bank. Musicians were supposed to be good at math and I was. But it was precisely because I was good at math, and because I was a creative person, that instead of appreciating the bank, I quickly realized it epitomized a certain inefficiency we have in our present economic system. We spend a great deal of time exchanging pieces of paper and altering balances in accounts, but none of that work at counting what we have and moving our accounts from place to place or instrument to instrument produces any direct value. It creates no music. It produces no album. You can’t eat it. You can’t drive it. You can’t wear it. It doesn’t give you a massage. It doesn’t build a house you can sleep in. It doesn’t deliver your groceries. All those things, including being served a quick burger and fries, would be direct products or services. Nothing at the bank is that.
Now you may be saying that the widgets and services you can buy with your money are a good thing to have more of, and that is true. If you can increase your money, then you can buy more of that stuff. But the money itself is not a direct value. There were ten people working at the branch office of the bank I spent forty hours a week working in. Combined, that was 400 hours of human work wasted every week, not creating any direct service or product. I then took an inventory of various types of businesses, counted their employees, separated types of jobs that did produce direct products or services from those that don’t, and estimated that less than 30% of workers in America directly produce any actual goods or services.
Well, this was interesting. My father was not only Catholic, he was a Ronald Reagan supporting conservative. He and I had some differences of opinion about all of this. I estimated that if there was no such thing called money, or anything else to exchange, if we simply gave our time to producing goods and services directly, we could increase our productivity by 230%. We could give everything away to whomever had need for free. We also wouldn’t have to worry about the federal deficit, because there would be no such thing as money. And we wouldn’t need banks. We could just cancel all debts.
Dad equated my idea with Communism. Dad’s world was very different than mine. The cold war was still going strong. Soviet expansionism seemed like a real threat. Dreams of a society without any form of currency or exchange always turned into tragedy. Property owners were violently overthrown. Socialist countries never enjoyed abundance.
I was never a Marxist. Apparently, Marx looked forward to the end of belief in God. Apparently, Russian and Chinese Communists thought that belief in God was a form of insanity. Marx had ruined my idea with a philosophy of revolution that called on the working class to hate the owner class. I couldn’t see, at that time, how we could peacefully transition to a money-free society the way the Soviets and their proteges were doing it. Dad also made the point that people need incentives to work, or they won’t. I wondered whether that might be offset by the 230% increase in productivity that would result, but the deal-breaker for me was the violence of Communist revolution. I wanted no part in it.
Then there was the bureaucracy. How do you determine what the people need? And the paper. We didn’t have computers to manage this back then. How would we manage it? Those were the days before the Internet. But when the Internet did come around, another idea formed in my head. It solved all of these problems. I called it the Human Availability and Needs Database System (HANDS).
The HANDS community members would join a web site. Then they would vote on what types of jobs that produce direct goods and services. Their vote would determine what was the most vital and in demand. They would just tell the system what they needed and what jobs they were capable of doing. The incentive to work at jobs that were in high demand would come from the desire for privileges – comparative luxuries. The members would consider types of products and services that might be considered luxuries and vote on what level of privilege should be required to have access to them. For instance, it would be a luxury to live in a rare property on the ocean. It would be a luxury to have three cars for a family of two. It would be a luxury to go to a fine restaurant every night. Luxuries are scaled from 1-100 by voters this way. Things that were hard to produce or limited in quantity, would be obtainable only to those who did work that was vital and in high demand. Together, the HANDS community would decide upon and create a many tiered system of privileges that could be earned by choosing specific types of work that produced direct goods or services. It might be considered an equal opportunity multi-class system.
It would all remain theoretical until the day came that there were enough members in the community to support an actual resource-based economy, where they could contribute their own means of production and resources and then they would sign an agreement of commitment to launch it on a certain date. The computer network and algorithms would eliminate the bureaucracy. Rights and privileges would be earned as determined by the people. Money would no longer be an object of stress for the many in lack. Resources would be managed sustainably.
Okay. So, who cares? Why, in sketching a Curriculum Vitae, am I telling you all this? Well, I think it is important for people who might consider doing business with me to know who I am. I might hold some conservative views but I’m not a libertarian. Just as my religious perspectives are unique to me, so are my economic and political ideas. Ready for the next item on my resumé? I ran for president of the United States in 2016 as a write-in candidate.
I didn’t get on the ballot, so none of the votes for me were officially counted, but I wasn’t trying to win. I was trying to bring attention to the Manifesto I wrote for a new political party, the Restoration Party, and I achieved that objective. I was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat as the Uber driver running for POTUS. I estimate I got about 200 votes from people fed up with the Democrat and Republican parties both getting us into endless wars, not getting the budget under control, and not dealing with a very dirty bureaucracy that was serving itself, and not we, the people. Donald Trump seems to have agreed with many of my ideas about political corruption and media corruption. He took a ride on the same massive populist movement that I sensed existed, but obviously, he is no supporter of a money-free economic system, like me. He might call that socialism.
Subsequently, a lot happened. Trump was accused of having ties to Russia. He was accused of being a racist. His supporters were accused of being white supremacists. These were interesting accusations. I noticed how politically charged the news had become. It was very emotional. People weren’t being reasonable. BLM and Antifa rose up. Fact-checkers started telling us what to think on Facebook. Twitter, YouTube and Google suppressed opinion that they opposed, claiming it was for public safety. Finally, Trump supporters insisted that the 2020 election was stolen while predictable media outlets insisted there was absolutely no truth to those kinds of allegations, culminating in the events of January 6th, 2021.
I began by asking about maximizing awesomeness. In the real world, we are dealing with a sick political system, one that needs to be repaired. If we are going to suppress news because it doesn’t square with fact-checks, what have we done to fact-check the fact-checkers to be sure that the fact-check organizations are not merely serving political agendas? What is to stop the Poynter Institute from corruption and government influence? Many of the fact-checks concern elections. If a majority of the American population has lost faith in the news, in fact-checking, and in electronic voting systems, then I am likely to see the very type of violence in the 2020s that I wanted to avoid in the 1980s. Violence is not awesome. The restoration of truth and trust – that would be awesome. A restoration to better journalism – that would be awesome.
For this reason, I think the first endeavor the Pamalogy Society should support is a fair way to fact-check, fact-checks. I’ve invented a platform for this called the CounterChecker and I’m seeking funding for it at this time. But to avoid the old problem of not having funds to develop my invention, this time I’m taking a different approach. This time, I will seek grants and donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to the Pamalogy Society for the development of the CounterChecker, as an incubator. The Pamalogy Society will continue to raise funds for worthy projects and its first target is the world of journalism.
There’s some method to all of this in terms of the maximization of awesomeness. Better journalism means the creation of platforms of communication for the Pamalogy Society itself as a founding sponsor. Founder level privileges on media platforms will serve to help future projects that the Pamalogy Society supports. I believe this method of raising funds and creating platforms of communication will be a good mix. I expect the Pamalogy Society to have its 501(c)(3) status very soon.
I am doing this while finishing up yet another degree. I’ve been attending Arizona State University and should have my degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in Organizational Leadership and Philosophy by December 2022, at the current pace. Last semester, I had my professor review the business plan I’d written for the CounterChecker for a directed study course for credit. I would love to Zoom with interested parties as I begin this endeavor, to share what I’m having the developers create. I’m looking for a diverse board of directors. I don’t want political agreement on the board.
Personally, some think I’m far to the left. Others think, because I’ve defended Donald Trump on some issues, that I’m far to the right. My personal political perspectives are as wide as the ocean, but that is irrelevant.
One of the unique features of the CounterChecker is that it will depend on disagreement to make it work. I may have had disagreements with my father growing up, but much of what he said was highly valuable to me and stays with me to this day. We need to surround ourselves with people who have very different views than our own. The CounterChecker itself works by posing ideologically different teams against one another. There’s no better critic than someone who is literally debating you. These will be deliberately oppositional teams of about ten to twelve countercheckers each – one team on the left and another on the right – fact-checking one another’s fact-checks and counter-checks. It will achieve a level of depth and comprehensiveness that fact-checking does not currently provide. It will restore trust in fact-checking as a whole through its thoroughly dialectical approach. I consider it vital to fixing a presently very broken system.
In this section, you will find out about my philosophical thinking. I will start with a summary of my academic history.
In 1980, I graduated with a degree in music composition from the University of South Carolina. Composition, invention, creativity, innovation and discipline are what I was trained in. Expect new ideas to mix with old ones in my philosophical views.
From 1982-1986, I studied theology part time at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. I learned a lot about what Catholics think. I considered the priesthood during that time, but in the end, I chose not to be Roman Catholic.
From 1991-1995, I studied theology at St. Michael Academy of Eschatology in West Palm Beach, where I received a Masters Degree in Christian Theology. The school has an untraditional accreditation, which is not accepted in many places. I was an adjunct professor there while earning my degree and in college in 2008 I was a Business Administrator and built the majority of their present web site and online curriculum.
The jurisdiction is controversial with the Orthodox Church. Expect me to have some familiarity with Orthodox politics and Church history as an insider, but please do not judge me by association. I was a helpful guy learning what I could. Eschatology is the study of the last things, including the return of Jesus as Lord. It is a subject I have considered more deeply than most.
Some might not consider me to be an Orthodox Christian despite having received the rite of chrismation at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in 1996. Whether the Church would consider me a heretic should have more to do with how they might view my philosophical system than any association I may have had with the Metropolitan Xaralambos, who as far as I know, still believes himself to be one of the two last days witnesses the Bible describes. For the record, I did not hold that he was. I will simply state here that I understand Orthodox eschatology and not many do.
In 2019, I enrolled as a student of Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University, with concentrations in Organizational Leadership and Philosophy. I expect to earn my degree there by 2022. There are many reasons I chose to go back to school. Among them, I wanted to start a Philosophical Society that would serve to discuss my philosohical system, which I call Pamalogy.
Pamalogy is short for “Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeology.” It has a metaphysical side and an axiological side. I should start with the axiological side. How does one maximize their awesomeness? What does it mean to maximize your awesomeness? The word, “axiology” comes from the Greek word “axios,” which means worthy. What is worthy? Awesomeness and worthiness might be considered synonyms. Generally, there categories of axiology – ethics and aesthetics. Aesthetics might ask what is beautiful. Ethics might ask what is good or bad.
One thing I think is awesome is practicing what we preach. I much prefer action to talk. Sure, I’ll leave some writing, but rather than trying to talk philosophy with anyone, my goal is to start a Pamalogy Center, where all sorts of worthy projects might be realized. A Pamalogy Center is an arts and tech guild. It would feature a music and video recording studio, co-working spaces, sound proof practice rooms, instrument and equipment rentals, art displays, an informal theater and a relaxing bar and lounge for members. It would focus on collaborative projects and royalty and equity sharing for lean start ups. It would encourage members to contribute to other member’s work to improve their own member status. Member status earns members the right to ask for more help from other members. Artists and inventors would see it as an incubator for their projects.
The metaphysical side of Pamalogy asks what maximized awesomeness would be in an absolute sense. It would suppose that no one can conceive of it. It is that than which there could be nothing better. It would compare maximized awesomeness to the concept of infinity. No one can count to infinity, yet we do understand the concept to mean that any number we can think of is always less than infinity. Maximized Awesomeness is like that. There is something greater and that thing does not exclude the goodness one might positively conceive of.
Pamalogical metaphysics would ask whether this abstract Maximized Awesomeness concept is part of reality. Does it exist? If so, why is life not always awesome to us? Why do bad things happen? Also, is it possible for Maximized Awesomeness to exist in just one Universe? I think the answer to that question is no. I think that for every good thing to be real, there must be many Universes – not just one. That is why I call it, “Poly Astronomical.” If Maximized Awesomeness is real, there are many astronomies, not just one.
Every now and then I’ll make up a word and start using it. Pamalogy is one such word. I have a reason for coining certain terms related to philosophy or theology. Usually, it has to do with the fact that there is no other single word I know of to describe something. It may have to do with wanting to be specific or to distinguish one idea from another similar idea. If I introduce a word that I’ve made up, I’ll spend some time defining it so we can both understand what that word means and start using it together. Afterwards, maybe it will become part of the English language. That would be cool but the vanity behind coining a term is not what drives me. It’s about precision.
Here you will find a JamesCarvin.com menu list that will lead to some of my philosophy articles and web properties. This menu will use some of those new words. So, right here, I’ll explain their meaning up front and alphabetically.
Asynalagonomy – from the Greek root, συναλαγων (trade). The prefix “a” means not. “Nomy” means law. I’m using it here in the same way you would use it in the word “economy. ” Together it refers to an economic system, or set of laws, without trade – a tradeless economy. In general, a tradeless economy would fail. If anyone in such an economy were to own property, they would not be permitted to sell it or trade it. This would make it impossible to possess anything for any reason other than personal consumption. An economy would be frozen. No one could have a business. No one could work for money. Money itself is an exchange. A true asynalagonomy does not have money, or any other form of exchange. Fortunately, no such thing exists.
An incentivized asynalagonomy is something quite different. As a rule, there would be no trade but there would be incentives to work as determined by a system that managed the incentives. In such a system, workers earn privileges. Then in order to obtain goods and services they exercise the privileges they’ve earned. They don’t trade those privileges. They can only earn them, or fail to earn them, and thus lose them. A system of incentives can keep an economy moving because workers have reason to produce goods and services, which can then be consumed by those with sufficient privilege to them. I will have much to say about incentivized asynalagonomies because pamalonomies are a type of incentivized asynalagonomy. See pamalonomy.
Cosmostrophy – the way that a person reconciles their faith with their metaphysical view of the Universe – what it is, how it was formed, how old it is, ideas about time, matter and energy, whether there is a multiverse, whether there is a creator, etc. Each person has a cosmostrophy no matter what their religion. It is a general term like the word “metaphysics.” The suffix, “strophy” indicates harmony or pattern. How do you harmonize your faith with science?
Foundationism – Sometimes I think I’ve coined a term but actually haven’t. When I made up this word, I was unaware it was associated with Reneé Descartes. Like Descartes, I believe that derivative forms of certainty can be obtained by basing beliefs on what we already know we may be certain of. Unlike Descartes, I think there can be more known with certainty than the statement, “I think, therefore I am.” I don’t reject math or logic, for instance. Descartes supposed that an evil demon might be deceiving him even about math and logic. I don’t make that assumption. In fact, the entirety Pamalogical metaphysics is foundationist. When I first used the term, I had never studied epistemology. I was a theology student looking for a word to contrast with fundamentalism. I was referring to theology and eschatology that was logical. For instance, it is logical that if God is perfect, that there is no good thing that can be added to God that God does not already possess in either divine being or divine action. As such, God does not ever change. I don’t have to find the Bible verse that supports that idea. It stems from what Perfection means in the absolute sense often attributed to God. Therefore, it is a foundational principle that if God is perfect, God does not change.
Pamalogy – Poly Astronomically Maximized Awesomeology. See above.
Pamalonomy – a hybrid between socio-capitalism and incentivized asynalagonomy. It is a way of experimenting with incentivized asynalagonomies on a small scale within a broader socio-capitalist framework. A guild concept might be an example. In general, the guild does not own its creations. It fosters and helps manage them as an incubator. The members enjoy their own profits but work collaboratively to overcome the cost of starting enterprises without shared resources and talent.
Stromagesis – a method of interpretation that considers multiple perspectives without holding one perspective to be invalid when another seems to be valid. It holds that even if viewpoints may seem to be in conflict, both viewpoints may be true. The prefix is from the Greek στρομα, which means layer. Stromagesis can be compared to the more commonly known words, exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis holds the intended meaning of the author to be a valid interpretation. Eisegesis refers to the interpretation of the hearer or reader. It is often thought to be invalid if it does not account for the intended meaning of the writer or speaker.
Theogesis – refers to God’s intended meaning and purpose. I hold that this is more valid than exegesis and may incude stromagesis. See above. Notice that I have not referred to “Biblical” interpretation here, but to interpretation in general. You may be an epistle. How shall I interpret you? How does God interpret you?
So this is the big week. This is the week that we decide whether we will have freedom, or we will be enslaved by the Chinese Communist Party.
To me it looks like the Chinese government is in control of just about the whole world at this point. I could be over-estimating. I’m not with CIA. But I do wonder who is. I think a very fair question for anyone to ask is: who is the CIA working for? Who does anyone in any three letter agency work for?
The American people have mixed views. Some say the CIA is enmeshed in a web of international pressure (to put it euphemistically). Collectively, we call them the “deep state.” Are they good cops or bad cops? Is a global mafia taking control of the mightiest army in the world? What bad person wouldn’t want to? What biggest baddest person wouldn’t be most familiar with the dark side and learn to control it? Isn’t the CIA the mob’s first and most important target?
Intelligence is a many splendored thing. Pressures, motivators, goals. What are the goals? Whose goals? Those of the president? Those of the American people? Who are they working for? It’s too easy to say they work for us. The only way to unravel the mystery is to dig in. We’d have to find out who profits by controlling them. Well, if you had a long standing crime syndicate, you would certainly profit by controlling both intelligence and the military.
So expect drugs, expect human trafficking, expect black market armaments to start the next school massacre, street gangs and wars. I don’t know who is in charge of the mob, but selling slavery, misery and death is very lucrative to them. We all have access to the stats. There’s a there there. If you’ve seen it already, then how do you think it happens if the deep state is so clean? It’s not clean.
Collectively, we call it “the swamp.” The agencies, the politicians, the big businesses profiting from it – they are anything but clean. It’s a gooey cobweb of blackmail, extortion, calumny, threats, abuses and suffering just waiting for a RICO trial.
And now control of the house, control of the senate, possible control of the judiciary are all there to make justice go away. Or do you suppose that it will finally come upon us, that it has been a long time waiting? Sam Cook is my man!
What’s the answer to that? As 2021 is on us, just ask yourself, who has been protecting whom? Who has been attacking whom? Democrats have thought themselves savvy for forwarding memes that count the number of arrests of Trump team versus previous presidents. Saint Obama has a scandal free eight years, you know.
Really? Well if that’s true, then either we have justice, or we don’t. Do we? Let’s consider quality versus quantity. But that’s for people who actually do research to do. As I consider our future, my anticipation of 2021 starts with seeing this power grab going on. It’s nothing simple. I sure can’t keep up with it.
Good grief, there’s only one reason I get involved with politics. I’m concerned – very deeply concerned. It’s not just the mob. It’s the mob boss. Who is the boss?
Well, what are the qualifications of a boss? If it’s the mob, it’s got to be the toughest, most ruthless, most well-respected candidate. You have to earn it Machiavelli style. Am I wrong? So who would that be? Who has proven they can be a boss of that magnitude? Donald Trump, you say? No. He just got swamped. Didn’t he?
It’s somebody else. Is it Biden? You know better. Biden made deals. Let me understate something: He did not have the upper hand. He is not the one in control of any deal. For Joe, he’s just trying to survive and protect his family. The presidency has its advantages.
Joe can even leave a legacy. Full control of the house and senate. A justice department that can be stacked if necessary, but already cooperative. Good for him.
There’s only one hitch. He’ll have to sell out the American people, us, while he appeases the deal makers who took this by force, not that he can’t sell at least some of us on the idea that we are getting what we want. It’s not like there won’t be a trickle down effect. You’ll still get stuff from time to time. You just won’t be the priority. That goes to the deal makers. They’re the bosses.
Again, what deal makers? Who is the head of this?
Well who’s most in power? Is it the people with the most money? Or is it the people with the most political control? If it’s the latter, then just hunt down the largest dictatorship you can find – the one with the biggest army and clearest government control. That’s the one who’s in control. Now that’s a boss. It isn’t the money. It’s the army.
If you said Russia, then you must watch CNN. I feel sorry for you. Google the answers. I’m not here to repeat what anyone can easily check out. The Chinese Communist Party is clearly the head boss in the world at this time, not Russia. The Chinese economy is expected to exceed America’s by 2030. A few more rounds of pandemic and it may even happen faster.
But it’s worse. They already have more power than us. Money, even money with armies, doesn’t buy us love. America is divided. Half of us think Joe Biden cheated to win. One friend compared Biden’s victory to Scar, from the Lion King. The hyenas now rule.
If CNN can be believed, 81% of Trump supporters still think he won despite all the “independent” fact checks and account suspensions you and they may have read. Time could tell who really won if the evidence wasn’t so quickly deleted and held away from transparency and accountability. To those 81% you will now never be able to convince, any way to double check the results seems to have disappeared. Accountability vanished along with 27 Mueller investigation phones, dozens of bleach bitted Blackberries, tens of thousands of emails, and the Seth Rich files. But all the indictments are on the Trump side. Justice has been pissed on once again.
Such transparency we have. And this is somehow going to heal the nation?
No. The Chinese have much more than us in terms of soon owning us, if they don’t already. They have n0 such division in their party. The Republican Party is perhaps permanently divided now. A third political party comprised of Trump supporters who feel Republicans betrayed them and sold out to the swamp, are angrier than they ever have been. How could they not be?
What fools these Anti-Trump Republicans are to think they’ll ever get elected again! They’ll lose their primaries. Well financed Democrats will easily defeat a house divided. I think it is safe to say that the Chinese government favored Joe Biden in the election and may have helped him directly. Research that too. There is no problem for their interests if the Democrats should be in power for the next generation. And it doesn’t matter. Any inquiry on Biden that would mirror Trump’s Russia collusion will be knocked down by a house and senate majority. Joe is unimpeachable.
Some say the Democrats are split, as well. They have their liberals and moderates doing some infighting, but I don’t think that will amount to anything. No significant third party is in the picture. The Green Party is no more than an annoyance. The radicals can seize power within it but the party isn’t going to split.
At this point, the Democrats will have millions of newly immunified immigrants on their voter rolls, as if they needed them when the competition is severely divided.
So that’s predictable. What I’m waiting for though, is for my African American friends to see something and start something. I shouldn’t have to preface this with a statement of how much my heart bleeds for the people I’ve heard about as I’ve watched the news through the years, and how much I wish I could somehow make things better. But know this. I’ve often wept when I’ve seen and heard about things. I get emotional that way. I didn’t support Trump because I was a racist. I supported Trump because I wanted to drain a swamp. America will never be great if it is run by the mob.
I’m not opposed to reparations. I don’t know how to make things right. But what I want you to know more than anything, is that if you work for a mob boss, you are at their mercy. Legally you may not be their property, but in effect, you just have to do whatever they tell you to do. If you don’t, you’re dead. That’s pretty much ownership. Will you allow me to use the word “slavery” to describe it? I in no way want to diminish the sacred horror and memory of that word. I just want to contrast slavery with freedom. I want you to understand that I abhor slavery and I do not wish to become anyone’s slave.
No matter the color of your skin, together we are confronted with a fact: the worlds largest slave force is the Chinese people. While it may well appear that the many are enjoying American freedoms and ownership as immigrants or visitors, or enjoying prosperity in their country, they only have those freedoms that the Chinese government grants them. They lack freedom there, and to some extent they lack it here. It’s how dictatorships are.
The owner of the grand forthcoming plantation is the Chinese Communist Party. They are the big boss. You must be aware of this. Russia is free in comparison to China. Across the sea, both countries have America, no longer strong, divided, hurting from an economy that just received its pandemic.
But the Chinese are the big boss of all, including the United States. They threaten everyone on the planet. They don’t have full control of it yet. You don’t see what they are doing to their own on the mainland. But they are getting better and better at achieving their ultimate goal, which is complete control over the entire world – worldwide enslavement, though they think of this in positive terms.
The Chinese government already threatens us in many ways. They gather information, they spy, on every citizen. They have accessed our most sensitive data centers. They own the majority of the world’s 5G communications infrastructure. Wherever they build it, they monitor it. Their eyes and ears are now on the whole world. Their AI is on it, learning about every move you make.
Think about that. If they didn’t like you, if they thought you might somehow be a threat to them or get in their way, you’d be the first they’d target to spy on and eliminate. Who would they think was a threat? You? Imagine having the technology to single out top political enemies with a software algorithm that could instantly view you typing or messaging through your phone or computer.
If you’ve been watching porn, they now have a record. Anything you’ve written is found and analyzed in a fraction of a second with the latest AI. In a way, it’s really cool. Too bad it can be used against you. And if they happen to find nothing to nail you with, don’t imagine you’ve escaped; if they want to, they’ll create it. They can and will destroy anyone they want. Owning the Internet and mass communications is essential in that and they can access anything we can access. And we can access just about anything.
Remember when Republicans were all upset that they were being singled out for tax audits under Obama? Wasn’t that a fun time? Expect more audits. Trump supporters will be at the top of the list. Who else is alarmed about the Chinese? Right now, just for being a Trumpster, you have a target on your back. The Chinese government will hide behind an American government it controls to bring you down. They’re teaming up and already working on it.
Let me ask you who voted for Biden: did you feel like Trump was going to work with the Federal agencies to come after you personally and destroy you in any way he could in 2016? Is that how evil you thought he was? Because that is how it feels being a Trump supporter right now. We have been literally threatened by people in power who have said they would be coming after us.
And that’s no good. But what I find far worse is the idea that the Chinese Communist Party is seeking to control them and there is much evidence that in many ways they already do.
I won’t clutter up my 2021 outl0ok with the details. You can read about it all if you do your own research. China has literally eight times the population of the US. The Chinese government does not value life. It tolerates a free economy for the sake of a long term strategy for world domination.
It’s that strategy and the result of it that I want us all to look at. In writing this, I’m writing especially to the Chinese themselves, whether to Chinese Americans, visitors, employees or CCP members. To the CCP, you know you’re winning. You know you have the advantage over the American and global swamp. I don’t have to tell you this. There is something else I want to tell you. I’ll save it for last. Really, this is my letter to you above all. I am going to issue a challenge for our future. First, let me address the others.
To the non-CCP members, and you alone know who you are, wherever you are, I think you are in the majority. I think you don’t want to be enslaved by the CCP. I think you know that, as well. I have a special request. I want to call on you, to reach out to my African American friends, to the Latinos, and to every new immigrant that thinks they should be a Democrat. Warn them about the CCP. Let them know that the final result of their game, their strategy, is to turn this world into one giant slave plantation. This is what the bosses’ bosses, who rule the deep state swamp from a close distance intend to establish.
It’s the bosses’ bosses in full control. This is why Joe Biden accepting $1.5 Billion from the CCP owned Bank of China through Hunter was a serious problem. This is why Google, Twitter and Facebook suppressed the news before the election. No misinformation labels were put on claims that the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation. They are obeying their Chinese Communist Party bosses. China needed Biden. Unlike Trump, he does what they ask. And what they are asking for is world domination. They want to be the boss of us and the whole world.
For the most part, these minority groups, the Latins and African Americans who voted for Biden, did not get that news before the election. Dear friends, you were told it was Russian disinformation by the same CIA propagandists that we rely on daily for our news. You chose to believe them because you were told and you believed that Donald Trump was a racist. You were told that his supporters were racists too. I don’t expect to change your mind about that. I just want to warn you about the Chinese Communist Party. Voting for Biden was a trap.
Some figured that even if Joe gets impeached or leaves due to senility, that Harris will make a fine president. I hope you’re right. I’d like to think nice things about her t0o. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’ll be the one in control. I think the Chinese Communist Party will be in control. I think they are already controlling those who got Biden elected. Harris would not be fixing this. She would most probably do their bidding. She probably already has been. God knows what they may have already threatened her with – or promised her.
So that is what I want the non-CCP members who read this to tell Democrats, beginning with my African American friends who voted for Joe Biden. Now let me get back to what I want to say to the CCP and Chairman Xi. This is the main point of this communication. It is about what Communism is and what the Communist goals are.
Letter to Chairman Xi
I know that you want the best for your people and for the world. You do what you do because you believe it will produce the best result. Communism is the hope you have for making this world better for everyone. Consider this a direct address to Chairman Xi Jinping and his successors in the CCP.
Dear Chairman Xi and CCP:
I once had a beautiful thought. I imagined a world in which there was no such thing as exchange. Each person simply worked for the common good and each person received from others who also worked so that each had what they needed. There was no monetary exchange. There was no barter. There was no debt. Anyone dwelling in a home had security. It was theirs to keep no matter what. If they needed food, clothing or anything else, they could pick it up at a market without cost. Their transportation would also be free.
I was working at a bank when I first had this thought. The constant exchange of money all day long day after day seemed like an enormous inefficiency. Money is an indirect good but the entirety of my time was being consumed by it. I was producing nothing tangible at the bank. This made me realize that I was doing nothing to improve the world.
While I was working there, I considered how many other workers like me produced no direct goods. We didn’t deliver anything. We made nothing. It occurred to me that I could measure this approximately just by counting how much office space there was in any city. People don’t make things in most offices. Things were made in factories. Things were served by those who distribute. The ratio of factory space and truck space and restaurants and entertainment venues to office space was a fair measure of the efficiency of an economy in terms of indirect to direct benefit.
I estimated that approximately 95% of American jobs produced no direct good. They were entirely comprised of indirect good by exchanging money, recording it, protecting it, leveraging it, or stimulating it through advertising, or accounting for it. My point is that if there was a system that eliminated the jobs that serviced only indirect goods, that those workers could be repurposed to jobs that produced direct goods. The result would be up to 2000% higher production of direct goods.
For this reason, I have been far more attracted to Communism than most other Americans, and certainly most other Trump supporters. However, there seemed to be drawbacks to both Communism and Capitalism. Capitalism may have been inefficient in terms of producing direct goods, but it managed supply and demand, it induced creativity, it kept people working and overall, particularly in America, in many ways it was working and seemed to be producing a level of abundance that no Communist country has been able to keep up with.
For many Americans, as you are aware, this has served as proof that Communism doesn’t work. I won’t try to assess the truth of this here. I will simply point out that where there is pure Communism, it is often difficult to motivate people to work. At the least there is a challenge. If all receive benefits without cost, then what will motivate them to work? Even with a 2000% more efficient system for producing direct goods and services, the problem of motivation is challenging. All a government can do is make threats. Fear is the motivator. Perhaps some intrinsic satisfaction in knowing we’ve done a good job, but not in enough workers.
No, it seems that Capitalism has been producing the majority of Chinese abundance, rather than Communism. We don’t have figures for this but no matter how you measure it, there is something to be learned. Namely, work dramatically increases for the production of direct goods and services when there are incentives to do so.
This said, I implore you to consider an alternative economic system. It would not have the raging injustices inherent in Capitalism. But it would provide the one advantage Capitalism has -sufficient motivators to inspire people to work. They are, in fact, pleasant motivators, rather than fear, like that of a slave fearing his or her master.
Dear Chairman, in this letter I am going to assume that the CCP will eventually gain complete control over the entire world. Clearly, you are succeeding. At that time, you will be able to hurt us, or bless us. No one will be able to stop you from killing us if you choose. I am asking that you consider implementing an incentivized economy so that you do not create a worldwide slave plantation or feel the need to destroy us, which you surely could do with impunity.
The incentivized economy I am speaking of begins with the elimination of all exchange. Each person has access to a central database. Using this database, they can find jobs to do. Using this database, they can request things that they need. I have spelled this out carefully in the “asynalagonomy” link on the menu at the top of this page. I have developed an elaborate system. It provides accountability, quality control, and checks and balances to keep people working at top efficiency.
Using this system, citizens will enjoy property rights. They will live right where they already are. No one can take their homes from them. All will have access to healthcare without cost. All will receive education without cost. There is no cost because there is no monetary system. Each citizen earns privileges based on the type and quality of work they do according to the needs expressed by all through the database.
Those who do excellent work, will be evaluated by quality control managers. Quality control managers are evaluated by others so that all report fairly. A formula of quality and type of work based on demand as reported by citizens to the database, then determines what level of privileges the citizen will have earned.
The result will be zero unemployment and no cost for anything. Limited resources and renewable resources are subject to control by Resource Managers, who also are held accountable by auditors. Incentives to reduce family size and other social concerns are largely determined by the vote of the citizens themselves as they express their needs in the database. An increase in privileges for males who voluntarily get vasectomies is the most humane way to keep population under control. Mandatory abortion is considered a violation of human rights.
Most Trump supporters are Libertarians. They will laugh at these suggestions. They will dismiss the value of this letter. I am writing to solve a problem. I do not want the world to be one giant slave plantation. I see that you are poised to control it. The decision does not belong to any Trump supporters. It does not belong to the Democratic Party. It belongs to you. You are poised to exercise your control over the swamp – that network in the world that is pressured by your intimate knowledge of its weaknesses, by blackmail, by extortion, by espionage. You know it. I know it. This letter is to you.
I don’t know why Karl Marx was so obsessed with the dynamic between the ownership class and workers. Capitalist industry does create that dynamic but it is not necessary to concern ourselves with it. Capitalism will die on the day that the global economy crashes. The gap between rich and poor will call for a total reset and the CCP will seize control at that time to implement a new economic system. It will seize the European and American military through the controls it has gained over their figureheads to harm or benefit them.
Those with alternate currencies at that time will try to survive but with the majority of the world in destitute poverty, their ownership will be meaningless. The great reset will entail a conversion by these same masses to this incentivized system. Or will it be to a global plantation?
Chairman Xi and CCP, this is up to you what it will be. Either you will make everyone miserable, by letting anarchy sort itself out with endless revolutions that never achieve a utopia, or you will implement a system that achieves maximum efficiency, one that uses positive incentives instead of fear and slavery.
This is up to you. It is my work to present you with a better alternative – one with none of the drawbacks but all of the benefits and ideals. Find out more by reading about incentivized asynalagonomy. It is in the menu link. Thank you for hearing me out.
When you count by multiples of a thousand, you get some interesting names for numbers, but were you aware that the Europeans and the Brits call what Americans call a Trillion a Billion? Probably not. But if you’re like me, you aren’t satisfied with what comes after nine hundred ninety nine octillion nine hundred ninety nine septillion nine hundred ninety nine sextillion nine hundred ninety nine quintillion nine hundred ninety nine quadrillion nine hundred ninety nine trillion nine hundred ninety nine billion nine hundred ninety nine million nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine. You’ve spent a long time counting so you won’t be in the mood to argue with the a European numberphile. So here is the low down on the lingo …
In a number of parallel Universes, some of the permutations of me have had the privilege of meeting together repeatedly with various versions of Richard Feldman, Alvin Goldman, Robert Nozick, Alvin Plantinga, and Dr. Jefferey Watson and others at a party in honor of Edmund Gettier hosted by Laurence Bonjour and Susan Haack. Feldman had arrived with his friends, A.J. Ayer, William Alston, Michael Clark and Keith Lehrer. Typically, the conversation will go something like this …
AJA: The standard view of knowledge is having the right to be sure. Tonight, I would like you to earn me that right be assuring me that this is so. If P is true and S is sure that P is true, and S has the right to be sure that p is true, then we can all agree that S has knowledge of p.
EG: Unfortunately, I can think of cases where that is not true. Think of Smith and Jones. The day he met, they were interviewing for the same job. Smith was sure Jones would get the job, as Jones bragged of knowing the owner, giving ten convincing reasons, one for each coin he had in his pocket, so Smith concluded the man who got the job would surely have ten coins in his pocket. This turned out to be true, but not because Jones got the job. To Smith’s surprise, he landed the job himself and hadn’t realized he had ten coins in his own pocket. P was thus true, S was sure that P was true, and S had the right to be sure that p was true, but S didn’t have knowledge of p. The same applied the time that Smith and Jones worked together and Jones kept bragging about his Ford. Smith quipped “Jones owns a Ford or Brown is in Barcelona.” Sure enough, Brown was in Barcelona but Jones didn’t own a Ford. It was just a rental. MC: S didn’t have the right to be sure that p in either of those cases, but he would have so long as all of S’s grounds for believing p were true. So just add this as a fourth condition and S knows that p.
RF: Just the explicit grounds, or a whole chain of grounds? What if one ground in a chain of grounds is false? What if some attain greater certainty? Do those with less certainty negate the grounds with greater certainty? Work on that.
KL: As I was discussing with my friend, Paxson, what you really need for S to know that p is no defeating arguments as your fourth condition. There is no true proposition t such that, if S were justified in believing t, that S would not be justified in believing p. (Feldman 34)
RF: Nice try, Keith. But don’t you remember the Radio that Smith knew was off but playing “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon?” There was also that Tom and Tim Grabit case and their lying mother. Sight gets defeated by lies. My own more modest proposal is to add that S’s justification for p does not essentially depend on any falsehood. Admittedly, this isn’t completely clear, but it’s clearer than Clark’s no false grounds idea, which I rather like otherwise. We have knowledge so long as each premise is sound. And there is always some epistemically basic belief that every piece of knowledge ultimately rests on,
LB: Either something shows you evidence for its truth somehow or it doesn’t. There are no epistemically basic beliefs that things rest on. Evidence is something that fits together like a web coherently with everything we know.
KL: I’m with Laurence. You say that “a basic statement must be self-justified and must not be justified by any non-basic belief. Second, a basic belief must either be irrefutable or, if refutable at all, it must only be refutable by other basic beliefs. Third, beliefs must be such that all other beliefs that are justified or refuted are justified or refuted by basic beliefs.” (Lehrer, Keith. Knowledge Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. pp.76-77) (Huemer 408). And our friend, Fred Will, would add words like “infallible,” “indubitable” and “incorrigible” to this (Huemer 402). One’s sensation may be deceived in various ways.
WA: Maybe DesCartes wanted that level of certainty and that would be ideal, but I just want justification to be sufficient for belief. Mediately justified beliefs lead to immediately justified beliefs along branches. If not, then the premises of a belief are unsound. Looped and infinite chains or those that terminate in unjustified beliefs would fail to constitute sufficient grounds for belief.
RF: I think we can all agree that a priori knowledge is too limited to be practical but we certainly need evidence for justification.
SH: How about foundherentism?
AG: Nothing wrong with evidence, but if you want to truly satisfy Gettier here, S truly has knowledge if and only if the fact of p is causally connected in an appropriate way with S’s believing in p. Here’s another case. Let’s say Gerald falls down the steps and hits his head, giving him amnesia and an assortment of strange beliefs, none of which are true, but included in that random set of beliefs is the notion that he has just fallen down the steps. His belief is justified because he has the memory and it is true. But the belief was not causally connected in the right way. Therefore, it would not be knowledge. Edmund would be honored. The same holds true if there is a more complex causal chain. Now if you see a tree in front of you, the cause is your eyesight. Or I might remember a tree, so the cause in my belief there was a tree would be my memory. Or there might be a more complex causal chain, such as Smith seeing sawdust and wood chips where there once was a tree, remembering the tree and a notice he saw from the city saying they would cut it down. You might see this as evidence for belief, but they are also causes for belief. How I come to believe matters more than why.
RF: Well and true, but how do you deal with generalizations? How, for instance, would you know that all men are mortal, if you have not seen every man, past present or future to cause such a belief? Also, what if you lack some information in a causal chain? If Edgar believes Allan Poe died and knew he’d taken a fatal dose of poison for which there is no antidote and some time passed so he believed he was dead, but Alaln actually died of a heart attack from worry rather than poison, Edgar would be wrong about the causal chain in Allan’s death even if he was right that he was dead. He would then be justified in believing Allan was dead and it would be true, but he would not possess an appropriate causal connection.
AG: True. You would call it knowledge. I wouldn’t if I didn’t consider that the instances from the generality are not still causally connected – there is something to be said for that. Or perhaps your standard of what constitutes knowledge is lower. than mine.
RF: Well then consider the twins Trudy and Judy Smith met. Judy comes to him one day and he believes it’s Judy even though he knows about Judy’s twin sister Trudy. Without good evidence, Smith assumes Judy is talking to him, when it could have been Trudy. You would say Judy caused the belief. It would be true. It would not be justified.
AG: I agree, it would not be justified. I thought about this problem for over a decade and realized what was needed was a reliable process of belief formation. Just seeing someone and being rash about it would not count as a reliable process of belief formation. S’s belief in p at t is justified ‘if S’s belief in p at t results from a belief-independent process that is reliable, then S’s belief in p at t is justified’; And if S’s belief in p at t results from a belief-dependent process that is conditionally reliable, and the beliefs the process operates on are themselves justified.’ (Feldman 95). This, by the way, is why sensory experience is justified for believing – it is a highly reliable process. Calling it an epistemically basic belief is unnecessary.
RF: If you don’t have a body but are really a brain in a vat causing all sorts of beliefs, then what process applies? Or what if you only look at a broken clock at the right time by pure coincidence every time you look at it, unaware that it is broken?
LB: I concur with Richard on this one. Consider Norman, the clairvoyant. He was always right. Suppose one day Norman believes the president is in New York City for no reason other than a hunch obtained by his clairvoyance, and he’s right. That belief would not be justified. I’ll admit it would be a reliable process, but it would fail to cohere with any evidence Norman would otherwise have.
RF: Yes, evidence. You’ll need to spell out the process better, Alvin.
Just then David Hume enters the room.
DH: The clairvoyant’s process is mere numerical inference. It only predicts that past. Backgammon anyone? (add Scotch accent)
AG: No thanks, Hume. Well I have made some distinctions, like the difference between a hasty scan and a detailed observation or the qualitative difference between seeing nearby objects and distant ones – process types.
RF: Not good enough. Each category still gets treated as though every token example has the same reliability as a process.
JW: I don’t think Freedman gets it. These types need to be general to be all embracing.
AG:: We might say, “if s’s belief in p at t results from a belief-independent process token whose relevant type is reliable, then S’s belief in p at t is justified.” (Feldman 9Ish 8) How’s that?
RF: Consider an umpire at a baseball game. Some calls are easy. Others are tough. The process is the same.
JC: No, it’s not. An umpire scrutinizing over a tough call involves more scrutiny than an easy call. He scrutinizes. That’s another process type.
RF: You people just think up examples to give you the results that you want. There’s no general theory here. This violates the Same Evidence Principle. Evaluation supervenes on evidence.
RN: I appreciate that you strive for high and consistent standards, Richard, but I have to agree that causal chains might improve over reasons alone for justification. Method certainly matters. So does process. And what you want is not just any process type, but something more reliably reliable. The only way to do this would be through a process that actually tracks the truth. I’ll admit you do need a good method, but that method also has to be used in the right way. You ought to be asking yourself if things had been different, would you still have known. You need to track counterfactuals. S only knows p if S believes p, p is true and S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” Do this and you can’t go wrong.
RN: Consider the broken clock you mentioned, which you looked on only at lucky times, getting it right, but didn’t know. Why? Because the cause was right but the evidence was unjustified. The premise, you would argue, was that the clock worked, but it didn’t. So for you, as a foundationalist, there would be no knowledge, but Allan’s causal theory fails, as you said. But had Allan tracked the truth using the clock method, he would have learned within seconds that the clock was broken. He would then have found a different method more suitable for determining the correct time or simply confess he didn’t know what time it was and be correct in that belief instead. There are many examples like this – it could be a thermometer that was broken instead. Knowers are truth trackers.
RF: Well, that would solve Edmund’s cases just as neatly as Alvin’s solution would.
RN: Indeed, and there are many other such cases of lucky knowledge. For instance, Ms. Black, working in her office, getting up to stretch – she looks out the window – and just happens to see a mugging on the street and becomes a witness. Her method is luck. What kind of a reliable process is that? In fact, she has no method. Yet she certainly saw. And seeing was her process. She didn’t track the truth because she was looking for it over time. That’s why I said, “S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” At that time, her method was seeing from a timely stretch but it wasn’t even what she intended to do. One might suppose she tracked it over the time she needed to – just that moment. But this is still not enough for knowledge, because what if things had been different? What if she had stretched at any other time? Then she would not have known. And I say that if you would not have known, then you aren’t tracking the truth. I raise the standard of what knowledge ought to mean in this way. I say this because truth matters. In many cases our lives may depend on it!
JC: I agree but I’m not sure I understand. You are introducing counterfactuals in saying that something is not knowledge unless they can say that if things had been different, then such and such would be true, and of course they would have to be right about that. Do you mean that they should be able to know both the truth or falsity under any condition?
Nozick goes to the chalk board.
RN: Yes. However, I would temper this by distance. Here we are talking about the responsibility toward truth that human beings ought to consider. So I’ll offer a third and fourth condition for knowledge as follows. (3) not-p →not-(S believes that p). This means that if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p. And then (4) p → S believes that p and not-(S believes that no-p). This means that if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. This is actually a step up from a fourth condition I previously had expressed, that if p were true, S would believe it – (iv) p → S believes that p. But, as I said, realizing that we, as human beings, are quite limited in our methods and knowledge, for a realistic aim at what one would use for saying that someone knew something, at least given a certain method, this would be the responsible way to treat whether one knows something or not.
JC: I’m confused. Can you give me an example of what you mean when you say, “when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p”?
RN: Certainly. Consider, the unattentive security guard who plays SODUKU all night long instead of attentively watching the monitors in his store. He gets lucky and catches a thief out of the corner of his eye as he thinks about something completely different. His assigned method is to watch. And indeed, he sees. But he is not tracking the truth by that method. Therefore, even though it could be said that he has knowledge of the thief, the standard of knowledge I am referring to has not been met. He was derelict in his duty, which was to track the truth by the method of watching the store monitors. Had he looked up at some other time, he would not have believed p or known p was true. Had p been untrue, he would not have known whether p were true or not either way. This is not a responsible way of knowing things. Tracking the truth is a responsibility. Using reliable processes for doing so goes along with this responsibility.
RF: I used that very same example to show why tracking was not necessary for knowledge.
JC: Clearly, the difference is in what the standards are for the term.
Just then Saul Kripke walks in.
SK: I heard what you were saying, Nozick. Your truth tracking theory is hocus and I’ll prove it! You’ve heard about that town with fake barns, right? The town replaced their old barns and left a few standing but ran out of red paint, so they created a bunch of white barn facades to please the tourists. Smith drives through the town, sees a red barn and deduces that he sees a red barn. Now if Smith had tracked the truth, he would have known that all the white barns were fake. As it stands, he got lucky and properly identified a real barn, a red one, but since he didn’t track it, all he really knows is that he saw a red barn. However, he doesn’t know that he saw a barn because he wasn’t tracking the truth. See the problem?
JC: I’m not sure.
JW: According to Truth-Tracking theory, he saw a red barn, James, but he did not see a barn.
JC: Goodness. I can see that!
JW: Nozick’s theory is “half right.” … “Truth-Tracking is really getting at the counterfactual: would S have believed p if not -p? Objections are to the condition that S would have believed not-p if p. So a revised Truth-Tracking theory would be a causal theory.” (Dr. Watson Unit 4 Video Lectures 4.3 The Truth-Tracking Theory)
JC: Truth-tracking is confusing, Doc. What does he mean by “tempered by distance”?
JW: He’s talking about how far fetched the alternate world of possibilities might be. It’s “in the neighborhood” if it’s relevant to tracking the truth about something specific using a specific method. He doesn’t mean every possibility., only the stuff directly related to tracking the facts.
JC: Oh. So he’s not saying we have to be Omniscient to have knowledge, then? I’m not so sure I agree with that. As long as we’re after high standards here, I think maybe we do. Look, there’s Keith DeRose. What do you think about standards for the word, “knowledge,” Keith?
KD: I think it depends on context, James. Nozick here is talking about standard every day knowledge and responsibility. Our standard of what we consider “knowledge” can change from moment to moment. Recall the time that Smith and his wife had to deposit some checks into the bank on a Friday night and the line was too long so Smith suggested waiting till Saturday since he knew they were open till noon on Saturdays. His wife had doubts about the wisdom of that, so she asked if he really knew that? So he says, “sure I know it. I was just deposited a check there two Saturdays ago.” But as it stands, she had a particularly large check to deposit and had a bill due early in the week so it was very important to get that check deposited by Saturday. So she informs him of all this and says, “do you know for sure?” What really is the difference between knowing and knowing for sure, James?
JC: Ask Nozick here. I think he’d want Smith to track the truth by checking the web site or stopping in.
KD: That’s right. If Smith was talking to Robert, he might not have said he knew the first time around, but in his routine, his memory was reliable enough, and the odds of the bank changing their rules weren’t all that great. Neither Smith nor his wife had seen any announcements in the news lately about banks closing on Saturdays in the area.
AG: Depends on subject factors and attributor factors.
JC: What? Do you have to have something to say about everything Alvin?
KD: He’s talking about relevant alternative theory, James. Not all of these are invariantists. Some are contextualists, like me. The key is the attribution factor. Smith would attribute knowledge to the idea the bank was open. Saturdays ordinarily, but when he circumstances changed, the content behind the word “knowledge” was different. The character of the word, “knowledge” may stay the same in all circumstances, but the content can change.
AG: Linguistic and psychological context are also very important, James. They are attributor factors. If you’re in a class with Descartes talking about an evil demon fooling you, the attribution of the word “knowledge” is affected. (Huemer 495)
KD: Precisely my point. When Smith’s wife puts pressure on him, he’s not saying he didn’t know before, he’s addressing a higher expectation.
RF: That’s just pragmatism. It’s not epistemic responsibility. Smith was wrong to deny he knew it the first time. His memory was sufficient. You’re throwing in the “Get the Evidence Principle” (Feldman 47). You can never have enough information. The evidence you have at a given time is a fair basis for whether you can believe something, and if it’s true it’s knowledge. Simple as that. The Get the Evidence Principle becomes irrational to satisfy. This shouldn’t be confused the fact that even though it’s highly improbable that I’m having a heart attack when I’m having chest pains after eating buffalo wings, I might msyelf go get my heart checked. Action and knowledge aren’t the same thing. Uncertainty does not mean lack of knowledge either. Truth, on the other hand, would affect the status of knowledge. If Smith was wrong, he wouldn’t have known. Knowledge, as the word ought to be used, does not require certainty. It just needs to be reasonable. Smith’s memory was reasonable. His belief was justified.
RN: Did you say “epistemic responsibility,” Richard? Where is the responsibility in not tracking the truth? Checking your heart was exactly that!
JC: Professor Feldman has a point. I can see going to the doctor just in case. Even when things are improbable, it depends on what’s at stake. Business people use an expected utility formula. I’m a probabilist myself. But how sure do you really need to be to track the truth? We’re just human beings? How often do you have to go to the web site to see if the bank is open? Every ten minutes? How would anyone know to check to see if barns were really facades? Who would care to do that but the locals in a town? And what if Smith’s wife knew her husband’s memory was unreliable from an onset of Alzheimers? And all that aside, who can really track the truth but God?
AP: If I may interject here … We are limited by proper function. The human brain was not designed with such great capacity to know all that might have happened. Proper Function is a reliable process for getting at the facts that respects epistemic virtue and responsibility. We are all here because truth matters but the various organs have different functions – the heart pumps blood, the liver cleanses it, and so on. We have many instincts and we don’t track the truth nearly as much as we ought.. Any appropriate method wold do, but we need to start with the knowledge of our own need for epistemic virtue.
RF: You must have spoken to my friend W.K. Clifford. He says it’s always wrong everywhere to “believe with insufficient evidence.” (Feldman 44)
AP: Quite. And not just evidence. There are many types of epistemic responsibilities we have, concerning which virtue is often lacking. We can do better, objectively, subjectively, in what we believe and especially in our general “disposition to have coherent beliefs.” We won’t evaluate evidence well without a proper disposition towards evidence. When do we know our evidence is adequate? What of our faculties? Are they themselves reliable? What is our “epistemic goal”? I have lots of beliefs and goals – not all of them are epistemic. “There are a thousand other epistemic virtues” besides these for determining whether a belief has warrant.
RF: Could you reduce this all into something precise for us?
AP: Surely. “A belief has warrant for me only if (1) it has been produced in me by cognitive faculties that are working properly (functioning as they ought to, subject to no cognitive dysfunction) in a cognitive environment that is appropriate for my kinds of cognitive faculties, (2) the segment of the design plan governing the production of the belief is aimed at the production of true beliefs, and (3) there is a high statistical probability that a belief produced under those conditions will be true.” (Plantinga, Alvin. Warrant and Proper Function (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 59) (Feldman 100)
JC: So … S knows or has warrant for believing that p if, (but not only if), you aren’t cognitively impaired by drinking, dreaming or in a brain in a vat hallucinating, or suffering from dementia, and in the right environment. Can you explain what a cognitive environment is?
AP: Well, your brain wasn’t meant to concentrate on an important matter when you are being distracted. If you were in a tub of worms and scorpions or high up in snowy mountains being chased by a yetti, you might not be able to score well on a test in philosophy. Your cognitive functions might work just fine, but your environment would not be conducive to its optimal operation. Your cognition might be just fine for the environment it was designed for. You might have just passed your exams at MIT, but if suddenly you were transported to a planet in Alpha Centuari where there were invisible elephants sending cosmic signals into your brain making it believe there was a trumpet playing, your belief would not be warranted. And even if there was indeed a trumpet playing, say a silent one in a nearby phone booth, your belief might be true, but it wouldn’t be warranted. Would it?
JC: I suppose not. That would seem more like belief than knowledge. Right Professor Goldman? And what is this “segment of the design plan?”
AP: Well, your brain is designed with many functions – such as interpreting what you see, or signaling your finger to move, or giving you input as to what you’d like to eat, and such sensory knowledge functions for its purpose, but if you are tasked with determining the truth about a proposition, it might not be any of those segments of your cognitive functions that would be needed for determining that truth. It would be the segment that governs the production of the belief. And specifically, it would be that which aims at the truth. You, for instance, might believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Aiming at the truth without bias would require a level of objectivity you might not possess. You do, however, possess the capacity to be objective. You can, in fact, overcome biases and predispositions. So you might be asking questions like whether an empty tomb necessarily implied a resurrection, or whether a report that a tomb was empty was reliable, or truly given on the third day, how consistent the reports are, or whether various details were added to a story later. If you were biased, you might choose not to investigate for yourself. If you used that segment of your cognitive design plan that governed discernment of true beliefs with a high statistical reliability, your design plan would be segmented properly for the task. A belief produced under those conditions is certainly warranted. As long as there was no cognitive dysfunction, you might be capable of knowledge.