Archives for category: Quora

Why were the ideas of the Austrian School of Economics never implemented?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . . 

The “Austrian School” is a movement of social scientists sharing similar method while working out a rigorous analysis that first flowered in late 19th century Vienna. The tradition started with Carl Menger’s Grundsätse in 1871, and carried on in several major works by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Friedrich Freiherr von Wieser in the 1880s, till their deaths. Böhm-Bawerk’s work quickly became world-famous, especially his writings on capital and interest, his extremely clear explanations of Menger’s price formation theory, and his understanding of subjective value in the concept of what Wieser called Grenznutzen (“marginal use” or, more commonly, marginal utility). Wieser formulated the crucial concept of opportunity cost, building on work of the French Liberal School economists Frédéric Bastiat and Courcelle-Seneuil. Menger, Böhm-Bawerk, and Wieser were all Austrians, as were a great number of the next generation of the movement — Eugen Philippovich von Philippsberg, Viktor Mataja, Richard Strigl, Hans Mayar — and, of course, the two that remain the most famous, Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek.

Menger gave up academia for tutoring the crown prince of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. He hoped to influence policy — and it is policy that is meant by “ideas” to be “implemented” in the OQ, right? — through his instruction of that one man. Who committed suicide for murky reasons, making Menger’s career bet a bad one. But both B-B and Wieser held major positions in the government. B-B was even on currency.

They did implement Austrian ideas on policy, B-B especially. Later on, Mises, working for the Chamber of Commerce, advised the government. Some say he helped save as much of the old liberal order that could have been, by fighting inflationism. Mises developed a coherent and powerful theory of the business cycle (trade cycle) which was taken up by the younger scholar, F.A. Hayek, who predicted America’s Great Depression while the great Irving Fisher asserted it was all roses just on the eve of disaster in 1929. Hayek went to the London School of Economics, where he elaborated the Misesian theory in interesting and perhaps ungainly ways, caused quite a furor (convincing many), but was then outdone by Keynes.

Why did Keynes “win” this debate? He offered a few very enticing things, the most important being an excuse for politicians and ideologues-on-the-make to engage in governmental fiscal recklessness, spending more than revenue and increasing the levels of debt, and push monetary inflation, as well. Austrian policy is designed to restrain government and serve the greatest number of people through stability. That is, politically, no match for the Keynesian Temptation. Besides, Keynes’s General Theory, his second big book to push his favorite policy (Hayek “destroyed” the first one, which almost no one reads any more), was such a conceptual mess it gave academics whole careers trying to make sense of it and defend it. Hayek was late in the game with his behemoth failure, The Pure Theory of Capital, which could have had a similar effect, except that the Austrians never encouraged elaborate mathematical formalism, and economists hoping to become court wizards to the emerging welfare state order needed that bit of hocus pocus to advance their social position.

Mises, meanwhile, belatedly fleeing Austria from the Nazis (who hated Mises for being a liberal and a Jew), moved to Switzerland and then the States, in which he could not get a good teaching position through normal means: the crowding-out effect of the order of wizards meant that the universities had no interest in this pioneer theorist of ordinal utility, money, boom-bust and banking, and the impossibility of economic calculation in a socialist commonwealth — he was shut out. He was left to pick up just a few students who carried on this now quite fugitive and subversive work: Israel Kirzner and Murray N. Rothbard are the two great Austrians who came out of the 1960s.

Mises was considered an “intransigent,” occasionally embarrassing fellow liberal/libertarians like Milton Friedman (who was not Austrian in approach). Like in the case of business cycle theory, the Mises-Hayek critique of socialist calculation (another of Hayek’s LSE projects) was said to have been “won” by their enemies. Then, after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, the Austrian position triumphed. Even the egregious Robert Heilbroner admitted that “Mises was right.”

Every time a socialist state dies, replaced by something more market oriented, I tip my hat to Mises’ shade and smile when I say “now that is a kind of implementation of Austrian policy; step in the right direction, anyway.”


How to get kicked off a progressive-run platform and still come out ahead

The extent to which statists, particularly illiberal, ”progressive” statists, quite consciously work against the idea of freedom, can hardly be underestimated. Progressives hate liberty. Even when they are too muddle-headed to understand that their basic conceptions of normative philosophy run against the idea of freedom, their revulsion against the very word liberty — and especially against any notion of liberty as a limit to government — shows through.

We who study these two very different standards do know, though, and should not be shocked when the one turns against the other and seeks to destroy it.

The idea of liberty as justice gave us free speech as a legal and as a cultural standard. Progressives, who have whored after ”social justice,” have given up on all such liberal notions. They are into censorship now. Way in.

My favorite example of this is not all the social media nonsense lying about COVID or suppressing news about Biden or constantly pushing calumnies against Trump. My favorite example? Quora kicking off Dennis Pratt.

But, considering where Mr. Pratt has re-directed his attentions, that may have not have been a prudent move on the part of Progressive Quora (P Q).

For this, see my latest podcast:

And video at:


Photo: Ralf, Flickr, some rights reserved

For right-wing libertarians: Why should a factory owner receive more profit than the workers who constructed and maintain said factory?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

In classical political economy, profit is the return on capital, wages are the return on labor, and rent the return on land. That is, those who hire themselves out as laborers get wages in payment, and those who invest their savings in productive processes receive profits as their reward — if their ventures prove successful.

The wage contract is fairly simple, and laborers get their rewards whether or not the business earns a profit. When the entrepreneur can no longer pay them, they go elsewhere. Profit is something identified and recoverable after all the hired factors have been paid off. The wiser question is not whether factory owners* should receive moreprofit than workers, but that they should any receive profits while workers continue to receive wages, because anything else would be, well, stupid. Against the terms of relevant contracts.

The differences between contract labor and owning and managing a business are key to making sense of things. Economist Yves Guyot put it this way:

Wages are a speculation. The laborer who offers his labor to a trader or a contractor, argues thus with him: “I deliver to you so much labor. It is true that you run the risks of the enterprise. You are obliged to make advances of capital. You may gain or lose. That does not concern me. I do my work, I make it over to you at a certain price; you pay this to me whatever happens. Whether it redounds to your benefit or causes you loss is not my affair.”

Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism (1894).
Guyot by Gill

All who favor market cooperation over forms of coercion and expropriation — not just principled libertarians — look at claims of workers’ key contributions being the sole and overriding contributions to production as being rather witless. We shake our heads when we encounter these hoary socialist clichés.

And we imagine what a targeted entrepreneur might say:

‘You think that because you sweep a floor you should own it? Is it some Lockean “mixing of labor” that gives you this purported right to property? You were hired on specific terms for specific tasks! If the terms are invalid and the hiring amounts to a ceding of my property to you, then I will simply not hire you. Your new terms are unacceptable. You are basically saying that all my and my investors’ [the capitalists’] past savings that went into this enterprise should be yours because I have offered you a contract for a limited purpose. Don’t be absurd.’

But absurdity is precisely what all these retro socialist arguments amount to.

Libertarians often respond politely and even carefully to such arguments, in part because unraveling farragos is fun. But, in truth, we tend to regard the people who ask such things as cretins. Dumb-asses. Or else as con artists plying tricky arguments to engage in some grift. Socialism we regard as the Super Grift. We libertarians often roll our eyes at the insanity and folly.

And then some greasy grifter calls us “greedy”! For defending the rights of capitalists and entrepreneurs to their property, of all things. I am neither a capitalist nor an entrepreneur. But I know greed when I see it, and I see it when laborers hired for specific tasks rise up to demand more than specified in their contracts on the basis that, well, they “do some work.” Of course, most wage-earners of profitable American enterprises despise socialism. They aren’t greedy. They know they haven’t earned what socialists demand.

The bulk of socialists are college kids and professors and government functionaries and . . . journalists caught up in dreams of utopia. Thankfully, most nowadays don’t even ask these question in the old naive Marxoid fashion. They have moved on to the cult of “social justice” and “intersectionality.” They have their own follies. But at least they have abandoned this witless gambit.

* Or some other entrepreneur and some other business enterprise — the socialist obsession with “the factory” is so old-fashioned! I have never worked in a “factory,” the magazine I worked for being closest. Oh, and as a teen-ager I worked on a dairy farm one summer. Remember that Marx hated country life!

Why do liberals and progressives tend to be so emotional? I can’t even have a political discussion without them getting angry or crying.

. . . as answered on Quora . . . 
by Jim Grossmann
on March 8, 2018.

Because us liberals can’t always be as calm and reasonable as the conservatives who call people names like “libtard,” punch dissenters out at political rallies with the encouragement of Donald Trump, and walk around armed with assault rifles in “open carry” states.

Thanks for an opportunity to respond to another question by Anonymous, the most notorious troll on Quora.

. . . as commented on by TWV (wirkman). . . .
on March 8, 2018.

Well, that was disingenuous.

Because us liberals can’t always be as calm and reasonable as the conservatives

who call people names like “libtard,”

I am neither conservative nor progressive, and I get called names by both camps. In fact, disputants on the left call me names more often than disputants on the right — though I admit, a conservative Christian just called me a “motherfucker.” That was uncalled-for, yes, indeedy. Generally, my leftist opponents rarely do me the courtesy of not identifying me as a conservative, while conservatives rarely call me a progressive.

Truth is, I am a liberal, just not what you likely mean by that.

In any case, pretending that only rightwingers call people names is absurd. You are either living in a bubble or you are a liar. Leftists regularly hurl abuse at me instead of providing reason and evidence. I’ve been called fat, a “fucker,” a “ritard,” and much worse. By leftists.

You may be told by left-leaning media that it is the right that is nasty and abusive, but it is the left that makes false racist claims and lies about about others’ alleged racial insults (the litany of ideological hoaxes on college campuses is a long one). Both sides sling mud and lies and fake news, but you pretend that this is partisan, on one side only.

punch dissenters out at political rallies with the encouragement of Donald Trump,

You may be told by left-leaning media people that it is the right that is violent, but it is the left that offers up antifa as true anti-fascists (which the group is not) and activists who proudly proclaim “by any means necessary.” Indeed, what I saw in 2015 and 2016 regarding protest is this: leftists barging into others’ rallies to disrupt, and then claiming that their targeted enemies’ punches were unprovoked. But those awful, violent and cruel conservatives did not infiltrate the ranks of Bernie and Hillary supporters and repeatedly shouted down speakers and attendees. This was one-sided.

I opposed Trump all the way through election day, but from what I can tell, it was the conservatives who behaved decently. And then after the election! Dozens of stories of attacks upon MAGA hat wearers.

And what of Trump’s encouragement? Well, territorial self-defense could be offered as defense. It may not have been pretty, but it was in response to ranks and ranks of sometimes violent anti-Trump protesters, taunting Trump supporters outside … and, I repeat, inside hired venues.

The left is consistent on one thing: a double standard on violence. “Punch a Nazi” became a thing … and then came the charges that anyone not leftist were a Nazi. Vile.

and walk around armed with assault rifles in “open carry” states.

So? How many of those anti-leftist gun-toters committed political crimes? No NRA members have shot up schools, and yet anti-gun leftists blame the NRA while not a few of the school shooters have indeed been Democrats. There is that great moment a few years back when the news media showed footage of a rifle owner proudly carrying a rifle at a Tea Party rally, and the TV news people immediately began talking about Tea Party racism. But the news folks had clipped the footage to show only below the shoulders: the rifle carrier was an African-American.

I suppose it could be you are so unbalanced and partisan because you believe the lies you are told. And it is not as if there were not many disgusting anti-leftists and pro-Trumpers. Trump himself is quite objectionable in more than one way.

But this narrative of Liberals Good, Conservatives Bad is not believable. Both sides suck. Differently.

And as for the original question: I only see snowflakes on TV. I have not personally encountered any over-emotional wimps on the Left online or in person.

Liars, lunatics, bamboozled bumblers, and base rhetoricians? Galore.

But no wimps.


What does it mean to go “full QAnon”?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

I am not going to pretend to offer the correct explanation. I am going to try to offer the most logical one, based on the lore I’ve encountered so far.

The “Q” lore has many elements. Going “full QAnon,” to my way of thinking, would be to believe and spread the core ideas and then go on further, to embrace some of the whackier and most extreme notions.

  1. Donald Trump is (a) a super-competent outsider who nevertheless (b) knows what is really going on in the Deep State, who (c) has the skills and (d) knowledge of fighting the malign, devilish forces therein.
  2. He is allied with godly/angelic beings in the fight against the wayward principalities and powers.
  3. He is a traditionalist who was selected by God to save America.
  4. The Deep State and the Democratic Party are filled with child-raping Magick addicts who are bent on turning America into an anti-Christian totalitarian socialist technocracy with no freedoms except for the elite.
  5. These enemies have made deals with the ancient and mysterious Rulers of the Earth — the Satanic aliens — and they must be arrested and brought to justice, and their strongholds deep in the Earth’s crust must be bombed out of existence.


Now, I didn’t have facts to disprove most of these outlandish theories, going into the last election. But with the failures of Trump to retain office, despite over a ten million vote-count increase over 2016 (a truly amazing thing, by the way), it is obvious that the most basic Q beliefs have been disproved, that is, falsified:

Donald John Trump is

  1. not super-competent,
  2. knew little going in about the nature of the American State,
  3. lacked the skills necessary to destroy the enemies within the government who immediately began plotting his destruction, and
  4. was not even much of a traditionalist, though when the Democrats hunkered down for his immediate ouster, he tried hard to do a few very conservative things, particularly about regulation and Supreme Court Justices.

It has been fun watching some Q sources scramble to retain the old-time prophecies. A relevant book to read for this re-grouping period is When Prophecy Fails, by Festinger et al.


Why can women forgive their cheating husband, but men can’t? (or, Why, traditionally, have women more easily forgiven their cheating husbands than men forgiven their cheating wives?)

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

A basic element, here, is that while

  • women have a rather limited number of eggs and bear the natural, biological burden of investing in progeny prenatally, as well as being better adapted to nurture young children (breast milk, for starters),
  • men have a startling amount of sperm and do not bear the natural, biological burden of prenatal investment in the production of children, and are less well suited to raising children in their very young years.

Because of this inequality, the “deals” men and women make in sexual relations have tended, across cultures, to demonatrate quite distinct supply and demand schedules. Women have tended to offer sure paternity of their children to their spouses in exchange for the man providing physical and political and “economic” security.

A woman who engages in sexual activity with a man not her spouse betrays the essential element of the deal. This is a direct abrogation of the basic agreement. A man who engages in sexual activity with a woman not his spouse is not directly violating the terms (or basic requirements) of the “deal.”

But a husband who ceases to support — or slacks off in supporting — his wife while diverting his resources to a mistress, say, that would be on the level of a cheating wife.

It has been a staple of feminist thought that there is something horrible about this double standard. The more I investigate the nature of sexual relations, the less sense this makes to me, since the very contract itself is based on a double standard — or, better yet, like almost all trades, the deal is, in essence, the satisfaction of two distinct sets of priorities. So a double standard is precisely what we would expect to see evolve.

Now, in couples who do not have, cannot have, or do not want children, the nature of the deal changes. Also the importance of the deal tends to lessen as well, which is why we would expect to see more divorce and more “cheating” in families with no children.

So, no wonder wives tend to forgive cheating husbands more often than men forgive cheating wives — at least in the past. These days, with fewer children being produced and with more households dependent upon the State (taxpayers) for the maintenance of children, we should see this double standard weaken, perhaps even to the point of reversal — in cases where other pressures are brought to bear.

In fine, we should expect distinct behaviors and value-standards along sex lines for a sexually dimorphic species.

N. B. I assume a mix of naturally selected habits and attitudes and economically-induced ones, as well as culturally variable influences. We always expect variety. But patterns of behavior can nevertheless be teased out, with causal relations introduced in multiple dimensions, honing in on a number of factors. The fact that, in complex systems (such as societies) there are outliers and divergent behaviors does not preclude the making of generalizations subject to the usual caveats and statistical distributions.


Photo: Ralf, Flickr, some rights reserved

Is Socialism the cousin of Communism?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

Economist Yves Guyot was puzzled by this, too. So he consulted the literature and the politicians who promoted one or the other or both. Here is what he wrote in Socialistic Fallacies (1910), about Marx and Engels’ infamous word choice:

They chose “communism” because the word “socialism” had been too much discredited at the time, but they subsequently resumed it, for the logical conclusion of all socialism is communism. The word “collectivism,” says Paul Lafargue, was only invented in order to spare the susceptibilities of some of the more timorous. It is synonymous with the word “communism.” Every socialistic program, be it the program of St. Mandé, published in 1896 by Mr. Millerand, which lays down that “collectivism is the secretion of the capitalist régime,” or that of the Havre Congress, drawn up by Karl Marx, and carried on the motion of Jules Guesde, concludes with “the political and economic expropriation of the capitalist class and the return to collective ownership of all the means of production.

These are terms of art, and some of the art is subterfuge. The general tenor of all socialistic thought is the replacement of private property and free exchange with public property and a command economy.

What we call it is less important than identifying its dangers.


How do Libertarians respond to the idea that a libertarian society is far too Utopian?*

There are a few standard responses that are neither tendentious nor special pleading. Off the top of my head, I can think of a handful:

  1. The complaint about utopianism is contextual to a specific time and place. Abolitionism was considered radical, and a completely free labor workforce impossible, in the American states of 1850, by most people. Twenty years later abolition of slavery had been achieved, if messily and at great cost. There were a few libertarians of that time who noted that a more peaceful end to slavery may have seemed utopian, but it was that seeming and that charge that allowed Southerners to stick to the slavery position and the Northerners to their bloody union position that led to the impasse and mass death. Had both unionists and secessionist slavers taken the “utopian” position more seriously, they would have avoided devastation. But they couldn’t, because the utopian charge itself prevented sane reason. Sometimes, the “far too utopian” charge is itself the problem. And everyone today recognizes this truth — but only about past impasses.
  2. In Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974), philosopher Robert Nozick explained what liberty — which is what libertarians offer — does for utopia. It provides a framework for utopian experimentation. It is not itself utopian. Most utopias fail. So what? So do most businesses. That does not mean we should not provide the framework that allows multiform cooperation, including of market trade, innovation in firms, families and communities, and in the more subtler forms of utopianism that Nozick discusses in his book. Libertarianism isn’t utopian. It merely allows for the greatest diversity of utopian projects.
  3. If I remember correctly, Chris Sciabarra argues in his several books that the key distinction to maintain is between radicalism and utopianism, and that libertarians tend to be radicals and not utopians. 
  4. Following hints by Hayek and more explicit argumentation by Thomas Sowell, perhaps the key to utopian thinking can be in the vision of human nature and social causation of two distinct approaches to political thought. In Sowell’s schema, the “unconstrained vision,” where human nature is regarded as extremely malleable — perfectible — under the direction of “rational” moralizing and the overwhelming onslaught of institutional design, is the central element of utopianism, whereas in the “constrained vision” man’s characteristic limitations suggest not merely humility but also (perhaps) explicit limits from which liberty itself is defined and derived. So while some libertarians may in fact be utopians because of their Godwinian attitudes about the place of reason in progress, others are more Hayekian in regarding reason as just one tool in the social uplift toolkit, and failure an ineradicable part of sociality. Libertarian figures such as Herbert Spencer dialectically united both perspectives offering a whiff of utopia in their generally hard-nosed and somewhat pessimistic progressivism — Spencer explicitly incorporating decay (dissolution) into his grand schema of organization (which featured growth, that is, evolution, leading to equilibrium and then ineluctably to de-systemizing).
  5. Libertarians often sound their most utopian when they give specific conjectures about how a freer society would work. Why do they do this? To aid people to think through how free people can form orderly solutions to problems of scarcity and conflict. Marx wouldn’t do this for his “scientific socialism,” and thereby hid from the world the impossibility of his designs. Alas, when libertarians attempt to comply with a seemingly commonsense demand for specifics, their offered thought experiements sound more contrived in a utopian manner than libertarians’ main position actually is. The future is unknowable; libertarians usually acknowledge this, insisting that the ways in which humans freely cooperate to adapt to changing incentives and disincentives, opportunities and menaces, are manifold almost beyond comprehension. And innovation cannot be dreamt up before the opportunity for implementation is more fiction than factual, thus smacking of utopian. Libertarians’ faith in freedom is not utopian so much as warranted by past experience. And this faith is more of a bet on good odds than the faith of the cult of the omnipotent state. Libertarians’ trust in freedom is more categorical than magical in form, and does not take the distinctly utopian forms upon which statism actually depends: the belief that a few exceptionally smart people appointed by political means can figure out and implement optimal solutions without devastating failures that wind up getting written into the warp and woof of standard state practice. That is a utopian faith — in that it defies all experience. Here, libertarians get to play realpolitik scoffers at fools’ outrageous dreams.


* This answer has been submitted to the Quora page “The Screaming Libertarian.”

Why do I feel like a different person now?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

I might be able to answer if you felt like you were me. I know something about me.

But if you feel like some random different person…. Maybe I am not the right person to ask.

Can you ask that “different person”? What does he/she/ze say?

Seriously, do you feel alienated from your own self? This could be worth looking into from a psychological perspective, with the help of someone trained in problems like this.

But it might have to do with (a) being required by circumstance to act outside of your normal comfort zone, or (b) learning a new set of skills, which takes artificial concentration before mastery and psychological identification. These are not unheard of conditions among the young. Further, people who have experienced great loss or failure, have been abusively excluded or denigrated, or are riddled with vice . . . these people often find themselves (c) succumbing to a sort of hidebound self-identification with their negative qualities, and not with their better potentials. This is a trap. It leads to misery, in the end, to despair. Do not get trapped. If you are trapped, figure a way out. But you must understand the nature of your entrapment. If you do not think you are challenging yourself, if (d) you are on neutral, so to speak, then a certain hollowness of life can lead to quirks of mind such as you indicate. And to worse, as mentioned in (c).

So your question could indicate a problem of possible major consequences. At least in potentia.

I think it is important not to get into a “morbid consciousness” of one’s own self. And self-alienation is definitely on the cusp of that, if not that precisely. Instead, pursue worthy goals according to time-tested plans. The goals can be quite individual, quirkily yours and no-one else’s, and still be regulated by methods well established by cultural tradition, religion, philosophy, or whatever institutions you find yourself within.

You might consider whether the institutions that envelop you might not be part of your problem, though. Perhaps you need to change social contexts.

Take heart, though. We all face problems of this sort, on some level. Becoming a rational being is not necessarily easy, and certainly not foolproof (by definition).

But I would investigate (if not exhaustively) the worthiness of your possible goals. Do not focus on vocations or avocations that are anti-social in a fundamental sense. And try to conform to reasonable moral rules. If your goal is “to become rich,” avoid crime. (I would also say “avoid politics,” too, but many people would disagree with me on that. Many people today find advance through such avenues. Political corruption pays.) But “becoming rich” does not strike me as a very good goal, naked and alone. Becoming successful, by hard work, intelligent marshaling of resources, and offering legitimate advantages to others? Yes, that is good.

Whatever you do, try to master something. But recognize that you cannot master everything. Everybody fails at most things — and everyone dies in the end. We concentrate on what we do best, for as long as we can. Do not get worked up about your inadequacies. Accept them. If someone calls attention to them, do not take offense. Move on. That person has inadequacies too, and may merely be adept at covering them up. A socially successful person is in a way like a magician: the magician directs our attention away from what we “must not see.”

Be realistic as well as “idealistic.”

You might consider reading some well-regarded recent work in the psychology of personal development. Are you familiar with Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s Flow? Dr. Jordan Peterson’s self-authoring procedure?

Best wishes, and forgive me if my opening jests seemed offensive. If you can. I was trying to indicate a metaphysical interpretation of your question . . . but obliquely, by play, rather than with philosophical analysis.


After writing the above, a dozen other possible answers came to mind, not excluding “You’ve grown.”

I believe I am transgender, but I keep feeling doubts. I think a lot of people would be surprised, I never always knew I was transgender (mtf) like some transwomen. How do I get over my doubts?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . . 

Without knowing your age, and without hearing you express your reasons for belief as well as for doubt, no one on Quora would be able to give a good answer.

But a word of caution: your feelings of sexual desire and sexual identity are not primarily a social concern, or something that other people can determine for you, or even should influence your ruminations much. My advice to young people on most matters is the same: be true to your experience and to yourself as you make the decisions that create (or remake) yourself. Growing up is a matter of discovery, mostly. Before you obsess about any category you may or may not fit into, or the approbation or disapprobation of any clicque or tribe, make sure you are not defining who you are and what you feel and how you think mainly to meet others’ expectations of identity, their interpretations of their experiences, or their commitments to any trendy ideology.

Seek truth. Attempt always to learn. Try to attain some mastery of some endeavor. Be responsible.