Isaac Morehouse and Entrepreneurship as a Libertarian Tactic

One of the most life changing conversations I ever had, was with a man named Isaac Morehouse. He runs a company called Praxis, which offers young professionals an apprenticeship at a startup. Included in the program is an online bootcamp filled with resources for becoming as productive and skilled as possible. Isaac has some really interesting ideas about the world. Most intriguing to me, has been his thoughts on using entrepreneurship as a sort of tool for social and political change. He gives a lecture about his life journey leading up to starting Praxis. He frames it as a story of discovering tactics for changing the world. He started his journey as many others do, seeking to help people directly through tactics like missionary work. He began to seek out longer lasting and larger scale solutions to the world’s problems. He moved into politics, only to find it as cartoonish-ly evil and inefficient as our movies make it look. He joined organizations to spread education and books. This too was a disappointment. He found that his impact was much smaller than me hoped. Eventually Isaac had a realization. He noticed that political change was a lagging indicator of social trends. He noticed that policy and politicians moved slower than culture. He noticed that attempting to change the world through a top down approach, using education and political action, was only looking at part of the picture. His great discovery, was an often overlooked strategy for political change. The tactic of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship drives cultural change from the button up. It starts with people’s wants and desires, appealing to them through the creation of value. Consider the need for liberating the taxi market. Anyone who’s ridden in a taxi, understands that the system could be better. They might not understand how things like taxi medallions limit competition and thus cause bad quality service. They might not understand how taxi companies build unions and lobby local governments for favor. However anyone can certainly understand that taxis need improvement. Instead of trying to explain to them the economics of the situation, or inspire them go and out and protest, there is the entrepreneurial tactic. All one need to do is invest in something like Uber and suddenly the incentives are in place for problems to be solved. This doesn’t mean Uber is a perfect company by any means. Simply that Uber illustrates how building a business and creating value for customers helps solve major problems.
This sort of principle can be applied on a much large scale for political change. Such a tactic could be applied to systems like the federal reserve. One might know that having centralized banks controlling interest rates can cause problems.  This can inspire a desire to protest for End The Fed, campaign for Ron Paul for even throw a damn brick through the Fed’s windows. However, like the taxi question, there are more profitable ways to solve this problem. Through innovations like cryptocurrencies, we change the incentives for how governments handle the monetary supply. Consumers have more than one option for doing commerce. If The Fed wants to not be eaten up by its competitors, they have to make the USD better and better.
This insight of entrepreneurship as a political tactic, seems to be a major trend in contemporary libertarian philosophy and the broader movement. Younger libertarians have lost interest in student activist organizations and traditional party politics. Libertarianism has always hat tipped the entrepreneur and understood her impact in the economy. However, thinkers like Isaac Morehouse are making entrepreneurship the center focus of libertarian thought. Teaching us that it can be used to make liberty happen here and now.
Freedom may only be a few good business ideas a way. Those who want to change the world would benefit from learning that.


5 Tips for Good Conversation

I recently got home from an adventure at Praxis Weekend. It was a gathering of many great minds and hearts all sharing a desire for creating value in the world. Amazing people means amazing conversations and chances to connect on a deep emotional level. It was especially interesting to see the development of my own social skills. I used to be such an awkward kid. It took a lot of willpower and good parenting to get me to even look people in the eyes. Yet, over this weekend I seemed to have left a very meaning impact on everyone I spoke with. I found it easy to dive straight into an intimate connection. It’s undeniable that part of this is just the amazingness of the praxis community. However, even given the quality of my conversation partners, there was certainly a collection of conscious actions I took to get the most out of my one on ones. Here is a list of 5 tips anyone can use to have good conversations.

Prepare Bold Questions

Small talk is fucking stupid. Just don’t do it. Start strong. Find a question that will rip past their social barriers to look deep into their soul. Questions like “what sort of things make you feel alive?” “What’s the hardest part about pursuing your personal passion?”. You want to ask questions that lead to an insight on their essence. Get a greater understanding of who they are and what they value at a deep level. Remain fluid and prepared for any conversation, but it can be helpful to prepare a handful of big questions that are broad enough to ask anyone.

Give Your Full Attention

People can tell when you’re not truly interested in what they have to say. Your body language communicates so much. If you are distracted or not totally invested it will be obvious. Eye contact is probably the most important part of this. You may also want to face your body directly at your conversation partner. Avoid looking at your phone or getting caught in several different conversations at one.

Thread The Conversation

Threading is the concept of maintaining free-flow in a conversation by being aware of the many possible directions it can go. When they say something like “I started working at this company so I could get a better grasp of marketing in the health industry”, you’re given many different avenues to go down. You could ask them about how they landed the job. You could ask them their favorite parts of working the health industry. You could also ask them why they want to get into marketing. This insight empowers you to direct the conversation to some degree, focusing on things that you also find interesting. Being aware of conversational threading also means making sure your statements have many possible threads. Keep your statements complex enough to lead to several possible questions. When done right you can literally keep the talk going all night.

Go From Cold to Warm Conversation

Cold conversation is about getting basic facts, such as learning where they work and where they live. Warm conversation is more focused on intimacy and emotions. A good conversation has both but will usually weigh towards the warm side. Everyone at the party already asked them where they work, you should be the one to ask them what part of that job makes them feel most alive.

End on a High Note

The last moments of a conversation can set the emotional tone for their memory. Even if you’ve realized you hate this person or you’ve been disagreeing all night, it will be valuable to end on something positive. Tell this person how much you’ve enjoyed the conversation. Tell them you appreciate who they are and value your friendship with them. Touch can also be extremely useful here. A tasteful hug or a hand placed on their shoulder will reassure them that you were genuinely interested. My favorite thing is to give a nice long hug, look them in the eyes as I pull back and say “I love you and I appreciate this conversation”. As I am genuine when I say it, it certainly seems to leave an impact.

The Praxis Mafia Gives Me Life

Surround yourself with people who make you better.

So I’m in Austin Texas if you haven’t seen me spam my FacebookInstagram and Snapchat (gabejmitchell) with photos.

I’m in town to spend time with my Praxis friends and go to the Voice and Exit event, it’s sorta like Ted Talks but bigger and better.

Great town, tried whataburger and had in-n-out (I refuse to pick a side sorry). Visited the libertarian alcoholic beauty that is the Cantina Taco Bell. Took some very cool photos at the Graffiti Park.

Most importantly though Ive been spending time with the most interesting and inspiring people I’ve ever meet. All of the Praxis mafia: participants, alumni and staff consistently impressive me.

It’s only been a day in and I’m super happy to be here. Being around other entrepreneurs and ambitious young people keeps me motivated and makes me feel less lonely about the path I take. It’s important to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be better. Freedom can be made through the relationships you build and I’m excited to see what the future holds.