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Trickle Down Taxes

     I recently read an article about France imposing a “Digital Tax” of 3% on the largest online marketplaces.  Their reasons, according to the government, was to ensure that large online corporations pay their fair share of taxes.  Apparently a small town bakery ends up paying more taxes than many of the giant online marketplaces, and the government wanted to fix it (or so they say).

     So how did the online marketplaces respond?  They raised their seller fees 3%, naturally!  The sellers, though not explicitly stated in the article, will no doubt raise their prices 3%.  So in the end, the “Digital Tax” is really just another tax on consumers.  The government gets their 3%, it’s a washout for everyone in the middle, and the consumer pays 3% more.

     And guess what?  This is how it works every time government thinks up a new tax.  The largest corporations either wiggle out of the new tax through tax loopholes or they pass it down until, eventually, it trickles down to the everyday working people of the world.

     Government knows this.  They know that they would have to close tax loopholes if they really want to make the corporations pay more taxes, but they can’t do that because:

  1. The corporations may move to another country
  2. The government may be closing tax loopholes that they (the politicians) as individuals benefit from
  3. The corporations wouldn’t finance the politician’s election/reelection.

     So the next time you hear that government wants to find a new tax to impose on corporations or “rich people,” get ready to open up your wallet, because you’ll be the one paying it!

 

Pointless Rioting

     I heard a conversation today between two guys talking about some rioting that’s been happening in France.  I haven’t been following the situation closely, but apparently the everyday people are feeling cheated in one way or another by the government due to a decline in living standards and the introduction of even more taxes.  (As one of the most socialist countries in the world, France already has some of the highest tax rates of any country.)

     In any case, the one guy on the bus said that he thought the protesters were doing a good job so far by burning and destroying luxury cars to draw attention to their movement.

     I don’t think that burning and destroying luxury cars is a good thing!  What does that solve?  All that it shows to me is that the protesters don’t stand for much at all if they’re going to take their frustrations out on wealthier people’s property with random acts of destruction.

     To really get things done people need to follow the examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Government knows how to deal with violence—simply strike back with more violence.  Non-violence is harder for them to justify the use of force.

     But government has gotten smarter over the years.  They now have a technique of infiltrating non-violent groups with their own government agents who impersonate actual nonviolent protesters and whose real job is to incite violence, thereby giving government an excuse to crush them.

     One thing government can’t fight against very well is a good old-fashioned boycott or strike.  Gandhi was able to bring the entire nation of India to a standstill by declaring days of “prayer and fasting.”  On these days, no one would go to work, businesses started losing money, and that brought about results against their overlords, Great Brittan.

     That’s why the “Occupy Wall Street” protests not too long ago were a joke.  They had no organized message and no plans for boycotts or strikes.

     Anyways, it probably matters very little.  Most Americans are far too comfortably numb to care about protests, boycotts, and strikes.  Sadly, these movements usually only happen after people have nothing left to lose.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

Very Different Reactions

     I literally blew someone’s mind today!  I know we hear that phrase a lot, but this was the first time that I ever really saw someone’s mind blown.  This man had a very shocked, unsettled look on his face and his mouth was hanging open.  The guy is twice my age, but on multiple occasions now I’ve turned his world completely upside down.

     This occasion was in reference to an article about a group of NYC Fire Commissioners calling for a reopening of the 9/11 World Trade Center investigation, citing “overwhelming evidence” that the towers were brought down by “controlled demolitions,” not fire and jet impact.  My friend had never heard anyone question the official government version of 9/11, and as I proceeded to provide more details about alternative views of how the towers fell, he was literally beside himself.

     I think what made it harder for him is that I had already gained credibility in his eyes a few months prior when I convinced him (with plentiful evidence) of the “man made climate change” hoax.  That was also a shock to him.  Add to that the new information I presented to him about 9/11 and the look I saw on his face was of someone who had just come to the realization that much of what they think they know in life is a lie, that there really is a group of people sadistic enough to kill thousands of people (and deceive billions more) for their own personal gain.  Unfortunately, I had to leave at that point, but it will be interesting to see if he has anything else to say about it when we meet next week.  (I won’t bring it up to him; I’ll wait to see if he brings it up again.)

     Oh, and I almost forgot; when I emailed him the article about the NYC Fire Commissioners, he said, “I didn’t see this in the news!”  Ain’t that the truth!

     A couple of hours later I had the same conversation with another person.  I presented it the same exact way and got a completely different reaction.  This man was in complete denial.  He said (and I quote), “I simply cannot believe that!  I don’t want to believe that my government would kill thousands of innocent people for personal gain!”

     I tried to explain a little more, but he shut me down.  The conversation was over.  Apparently he would rather live in denial, believing that those in power are good, kind-hearted people, incapable of anything so heinous.  I guess that makes him feel better.

     Two different people―same subject, same presentation―two very different reactions.

     For me, personally, I don’t care how much it hurts; I want to know the cold, hard truth!

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

Accountability

     We all have a responsibility to ourselves to take accountability for our lives and our actions, and not make excuses or blame others for our own poor choices or work ethic.  Sometimes we are put in less than desirable conditions, but if we remain positive and work hard, we can improve our condition over time.  (If this weren’t true, there wouldn’t be so many examples of people bettering their lot in life.)

     As the saying goes, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  If people aren’t willing to explore the world around them and figure out the forces that are working for and against them, then it’s really nobody’s fault but their own.  The world is our oyster, after all.

     Many people choose the easy way because the examined, successful life takes a lot of hard, hard work. It means not giving in to every whim or desire. It takes sacrifice, determination, will-power, and a desire to become the best that you can be. That’s my take, anyways.  I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m also not afraid to call it like it is. Any faults I have are my own. I’m responsible for them. That’s the truth.

 

Won’t Work For Free

     I went to a certain supercenter grocery store today to pick up a few things (we don’t really have small, local grocery stores anymore), and as I went to check out I passed by (as usual) all of the self-checkout isles (which were full of people checking out their own groceries) until I came upon one of the isles that had a real live human cashier.  The cashier was standing out in front of the checkout isle, waiting to check people out.

     For the record, there have been times that I’ve stood in line for twenty minutes waiting to check out, refusing to “work for free” in the self-checkout lines, so I was quite happy to not have to wait this time.

     As I unloaded the groceries from my cart, I commented to the cashier that I couldn’t believe that all of those people at the self-checkout machines would work for free checking out their own groceries while she stood there, getting paid, waiting to check people out.  The cashier’s reaction was not at all what I had expected.

     “I check my own groceries out, too,” she said.

     “You do?” I responded, incredulously.  “Why would you work for free like that?”

     “I don’t like the way cashiers bag my groceries,” she responded.

     I then proceeded to tell her how recent articles stated that the family who owned this particular superstore market makes $70,000 every minute, $100 million every day, and that I couldn’t understand how anyone would volunteer their labor to such already rich people, especially when it means that less people will have a job because of it.

     “It won’t matter anyways because soon all checkouts will be self-checkouts,” was her flippant response.

     “Because everyone keeps going along with it…”

     “They can’t keep any workers anyways,” she continued.  “Hell, they even pay them $11 an hour to start out!  More than I ever made!”

     I tried to explain to her that the store would be able to keep workers if they paid higher wages, but it was falling on deaf ears, so I shut my mouth.

     But I am glad that I talked to her.  I always find it interesting to get insight into another person’s thought processes.

     So think about it the next time you volunteer your labor for a corporation that makes 100 million dollars a day.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

How to Live

     I see freedom as an essential part of society. Without freedom, especially the freedom to choose how to live one’s life (religiously/spiritually, socially, and economically), human beings can never truly be content or at peace, within themselves or with others.

 

The Biggest Problem in the World

     The majority of people practice no kind of philosophy in life whatsoever.  If people had a more philosophical perspective towards life, I believe that people would be happier.  That’s what I see as the biggest problem in the world.

     Without a guiding philosophy in life, people wander from one attachment to another, finding happiness only in whatever provides external stimulation.  Most things in life have as much power as we give them.  Income, for example, can increase or decrease our overall happiness to an extent, but if each person had a more philosophical (and I think realistic) outlook on life, they would find happiness in the things that really matter.

     I, personally, practice spirituality, and find that it adds great value to my life.  But if spirituality isn’t for you, then at least practice a philosophy composed of logic, morality, love, and freedom.

     Logic, morality, love, and freedom―exactly what the world is in need of!

 

Government Spending Can’t Fix It

     A friend of mine always wants the government to step in and fix what he sees as the greatest problems in the world.  One of the problems that really concerns him is child obesity.

     The poorest people are often seen eating fast food, which costs at least twice as much as cooking at home.  (I suppose the Dollar menu may be the exception.)  No amount of government spending can undo the natural laziness that goes along with the large majority of people who just don’t care about themselves or what’s in their own best interests … even the health of their own body!

     It’s extremely unfortunate that the children of these kinds of parents are raised in the kinds of conditions that contribute to their obesity.  As they become adults though, they then need to take responsibility for their own health, diets, and exercise.

     All of this is unfortunate, but I don’t see how much the government can really do.  Children may not know what’s healthy for them, but adults do.  When I see the people I work with stop at Sheetz, Burger King, and McDonald’s and get fast food everyday and chase it down with a giant sized soda, they all know that it’s unhealthy for them.  They simply don’t care, and would rather indulge their insatiable desire for the taste of fast food and the desire to avoid cooking.  Government spending won’t fix it, and more education will go in one ear and out the other (in my opinion).  Bleak as it may sound, this is free-will and all that accompanies it.  As I’ve said many times, with freedom comes responsibility.

     And a side note on all of the recent ideas on taxing everything that’s unhealthy for us: of all the people who I went to school with who smoked, not one of them who did quit did so because of the cost.  All of them knew (and still know) that smoking is bad.  If they did quit, they quit because they wanted to become healthier or out of their own sense of self-worth and self-responsibility.  Education (or lack thereof) wasn’t the issue.  And tax increases didn’t deter them in the least.

     People have a right to live how they want without government interference.  That’s what freedom is all about!

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

Government Sanctioned Theft

     Mark my words: Socialism will catch up with every one of the countries (who practice socialism) eventually, especially if they allow massive immigration (which will result in massive changes in culture).  One of the fundamental core values that I’ve learned from the philosophy of Stoicism is the idea of “living in harmony with nature.”  Socialism is completely against the laws of nature.  In nature, we reap what we sow.  I’m all for “voluntary” wealth redistribution (also known as giving to “charity organizations”); but INVOLUNTARY wealth redistribution (through taxes) is legalized theft, plain and simple.  For someone to vote to redistribute another person’s property is immoral.  If it’s not freely given, then it is forcefully taken (through taxes, with the threat of punishment or imprisonment if refused).  That’s not love.  That’s not neighborly.  That’s not freedom.  That’s theft―government sanctioned theft, plain and simple!

 

Need, Convenience, and Self-Interest

     A show I watched recently (Undercover Law) had this line in it:

“Most people are motivated by three main things: need, convenience, and self-interest.  Everything else is pure romanticism.”

     This quote from an article I recently read sums it up perfectly:

“…There’s been a striking shift in how corporations see themselves. In normal times, corporations serve a lot of stakeholders―customers, employees, the towns in which they are located. But these days corporations see themselves as serving one purpose and one stakeholder―maximizing shareholder value. Activist investors demand that every company ruthlessly cut the cost of its employees and ruthlessly screw its hometown if it will raise the short-term stock price.”[4]

     The ugly truth of the matter is, it’s dog-eat-dog out there.  Power and success go to the ones who devise the most ruthless strategy to dominate their adversaries; and if they don’t, someone else will do it to them. 

     In all honesty, most people aren’t quite that bad, especially on a personal level.  But take the “personal” out of it, where the victim becomes a faceless, nameless, abstract entity, and the game seems to change quite a bit.

     For instance, most corporate owners and their shareholders have no idea of the conditions in the factories in China where most of their products are made, and they don’t want to know.  It’s called “willful ignorance,” and is necessary for them to be able to sleep soundly at night.  They are probably pretty decent people in their everyday life, but have cut themselves off from any moral responsibility they may feel, and hide the truth from themselves.  Deep down I think that most people who benefit from the unfair labor of others know that they are living out of harmony with conscience, and maybe they even do some extra philanthropy work because of it, but that’s as far as it goes.  And so the world turns…

     I see absolutely no way for this to change―now, or in the future.  Governments can’t force corporations to become more “moral.”  (Anyways, that would be the pot calling the kettle black!) 

     Confucius taught that the citizens will either consciously or unconsciously follow the examples of the people in power.  When, in the past, the people in power seemed to have more morals (when those in power were more openly Christian, for example, and actually practiced their religion more), we, as a society, had more morals.  Now, those in power (governments, corporations) seem to be almost completely morally bankrupt; it’s no wonder our country is the way it is!

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

Free Trade

     I think that what we know as “free trade” is quite misleading; what it really is is trade that is shaped to help the largest corporations “trade for free.”  It’s set up to help the largest and wealthiest people and corporations bypass countries with strong unions or work forces and manufacture in places where they can pay a dollar a day to wage-slaves (no offense intended) who are happy to get even that little bit of income, then ship their products around the world for free, making the corporations unfathomably rich in the process.  Real free trade would resemble a system where our country’s interests are put first, not multi-national globalist corporations who only care about profits (not people), and who have no loyalty to any country, just their own corporate interests.

     It’s true, we’ve gotten cheaper goods in the U.S. because of what we call “free trade,” that’s indisputable; but the loss that “free trade” has created in the middle class has hurt families, local and state governments, and the Federal government monetarily through the taxes those higher wages generated, leaving ghost towns full of failing roads and infrastructure, and a growing number of people on government assistance to try to pick up the pieces and make ends meet with low paying service jobs.  All the while, the largest corporations have less and less competition to contend with as more and more businesses close, as only the largest corporations can profit from “free trade.”  Add to that the extra advantage of these corporations not having to pay American wages or health care to their employees (since they now manufacture outside of the U.S.), and it’s a win all around for those rich enough to shape our laws (through lobbying) to what we call “free trade.”

     Like nearly everything affiliated with government, it benefits THEM (politicians/corporations), not US (hard working citizens)!

 

How to End Poverty

     I, like everyone, personally know a few people who live in relative poverty.  It’s not “America’s” fault that they live in poverty.  A large majority of them simply refuse to go out and get a job.  That’s it.  Period.  They could get up every day and go to work like everyone else, but they choose poverty instead.  They choose to sleep in and watch tv and play on their phones while everyone else goes to work.  (I’m not talking about those who are truly disabled.  That’s something altogether different.)

     All of the people who I know who do not live in poverty go to work every day.  I’m pretty sure that’s how you end poverty (if you live in poverty) … go to work!  Get a job, live responsibly.  Problem solved.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

White Privilege Conference

    I recently read a promotional op-ed article about something called a “White Privilege Conference.”  I must say that I take great exception to the existence and promotion of such a conference.  I am white and come from a town of mostly white, hard-working Americans.  My direct ancestors came to this country with barely two nickels to rub together, worked and toiled in coal mines, on railroads, and in factories until they could get enough money together to send for their wives and children.  They didn’t have much but learned how to live responsibly and frugally, going without many luxuries and no “safety net” to save them when things got tough.  They worked unbelievably hard and earned every penny they made.

     My entire life, most of the people I’ve known have gotten up every day and went to work in the hot, dirty, dust-filled factories in my hometown, as did most of their parents before them.  Everything they have, they worked for.  Although some in my family have been more successful than others, most have made an effort to live responsibly and within their means.  I was never lacking of anything, but I was also not spoiled.  I began working when I was 15 years old and have worked ever since.  I’m currently a janitor.  I didn’t get my job because I’m white; I got it because I showed up every day, worked hard (part-time until I was hired full-time), and showed that I could be an asset to the organization.  In fact, I can’t think of anything that I’ve gotten in this world that either myself or my family didn’t work for.

     To me a “White Privilege Conference” is extremely counter-productive; it goes completely against Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of being judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.  In fact, our society seems to be increasingly obsessed with highlighting race, gender, or sexual orientation whenever the opportunity presents itself—at times even going out of its way to do so.  (That’s my experience, at least.)

     I could go on and on about the problems and challenges of those who struggle around or below the poverty line—and offer some possible causes and solutions—but for now I only wish to say that a “White Privilege Conference” isn’t, in my opinion, part of the solution; it only adds to the problems.  It divides and separates us, and in the end creates an environment ripe for negativity to flourish.  It creates, in my opinion, a false narrative that can then be used against certain persons or groups of people in numerous negative ways, creating new wounds in the process.

     All of us, regardless of race or gender, deserve better.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

Money = Freedom

     I’ve always been a money saver.  I had over two hundred dollars in a piggy bank when I was 12 years old that I saved from birthday parties, holidays, and allowances (which I eventually used to buy guitar equipment).

     When I was 15, I got my first job.  I saved all of my money, and I was the first of my friends to have a car.  I had more freedom than anyone my age.

     I learned early on that money = freedom.  Financial independence teaches us not to be dependent (on other people or government), but independent.

     In the town that I live in, we recently enacted a special referendum that existed in our county laws and voted to raise our own taxes for the building of a new school.  To add some context, there were multiple, considerably more cost effective proposals to choose from, but for some reason our town voted for the most expensive, over-the-top design.  Add to this the fact that the existing school was less than thirty years old, could have easily been renovated for millions of dollars less, and still had outstanding debt, and your mind, like mine, should be officially blown!

     What would the founders of our country say to that?  What would early Americans say if they knew how much money the government already takes from us and the way it’s spent, wasted, and abused—in many cases being used on things that have nothing to do with the good of the people at all?

     They would probably say, with a fresh set of eyes, that we must have some sort of selective amnesia to forget about all of the abuse and corruption that’s poisoning our government and try to steer us clear of any misguided rationalizations that would let us give them even more of our hard-earned income (and freedom).  They would probably look at the real solution, which isn’t raising taxes, but putting the already enormous amounts of money they take from us to better and more efficient use (like simply renovating the existing school for a fraction of the cost).

     Very wise and intelligent people made it a law in our county that the government couldn’t raise our taxes more than a certain amount to protect us from extortion—and we willingly bypassed that law by enacting a special referendum and gave them more money!

     When we don’t hold our leaders accountable, we give them our freedom.

     When we sit quietly by as they spend our taxes in (sometimes) the most heinous ways, we give them our freedom.

     And when we volunteer to give them even more of our money in taxes—money that we now can’t spend on ourselves, our children, or our families—we give them even more of our freedom.

     I don’t think that’s the way it was meant to be.  I don’t think giving more of our money or freedom will make us more independent.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

Part IV: Ideas and Insights

     This section is a mixture of random thoughts and short essays that I have written over the years that cover a variety of topics.

     One thing that I would like to address before you go on is that although I believe that some sort of voluntary society would be the best way for humanity to live (as I noted in Part I), you will notice that I do at times speak of taxes, voting, and other “statist” issues.  Statism (a government-controlled state society) is the system we have now, and until enough people understand that Statism is just systemized slavery, we may have to fight for as much freedom as we can within the system.  I wish there were better alternatives, but for now, it is what it is.

 

Help Themselves

     A growing attitude in America today is that those who work hard and are successful are expected to support those who, when their lives are analyzed, have put half of the time and effort into making themselves successful as their successful counterparts have.  Yet many of these people expect to enjoy the same rewards and luxuries that those who are successful have worked so hard for.

     In reality, most people’s success in life (or lack thereof) correlates directly with the amount of effort they’ve put forth.  For example, I chose to get a job in high school while many of my friends chose not to; I had a car, they didn’t.  I chose to study my books and do my homework; some didn’t—that was their choice.  I chose not to get heavily involved in drugs or alcohol, even though those kinds of people were around.  I chose to get a job that offered a health insurance plan; it was my number one priority upon graduating high school.  Others have this opportunity as well; if they choose not to, so be it.

     I celebrate that people have this kind of freedom.  With freedom comes responsibility; what we choose to do with that responsibility is up to us as individuals.

     I, for one, believe that America is more than generous with those who are below or around the poverty line.  The taxpayers are doing their part to help them out and make their lives better.  The question I have is, how much are they helping themselves?

 

Wealth Redistribution—A Parable

     A hunter goes out every morning to hunt for a deer.  For hours each day he sits in the woods in the cold and the snow but nothing comes along.  Finally, after three weeks, he shoots a deer.  He tags it, drags it to his truck, takes it home, hangs it, skins it, cuts it up, and packages it.

     But then some people come along and say that they’re going to take half of his meat and give it to those who don’t have any.  The deer hunter is confused.

     “Why didn’t these people go out and get their own deer?” he asks.  “What were they doing?”

     “Well, they were sleeping, watching TV, playing Xbox, hanging out with their friends, etc, etc…”

     “That’s not fair!” the deer hunter protests.  “They didn’t put in any of the hard work that I put in.  They didn’t sit in the cold and the snow and wait for days and weeks like I did.  They chose not to.  So why should I have to give them what I’ve worked so hard for?”

     “That’s just what we have to do if we want everything to be fair,” the people reply.  “Now give us your meat—it’s only right.”

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto

Be Free

     Here’s a hypothetical example of what we could do: say a group of college students at a certain major university are tired of the ever rising costs of college education.  So they organize and protest and get support and are able to have the entire student body boycott all sporting events until something gets done about the cost of college education.  Perhaps, if the students conduct themselves with honor and remain peaceful and dignified, members of the general public may join them in their efforts.  The goal of the boycott could be the elimination of at least one year of Gen. Ed. (General Education) classes for most majors (along with trimming the fat in “administrative costs”), thereby reducing the cost of college education by fifteen to twenty thousand dollars per student.  Would it work?  What if through social media the cause picked up momentum and spread across the nation?

     Or what if roughly the same scenario happened, but instead of boycotting sporting events, 30,000+ students at a major university all banded together and boycotted Gen. Ed. classes, pointing out that for most majors they have little or nothing to do with their specialized field of study, and that the supposed goal of “making well-rounded individuals” is really just an excuse to force college students to take an extra two years of college, thereby making universities (and banks) that much more money and putting the students that much more in debt.  (I can understand the importance of these classes for some professions; for instance, they would be helpful for those who intend to become school teachers, but they could easily be trimmed back by at least half as much as is currently required.)  If students fought back like this all across the country, the universities would have no choice but to concede to their demands.  College would take half the amount of time and cost half the amount of money.  These are the kinds of things that need to happen if we want anything to change.

     Workers need to organize and unionize again, especially in the service and retail industries.  People need to fight for better wages, just like those who struggled in the early 1900’s did, whose hard work and labor caused reforms that many of us still benefit from today.  The decent wages and middle class that the U.S. enjoyed and thrived upon for so many years didn’t just happen—people fought for it.  And now, through years of ignorance and complacency, we’ve let almost all of it slip away.

     We need to put our heads together and find ways to force our “elected” officials to pass trade agreements that benefit workers and regular citizens, not just corporations.  We need to boycott mega-businesses that don’t pay a living wage, especially when their own financial reports prove that they easily can—they just choose not to.  (I realize that some (many?) people don’t believe that unskilled labor deserves better wages, but a simple analysis of historical data shows that these same unskilled laborers make less now adjusted for inflation than they did fifty years ago, while corporate wealth has increased by leaps and bounds, in some cases by 200-300 percent when compared to the leading corporations of half a century ago.)

     We have the power to make great change if we get together, stand up for ourselves, and refuse to cooperate with the people or corporations that use us to make Themselves powerful and rich.

     Think about it—if an entire town got together and said that they weren’t going to shop at a particular supercenter retailer until they started paying better wages and benefits, conducted fairer business practices, and sold more local, state, or national products, they’d be closed down in a month.  Some other business that would accommodate these demands would happily take their place.  So much is possible if we only stand up and work together.

     And if none of these things work or don’t happen right away, you can be an army of One.  Educate yourself.  Knowledge is power.  Do what you can, however little it is.  It all adds up after a while.

     Resist.  Rebel.  Revolt.  Rearrange your life.  Make freedom your primary concern … not just for the sake of being free from Them, but for your own good and as its own reward.

     It’s up to you.  This book is but a small taste of what’s out there.  With tools such as the internet and social media at your disposal, you have the accumulated wisdom of the world at your fingertips.  Use it.  Free your mind.  Aspire to be great, to be something other than a cog in the wheels of the bankers, corporations, and politicians money making machine.

     Rise up.  Fight back.  Stand your ground.

     Be Free.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto