“Lord, give me the coffee to change the things I can… and the wine to accept the things I cannot.”
— A T-shirt riffing on Reinhold Niebur’s “Serenity Prayer”
We hope you enjoyed Thursday’s “Suggested Pairing” article. It’s designed to tie the ideas we discuss with our guests to the recommendations you receive from our editors.
And that’s just the start of some big changes we’re planning here at Consilience — the new name for Agora Publishing. With the right combination of caffeine and wine, we may even finish all the hard work very soon.
When we’re done, you’ll have better access to our best ideas than ever before.
I only mention it because Joel and I briefly discuss what’s happening behind the scenes in our conversation this week. Here’s a quick look at everything else you had a chance to glean…
I booked some office time with the St. John’s College Dean of Students. She met with me. I’m pretty sure I just complained to her about time and effort and modern life and expectations and money and “career” and commuting. She listened calmly. Then, I learned from her what Socrates actually meant by “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Our conversation was a seminal moment in my adult life.
St. John College’s structure is unlike anything at other campuses. Students aren’t so much taught the Western canon as they are guided through it — encouraged to “unpack” the text to find deeper meanings. So earning your degree requires an entirely different kind of thinking. Then there’s the matter of figuring out how to apply what you’ve learned to the real world. You can’t go to St. John’s and then go get a job. That’s all you really need to know to get started with this week’s conversation…
A Beginner’s Guide to Classic Literature
Longtime readers may recognize the names Niall Ferguson and Victor Davis Hanson. They’re two of the most insightful libertarian — with a lower-case “l” — thinkers working today. They also happen to believe that Classic Western thinkers are more relevant than ever… and that academics’ efforts to enjoin their groundbreaking works will end up doing more harm than good. We expect they’ll explain exactly why during their appearance at a virtual symposium on Aug. 21 and 22, hosted by Classic Wisdom and our friend Anya Leonard. But we’ve realized that it’s possible you don’t have a foundation for Classical literature at all. So here’s a list to help get you started.
Your Exclusive New Reserve Benefit
I’ve moved from my kitchen to the wine cellar in my basement — leaning even further into the whole “intellectual sommelier” metaphor we’ve been developing. And the new feature we introduced on Thursday continues that trend. It matches the themes we cover in The Wiggin Sessions with specific recommendations from the suite of services you get for free with your Reserve membership. Think of how certain wines go best with certain foods — enhancing your enjoyment of both. That’s the idea behind our “Suggested Pairings.” Your guide is Rick Singer-Barnard, affectionately known around the office as “Yard.” But don’t worry if his name doesn’t ring a bell…
Two Completely Unrelated Events
Inflation saw another unexpected jump in May — delivering its highest year-over-year gain since 2008. Many investors, analysts and policymakers have dismissed the spike as “transitory.” On a completely unrelated note, the IRS sent out 169 million fresh stimmie checks this week… with still more left to go out. Good to know all that free money is having zero effect on prices, right? Of course, we don’t expect any politicians to make that connection… at least not out loud. You can’t expect the American people to give up their stimmies, either. So where does that leave us?
You can catch the full interview with Joel Bowman right here.
Joel used our conversation for this week’s Bonner Family Research podcast. So you can find his audio-only version here. Or click the picture above for the usual video and written transcript.
Founder, The Financial Reserve
P.S. I’m pretty excited about who’s on tap for next week. I’ll be talking to Jeff Deist, who was the Chief of Staff for former Congressman Ron Paul before becoming president of The Mises Institute.
It’s all being thrown together at the last minute, so we won’t be doling out the usual daily slices of our conversation. Instead, we hope to simply send you the whole thing at once next Saturday. In the meantime, we explore some of The Mises Institute’s best ideas.
Look for that on Monday.