Why RecoveringStatist?

After the untimely demise of PHS the other night, I realized that a good portion of the two years I wrote there, I was a statist. I certainly didn’t think of myself as one; I thought I was all about freedom and Taking The Country Back(tm). I knew we needed to Restore The Constitution and Stand For Liberty.

After the initial freakout session and repeated mashing of the Refresh button, only to be greeted by “This server cannot be found,” I sat back and thought about it all. Truth be told, except for the last year or so, most of PHS was statist tripe, and the world is better served with it gone.

Over the last 12 years I’ve been writing, I’ve seen my thinking evolve as I came into contact with more information, more truth, more things that I realized I was wrong about. I read everything I could find—and still do. It seemed the more I read, the more I researched, the less I knew.  I’ve found myself reaching out to many people I don’t agree with, and would prefer not to associate with, and asking them to teach me. Not because I’ve suddenly converted to their way of thinking, but because information is a good thing. Because I want to be certain that I have all the information before I stand up and yell that this set of beliefs is mine.

I look back at some of the things I’ve supported or been involved with over the years and I shake my head. I was always passionate about whatever I believed, but sometimes those beliefs were straight up wrong. The important thing, however, is to keep learning, keep reading, and keep thinking—even if it means I have to change more beliefs and hone more positions.

There are those who like to demonize those who came out of another belief system, who ‘converted,’ so to speak, after being active in another arena or supporting something else. They fancy, somehow, that because they have never changed their belief system, and they have always believed XYZ way, that they are somehow purer. They are the ‘true patriots,’ and those of us who came out of another place are trash.

Because lately it seems like it’s not really a Kit Perez article unless I say something controversial, I’ll say the following: If you, after many years, have not changed a single belief, have not evolved in your thinking at all, have not seen a single thing that caused you to stop and say, “Wow…maybe I’m wrong about that,” then you are intellectually lazy. No one who is truly growing and maturing keeps exactly the same beliefs across the board for their entire life without even a question.

Humans have biases and our analysis is prone to pitfalls. It’s who we are. Normalcy bias, confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, the list goes on and on. In short, we do not like information that challenges our belief system, and we don’t want to change. Therefore, a lot of people (maybe even most) choose to believe only facts that support their narrative, even if those facts are debunked or incorrect. They discard anything that disproves their belief because if they don’t, they need to actually reevaluate their belief system—and maybe change it. That means admitting that they may have been mistaken. It takes conscious effort and humility to train yourself to seek truth and be willing to accept it when it’s proven to you. I posit that a large number of folks in the so-called patriot movement look at things as though they’re looking at the edge of a penny, convinced it’s only a curved line. They’re not interested in seeing the actual coin…they just want to believe in the line.

For many, their beliefs about the kind of world that exists around them is something intrinsic to who they are. They find it difficult to fathom a world that is not as they believed. It’s why Hillary fans collectively ignore the staggering amount of evidence showing that she is a pedophile with occult ties. It’s why John McCain is still Arizona’s senator. It’s why third party candidates never win. It’s why so many ‘patriots’ never see the irony in thinking that if only THEY had control of everything, they’d be immune from the seductive call of absolute power’s corruption. It’s why we are always a little bit surprised when people we respected and thought were solid end up stabbing us in the back.

I believed a lot of things that have been proven wrong. I used to laugh at the idea that there was a shadow government, some globalist cabal that was involved in everything from drug trafficking to satanic ritual abuse of children. I used to see those wild accusations on various conspiracy sites and I would dismiss them with a laugh and a shake of the head. Since then I’ve seen the evidence. It is overwhelming. Staggering. Soul-searing. But I seek truth, in whatever form it comes, regardless of the cost. I can learn something from almost anyone—even if I don’t agree with their beliefs, I still learn: how to counter, how to debate them effectively, how to crosscheck the information I already have.

I don’t want to be someone who cannot change their belief if they’re proven wrong, and I’m self-aware enough that I know just how wrong I’ve been at various times in the last 12 years, not just in some of the things I believed in, but also many of the people.  I’m sure I’ll be wrong again. But I don’t give two seconds of credibility to anyone who does not have the balls to look at opposing information and truly evaluate their beliefs according to fact, and not what their emotions need them to be. I don’t give two seconds of time to people who are not only mentally stagnant, but think that being so is a badge of honor. I don’t want to be right, I want to be correct.

Stagnation is not something to brag about. If you’ve been around in this freedom thing a long time, awesome. If absolutely nothing about your belief system has changed or clarified during that time, then you should really think about where your head’s at. You just might have more in common with the naked emperor than the well-read partisan.

How to Set Up an Information Feed

As you probably figured out from my last post, I read a lot. Aside from the books and manuals and whatnot, I read a ton of different sites. Right now my feeds have 660+ articles in them, and that’s just from today. I’ll read at least 400 of those before bed, and scan the headlines of the rest. I’ve been asked how I stay on top of so many topics, and the answer is simply a well-organized information feed.

Reading is imperative. I HIGHLY recommend that you read as many sites as you possibly can. Get a feed reader and a bookmarking service, and make your time worth something. Even if you’re not the fastest reader, the only way to improve is to do it. By standardizing your flow and process, you can get through a huge amount of information per day, even if you don’t have an hour to just sit and read. I’ll show you one way to do that. This is simply how I do it because it’s what works for me…your mileage may vary.

Keep in mind that this is just the daily read routine. For specialized projects or collection efforts on a specific topic, I use other methods that I’ll discuss at a later time.

Information Feed Sites

I actively use the following sites for the daily grind:

I’ll start with Feedly. This is where I add all of the sites I want to read on a daily basis. I use my phone for this because it’s always with me. I almost never sit down on the desktop and read my feeds; I do it throughout the day on my phone. You’d be surprised to know how much time you actually have to read if you pay attention. I read while my eggs are getting done. I read at the doctor’s office. I read when I’m on hold. When my husband is driving, when I’m in line, when I’m at a standstill in traffic. There are a hundred times throughout the day that you can read an article or two. Try it.

I read about 50 sites per day just in feedly, and as I mentioned, that means at least looking at the headlines of well over 600 articles. Some sites, like Ars Technica, I don’t read every article. Others, like certain security sites, I read religiously. You’ll get a feel for what you’ll always read and what things you’ll skim.

That brings me to an important side note. In feedly (and most other readers) you can organize your feeds into various groups and types. I highly recommend that you take the time to do this. When I have a chunk of time, I’ll simply hit Read All and get one big list of list of everything. When I just have a minute, I will pick just one section to grab, maybe one of the smaller sections, or one of the more important ones that I try to stay on top of. How you choose to set up your feeds is up to you. I organize mine by topic (Intel, Security, Privacy, Politics, Comms, etc).

As long as we’re talking about organizing, let me jump ahead and point out that if you have a reddit account, it is critical to set up your front page to maximize your efficiency while you’re scrolling. I just went into reddit and clicked Edit to the right of the bar, unsubscribed from all the crap, and added in the subreddits I wanted to see. Boom—custom reddit feed. You can also get more into it with these free tools. They’re good if you want to subscribe to discussions, look at videos or images specifically, etc. I just want the data, so I don’t bother. I use the app RedditIsFun on my phone.

Some folks don’t like reddit because it seems like organized chaos; once it’s set up correctly, however, it’s kind of like having a whole bunch of people out finding content for you. They post, you read. I’ll take it.

With that, we’ve arrived at Pocket, a link collector. It’s free and perfectly functional, but I opted for the Premium version (it’s really cheap) because I like the extra features of being able to search through all the links I’ve collected. I use Pocket as a secondary feed reader of sorts. As I scroll through reddit or feedly, if I see something I want to write about or save, I share it to Pocket. The best part is that in Pocket, there are no ads or popups from the sites. Pocket just takes the article you wanted, and gives you the text. The other benefit is that you can assign tags to posts as you collect them. Eventually you have a pretty sizeable collection of information that you can go back to at will, almost like a library. I use it a great deal.

It will take you a bit of time and effort to get things set up and organized, and you’ll probably tweak it over time as you get familiar and want to hone your feeds, but this is a solid place to start.

Gab is a Twitter replacement. In fact, imagine Twitter with a group of solid analysts, absolute freedom, and encouragement to expose, investigate, and crowdsource. It’s currently private, which means the public can’t see your gabs. Once you get in, look for the hashtag #GabAnalysts, and you’ll find a lot of information. And add me, of course! I’m @audax0.

One final word: You can obviously add whatever sources you want, but keep in mind that the quality of your experience largely depends on the quality of your inputs. I have a wide variety of feeds spanning the entire spectrum: conservatives, anarchists, libertarians, straight up liberals, alt-right. That’s in addition to the tech feeds, etc. Don’t give in to the temptation to create your own happy little echo chamber. You won’t learn anything, and you’ll only be furthering your biases. Create your feeds with the purpose of finding truth, not entertaining yourself with what you want to see.

If you’ve got a different way of pulling information on a daily basis, let me know in the comments. It might be better, and then we’ll all learn.

RecoveringStatist.com

RecoveringStatist.com is the website of Kit Perez, formerly of Patrick Henry Society, which disappeared in a mysterious hosting accident. While PHS may be gone, there’s still much to be done and said—perhaps now even more so. If we really want to get anything accomplished, however, we need to change the game.

This site focuses on privacy in a surveillance state, intelligence, and the idea that people deserve to live free. What exactly does “live free” mean? I guess we’ll be talking a lot about that in the days and months to come.