All is not as it seems

Facebook after an election is probably at terrible idea.  Yet curiosity not only deprived me of an hour of sleep on election night, it also kept me scrolling through endless angry and ecstatic articles.

I don’t have the time, energy, or ability to deal with hateful comments to deal with all of the logical fallicies presented on my News Feed tonight.

So I’ll just pick my favorite!  It was sparked by this tweet:

And reinforced this article: If You’re Feeling Sad Today Just Check Out the Millenial Electoral Vote Map.

If you were hoping to hear how I voted or what I think about the election, you can stop reading now.  I’m more fascinated with the media ecological side effects.

At first glance, the facts line up with the map. There were, in fact, more people under 44 voting for Clinton than Trump and vice versa when we look at the over 45 crowd.

Source: CNN.Com

The color-coding makes that obviously appearant.  But the percentages themselves aren’t that overwhelming–they all hover around 50%.  Which means it’s a pretty even split in all age demographics on Clinton vs. Trump.  I’m not statistiction but I’m guessing the percentage point differences aren’t statistically significant.  If you are a statistiction, please comment and let me know!

Even if there was a statistically significant poll that showed the majority of folks under 40 voted for the Democratic nominee, I somewhat doubt that this signals an oncoming wave of liberal 50 year olds.  At least, I surely hope that we all change and grow in the next 30 years–whether that means some of my peers switch parties, some dig their heels in deeper, or some become disallusioned and go live in hobbit hole somewhere.

Right now, it makes a lot of sense that younger people slant towards liberal policies. We advocate more for change when we’re young and we don’t know as much about the world.  It’s easier to vote for higher taxes for richer brackets when we’re chilling by the poverty line. And we’ve only been a life for a quarter of a century so long-term effects don’t mean as much to us.  It doesn’t mean we’re right, but it does make sense.

If a person is not a liberal when he is twenty, he has no heart; if he is not a conservative when he is forty, he has no head.’ — John Adams

This inherent media bias isn’t limited to young people. Throughout the news coverage I watched on NBC, an underlying assumption that all women voted for Clinton and all older males voted for Trump colored every question that asked.

One reporter asked, “As a woman, what was it like to vote for Trump?”

Last time I checked, women fill in little bubbles with regulation black ink the same way men do. I tested this and Luke and I have remarkably similar bubbling techniques.  We credit the state mandated standardized tests of our youth.  Thanks SATs!

While the color-shifting presidential race map was almost as fascinating as a lava lamp, I found the exit poll results to be telling an equally interesting story.

Perception: All women vote for Clinton


Source: CNN.Com

Perception: All college-educated folks vote for Clinton


Source: CNN.Com

Perception: All rich people vote for Trump


Source: CNN.Com

Perception: All married folks vote for Trump


Source: CNN.Com

Just like the age demographics, our perceptions turned out to be true but just barely.

All that to say: young people can and will change and media outlets that try to support equality and free thought often squelch it with their inherent bias.  Again, the medium is the message.

The Choice Is In Your Hands

Almost all of Luke and mine dates start or end with a bookstore. Preferably used ones, with dazed looking shopkeepers who rarely look up from their book when you enter. We started one of our first forays into San Diego with such a stop.

While Luke enjoys browsing the classics sections potentially indefinitely, I’m looking for one of three things: a business leadership book with a witty subtitle, a cookbook published in this millennium, or anything by Rand, Hayek, or Mises. The book I walked out with fell into the latter category, “The Road to Serfdom” by F. A. Hayek. What really sold me on this particular copy was the handwritten note in the front cover, “If you’re thinking about voting for Bernie Sanders, read this first.”

I wasn’t Feeling the Bern, but I’m always good for some Austrian economics. This particular quote is most powerful when applied to economic freedom, but it applies to our lives in general as well.

“That people should wish to be relieved of the bitter choice which hard facts often impose upon them is not surprising. But few want to be relieved through having the choice made for them by others. People just wish that the choice should not be necessary at all.”

One of my most annoying habits my senior year of college was constantly reminding friends, fiance and self that, “You can’t have it both ways.” For some reason, having to choose between 2 good things seems to go against everything in our DNA. We desperately fight against it.

We try to squeeze two social engagements into one night, end up hurrying out of one, being late to the other, and not enjoying either. We don’t want to limit our hobbies or extracurricular activities, so we sign-up for everything and end up more stressed than enriched. We want to have time with our loved ones but not miss any e-mails from work so we cheapen our conversations with distracting notifications and then wonder why we always feel overworked.

The reality is, not only are hard choices between more than one good thing inevitable, they are beautiful. Having the ability to choose is a precious gift that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We have the freedom* to make choices about our future, where we live, what work we do, how we worship, and what’s for dinner tonight. Even though that last one can irrationally stress me out to no end, I don’t want to take for granted the beautiful gift that is choice.

So next time I catch myself spending all my free thoughts on whether I should go to Pilates or take a walk during lunch, I’ll be thankful for choosing. Time, money, and life is scarce nowadays. Use it wisely.

*For the time being–I told you I read Hayek, right?



Ever wonder why the Great Depression was so Great?  It wasn’t just the Mild Blues or Mediocre Melancholy.  According to Robert Higgs, the Great Depression lasted so long and hit so hard because everyone freaked out.  The government started all these taxes and programs and businesses weren’t having it so they just froze for a decade or so.  It wasn’t until stability was restored that people could move on.

If you aren’t one of the 17 Austrian economists out there, you might have your own theory about the country’s worst economic downturn.  But I see the regime of uncertainty taking dominion everywhere.  It explains why someone on the highway sees an empty egg carton on the side of the road and suddenly the eight-lane freeway stops to a dead halt for .25 miles. It explains why life after college seems SO SCARY and I find myself wishing for those “worry-free” days of 24/7 studying.

A co-worker recently told me that an entrepreneur is someone who can live in ambiguity.  Actually live.  Not just do the same rote routine everyday and turn into bed each night shell-shocked from the uncertainty that is everywhere.  But someone who sees opportunities in the uncertainty and is willing to find that clarity, brush the dirt off, and polish it up so everyone can see it shine.

I think artists have this knack too.  Their world is always full of motion and they understand better than most that beautiful things emerge from the chaos, not just from the concrete and collected.

Some days, the ambiguity seems paralyzing.  But today, I refuse to sink into a Great Depression.  Today I am an entrepreneur and an artist and tomorrow, I’ll be putting my diamonds on display.