Editorials

Testimonials
  • A MUST-READ FOR EVERYONE

    The Daily Bell is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the effects of the state on our economic future.

    Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo
    Professor of Economics, Loyola University Maryland

  • CONSISTENTLY SOLID

    The Daily Bell features consistently solid analysis of and thoughtful challenges to contemporary statism. I am proud to be on the team.

    Dr. Tibor Machan
    Author and Philosopher

  • GREAT INVESTMENT INFORMATION

    I love reading The Daily Bell! Interesting investment information, a political and social viewpoint that lets me know I'm not alone in the world and "annotated" with analysis. I highly recommend it to all interested readers.

    Rick Rule
    Founder of Global Resource Investments Inc.

  • GREAT JOB, DAILY BELL

    I can say that, unlike the mainstream press, The Daily Bell knows the questions to ask and has the chutzpah to ask them. They realize that socialism and Keynesianism are wrecking the world and they are helping to save what is left of liberty and free markets.

    Richard J. Maybury
    Author, Editor of U.S. & World Early Warning Report

  • GREAT THINKERS YOU CAN'T GET ANYWHERE ELSE

    The Daily Bell has revived that great old institution of the personal interview, extracting information from today's great thinkers you can't get anywhere else. Outstanding!

    Jeffrey Tucker
    Author, Executive Editor of Laissez Faire Books

  • INFORMATIVE SOURCE OF INFORMATION

    The Daily Bell is an informative source of information and commentary from leading figures in the liberty movement. It's a pleasure to be interviewed alongside far more notable individuals.

    Alexander McCobin
    Executive Director of Students for Liberty

  • NEVER MISS AN ISSUE

    I love the Daily Bell. Every issue is principled and informative.

    Lew Rockwell
    Founder of the Mises Institute

  • THOUGHTFUL NEWS, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

    I always read the Bell. The news items are thoughtfully selected, and the interviews are unavailable elsewhere.

    Doug Casey
    Bestselling Author and Founder of Casey Research Group

  • FANTASTIC SOURCE

    The Daily Bell is a fantastic source of challenging thought from a wide range of freedom loving people.

    Dr. Joel Wade
    Author, Psychotherapist and Life Coach

  • INDISPENSABLE INFORMATION

    The Daily Bell is an indispensable source of news and information for those seeking to curtail the power of the welfare-warfare state.

    Dr. Grant Havers
    Chair, Department of Philosophy, Trinity Western University

  • EXCELLENT PERSPECTIVE

    The Daily Bell affords an excellent alternative perspective on some of the noise and nonsense of mainstream media. In particular, I enjoy reading Anthony Wile's 'free-market analysis' on current subjects and articles. Very insightful.

    Frank R. Suess
    Chairman & CEO of BFI Capital Group Inc.

  • SOURCES YOU CAN TRUST

    The Daily Bell should be on everyone's shortlist of news sources you can trust. It's on mine, and we often refer to it in our own weekly news service at The Reality Zone.

    G. Edward Griffin
    Author, Founder of Freedom Force International

  • PREMIER FREE-MARKET ANALYSIS

    The Daily Bell rings out for liberty every day. It is the premier online source for insightful and hard-hitting free-market analysis and interpretation of economic, political and business events.

    Dr. Richard Ebeling
    Author, Professor of Economics at Northwood University

  • OUT OF THE DARK

    The Daily Bell leads us out of the dark tunnel of manipulated press into the light of free press.

    John Perkins
    Bestselling Author

  • EXCELLENT ANALYSIS

    The Daily Bell has a great libertarian point of view, and excellent economic analysis. Add it to your daily reading.

    Peter Schiff
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Euro Pacific Capital

  • POWERFUL INSIGHTS

    I consider The Daily Bell essential reading for anyone desirous of understanding the way the world really works.

    Lord William Rees-Mogg
    Author, Former Deputy Editor, Financial Times

  • COURAGEOUS REPORTING

    There is no other publication in print or on the Internet like The Daily Bell. They have the courage to report the truth and analyze current foreign policy, politics and economic events in the context of a formerly hidden history of financial elites.

    Ron Holland
    Author & Monetary Analyst

  • PROFOUND AND PROVOCATIVE

    Every day, I rely on the Daily Bell for a different perspective you'll never find in the regular media. It's an analysis and timely insight that is profound and provocative.

    Craig Huey
    Author, Small Business Owner

  • RECOMMENDED READING

    For alternative views on contemporary politics, culture and science, from a libertarian point of view, check out The Daily Bell.

    Michael A. Cremo
    Author, Vedic Archeologist

  • ESSENTIAL READING

    Liberty is under assault by Big Government. The Daily Bell is an essential tool for information for those who want to fight for freedom.

    Steve Forbes
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Media

  • SEPARATES WHEAT FROM CHAFF

    The Daily Bell is a true beacon to lead in helping the reader to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Dr. Antal Fekete
    Author, Educator and Monetary Scientist

  • SIMPLY TERRIFIC

    The Daily Bell does a remarkable job of exposing how money power uses central banking to crush people into submission via global government with economic and political slavery being the desired end result.

    John Browne
    Former Secretary of the Conservative Defense and Finance Committees, UK Parliament

  • A LEADING LIGHT

    The future is created by the people who build it, not the people who predict it will not exist. You can meet lots of important builders by reading The Daily Bell.

    Catherine Austin Fitts
    Former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner

  • MESSAGES OF TRUTH

    The Daily Bell website is one of the authentic voices cutting through the clouds of vapid opinion, the morass of mediocre media and the confusion of Orwellian doublespeak. The Bell website lives up to its name, ringing unheard messages of truth in our ears.

    Jeffrey Armstrong
    Award-winning Author, Vedic Philosopher

  • EXCELLENT RESEARCH

    I really enjoy reading The Daily Bell for the excellent research and content provided on a wide variety of issues vital to the Freedom Movement.

    Dr. Mark Skousen
    Author & Founder of FreedomFest

  • CUTTING EDGE ANALYSIS

    At a time when growing majorities worldwide are tuning out mainstream news, people are seeking the cutting edge, insightful and thought provoking analysis that The Daily Bell consistently provides.

    Gerald Celente
    Bestselling Author, Founder of the Trends Research Institute

  • THE DAILY BELL IS A MUST-READ

    Because the world is changing so rapidly, it is difficult to keep up, which means The Daily Bell is a must read. I consider the information critically important reading.

    Dave Morgan
    Author, Editor of Silver-Investor.com

  • AHEAD OF THE CURVE

    The Daily Bell has come out of nowhere to introduce to the Internet community some of the most intriguing and proactive interviews there are out there. Let's hear it for creativity and being ahead of the curve.

    Bill Murphy
    Chairman of Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee

  • AWE INSPIRING

    The Daily Bell is one of the most innovative and in-depth websites on the Internet. The breadth of the content is awe inspiring and the amount of knowledge imparted is almost impossible to quantify. For me, as a liberty minded seeker of knowledge, it is a must read.

    Jeff Berwick
    Founder of DollarVigilante.com

  • A VIRTUAL WHO'S WHO

    The good and the bad, the big dogs and the small, the thinkers and the doers among libertarians and on the "Right" – you can encounter them all in The Daily Bell's exclusive weekly interviews. Indispensable.

    Dr. Hans Herman-Hoppe
    Author, Economist and Libertarian Philosopher

  • INTELLECTUAL JOLT

    Sit down to read from The Daily Bell and experience a jolt of intellectual energy.

    Dr. Nathaniel Branden
    Psychotherapist, Bestselling Author

  • READ IT EVERY DAY

    A defender of free markets, The Daily Bell takes a libertarian approach to expose and unravel global misinformation. Read The Daily Bell – every day!

    Charles Payne
    FOX Business Analyst

  • VERY INFORMATIVE

    I read The Daily Bell every day and I find it very informative.

    Marc Faber
    Dr. Marc Faber, Author, Publisher of The Gloom Boom & Doom Report

  • VOICE OF REASON

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the analysis and interviews at The Daily Bell, which has so often been a voice of reason during these perilous times

    Dr. Thomas Woods Jr.
    NY Times Bestselling Author & Senior Fellow, Mises Institute

  • REFRESHING

    I enjoy reading The Daily Bell because it often has refreshing and novel ways of looking at things.

    Bill Bonner
    Bestselling Author, Founder of Agora Publishing

  • INDEPENDENT

    Get outside the box with The Daily Bell and experience independent views.

    Paul Craig Roberts
    Author, Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration

  • INSIGHT YOU CANNOT IGNORE

    The Daily Bell provides unique insights on contemporary political, economic and social problems that can be found in such a concentrated form nowhere else. Whether one agrees or disagrees with it, one cannot afford to ignore it.

    Dr. Edwin Vieira
    Author and Constitutional Expert

  • GUTS, OBJECTIVITY, WISDOM

    Rarely does a publication have the guts and objectivity to tell it like it is, yet the eloquence and wisdom to listen carefully to the ‘other side.’ This is The Daily Bell accomplishing its daily mission.

    James Jaeger
    Telly Award-winning Filmmaker

  • PART OF MY DAILY NEWS DIET

    I read it every day!

    Jim Rogers
    Bestselling Author, Co-founder of the Quantum Fund

  • TRUTH AT WORK

    There are very few publications out there that have the smarts and guts to tell the truth about the dictatorial forces at work destroying our civilization. Thankfully The Daily Bell is one of them, and it appears in the mailbox every day.

    Nelson Hultberg
    Author, Director of Americans for a Free Republic

 

Subscribe now to start your FREE email subscription to:

The Daily Bell Newswire

By subscribing, I confirm that I have read the privacy policy and the terms of use policy in its entirety and I understand and accept these terms.

 


Wendy McElroy

 
How to Achieve the Good Life

Editorial By Wendy McElroy

Imagine two scenarios.

1. A friend is visiting and excuses herself to use your washroom. In there, she notices an expensive diamond necklace lying in a corner of the room. It is the necklace you've said is missing and you fear is lost. Your friend's rent is overdue. If she swipes the necklace and pawns it, then she'll be able to settle all the debts that are haunting her.

She picks up the necklace and debates whether to pocket it. She is almost certain to "get away" with the theft and she knows you can recoup the loss through insurance. Moreover, the two of you have been arguing about a boyfriend you 'stole' a few years ago. Wouldn't stealing something of yours be just? After a long internal debate, she emerges from the washroom with the necklace and says, "Look what I found."

#2. A friend is visiting and excuses herself to use your washroom. Like friend #1 she notices the diamond necklace. She is in the same financial situation as #1 and also lost a boyfriend to you some years ago. #2 immediately scoops up the necklace and heads out to tell you the happy news.

The question: Which is the most honest human being? The one who actively decided to do the "right" thing, or the one to whom the thought of theft never occurred?

My response: #2, because honesty had become such an ingrained part of her approach to life that stealing no longer occurred as an active option. Honesty had become an automatic response that required no thought. In short, honesty was a habit and second nature.

The key word is "habit." A habit is an ingrained pattern of behavior that prompts you to act in a specific manner in most or all situations. In his engaging book, The Uses of a Liberal Education, philosopher Brand Blanshard explained the habit of reasonableness. He wrote, "The first point to note about such reasonableness is that it is a disposition or habit. Habit, not knowledge, is the main thing we take with us from a college education....[W]hat is essential is not information at all, but the habit..." This is nothing more than a characteristic that has been established by repetition.

When the emphasis is placed on a "pattern" of behavior, a question arises about the analysis of the opening scenario. Namely, how can the habit of honesty within Friend #1 and Friend #2 be judged based on one instance? It can't. Perhaps the internal debate of #1 is an aberration sparked by her upset over the "boyfriend argument." Perhaps #2's immediate disclosure of the necklace stemmed from her having taken a large sum of money from the apartment-owner's purse 10 minutes before.

The role of habit can be demonstrated by considering another scenario. Your neighbor is a meticulously neat man, whose perfect grooming and attire you have witnessed over the course of the last year. One morning as you greet him at the mailbox, however, you note stubble on his chin, the wrinkled T-shirt on his back and stains on his blue jeans. Has your neighbor gone from the habit of neatness to one of slovenliness? No. He is a neat man who happens to be slovenly on this one occasion. It is the pattern that matters.

The word "habit" has fallen upon hard times. You hear about "drug habits," "overcoming habits" and "breaking bad habits." A great deal of negativity is attached to the word, but classical Greek philosophers – especially Aristotle – viewed habits in a very different manner. They considered habits to be neither good nor bad in themselves but to be powerful tools that could be used toward either good or bad ends. In answer to, "How do human beings achieve happiness?" Aristotle replied that happiness was the by-product of possessing good habits by which you preferred acts and things of substance, in the correct amount and in the correct order.

In his accessible book, Aristotle for Everyone: Difficult Thought Made Easy, the philosopher Mortimer Adler distinguished between different types of habit. He explained, "Persons who have developed the skill of playing tennis well possess a good habit, one that enables them regularly to play well. Persons who have acquired the skill of solving problems in geometry or algebra have a good habit." The former is "a good bodily habit"; the latter is "a good habit of mind." There are also habits of action by which you make choices without having to go through the process of debate; for example, you don't have to decide not to drink every night because you have developed the habit of moderation. Or you avoid debating with yourself about theft in a friend's bathroom because you have developed the habit of honesty.

The word "good" and "bad" in this context are not used in a moral or judgmental sense. Rather, they are used in a practical how-to sense – for example, on how a person can achieve "the good life." If a habit facilitates that goal, then it is "good." If it is obstructive, then it is "bad." Accordingly, when a habit is called good, it means the habit will assist you to achieve a worthwhile goal. To some extent, that's what classical Greek philosophers meant by the word "virtue"; it was a useful habit that allowed you to pursue a goal like "the good life." And the most useful habits were called "habits of pure virtue"; that is, patterns of behavior that settled into a person's character and collectively became his or her disposition.

The ultimate goal was not merely virtue or being good according to some dictated standard. The goal of life was personal happiness or well-being, which should be viewed as an objective value. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle stated that happiness as an ultimate goal should be taken for granted by all human beings. But what is happiness? Aristotle wrote, "there is a very general agreement; for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that it [happiness] is... living well and faring well... but with regard to what [happiness] is they differ, and the many do not give the same account as the wise. For the former think it is some plain and obvious thing like pleasure...."

Much of classical Greek ethics revolved around the connection between virtuous habits that become characteristics and happiness itself. Significant disagreement existed between specific philosophers, however, on what that connection was. Aristotle believed habits were the most important factors in promoting human happiness but he allowed for the considerable impact of outside influences such as health or the loss of loved ones. By contrast, the Stoics denied the role of outside influences and believed happiness was entirely within the control of the individual.

My next column will be "What is the Good Life?" And it will explore the specific content of this elusive state of being that is achieved through habit.

Rate this article:

Total Ratings: 15 - Average Rating: 4.5

Books by Anthony Wile
Financial
Freedom

The High Alert Way to Discover Winning and Profitable Investment Ideas

Free Download

The Best of
Anthony Wile

Select Editorials & Exclusive Interviews As featured at TheDailyBell.com

Free Download

High
Alert

How the Internet Reformation is causing a financial hurricane - and how to profit from it

Free Download

The Liberation
of Flockhead

A modest, monetary fable

Free Download

Who We Are

The Daily Bell is published by a dedicated team of experienced researchers and writers who utilize Anthony Wile’s VESTS model to analyze sociopolitical, economic and financial information from a free-market perspective, debunking mainstream media memes and providing insights and analysis derived from business cycle analysis that yield timely insights into profitable investment trends.

 
Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter

Subscribe now to start your FREE email subscription to
The Daily Bell Newswire.