An Article of the Modern Survival Guide, Vol. II

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Optimism is generally great, I think we can mostly agree. It gets us out of bed in the morning and helps us to see the positive side of things. I’m all for optimism, as a rule. However, optimism has a dark side. This is a concept that I’ve alluded to in other articles in this long-running series: there is a thing called “Malicious Optimism,” and it is nasty. The people who practice it intentionally are douchebags, there are way too many of them, and a lot of them are in positions…


An Article of the Modern Survival Guide, Vol. II

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Among the many truly awful narratives running around in the US today, there are few worse than this: “The government doesn’t do anything but screw up and take your money.” It’s right up there with “All politicians are lying bastards” as a pernicious falsehood that really ought to be put to sleep, but keeps on living because it gets traction. It gets traction partly because how we think about the federal government is usually wrong.

Almost all of us tend to think of the US federal government as a thing. A singular thing. A monolithic entity. A collected whole. It’s…


An Article of The Modern Survival Guide, Vol. II

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I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret. Are you ready? Here it is, and don’t tell anyone — the United States Federal Government employs more than 4 million private contractors. How many more than 4 million? No one knows. But that’s a pretty hefty chunk of the US active workforce right there, so odds are pretty good that someone you know is on a contract working for the feds.¹ And when you figure that federal contracting is a $550 billion industry, it’s easy to see how this topic made it into a series called the “Modern…


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“Objectively speaking, we live in the easiest time to be alive that humanity has ever experienced.”

That’s what I opened with a couple of years ago, when I started writing what would become Volume One of the Modern Survival Guide. I still stand by these words, but with some rather pointed caveats as we close in on the tail end of 2020, because it’s been one hell of a year.

I’m no longer as confident in the stability of American democracy.

I’m no longer as confident in the capacity of the average American citizen.

I’m no longer as confident in…


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About two years ago I started a project called the Modern Survival Guide, which was intended to be a series of essays on things I think people ought to know about living in the modern world. It was a project that I’m not ashamed to say I picked up out of frustration.

There’s just so much going on these days, and so many people who I thought desperately needed something like this. I was frustrated with the number of brutally ignorant people who make it to adulthood, and wanted to write something that might help the more open-minded of them.


The Modern Survival Guide #117

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This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. And as an elder millennial, cis-gender male who grew up in the American south, for much of my life I held the view that there are two genders — male and female — and that the genders naturally do different things. That worldview is very common in the US, and it’s important for our survival in the modern world to realize that it is incorrect.

So let’s…


The Modern Survival Guide #116

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This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. And before we get any further, let me clear this out of the way: No, I am not claiming to be a sex god or anything silly like that. I consider myself competent, with continual room for improvement, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go in self-adulation.

But I’ve had some fantastic sex in my life, and I’ve had some awful sex in my…


The Modern Survival Guide #115

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This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. That’s an important caveat for this article in particular, because when I start talking about a “positive relationship,” it is absolutely inevitable that my own personal biases and opinions will creep in. You might disagree, and that’s fine. …


The Modern Survival Guide #114

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This is the Modern Survival Guide, a guidebook I’m writing for things I think people need to know about living in the modern world. The views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. Today we need to talk about an issue that keeps coming up in America, and which directly impacts the survival of many of our fellow citizens: our justice system is pretty fucked up. Specifically, we have a problem where the US criminal justice system disproportionately punishes non-white citizens. Our justice system is not equitable, and that is hurting us. All of us.

So let’s start by getting…


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Over the last few weeks, my faith in the the American experiment finally crumbled.

It was a long time coming.

Any student of history can easily look up the vast quantities of heinous shit that our country has perpetrated in the past. Any student of politics can tell you how perilous and tenuous our democratic system really is. Any student of morals can point to the various and sundry ways that American culture is toxic. Anyone with a knowledge of healthcare can tell you that our nation’s system is backward. Any serious economist knows our blind worship of unfettered capitalism…

Allen Faulton

Searching for truth in a world focused on belief.

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