Mozart vs Salieri Talent or Hard Work

mozart_and_salieriI was browsing through YouTube when I came across a clip from the movie Amadeus where Mozart plays a piece written by Salieri without any effort and then improves it within seconds. In the comment section below, someone mentioned how talent is better than hard work.

A number of other people immediately lambasted the original poster saying that talent was nothing more than a lot of hard work. I thought I’d examine the idea here today.

Let me relate a personal story. I was a pretty decent athlete as a young fellow. I had excellent hand-eye coordination, was moderately strong, and had decent foot speed. I loved sports and dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. In sixth grade I was playing flag football with some other kids and doing quite well when a talented athlete took the field. He literally ran circles around me. No matter how I tried I was unable to grab his flag. He was faster, quicker, and plain better. Not by a little either.

It was then the realization dawned upon me that I was not nearly as good as I imagined. I suppose this happens to almost everyone as they progress in their chosen field; athletics, music, sciences, writing, or anything else. As you get better so too does the competition. Hard work can only take you so far in this world.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge advocate of hard work. The superstars of the world combine both hard work and talent. Hard work will get you many places in life that talent alone will not. Plenty of talented people don’t work hard and fail to succeed. I’m just pointing out the reality of talent. You know it when you see it and you can’t get there by hard work.

What’s the lesson in all this? I think it’s important to understand your limitations. It’s fantastic to reach your maximum potential through hard work, study, and practice but it’s also good to recognize there are things beyond you. Understand these things you will never achieve, playing shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, are not personal failures. I just didn’t have enough talent to play major league baseball. That’s reality.

If I had worked harder I certainly could have done more with my athletic talent but I moved on to other things. I like to think I’m a pretty good writer and I work hard at that. I study the structure of good writing. I practice my craft regularly. I hope that I will enjoy success. That’s a good model to follow in life.

Do the things you enjoy doing. Work hard at them. Study and understand the best way to perform these things. But understand sometimes someone else is just better than you. And that’s ok. And so are you.

Tom Liberman

Shayrat Air Base Launches Fresh Attacks Undeterred

Shayrat-Air-BaseSigh. Double Sigh. Triple Sigh. It’s a mess. A big, horrible, horrific, terrible, nightmarish mess. Syria. The Syrian Civil War rolls along. Long before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical weapon attack on Khan Shaykhum on April 4, 2017; over 300,000 died in the war. Many of them children.

The images of the terrible chemical attack somehow managed to touch the sensibilities of those who were completely oblivious to the hundreds of thousands dead prior to that.

President Trump launched a supposedly devastating attack on the Shayrat Air Base which “severely degraded or destroyed” the base according to the United States military. So degraded and destroyed were they that Assad ordered and carried out raids from the base within 48 hours. According to sources not the United States, the military base was lightly damaged and, because the Syrians had warning of the impending attack, almost no planes were lost and there were few casualties. The majority of the Tomahawk missiles missed their targets.


Our political leaders told us there would be an immediate change in Syrian policy.


President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced they will deploy more air defense systems in Syria to counter future threats.


I get it. Assad is a horrible person. Using chemical weapons is awful. But what do we hope to accomplish? What possible good can come from this attack? What possible good can come from almost any action we take? If we somehow overthrow Assad does anyone imagine things will be better? Those that take over will somehow be wonderful humanitarians?

Why are we there? Why the drumbeat to war? Our interventionist policies have wrought nothing but horror throughout the Middle East, horror for the inhabitants of those countries, and horrors for innocents all over the world.

It’s nauseating to do nothing while terrible things are happening in this world. I get the urge to punish wrongdoers. I understand the rage at the inhumanity of Assad and his allies. I just don’t see anything good coming out of an intervention in Syria. Nothing.

If the action you’re taking isn’t going to do any good, aside from making you look like you’re doing something when you’re not, maybe you should think about not taking said action.

Just a thought.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy all About Freedom

Lots of Hate for Julia Stephenson on Being Too Beautiful to be Faithful

julia-stephensonIn case you’re not fully aware, the Internet is filled with people willing to express their opinion. In the case of Julia Stephenson that opinion is almost universally negative. Stephenson wrote an article for the Daily Mail in which she lamented her physical attractiveness led to unfaithfulness and the end of her marriage.

As you can well imagine, the comments generally lashed out at her for not being particularly attractive and for laying the blame of her failed marriage on her beauty rather than the choices she made.

I decided I’d read her original article and get a feel for what she wrote. Not surprisingly the headline summations don’t really tell the real story. Yes, Stephenson blames her blossoming and the attentions of handsome men for the end of her marriage but she also accepts responsibility for it.

What’s interesting to me is the complete lack of objective reality that most of those commenting display. Someone who is good-looking is absolutely going to have more temptations to be unfaithful than someone who is less attractive and those temptations will be with people, well, more tempting.

I’d recommend reading Stephenson’s original article all the way through for it is not nearly as shallow or delusional as the headlines suggest. However, what I’d like to address is something called the Moralistic Fallacy. This fallacy is behind much of the criticism of Stephenson.

The idea is:

It is wrong to leave your spouse because someone else more attractive is suddenly available. Therefore it does not happen.

The only reason Stephenson left her husband is because she chose to do so. Her blossoming, gaining confidence, and having men of a social station and appearance that never before looked at her giving her attention had no bearing on her choice to end her marriage and engage in a series of short-term relationships.

This is simply people pretending that reality does not exist because reality is unpleasant. Certainly Stephenson chose to end her relationship and bears the responsibility for doing so, which she admits in her article. But it is clear that when suddenly presented with opportunities not available earlier, we all face difficult temptations. Certainly some resist, many do not.

I’m saying it’s absolute nonsense to pretend that changing circumstances do not influence behavior.

Stephenson left her husband for several reasons. One of which is that she had new opportunities available to her that she did not when she married him. It is not the only reason, of course. But it is certainly one of them and to pretend otherwise is to engage in a Moralistic Fallacy.

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Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
April 2017 Release: For the Gray

Debbie Reynolds is not with Carrie Fisher

debbie-reynolds-carrie-fisher-minShe’s not. Debbie Reynolds might well have believed when she died she would be reunited with her daughter but she wasn’t. There’s a lesson here. For all of us, Atheist or no.

Debbie Reynolds was with her daughter. She raised Carrie Fisher to be the woman she became, flaws and all. She was with her every day of her life and she made a difference. She influenced Carrie Fisher. She shaped her. Carrie Fisher was her own woman but she was also a product of those who influenced her, and Debbie Reynolds was one of the most important.

You are a product of your life’s experiences but you are also your own person. You make your own decisions. We make your own way in this world and yet all those decisions, all those results are based to some degree on our friends, our family, our mother.

I’m an Atheist. I know there is nothing after life. There is nothing. Carrie and Debbie have not been reunited. Some might consider me a cold-hearted bastard. Perhaps I am. That doesn’t stop me from knowing that Carrie and Debbie are bound together, as are we with those we love. Those we admire. Those who influence our decision.

Does it make you feel better to think that Reynolds has been reunited with Fisher? Why?

Such fantasy does not soothe me nor will it ever.

Life is what we have. Make the most of it. As did Reynolds and Fisher.

That is what I conclude from events of the last two days. Life is what we have. Live it.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Tim Tebow and the Power of Self-Delusion

tim-tebow-patriotsThere’s an interesting story in the sports world about a fellow named Tim Tebow that is drawing a considerable amount of attention.

First a little background. Tebow was a star quarterback in college although his skills did not translate very well to the NFL. Many people predicted that, for various reasons, he would never make it as a quarterback in that league.

He was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos well above where scouts had rated him to be picked. His performance with the Broncos was statistically poor although the team won games with him at the helm and went to the playoffs. Eventually he was replaced by Peyton Manning and tried to gain employment with various other teams. It is this part of his story that garners my interest. Tebow was eventually signed by the New England Patriots who are quarterbacked by Tom Brady. Brady is considered by many as one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history.

In excerpts from his soon to be released novel Tebow expresses the idea that he thought he was going to be the quarterback of the future with New England. That he would learn from Brady, take over the team, and lead them to Super Bowl championships. Most people who watched Tebow play and practice consider this opinion delusional. By almost all standards of evidence they were correct. Tebow was cut by the Patriots in the preseason proving those doubters correct. But there’s more to it than that, I think. That’s what I want to examine. Is there something to be said for boundless optimism even if the evidence strongly negates hope?

It’s good to be confident in your abilities and to take on challenges that seem beyond your current skills. People who have this delusional belief in self often end up succeeding where those of a more grounded nature, me for example, would never even make the attempt. Of course, they end up failing spectacularly as well. That is the more general result of taking on a challenge that is beyond your skills.

It’s clear Tebow’s dreams of becoming a great quarterback and winning Super Bowls, just as his chances of being a major league baseball player, were and are extremely unlikely. But the idea of being a player in the NFL was not. He was a player in the NFL. He had high goals but went about achieving them by working at lower level goals. Making the team. Learning the offense. He’s a hard worker. He doesn’t quit easily.

I write my novels and I work hard at it. I’ve written nine. I dream of my books selling millions of copies. I dream of movies and television shows being fashioned from them. Those dreams are about as likely as Tebow’s Super Bowl dreams. But I won’t quite writing. I’ll keep trying to become a better writer. I’ll try to write better novels. I’ll try to promote my novels and my blog.

Dream high but act realistically. Work hard but have alternate plans in case of failure. People who have delusions about their own abilities often succeed beyond all realistic expectations.

You never know, sometimes that self-delusion might somehow result in amazing success. Some of the greatest stories in history were made by people who were more than a bit self-delusional about their abilities.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

The End of Money

money-is-meaninglessYesterday I explained why I dream of a world with 100% unemployment and today I plan to explain how the End of Money will play a part in this process.

First it’s relatively important to understand the concept of money. Basically we use money in three ways.

As a Medium of Exchange, as a Unit of Account, and as a Store of Value

In essence we can trade things that are largely valueless for things with value. A piece of paper, a coin made of a metallic material, whatever, for things of intrinsic value like food and supplies. We can measure our wealth with stored assets, the worth of our business, etc.

It’s my opinion that eventually there will be no need for money. There will come a point when energy is largely limitless and free and with that comes the ability to manufacture and produce for a drastically lower price. When we can grow endless crops and transport them all around the world for virtually nothing there is no need to have a price on food. When fabricators in your house can create virtually any item you might want quickly and with only the need for raw materials there is no need for shopping or for goods at all for that matter.

Yes, I’m a Utopian.

The point is once we don’t need to buy things, when things are readily available for everyone, then there is no need for money. As a Randian Libertarian I’m of the opinion that money has served a valuable purpose in advancing society to the point where it no longer needs money. Money is one of the rewards for achievement and we want to encourage achievement. Eventually it will be an obsolete reward. The reward for achievement will simply be the great joy it brings us. When we accomplish we feel good about ourselves.

Some people will have robots to tend their perfect lawns and others will work on their gardens themselves simply for the great satisfaction they get from doing so. I will write my books not to make millions but to bring myself happiness and hopefully to entertain others. I will create and play in role-playing games for the enjoyment of doing so, not any financial gain.

This is a truer ideal than doing something for money. Money is certainly necessary today when there isn’t the abundance that is coming. Money is not evil or wrong. It’s just not the point. It’s ancillary to why we do things, why we achieve.

Imagine a world in which people can largely have whatever they want. Some people will want yachts and fancy houses but those are merely manifestations of the accumulation of wealth. When we no longer need wealth, we will be free to focus on the things that are truly important. When we have true and simple comfort then fancy becomes less valuable. We will focus on relationships with family, friends, and lovers. We will strive for achievement because we know it will bring us happiness. That will be a world indeed.

I suspect I won’t be alive to see it. But it’s coming.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

My Goal is 100% Unemployment

unemployment-is-goodYep. That’s the world I want to live in. A world where no one has to work.

Now it’s important to define what I mean by work. Work is what we do to make money. Not labor we perform. I’m a big believer in doing things, achieving things, building things, and general accomplishment. I think those are the things that make us happy. That being said; I think the general idea of unemployment is completely backwards. Economists, real ones and the armchair version that posts on Facebook and comments sections of news articles, are all wrong. Completely and totally wrong.

100% unemployment is the goal we need to seek, not 5% or whatever economists call healthy. We need machines to do all the work. We should be thrilled when they take away our jobs.

Imagine a world in which machines do all the labor and people are free to do as they please, that you have eighteen hours a day to be with your family, to be with your friends, to pursue your hobbies. What would you do? Work? No. Achieve at a never before seen level? Yes.

Again, it’s important to distinguish the idea of work from the idea of accomplishment. If I didn’t have to work I wouldn’t sit idly eating food. I’d go to the gym more often. I’d write more novels. I’d play more video games. I’d play more Dungeon and Dragons with my friends.

The question on your lips is one with which I’m familiar. Who would make the video games? Who would get the food?

It would be a combination of automated robots and people who like doing those things. There are many tens of thousands of people out there working on video game projects because they enjoy it. They release them as Open Source Freeware. Just as my novels would be free for all to enjoy. Farmers largely enjoy their labors. They love growing the food and knowing it is feeding people. It gives them great fulfillment, as well it should. Sure robots would do a lot of that but there are plenty of people in this world who love  doing things. Not necessarily working but achieving.

When people are free to achieve all day long why would you imagine productivity would go down? I’m going to write about the End of Money tomorrow but for the moment imagine you don’t have to make money to survive. Would you just sit around all day doing nothing? Perhaps a few among us would do so but I think the vast majority would use that free time to pursue productive ends. They would learn new languages, gather with friends to make music, improve their bodies and minds.

Imagine a world with 100% unemployment. I do.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Friendship vs Politics

friendshipIt’s been a rather awful political season and I’ve seen any number of friendships tested because of political differences. I’m a Libertarian so that means most of my friends think I’m an idiot. And, obviously, most of my friends actually are idiots! 😉

So I’m pondering the nature of friendship.

It’s one of the most important concepts in human history. It is friendship that binds people together. Friends find one another and choose to stay together. You are born to a family but you pick your friends. You pick them. Over the course of your life you keep some and lose others. In this modern age of communication it’s possible to maintain friendships with no concern for physical proximity.

These good friends will be with you for the bulk of your life. They help you overcome adversity. They go forth on adventures with you. They work with you and help you succeed in every aspect of life. In many ways they are more important than family. I think it can be argued that your friends are the most valued and treasured things in your life. More than anything else.

Aside from physics and a bit of biology; friendship built this world upon which you reside. Friendship created virtually every thing you value. Friendship.

Politics? Whatever.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

What is Loyalty?

loyaltyThe 2016 presidential election in the United State is certainly a depressing, if blog generating, affair. The latest turn has Donald Trump accusing Republicans like Paul Ryan of being disloyal. Loyalty is a topic that I examine thoroughly in several of my novels including The Broken Throne and The Gray Horn.

I can unequivocally state that loyalty is a quality that we should all admire. The dictionary definition of loyalty does not truly convey what the word means. It is one of the things that holds the fabric of society together.

The state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.

Loyalty takes on many forms but at its essence it means that we trust and support people in our lives. It is being there when friends are in need. It is understanding that we can have disagreements but still be there. It is sacrificing our own well-being to ensure that those we love are safe or have things they need. It can be loyalty to a nation, to an idea, to a group, and to an individual.

I consider myself loyal to my Libertarian ideology. I take abuse for my thoughts. Quite a number of people who I consider friends have called me stupid to my face for such beliefs. I don’t hate them for it. I’m angry but if they needed my help I’d be there regardless. I’m loyal to the ideas of the United States even when things like the Patriot Act are part of that nation. I don’t agree. I fight against such things but I remain loyal to the ideas of the nation.

Loyalty is a good thing and we should surround ourselves with people who respect the idea. Who practice the idea. But we must be careful of those who speak most strenuously of loyalty and yet do not show any themselves. They are the thugs of the world who use words like loyalty and honor to manipulate those of us who respect such ideas into doing their bidding while in turn showing no such traits themselves.

In my novel The Sword of Water Jon Gray speaks rather directly to this idea in an important speech. I won’t repeat it here. Buy the book and read it. But the idea of his speech is very important.

There are certain people in this world who have no honor, no loyalty, who betray, back stab, and destroy anyone at anytime in order to further their own selfish ends. Thugs. They are to be particularly noted in that they condemn anyone who makes even the slightest objection to their rise as not having such traits. They understand the honorable and loyal will fall on the sword so to speak. That’s what good people do. Thugs manipulate that idea for their own gain.

I imagine you can see where I’m going with this. Donald Trump is the most disloyal human I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t pay his bills, he attacks former allies at the drop of a hat, he sues anyone at any time. He fires off hate filled diatribes at the slightest insult.

I understand there are many loyal people out there who defend Trump because they support the Republican Party or they support one or more causes in which they align with Trump. That’s fine. That’s your business. Vote for who you will.

I can only tell you one thing. Don’t expect that loyalty to be returned.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Never Had it so Good

life-is-goodAs I read the news, take in the comments, watch the pundits, and listen to friends and strangers something strikes me quite powerfully. What I’m about to say might hurt your feelings. I don’t much care.

Never in the history of the world have so many people had it so good. Never have so many had access to astonishing medical care. Access to decent housing. Access to enough food to eat. Gallons of clean water to use and waste. Never has it been so good. Here in the United States we are fortunate beyond our ability to comprehend. We have more things, more leisure time, a greater ability to do as we please, than at any time in the history of this nation. Black, white, atheist, jew, or poor, it doesn’t matter.

Right now it is quite likely you have it better than a historically similar person has ever had it.

And yet in all the history of people suffering far more than you or I have; I can’t imagine any of them complained, whined, and blamed others more than we do. We are the most Ungrateful Generation. Our suffering is nothing compared to those who passed before and yet we whine all the more. We blame everyone else for problems that fifty years ago were trivial nothings.


And we are angry that we get whiny, complaining, blame everyone else politicians? They are us. We are the Ungrateful Many.

Life is great. Not perfect certainly. The sky is not falling despite what you are hearing. The only crisis is the one in your mind.

A great man said it well. The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. Anyone who spouts differently is trying to manipulate you. Don’t let them.

Now go enjoy the bounty of this world, this country.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray


I know I shouldn’t but …

say-what-you-meanOne of my Facebook friends just shared a post from one of her friends that started off with the following sentence: I know I should not … but I can’t help myself.

What a coward.

I am using the word coward intentionally and I mean it. I am not being sarcastic. I am not trying to tell a joke. I am not saying something I know I shouldn’t but doing it anyway. Why? Because I am exhibiting a character trait called personal responsibility. I am standing behind my words and saying what I want without pretending that I’m not saying it. I’m not a coward.

I’m ranting a little bit today because this business of “I was being sarcastic”, “I was just kidding”, “I was telling a joke”, “I know I shouldn’t but …”, “No offense but …”, are all cowardly and dishonest. Using such words demonstrates a complete lack of character.

If you know you shouldn’t be saying something, I’ve got a recommendation. Hopefully you can figure it out.

If you say something nasty and vile about someone that turns out to be false I’ve got some advice for you. Apologize. Don’t claim you were joking.

I’m not saying that a joke never goes awry because sometimes it does. I’m just suggesting people take responsibility for their words. Don’t preface it with “I don’t mean to be insulting but …”, “No offense intended but …”.

Those are the words of cowards. People who don’t have the courage of their conviction. If you don’t like my opinion then let me know and tell me why with good arguments. If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize. That being said, this post represents what I meant to say. It is not a joke. It is not something I know I shouldn’t say.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Two Games for One Date

male-and-female-tinderLately I’ve been using Tinder, without a lot of success, to meet women but I have noticed an interesting sociological interplay. I’m working on a pretty small sample size and if everything I mention in this blog is horribly wrong, please don’t hesitate to eviscerate me in the comments.

What I’ve noticed is the women with whom I make an initial connection ask me a lot of questions. A lot. I, on the other hand, ask a few questions but pretty much spend all my time telling the prospective date about me and my peculiarities. It seems like both of us are playing the same game, for lack of a better word, but we are playing by completely different rules.

Basically I’m hoping to meet the woman for perhaps a drink and a bite to eat. If it turns out we’re incompatible, I’m simply out the price of her preferred drink and a few appetizers. If it turns out she’s an absolute nut, I have a great story for my friends later.

But what about her? What does she have to lose? A quick perusal of any news channel indicates that she has to fear bodily harm, rape, kidnapping, and murder. Those are pretty high stakes indeed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asserting that women are completely non-violent and are incapable of meeting a man for a date and doing him harm. I’m just saying that the possibility is so low on my radar that I don’t even consider it when texting on Tinder. I imagine that it’s pretty much the opposite for a woman.

I don’t have any deep philosophical revelations based on this observation. No meaningful insights. Just something I noticed. It gives me a small window into the world of being a woman. An unpleasant reality in some ways.

Maybe I’m wrong. It’s certainly possible.

What do you think?

Are my observation on Tinder interactions accurate?

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Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Binary or not Binary

binary-problemsThis world is made up of two kinds of people.

  1. Morons who think things are binary
  2. The enlightened who understand things are not binary.

And, to be clear, morons, I’m one of the enlightened non-binaries. You, fool reading this, are a binary cave dweller.


Do you see!!

There’s just two kinds of people. The enlightened people who realize everything is not binary, like me. Because we’re better than you (just in case you weren’t following). And then there’s the rest of you idiots. There is no middle ground. I want to be very clear on this.

It’s us intelligent, kind, thinking, non-binaries who understand the world isn’t a zero or a one and the rest of you, who we hate (to be clear). You are stupid and wrong about everything!!!!!! And we’re smart and right about everything!!!!!!

I hope I’ve cleared things up for you, binary idiots. Now, I’m going to go have some overpriced coffee with my non-binary friends where we will make fun of you and call you stupid.

Have a nice day, because, you see, I’m a good person who is just making the world a better place.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Life Ain’t Fair – Just ask Hikaru Nakamura

gary-kasparovI wrote a blog post about a chess player named Hikaru Nakamura who was penalized for breaking a rule in chess a few weeks back and something happened yesterday that painfully illustrates the old adage that life just ain’t fair.

In that case Nakamura moved his piece, took his hand off of it, and then tried to further move it. His opponent, Levon Aronian, immediately called this a violation and Nakamura was forced to put his piece on the original square. This cost him the game.

Tough but fair. Them’s the rules. Or are they?

Nakamura just finished playing in the United States Chess Championship where he finished in a tie for second place. After the match the tournament scheduled a special Blitz Chess match between the top three players in the tournament and legendary chess player Gary Kasparov.

Kasparov is 53 years old and has been largely retired from chess competitions for the last ten years. He is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game and some consider him the clear best. That, of course, is debatable.

Well, why today’s blog? Because in a Blitz matchup against Nakamura; Kasparov did exactly the same thing as Nakamura did in his match against Aronian. Nakamura saw him do it and a wry expression came across his face. Why? Because he was totally screwed.

If Nakamura called the legendary Kasparov for the rules violation, everyone is going to consider Nakamura a bad guy. While there is a fairly large amount of money available to the winner of the Blitz tournament, it is largely an exhibition for fans to watch one of the all time greats take on some of the best United States players of today. If Nakamura doesn’t call Kasparov then he is throwing away an important advantage.

Well, Hikaru, I don’t have to tell you, life ain’t fair.

That is today’s lesson people. Sometimes you have to give life a wry smile and move on. I feel for you Hikaru. At least this one blogger thinks you made the right call, however, if it happens again, throw down the hammer!!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Chet Hanks and Being Responsible for Someone Else’s Actions

chet-tom-hanks-rita-wilsonA man is suing Tom and Rita Hanks because their son, Chet, reportedly caused a car accident that injured that man. I’d like to examine the idea that a third party can be held responsible for the actions of another person.

Tom Hanks and his wife are the registered owners of the car Chet was driving. Chet has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. The main thrust of the argument is that by purchasing a car and insurance for Chet, they enabled him to drive. Without their intervention he would not have been able to drive a vehicle and thus would not have been in the accident.

The lawsuit brought to my mind the idea of suing someone for what in legal terms is largely called negligence. Negligence law is quite complex and I could get quite bogged down in minutia. I want to avoid that.

There are many situations most people can agree whether a third party is or is not negligent. I’ll give an example of both.

Your friend comes to you and asks to borrow your firearm (or kitchen knife) so they can shoot (or stab) someone else and you give it to them without question. I think most people would say that you are partially responsible for the ensuing murder.

Your friend borrows your firearm (or kitchen knife) to go practice at the shooting range (or cut vegetables) but then shoots (or stabs) someone else. I think most people would agree you did not behave in a negligent fashion.

At what point am I responsible for someone else’s harmful actions? That’s the question. That’s the legal line of negligence. It’s not an easy question. Each case must be adjudicated on its merits. And yet, I think there is an answer.

The larger, and better, answer is that we are not responsible for another person’s actions. They alone are responsible. If I provide that person with the means to commit a crime (the car in this case), there is no way to say they wouldn’t have acquired those means via another avenue. Chet could have purchased his own vehicle and gotten insurance. He could have stolen a car. He could have driven without insurance.

If a friend comes to me saying they want to murder someone and I immediately loan them my gun, I am not responsible for the ensuing murder. I didn’t do it nor did I encourage or manipulate my friend into doing it. I am certainly guilty of being a horrible person. I never should have loaned them the firearm. I should have tried to talk them out of it. I should have called the police to alert them. I should have called the target and warned them. I’ve failed as a person on many levels but I did not commit murder.

And yet there is a victim. Someone’s life was changed or ended. The family and friends of the murder victim. Maybe the victim survived but is in a vegetative state or crippled. Their life has been fundamentally and irreversibly changed. If it was one of my sisters or friends I would be extraordinarily angry at the negligent third party who gave the murderer the firearm. But would that person be guilty of negligence and owe me money?

I say no. I say you can’t be responsible for another person’s actions unless you intentionally manipulate them into doing something. We must all be responsible for our own actions.

It’s a tough concept to swallow and I understand people will disagree. My final argument is to ask if negligence laws prevent people from criminal activity? If Tom and Rita Hanks are held financially responsible for Chet’s alleged mistakes does that make the world a safer place? If parents around the nation who have children with alcohol or drug dependencies stop getting cars for their dependents will it stop the children from driving? Or will it cause more problems as said children need transport and resort to whatever methods required to get it?

What do you think?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn