Make your own bubble in 10 easy steps

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Bryan Caplan explains how to make your own bubble in 10 easy steps:

1. Amicably divorce your society.  Don’t get angry at the strangers who surround you, just accept the fact that you’re not right for each other.

2. Stop paying attention to things that aggravate you unless (a) they concretely affect your life AND (b) you can realistically do something about them.  Start by ceasing to follow national and world news.

3. Pay less frequent attention to things that aggravate you even if they do concretely affect your life and you can realistically do something about them.  For example, if you check your email twenty times a day and find the experience frustrating, try cutting back to two or three times a day.  If you need to know about world politics, read history books, not newspaper articles.

4. Emotionally distance yourself from people you personally know who aggravate you.  Don’t purge anyone – that causes more trouble than it saves.  Just accept the fact that you aren’t going to change them.

5. Abandon your First World Problems mentality.  Consciously compare your income to Haitian poverty, your health status to Locked-In Syndrome, your sorrow to that of parent who has lost a child.  As Tsunami Bomb tells us, “Be grateful that you have a brain for thinking/ And legs to take you places.”  For guidance, repeatedly read Epicurus’ Letter to Menoeceus and Julian Simon’s Good Mood.

6. Now that you have emptied your life of frustration, you are ready to fill it with joy.  Start doing things that make you happy even – nay, especially – if most people in your ex-society disrespect them.  Spend $1 a day to filter out annoying advertising and intrusion.

7. Actively try to make more friends with people who share your likes.  In the Internet age, this is shockingly easy.  Don’t try to make more friends who share your dislikes.  You should build friendship on common passions, not joint contempt.

8. Find a career you really enjoy.  Ask yourself, “Will I take daily pride in this work?” and “Are the kind of people I want to befriend statistically over-represented in this line of work?”  If you have to signal for years to get this job, sigh, signal, and see Step 5.

9. If you’re single, stop dating outside of your sub-sub-culture.  Happy relationships are based on shared values and mutual admiration so intense that outsiders laugh.  Let them laugh.

10. Now that your own life is in order, you are emotionally ready to quixotically visit your ex-society.  Maybe you want to publicly argue for open borders, abolition of the minimum wage, or pacifism.  Go for it.  Bend over backwards to be friendly.  Take pride in your quixotic quest.  Then go home to your Beautiful Bubble and relax.

Coda: Many perpetually aggravated people tell me they “just can’t” adopt my advice.  Perhaps they’re right to think that they can’t follow my advice 100%.  But so what?  Anyone can adopt my advice at the margin.  Why not spend one extra hour a day in your Bubble and see what happens?


  1. Albion says:

    Sound points… and then he went and spoiled it all by saying he loves disruption.

    How about in your happiness you don’t argue for things? Seems to me that some of the aggravation in one’s life was allying yourself with some of the three things Caplan mentions at the end.

    If you are so far away from the stress, why invite it back in by running round with a mob?

  2. Harry Jones says:

    When you disagree with someone else on a fundamental, one or the other of you is likely an idiot. Whenever an idiot is involved in a conversation, the conversation is pointless except as a sort of game.

    Interpret #9 as troll idiots for one’s own amusement. Just make sure you’re not the idiot, or your bubble will get burst.

    #5 is awfully condescending. I don’t rank other’s pain on a scale, because I don’t presume to know that much about it. Having no scale of ranking, I don’t rank my own pain either. I just deal with my problems, and expect others to deal with their problems. After all, we’re all in this separately.

  3. Dave says:

    One of the first steps is to put some physical distance between yourself and society so you can grow a garden and raise livestock without meddlesome Karens calling the cops on you all the time.

    Regarding #9, unless your sub-sub-culture is an Amish community or a motorcycle gang, it very likely contains few if any members of the female sex. Fertile women do not seek out obscure subcultures but congregate in whatever culture they perceive as dominant, i.e. where men are flamboyant, aggressive assholes and get away with it.

    Oh, and if you follow any links from that article, the libertarian spergitude pegs the meter. It’s not three friedmans, it’s 15,000.

  4. Harry Jones says:

    Just realized I said #9 when I meant #10. Nobody’s perfect.

    I don’t understand why Amish communities exist. But they only barely exist, so no need to overthink that.

    Voltaire ended Candide with “let us cultivate our garden.” I suppose that made sense at the time. But first you need a garden. Then you need to keep the vermin away from it.

    Maybe Voltaire’s point was focus on what we can manage, and forget about the big picture. But the big picture won’t go away just because we ignore it. That’s the point he missed.

    You have to fight for your garden. Domesticity isn’t free.

  5. Lucklucky says:

    “When you disagree with someone else on a fundamental, one or the other of you is likely an idiot.”

    People are different — not necessarily only idiotic vs non idiotic — ergo want different things, ergo value different things, or even value same things just weighted differently.

  6. Harry Jones says:

    I define a fundamental as something on which reasonable and adequately informed people cannot disagree. Anything else is not a fundamental.

    Kipling listed many of the fundamentals in “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” Fools disregard fundamentals at their peril.

  7. Dave says:

    Harry, the Amish not only still exist, they’re doubling their number every twenty years because they reproduce faster than their children can be lured away into porn, social media, and video games. Amish Country now extends all the way to Iowa!

    Two centuries ago the Amish bet that the Industrial Revolution was a passing fad, that if people were replaced with machines, there would soon be no reason to make more people. Looks like they were right, seeing as all industrial societies today are far below replacement fertility, and their best and brightest are hardly reproducing at all. Factories will close not for lack of raw materials but for lack of people smart enough to operate them.

    Mormon birthrates are falling as their mother church gradually succumbs to progressive faggotry. The Amish have no central authority and no mass media, so if one Amish community hoists the rainbow flag, it will die out and be repopulated from another that didn’t embrace the gay.

  8. Bob Sykes says:

    The Amish are flourishing from Pennsylvania to Iowa. Not only do they have a high birthrate, their farms are more profitable than conventional farms: no commercial fertilizer, no fuel, no loan interest, cash only business, free labor…

    They reject all modernity, because they sincerely believe in simplicity, humble demeanor, passivism. They are one of the old German sects related to the Anabaptists.

  9. Jim says:

    The fundamental question is not people being replaced by machines. Rather, the fundamental question is where the energy comes from.

    Our energy comes from carbon, which, in its various forms, requires a vast and vulnerable industrial apparatus to extract, process, and distribute. The Amish’ energy comes from the sun, is captured by plants, and is extracted by simply reaping the field.

    The unuttered truth of our system is that abundant, non-scarce, free energy would cause its immediate and total collapse. This, and not some sort of weird quasi-metaphysical explanation of “technological stagnation”, is why everything is still powered by fuel sources first tapped one hundred and fifty years ago.

    It is time for disclosure.

    The future belongs to us.

  10. Harry Jones says:

    It’s all about the metrics:

    Never mind the energy. We reached peak land a long time ago.

    Keep your bubble small. A big bubble will push others aside. They won’t like that. And the key to Amish survival is not antagonizing the larger society. Pacifists can’t afford that.

  11. Jim says:

    Amish energy input is proportional to square meters of arable land…

  12. Dave says:

    Clearly, a million Amish need more farmland than a million English because the Amish need to grow food for their draft animals, and if they don’t buy industrial fertilizer, they must periodically fallow their fields. Amish also need to eat a lot more calories because they work so hard.

    The English exploit fossil fuels, freeing up today’s sunlight to feed people and meat livestock. The downside is that our system requires centralized mass production, which makes us highly interdependent, which makes us vulnerable to toxic memes and catabolic collapse.

  13. Jim says:


  14. Sam J. says:

    Harry Jones,”…Never mind the energy. We reached peak land a long time ago…”

    Not so. Not even close. Not even remotely close. Here’s a plan that can house every person on earth with first world food resources in 15 years. A caveat, I myself would rather they be nuclear powered and built like huge boats.

    Genetic engineering and especially CRISPR technology which allows very precise control over inserted genes and where they are inserted. This will effect food in a massive way. I’m not sure why there isn’t a lot of talk about genetically engineered symbiotic cultures for food yet as it seems obvious to me. The basic Kombucha tea is a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”. Running on sugar there’s no technical reason this can’t make rib-eye steak or wheat or whatever. Once the recipe is written the cost is super low. There’s a huge business in this sort of thing. Photosynthesis is a very inefficient way to make food,(like 3 to 6% of total solar radiation), with the symbiotic culture and another new technology of growing food with electricity, air and a splash of minerals the cost will plummet.

    Solar power is getting better and there are new processes that have super high efficiencies(60%). Not there yet but if you can build it in a lab 10 or 20 years from now it will be a product and these are cheap. Real cheap. Not only that but batteries are being made from carbon, also cheap which will close the loop on cheap energy from the Sun.

    Combine cheap solar cells with engineered bacteria creating whatever type food you wish at much higher efficiencies and put the grow plants any where there’s Sunlight and you get…abundance.

    Add to this additive manufacturing which is coming down in price every day. It’s takes a lot less resources to additive build up products instead of starting with large chunks of material and whittling away what you don’t want. It will not be long before most houses will have one of these that runs all day making stuff.

    A major energy source has been stopped for decades, nuclear power. Molten salt and other reactor technologies are far safer and cheaper but have been cut off at every turn. Now the Chinese, not being idiots, collected every damn bit of the research we did on these and are moving full steam ahead so now to keep up, others in the west are doing the same. Finally. We could have been light years ahead but the fossil fuels industry bankrolled anti-nuke activist and tied the whole thing in knots.

    Our major problem is not what can be done or resources it’s the globalhomo Jew central banking Oligarchy that just can not stand not slurping up every single resource and dollar they can get their hands on even if they have no use for it. They don’t want anyone to have one thin dime that they are not shaving a penny off of it. All these assholes will spend every penny they have suppressing and attacking people. They are total pieces of shit and at some point people will kill them off like all the leading families(Senators)of Rome who were just the same way. I can’t say for sure what happened to them but it’s my understanding they they are all gone. I expect when Rome fell people just killed them all.

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