Our culture is saturated with philosophical “truths” that are commonly accepted and acted upon — and are rarely challenged. I think of these as traps…

— Harry Browne From “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty” P. 5

A typical example of a trap is, ‘It would be selfish to be concerned with your own freedom; you must think of others first.’ Or ‘The kind of freedom you want is immoral,’ or ‘The government is more powerful that you are,’ or ‘You have to accept the will of the majority.’

There are probably hundreds of such traps, but I’ve reduced those I’ve seen to fourteen basic types.

It’s very easy to get caught in a trap. The truisms are repeated so often they can be take for granted. And that can lead to acting upon the suggestions implied in them — resulting in wasted time, fighting inappropriate battles, and attempting to do the impossible.

Traps can lead you to accept restrictions upon your life that have nothing to do with you.  … [They] are assumptions that are accepted without challenge. As long as they go unchallenged, they can keep you enslaved. That’s why it is important that we challenge them…. I think you will find that most of them have no more substance than ancient cliches such as ‘The world is flat.’

The 14 Traps:

  • The Identity Traps
  • The Intellectual and Emotional Traps
  • The Morality Trap
  • The Unselfishness Trap
  • The Group Traps
  • The Government Trap
  • The Despair Trap
  • The Rights Trap
  • The Utopia Trap
  • The Burning-Issue Trap
  • The Previous Investment Trap
  • The Box Trap
  • The Certainty Trap

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