I’ve noticed a lot of Americans have a complete inability to consider any idea that falls outside of the 3×5 index card of acceptable opinion. (Thank you Tom Woods for that vivid metaphor!)

When confronted with a concept that strays beyond what they consider “mainstream,” I find that many people recoil reflexively. I hear things like, “That won’t work!” “That’s insane!” “That’s crazy!” “What an idiotic idea!” 3x5

Or my personal favorite, “You’re an extremist!”

I say reflexively because people make these brash statements with no actual thought. They proclaim an idea “idiotic” simply because it doesn’t fit within the frame through which they view the world. They can’t actually tell you why it won’t work. They just know it won’t because “that’s not how we do things.”

When people start throwing the word “extremist” around, I like to remind them just what the mainstream has given us – trillions in debt, war and concentration camps. It’s the non-extremists who grope me at the airport, peddle $600 toilet seats and try to spy on everybody in the world.

Maybe extreme isn’t so bad.

I hate the term “think outside the box,” because it’s become so cliche. So, I’ll pay homage to Woods again and say Americans need to learn to think outside of the 3×5 card of acceptable opinion. There exists an entire universe out there you probably haven’t contemplated. In all likelihood, you can find jewels of truth floating around out there in the midst of the “extremism.”

I used a little analogy in my book Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty.

People assume we can’t do without the existing system because the existing system does what the existing system does, so we have to have the system to do it. It’s like a fish living in tidal pool. It can’t conceive of life outside of its three-foot deep, 200-foot wide coral filled haven. From the fish’s point of view, if the tidal pool were to dry up, the entire universe would cease to exist. It would die a horrible death. Little does our little fishy realize, he could swim down a narrow channel and an entire ocean of possibilities would open up before him.

Get out of the tidal pool.

Step off that 3×5 card.