Individual Thoughts by Trusted Knower

Ep 001: Standing Up to Wrongheaded Authority (Part 1)

Introducing our project: We are promoting rational discussions about critical ideas. Guest: Jan Helfeld (part 1), Michael Strong (part 2)

Welcome to our new podcast/YouTube series, Individual Thoughts by Trusted Knower, produced by Kevin Rollins and Bernard Carman. This is our flagship media project.

Our first episode is “Standing Up to Wrongheaded Authority”. Guests: Jan Helfeld and Michael Strong.

Link to Part 1. Link to Part 2.

Jan Helfeld and Michael Strong

This is Part 1. Part 2 will be released probably next week. Below are show notes, linking to various resources mentioned or used in the podcast.

Please support our Project at Patreon.


Ep 001 is dedicated to our friend William “Beau” Meredith, a hero and a great friend.

William “Beau” Meredith, circa 2002


We thank our friend Jim Turbett for his steadfast calm and sensibility during the chaos of recording/production over the last month.

Introduction to Trusted Knower

The pursuit of rational conversations with good people is our project. To have open dialogue about what is good and true. To know what is real and who is trustworthy.

The Trusted Knower project was, in part, inspired by a paper by Prof. Dan Klein, George Mason University: “The Demand for and Supply of Assurance”. It is freely downloadable from SSRN:

How does a Trusted Knower help?

Jim brings up the story, from Dan’s paper (above), of a nice lady looking for a mechanic. Kevin says, that the idea is that if you can determine that a person is trustworthy, then you don’t have to evaluate their skills — all you have know is that they aren’t lying to you. You don’t have to directly evaluate the mechanic, you only need a friend with more knowledge about cars and local mechanics. You can rely on your trust in your friend, insofar as you can properly evaluate that friend’s trustworthiness. Economically speaking, you can plan according to statements provided by trusted persons.

It is important to practice asking and answering questions with good people in order to build strength in the ability to tell who is honest and what is actually true.

Practicing Rational Discourse:

Both of our guests in ep 001, Jan Helfeld and Michael Strong are advocates of practicing rational discourse by means of Socratic dialogue.

Michael Strong at UFM, “Socratic Practice as a Disruptive Technology”

Jan Helfeld as the “Socratic Assassin”:

Jan Helfeld, “Using Socratic Interviewing in Your Personal Life”:

Aristotle on Logic: