Category Culture

Immigrants and Equality

If you look carefully at the current immigration debate in the US, it pits immigrants, business interests and a thin layer of middle class do gooders on one side against  nationalists and working class people in general on the other side. What struck me about this arrangement is that it’s exactly the same structure you’ll […]

Marx’s 200th Birthday

So, let’s start with the obvious stuff. The followers of Marx made the Nazis look like amateurs on the whole “mass murder” thing, the public ownership of the means of production has, whenever tried, either collapsed or led to authoritarianism and the economic part of Marx’s theory is charitably described as a confused version of […]

Guns

Gun control, especially on the political left, is almost universally framed as a matter of safety. The typical leftist argument for disarming the public goes something like this. “Guns are only used for killing things, they are often used by accident and they help people commit the mass shootings that terrify us so.” On the […]

Threats to Democracy

We tend to think of democracy as an inevitability. Indeed, Violet Brown, the current oldest person alive, was born in 1900, 124 years after the establishment of democracy in the US. Even my host country, South Korea, has been democratic longer than my sister has been alive. However, our current wave of democracy is only […]

#Me Too, Historical Context

  Me Too, which began in 2006 but exploded into the mainstream only with the various Hollywood sex scandals of late 2017, might seem like a novel thing, a shiny new movement unprecedented and out of context, but I promise it is not. Depending on your views you might love or hate the movement, but […]

Seneca and Trigger Warnings

  I took part in a community discussion a few years ago. The rules asked me to label anything “potentially hurtful” with something I’d never heard of before, a so-called trigger warning. I asked what this meant and learned that the mention of certain topics “triggers” painful, often unbearable memories in the audience. For example, […]

The Saturn Five Rocket and Human Suffering

Look upon the Saturn V rocket. It is 110.6 meters tall, taller than the Statue of Liberty. It’s 10 meters in diameter, weighs nearly 3 million kilograms and cost 700 million dollars in today’s money. The first stage of this rocket created more than 3.4 million kilograms of thrust and consumed 2.3 million kilograms of […]

The Aesthetic Case Against Rights

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “Overcoming Justice.” I’d love any ideas, reactions and thoughts you have regarding this article. I have several reasons for viewing rights with suspicion. I think the epistemology is all messed up and I think that the concept of human rights invalidates huge swaths of history and experience. […]

The 2016 Election

I’d like to start this post with a short history of voting rights. The 19th century and early 20th century was rife with revolution. The last remnants of medievelism were being crushed and replaced with, occassionally, democracies and, more often, chaotic democratic disasters that quickly descended into strongman dictatorships. The democracies that survived were the […]

A Short Meditation on Victim Blaming

Victims deserve pity not blame. It is almost impossible to respect someone you pity. I would rather be blamed. “It is the spirit of our times to honor the victimized. They, the downtrodden, the deliciously injured, the erotically disempowered – how lovely is it to shower our pity down on their bowed shoulders? How fervid […]