Category Culture

Black Widow, the Girl Scouts and the Fonts of Corruption

There were several places in the new Black Widow movie where the director intended to shock us. There’s a missile strike out of nowhere and a main heroic character attempting to murder a child. However, the moment that shocked me the most is the scene where Black Widow mocks a male character for failing to […]

Why It’s So Hard to Combine Goodness and Honesty

I was reading Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy” and got to his analysis of Socrates. Russell has a number of amusing insights into the man, but my favorite is this idea that Socrates’ primary value was as perhaps the first systematic philosopher of bullshit-detection. The Socratic Method, though of limited use in formal, mathematical […]

Crypto Currency as the New Gold Standard?

In 2017, the corrupt president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, was lawfully removed by a national uprising of orderly, peaceful protesters. Ordinary housewives, business people and manual laborers gathered in public squares across the nation, held candlelight vigils and cleaned up their litter when they were done. In 1998, when South Korea suffered a liquidity […]

Freeberation, the Logically Tortured History of “Freedom” and “Liberation”

Some words are flexible. Love, for example, might encompass your feelings for ice cream, the relationship you have with a grandparent and the things you do at night with your spouse. Some words are even more flexible, encompassing not just diverse concepts but diametrically opposed concepts. For example, you might organize a protest for freedom […]

Ozio

I’m reading Machiavelli for a project and came across a concept that I think deserves more attention – ozio. Ozio is the term Machiavelli uses to describe idleness, luxury, and physical comfort. So far so common. However, the interesting thing is that Machiavelli doesn’t characterize ozio as leading to corruption, he characterizes it as being corruption. Put another way, […]

I Do Care (About Money) – A Song Translation Project

“I 돈 Care” is a song by comedy group “The Brave Guys.” That “돈” part of the song title means “money” in Korean and is pronounced “don,” which is close enough to “don’t” to make the whole thing a nerdy, bilingual pun. It is legitimately a funny song, and I’m aware that nobody in Korea […]

The Tragic Heroes of 2020

The last year and a half saw two major crisis – COVID19 and the breakdown of the rule of law. COVID itself was – conspiracy theories aside – almost certainly a naturally occurring infection that jumped from a wild species to humans. Its spread was aided by freedom protesters and conspiracy theorists, eager to fight […]

Downtown Baby by Bloo

I heard this song for the first time in the gym and, I gotta say, it’s a weird song for a gym, or at least the gym I go to. I’m used to (mostly tuning out) bouncy pop songs, a little EDM and bubble gum hip hop. This typical background banality certainly made the transition […]

Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals

Thomas Sowell is one of the most famous members of the Chicago School of economics. This school, though not super famous on its own, is immensely influential in both academic and policy circles. The layman might accurately conceptualize of the Chicago School as a respectable, mathematically rigorous and very idealistic alternative to Ayn Rand – […]

An Open Letter to Noam Chomsky

Dr. Chomsky, I recently watched “Manufacturing Consent,” a documentary on your career. Some of it – your highly problematic concept of freedom for example – was familiar from my previous studies. Much more was breathless panegyric on the part of the documentary maker. However, the part that convinced me to write this letter concerns the […]