Category Ethics

Why I Think Totalitarianism Matters Today

The deepest foundation of my critique of totalitarian succor – yes, succor – is the simple fact that, of the people I grew up around, the most impressive, self-possessed and contented were almost all born in the United States before 1930. As a consequence, each of them lived through the Great Depression. The males were […]

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 […]

Two Agricultural Analogies and the Nature of Optimism

Throughout history, you will find countless rulers, philosophers, historians, artists and critics who claim humans are naturally wicked. In my opinion, Saint Augustine of Hippo is the most influential of their number. Likewise, you will find many who argue people are naturally good. The most enduring and influential of these, by my estimation, is the […]

Nietzsche’s Fascinating Little Quote

“If you regard as deserving of annihilation, any suffering and pain generally as evil, as detestable, and as blots on existence, well, you have then, besides your religion of compassion, yet another religion in your heart (and this perhaps the mother of the former) – the religion of smug ease. Ah, how little you know […]

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 […]

Just a Tool Kit?

Before my first semester of high school an as-yet unknown English teacher sent me a message commanding that I should read four books during vacation and prepare detailed reports on each, due on the first day of class. At the time, I thought this was a pretty intense increase of difficulty compared to middle school. […]

So Much Bathwater

One of my happiest memories occurred around 1998 when the family and I went onto the back porch at sundown. My dad peeled sections of grapefruit with a folding knife and passed the chunks to my mom, my sister and me. The sky turned the most flamboyant shades of purple and orange as the sun […]

Why NFAC May Be Good

I like this picture. I consider the existence of this armed militia a cause for hope not because I hate white people and certainly not because I want to express white guilt, but because I think it represents a real, sustainable basis for respect. I think it represents a genuine respect because, in my experience, […]

The Homely Gangsters, Episode 10

Like a lot of things people are passionate about, the stuff we say about abortion and the stuff we seem to mean are very different.