Category History

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 […]

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 […]

The Homely Gangsters Episode 5; Immigrants

https://www.buzzsprout.com/255212/949615-immigrants-are-coming.mp3?download=true The brave Homely Gangsters dive into the immigration debate and find that, basically, it’s b.s. on both sides. What, really, are the pro-immigrant and anti-immigrant people after? Why do the rich and professional classes, in every society from Han Dynasty China to Brexit England, lean pro-immigrant? Why do the poor and laboring classes, in […]

Science Popularizers in the 19th Century

We are, as I’m sure you’re aware, in the middle of a boom for scientific prestige. Never before have we been so impressed with the scientist as a heroic figure and only once before have we been willing to listen seriously when scientists (like Niel De Grasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking) pretend that […]

The Homely Gangsters, Episode 3; Hannah Arendt and Victims

https://www.buzzsprout.com/255212/949600-victim-blaming-victim-culture-and-hannah-arendt.mp3?download=true Listen as your four intrepid podcasters take a journey with political philosopher Hannah Arendt to explore some unexpected aspects of victimization. For example, what happens when people latch onto their victimization? What are the benefits of “achieving” victimization? How do hero and villain narratives distort reality?

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 […]

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 […]

Politicians > Military Leaders > Businessmen, Really?

  Between Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Han Fei-tzu and my rapidly worsening podcast addiction, I’ve been learning an awful lot about ancient history recently. One of the themes I’ve kept running across is this pattern where good politicians seem to be much more important and much more powerful than generals or […]