Category: Politics

Continuity Is Power

Once upon a time, the nation-state and the joint-stock corporation were new and small. The Church, the family, the tribe, the town, the land (kept by farmers), the wilds, and even small businesses (craftsmen) – in short, the things of humanity – were far older. While this was true, these institutions were more powerful than […]

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Limiting Variables and a Scientific Argument for Traditionalism

Good scientists know that good experiments limit their variables. They also limit the number of experiments running on a human population at the same given time. So what if human society was a grand experiment? How would our various cultural philosophies handle the running of experiments? How would traditionalism and modernism set up their laboratories? […]

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The State’s Monopoly on Adventure

The ability to do (morally aligned) violence independently is kind of essential to adventure. Fighting pirates, beating up bullies, dueling your mortal enemy, even shooting dangerous animals – you get the picture. It’s violent and dangerous stuff. And these used to be (almost) perfectly legal for the average man to do. And who of us […]

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Even Anarchists Need Mayors

“Mayor ____ welcomes you to Atlanta.” This sign greeted me as I left the airport for home. I kind of liked it. Now as an anarchist, I don’t want any city governments, and I don’t give a damn about Mayor What’s-Their-Name, but I do give a damn about Atlanta. And like all cities I love, […]

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How Freedom Can Survive This Pandemic – With Your Help

There are not many possible outcomes in which humans become freer after the COVID-19 pandemic. Already Western governments (see: United States) are taking unprecedented powers and violating civil liberties on a mass scale, despite farcical mismanagement of the crisis. Countries already well along the authoritarian road are openly embracing dictatorship (see: Hungary) or violent suppression […]

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Your Solution for the World’s Problems Is Meaningless (Without This)

What is the right way to respond to pandemics? What is the right way to educate children? What about healthcare? What’s the right relationship between the sexes? What is the right relationship with family? With tradition? With the past? With religion? What’s the right way to conduct a career? The right way to become a […]

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Is This Coronavirus the End of the End of History?

I recently finished Ross Douthat’s The Decadent Society, a compelling argument that we live in a world that has become incapable of fundamental change. From arts and culture (endless reboots – think Star Wars and Marvel) to political gridlock to technological stagnation (as Peter Thiel says, we wanted flying cars and got 140 characters), the […]

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Pandemics Are the Health of the State: Or Why You Should Question the COVID-2019 Government Power Grab

Local, state, and federal governments are using the COVID-2019 coronavirus crisis to assert more and more direct control over the lives of individuals. The president has “banned” travel to Europe and travel from China, though control over individuals’ movements has never been within the scope of the president’s constitutional power.* Governments have “declared lockdowns,” effectively […]

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You Should Probably Pay for Infecting Others: A Proposal for Medical Liability Insurance

Have you ever gotten sick because an obviously-ill person (“OIP” for short) showed up to work and coughed on everybody? Have you *been* that obviously-ill person? What I find really strange is how common this scenario is – and how few (if any) consequences the OIP has to pay for getting the people around him/her […]

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Glimpes of Hidden America

I’m a pretty cynical guy when it comes to nation-states. So it might be surprising to hear that I sort of love in the vision of America most of us learned in school. It’s a place where people generally tell the truth, work hard, love their families, help each other, stand up for the weak, […]

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Find Out How To Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

It’s a dangerous thing to have too many convictions and too few actions to support those convictions. It’s dangerous for all the obvious reasons: you tend to become a hypocrite, you tend not to actually help, etc. But it’s also dangerous for your ability to form new convictions. I’ve noticed it in myself: a growing […]

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The Monsters You Tolerate Will Breed Monsters You Can’t Stand

In the 20th century, the story of European imperial holdings was a story (mostly) of communism. Do you think Winston Churchill anticipated this? Rudyard Kipling? Any of the other enthusiastic imperialists of the 19th century? They may have seen themselves as defenders of a very different kind of order. Yet nonetheless in promoting imperialism (bad) […]

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Jojo Rabbit: A Choice Between Authentic and False Community

“You’re not a Nazi, Jojo. You’re a ten year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.” – Jojo Rabbit You know it’s a good movie when you clap spontaneously, laugh like a maniac, and feel your heart torn to shreds in the same two-hour stretch. […]

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Building a “Family Wall” Against Oppression

In Forty Autumns, author Nina Willner tells a beautiful family history of life in a family divided by the wall between East and West Germany. Particularly interesting were the coping tactics of her family in the totalitarian socialist East Germany. Her grandmother watched as this family weathered the arrival of the Soviets and the rapid […]

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Complexity Resists Control – So Become More Complex

Have you ever tried to use finely instrumented computer? Fly a plane? Manage the sound mix of 20 microphones at a live concert? What about hitting a nail with a hammer? All of these activities involve the use of tools, but the first three are far more complex than driving home a nail. Complexity makes […]

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The Mistake That Brought Down the Berlin Wall, and the Fragility of Tyranny

Today I was fascinated by one woman’s biography of 40 years of a German family’s life under East German rule. Forty Autumns is mostly about the small (heartwarming as well as heartbreaking) stories of family members trying to stay connected and build a “family wall” against socialism. One of the most fascinating geopolitical details is […]

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Get Off the Pendulum: The Trap of Reactionary Thinking

When I was younger, I used to enjoy riding Pharaoh’s Fury at the Coastal Carolina fair. This big sphinx-headed boat swung back and forth on a mechanical arm, terrifying and thrilling the riders, and (in our imaginations) we thought about what it would be like if it went upside down – dumping us all out. […]

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Being in Two Zones at Once

Somehow near mile 2 of a trail run today, political philosophy entered the picture, and I spent the rest of my run (including the most difficult uphill portion) exchanging ideas on the state, liberty, and culture with my trail-running partner. Before I knew it, I was in the zone – or rather, I was “in […]

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The Wheat and Tares Grow Up Together: Morality and Judging Historical Eras

Is the 21st century a time of great moral progress? Or is it a time of decadence? Ask different people and you’ll get different answers. In my view, the answer is “both.” On one hand, humans are progressing. The internet and software are breaking down barriers between people and people groups. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and […]

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Game of Thrones Philosophy Breakdown: S8E4 “The Last of the Starks” – Funerals, Debts, Lovers, and Treason

*SPOILER ALERT FOR GAME OF THRONES, OBVIOUSLY. Don’t listen to this if you haven’t watched the show!* What is the right way to respond to the deaths of others? Should you be more loyal to your family or to your lover? And what explains the power of treason as an idea? The latest Game of Thrones episode […]

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This Is What Peace Looks Like

When I walk in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park these days, I get a few moments where I see at a deeper level. I see hundreds of smiling people. I see couples in love, parents with children, and happy dogs trotting ahead of them. I see people playing soccer and football, throwing frisbees, roller-blading, running, biking, picnicking, and doing (popsicle) […]

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How Hard Would It Be To Enslave You?

Do you believe you’re free? Ask yourself how hard it would be for someone to enslave you – politically, emotionally, financially, physically, relationally, mentally. Do you have debt? We may no longer have debtor’s prisons, but for all intents and purposes, you are one collection away from losing your choice. Do you have compromised character? While you live […]

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How To (and How Not To) Remember Armistice Day on Its 100th Anniversary

Over 16 million humans died in the war that ended this day 100 year ago – on November 11, 1918. This is Armistice Day a hundred years later, and it should not go unremembered. Death like that deserves mourning, and peace from that deserves honor. But there are right and wrong ways to commemorate this day. This […]

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Victory Against Evil Is Never Final

I was talking with some church friends last night about the frustrating cycle of history found in the Biblical stories. People turn to violence and injustice and fall to violence and injustice again and again, cycle after cycle. It’s really depressing. If you look more broadly, you can find the same cycle of failure and […]

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11 Thoughts After Finishing “Man in the High Castle” Season 3

WARNING: Major spoilers for Seasons 1, 2, and 3 in this post. I just finished watching the third season of Amazon’s amazing alternative history/sci-fi drama The Man in the High Castle, which is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name. In this world, the Nazis and the Japanese Empire defeated the […]

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Debate Pro Tip: Call Out Your Own Fallacies

Circular reasoning. Strawmen. Appeals to nature. The “No True Scotsman.” Fallacies like these are easy for the casually-trained logician to spot in others, and they’re easy to pull out and critique in others. But what should you do if you make a fallacious argument when debating someone? Your fallacy will come, and it will seem convenient to […]

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Who Is Your Black Flag Freeing? The Futility of Flags and Labels

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 7 of that challenge.  One of my favorite things about my company is the diversity of opinion. We have liberals. We have conservatives. We have the non-political and the […]

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Use Better Tech (Not Laws) To Reduce Texting and Driving Deaths

In the past year or so I’ve started to notice a new feature on my phone: with simple artificial intelligence the text messaging app is able to auto-generate simple, relevant replies to text. So if someone says “hi”, you can say “hi” right on back. But it’s actually more sophisticated than it sounds. It can detect, […]

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A Critique and a Defense of Mythologizing the Past

Was Abraham Lincoln really a moral leader who saved the United States and ended slavery? Did George Washington really save the Continental Army and win the American revolution? Was Thomas Jefferson really a forward-thinking liberalizer? Alluring Myth vs. Disappointing Fact The stories of men like these are quintessential examples of how many people mythologize the past. Many of […]

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Central Planning: Also a Bad Idea for the Environment

Today I learned (or was reminded) that whale sharks regularly migrate thousands of miles across their oceans to feed and give birth  They will travel incredible distances for food – far further by natural means than most humans who have ever lived. This is just one of those little things about nature that makes me shake […]

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