SPOTLIGHT

  • The Unmasked Question: Behind the Veil of Misery

    No veil of ignorance shields us from the worst, or blinds us to the fate we have in store. Only philosophers think that they can escape from it by erecting a priori theories and creating hypothetical cases, as if we could start from scratch and be given a second chance. Life is what it is—uncompromising and unredeemable. That is what people know in their bones. They don’t need a theory, be it original sin or the myth of meritocracy, to figure that out, or to understand that wearing a mask does not protect you from poverty, iniquity, or disgrace—or from being stomped on by the police, every day, or from being gang-raped, or from being homeless, or from being poor, naked, unaccommodated fool, thrust out upon the heath, in the cold, with no crown except the concussion from playing football or being beaten with a lead pipe by an ex-spouse, or being unnatural heir to a thousand shocks, both large and small, as you eke out a meager existence amid a thousand points of blight, with no end in sight, except the one we all dread, but are powerless to prevent.

  • Why I Signed the “Dump Trump, then Battle Biden” Open Letter

    I surprised myself, because the position of advocating a lesser-evil vote – not for myself in Massachusetts, but for those in “battleground” states – is one that I would not ordinarily take. But this is not an ordinary moment, and the allowance for this kind of exception finds strong precedents, including in the strategic thinking of Marx.

  • When Is The Right Time To Nominate a Supreme Court Justice After One Has Passed Away – A Flowchart by the RNC

    A totally non-partisan and not-at-all-self-serving flowchart to SCOTUS nominations beginning with the question: Which Party has Control of the Senate?

  • Collectivism & Consensus in a Post Covid-19 World

    Death is a great leveler and, a virus that strikes at individuals indiscriminately, a potent reminder of just how precarious life can be and why, much like the pioneers, it might be in humankind’s best interest to re-invest in a philosophy that acknowledges man’s ability to understand the real world around him. Ayn Rand’s maxim that “nature to be commanded, must be obeyed” seems particularly appropriate (9). The question is, do we have the courage and the humility to subject ourselves to the laws of nature and identity?

  • Silence as Speech: Reading Sor Juana’s Primero Sueño in the Light of her Final Silence

    Sor Juana’s silence is difficult to “read,” but it is easy to hear. What can it show us about the way the absence of speech can itself be a mode of participation in public discourse?

THEORY

Two-wrongs-make-a-right fallacy

By |July 17th, 2020|0 Comments

The two-wrongs-make-a-right fallacy is a misplaced appeal to consistency: accept, or condone, one thing that is wrong because another similar thing, also wrong, has occurred, or has been accepted and condoned. It's clearly flawed reasoning, which has led to many escalating feuds. Yet, it continues today.

Collectivism & Consensus in a Post Covid-19 World

By |July 10th, 2020|0 Comments

Death is a great leveler and, a virus that strikes at individuals indiscriminately, a potent reminder of just how precarious life can be and why, much like the pioneers, it might be in humankind’s best interest to re-invest in a philosophy that acknowledges man’s ability to understand the real world around him. Ayn Rand’s maxim that “nature to be commanded, must be obeyed” seems particularly appropriate (9). The question is, do we have the courage and the humility to subject ourselves to the laws of nature and identity?

Kenya’s quest for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council is meaningless without United Nations reform

By |June 15th, 2020|0 Comments

Non-permanent rotating membership seats on the Security Council do not afford the weaker nations of the world an avenue to advance their interests. Developing nations are played off against each other by major powers based on the perceived allure of a non-permanent seat. Without reform, these seat are little more than contemptuous tokenism.

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PRACTICE

Our New Civil War

By |September 18th, 2020|1 Comment

What distinguishes Trump from every other president in my lifetime is that he appears to be a supremacist, not only in action, but in ideological commitment. It is just in this sense that Trump is anti-American.

Defund the police?

By |August 13th, 2020|0 Comments

Protesters keep using the slogan “Defund the Police,” but I don’t think the slogan means what many protestors claim it means—and I’m deeply troubled and even suspicious that those protestors continue to use the slogan because there are also many protestors who do think it means what it clearly says it means.

Lebanon: This Time It’s Different.

By |August 13th, 2020|0 Comments

Historically, Lebanese politicians have comprised and struck bargains across the sectarian divide to form governments. A political class in Lebanon has existed for decades and typically “new” governments have simply been re-configured versions of the old. However, recent protests, rooted in the 2015 garbage crisis, have taken on a different flavor. The protests of old were very often driven by sectarianism, but these newer protests appear to be driven by a unified public. On the heels of a global pandemic and a massive economic crisis in which many Lebanese struggle to have enough food, the port blast may very well be the proverbial last straw for the public.

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JUSTICE

Social Contract Theory

By |February 1st, 2019|0 Comments

When you make an agreement of some significance (e.g., to rent an apartment, or join a gym, or divorce), you typically agree to certain terms: you sign a contract. This is for your benefit, and for the the other party’s benefit: everyone’s expectations are clear, as are the consequences of failing to meet those expectations.

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ARTS & LETTERS

How Self-Care Is Turning Into Self-Indulgence

By |May 22nd, 2020|0 Comments

To imply, in an absolutist fashion, that we can think or act our way out of suffering presents a bootstraps mentality to mental health. It’s a Kanye West-esque view on suffering that, like Paltrow’s products, is both useless and dangerous. And when this view is widely propagated by those of profound privilege—the view that suffering is a choice—it reveals the narrowness of its applicability.

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