From Hypocrisy to Fascism

Nine months ago I wrote a piece about how hypocrisy works. I analyze the concept and offer some tools for sifting through a political discourse that is increasingly replete with hypocrisy accusations. Some further thought has led me to a disturbing point: The futility of pointing out the blatant hypocrisy from the Trump GOP is… Continue reading From Hypocrisy to Fascism

On the Distinction between Online Life and Real Life

1. Toward an Internet OntologyHow do we experience being online? Consider what we mean by the phrase “I am online”—something familiar yet spoken less and less. What sense of “to be” or “being” are we using? Is it like saying “I am on a bus”? In a sense, yes. The grammar looks the same. You… Continue reading On the Distinction between Online Life and Real Life

Second Thoughts on Dignity

I have written previously on the meaning of dignity, but I left out the theoretical underpinnings of my position. Setting politics aside, what are the metaphysical underpinnings of ethics? What of our moral judgments? Are there some fundamental criteria under which we can say that the current regime or the actions of our leaders is… Continue reading Second Thoughts on Dignity

What Philosophers Mean by ‘Clear’

I. Two Worlds, One Hierarchy Ludwig Wittgenstein said something that proved quite enduring in the preface of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: “What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.” Throughout the rest of the opaque text we get the message that clarity… Continue reading What Philosophers Mean by ‘Clear’

Stop Saying that Democrats Don’t Have a Message

One of the undying dogmas of political punditry is that it’s difficult or impossible to identify what the Democratic party is about. The claim refashions standard Hillary Clinton criticism into a more forward looking assessment. It is wheeled out constantly as a display of liberal self-criticism that also functions as a plea for Democrats to… Continue reading Stop Saying that Democrats Don’t Have a Message

Why We Like the National Spelling Bee

Each year news that the National Spelling Bee is underway forces us to realize that we hadn’t given the event a single thought since we heard the same news a year earlier. We didn’t follow the stories of the competition’s top contestants. We didn't look forward with anticipation, discussing predictions with friends and colleagues. If… Continue reading Why We Like the National Spelling Bee

Stop Comparing Trump and Obama

There is a fundamental difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama that does not receive sufficient attention—probably because thinking about it shows just how disturbing the current reality is. We tend to treat Trump’s decisions as standard decisions from a president. Because in a sense, they are. Any president could pull out of multinational agreements,… Continue reading Stop Comparing Trump and Obama