(Originally published in 2015)
Not too many years back, warnings of Peak Oil circulated widely, and they made me consider something a good deal more dangerous: Peak Obedience.
If that concept strikes you as odd, I understand, we’ve all been living inside an obedience cult. Continue reading “Peak Obedience”
(Originally published in February, 2015)
We’re 14 years into a new century, which is typically how long it takes for a century’s unique characteristics to show up. The 20th century, for example, looked a lot like the 19th until 1914; from there on it looked a lot different. So I think this is a good time to take a look at our new century and see how it’s shaping up.
I see two particular things that are defining the mainline culture just now. Let’s go with the easy and obvious one first: Continue reading “The Way of the 21st Century: Going Nowhere While Very, Very Frightened”
Those of us who pursue positive change are very often frustrated. We see the necessity of change all too clearly, and we can explain how it should come about, but it never seems to happen.
The truth, however, is that change does come; it just comes more slowly than we’d like, and in ways that differ from those we imagined.
One real change I like to point out is the passing of blind trust in politicians. In the 1950s and ‘60s, most people spoke of politicians with respect and even with reverence. Now it’s almost standard for people to agree that they’re liars and thieves. That’s a very significant change, even if it did take several decades to unfold. Continue reading “Looking for a Reason to Believe: The Benefit of the Doubt Is Cracking”
I’m betting that most of my readers can complete this phrase. The problem is, it isn’t quite true. Edmund Burke, its supposed source, was a good man, but that doesn’t make the saying true.
Here’s the complete passage, in the form most of us know: Continue reading “The Only Thing Necessary for Evil to Triumph Is…”
Once upon a time there really was an American exceptionalism and America was a light unto the world. That exceptionalism was a long way from perfect (looking for perfection in a mass of humans is silly), but it was legitimate.
Alas, that was long ago. People who say that American exceptionalism still exists may have good intentions, but they don’t understand what it was. Others, with less noble intentions, promote the idea to whip up support. Telling people to praise themselves is always a big seller. Continue reading “The Passing of American Exceptionalism: How We Became Like All the Other Nations”
(Originally published in December, 2014, a few weeks before the trial began.)
There is a basic principle that underlies any honest attempt at good governance:
Anyone given power over others must be subject to more scrutiny, and must be given less benefit of the doubt. Continue reading “Jury Nullification and Why Ross Ulbricht’s Prosecutors Are Trying to Evade It”
In my town, the corporate throngs travel almost in unison every morning and every night, making their way from the manicured suburbs to the shiny central city and then back again.
They’re not particularly bad people, you understand. In fact, many of them are pleasant and smart. But they’re being slowly digested into the body of a larger host: the 21st Century Mega-Corp Network. Continue reading “The Corporate Cocoon”
(Originally published November, 2014)
As many of you must know, the US government (and I’m not certain of all the agencies involved) has charged a young man named Ross Ulbricht with being “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR), the “drug kingpin” behind the Silk Road online bazaar. You probably do not know, however, that he goes on trial in two months. Continue reading “Druglord, Genius, or Saint? What Kind of Man, Really, Is Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts?”
Humanity has a problem of clinging to extremes, as I’m quite sure you’ve noticed. They love the Reds and hate the Blues, or they love the Blues and hate the Reds. They believe deeply in God, or they consider belief to be insane. And once they’re on one side or the other, they instinctively repel any modification of their opinion. Their polarization jumps to defend itself. Facts for its defense are assembled afterward, as a second step. Continue reading “In Praise of Traditional Family Values… Mostly”
The problem with most humans is not that they think too highly of themselves: it’s that they think too little of themselves. They exhibit what G.K. Chesterton called a “weird and horrible humility.” To put it bluntly, we’ve been trained to perpetually self-accuse. Continue reading “We’re Better Than We Think We Are”