Politics

  • A Declaration

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the ...

  • African Art in Western Museums: It’s Patrimony not Heritage

    Museums with colonial-era collections have always known about the brutal parts of their biographies. But, through acts of purification via historical distance, they have chosen to ignore them. Museum directors now have to re-think their position as defenders of their collections in light of a different political agenda that locates people and their patrimony in ...

  • America, the Great

    There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

  • American Hegemony

    Author of Blowback, The Sorrows Of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days Of The American Empire, Chalmers Johnson has literally written the book on the concept of American Hegemony. A former naval officer and consultant of the C.I.A., he now serves as professor Emeritus at UC San Diego. As co-founder and President of the Japan ...

  • And Justice for All…

    Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things. In a looser sense, libertarianism is any view that approximates the strict view. This entry will focus on libertarianism in the strict sense. For excellent discussion of the ...

  • Civil Disobedience

    I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe–“That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be ...

  • Civil Liberties Organizations Launch Protests Against CISPA

    On January 17, some of the most popular websites locked their doors, blacking out for hours at a time to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, a Congressional bill that would have censored certain websites if they were found to host pirated content. Three months later, the Internet is at war with Congress again, this time over the ...

  • Climate Strikes: Researcher explains how Young People can Keep up the Momentum

    As part of one of the largest environmental protests ever seen, over a million young people went on strike on Friday March 15 2019, calling for more ambitious action on climate change. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish school girl who protested outside the Swedish parliament every Friday throughout 2018, young people in over 100 ...

  • Constitutional Idolatry?

    The question Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government. The course of ...

  • Critical Voter

    Why waste the next election feeling suckered, ignored or manipulated when you can follow the simple lessons in this book to become a member of the most fearsome of all demographics: the free and truly independent critical thinker.

  • Distributive Justice

    Principles of distributive justice are normative principles designed to guide the allocation of the benefits and burdens of economic activity.

    After outlining the scope of this entry and the role of distributive principles, the first relatively simple principle of distributive justice examined is strict egalitarianism, which advocates the allocation of equal material goods to all members ...

  • Domestic Drones

    Congress is finally standing up to President Barack Obama on targeted killing. Almost a year after three American citizens were killed in US drone strikes, legislators are pushing the administration to explain why it believes it’s legal to kill American terror suspects overseas.

  • Economics is for Everyone!

    Chang explains why every single person can and SHOULD get their head around basic economics. He pulls back the curtain on the often mystifying language of derivatives and quantitative easing, and explains how easily economic myths and assumptions become gospel.

  • Ethos

    This documentary examines the flaws in our systems, and the mechanisms that work against democracy and the environment. From conflicts of interests in politics and unregulated corporate power, to a news media that serves the interests of powerful elites; ETHOS explores the systems that lead us into over consumption and warfare. Too often the media ...

  • Handlebars

    I can hand out a million vaccinations
    Or let ’em all die in exasperation
    Have ’em all healed of their lacerations
    Have ’em all killed by assassination

    I can make anybody go to prison
    Just because I don’t like ’em
    And I can do anything with no permission
    I have it all under my command

  • How Camus and Sartre Split Up Over the Question of How to be Free

    Sartre, the existentialist, who said that humans are condemned to be free, was also Sartre, the Marxist, who thought that history does not allow much space for true freedom in the existential sense.

  • Human Rights Watch – World Report

    Human Rights Watch – World Report (2017)

  • Ibn Tufayl and the Story of the Feral Child of Philosophy

    Ibn Tufayl, a 12th-century Andalusian, fashioned the feral child in philosophy. His story Hayy ibn Yaqzan is the tale of a child raised by a doe on an unnamed Indian Ocean island. Hayy ibn Yaqzan (literally ‘Living Son of Awakeness’) reaches a state of perfect, ecstatic understanding of the world. A meditation on the possibilities ...

  • Is a Revolutionist a Terrorist?

    If so, considering the original spirit of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is an American revolution even possible?

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

  • Lost Tribes

    A few nights ago, I watched The Lost City of Z, which is about British explorer Percy Fawcett who was sent to Bolivia and later made several attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon. He disappeared in 1925 along with his son on an expedition. It got me thinking about people today who are still uncontacted ...

  • New York State Celebrates First Same-sex Marriages

    NEW YORK/NIAGARA FALLS, New York (Reuters) – Wedding fever hit New York on Sunday, as hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up to be married on the first day that same-sex marriage was legal in the state.

    In western New York, two grandmothers became the state’s first legally wed same-sex couple, one month after Governor ...

  • Noam Chomsky

    Noam Chomsky is a widely known intellectual, political activist, and critic of the foreign policy of the United States and other governments. Noam Chomsky describes himself as a libertarian socialist, a sympathizer of anarcho-syndicalism and is considered to be a key intellectual figure within the left-wing of American politics. You can find his political views here.

  • On the Origin of Inequality

    Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality Among Men

    By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • Open Letter to Kansas School Board

    I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory ...

  • Open Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein

    I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

    I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an ...

  • Past Tense

    A compendium of quotes from various authors with some of my own ideas interspersed throughout.

  • Patriocracy

    Americans are polarized and angry. In the crossfire, the loudest voices drown out reason and facts with fear and anxiety. Patriocracy explores the extreme polarization in America that cripples the country from tackling its most serious problems. Whether it’s the national debt, healthcare reform, the war on terror or illegal immigration, Americans are shouting at each other ...

  • Philosophy Can Make the Previously Unthinkable Thinkable

    Overton was concerned with the activities of think tanks, but philosophers and practical ethicists might gain something from considering the Overton window. By its nature, practical ethics typically addresses controversial, politically sensitive topics. It is the job of philosophers to engage in ‘conceptual hygiene’ or, as the late British philosopher Mary Midgley described it, ‘philosophical ...

  • Philosophy Primary Sources

    Some primary sources from the history of philosophy. This was the first of two posts that inspired what is now the Bookshelf.

  • Philosophy Primary Sources II

    This post will serve as Part II of Philosophy Primary Sources and a supplement to Primary Sources & Encyclopedias (check out the Links section for even more research sources). There are certain books that are essential to an education about the human condition of which I believe should be available for free and with easy access ...

  • Plutonomy and the Precariat

    We’re really regressing back to the dark ages. It’s not a joke. And if that’s happening in the most powerful, richest country in history, then this catastrophe isn’t going to be averted — and in a generation or two, everything else we’re talking about won’t matter. Something has to be done about it very ...

  • Power and Terror

    Whether Noam Chomsky, the MIT linguist and political philosopher, is the most important intellectual alive, as the New York Times once famously called him, is open for debate. But without a doubt, Chomsky, now 73, is one of the most straight-talking and committed dissidents of our time. A steadfast critic of United States foreign policy ...

  • Primary Sources & Encyclopedias

    Links for research purposes

  • Ratio Legis est Anima Legis

    The law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate.

  • Reach out, listen, be patient. Good arguments can stop extremism

    Many of my best friends think that some of my deeply held beliefs about important issues are obviously false or even nonsense. Sometimes, they tell me so to my face. How can we still be friends? Part of the answer is that these friends and I are philosophers, and philosophers learn how to deal with ...

  • Recreational Mary Jane Proposals Pass

    Should marijuana be treated like alcohol? Or should it remain in the same legal category as heroin and the most dangerous drugs? Votes this week by Colorado and Washington to allow adult marijuana possession have prompted what could be a turning point in the nation’s conflicted and confusing war on drugs.

  • Requiem for the American Dream

    Requiem for the American Dream is the definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, widely regarded as the most important intellectual alive, on the defining characteristic of our time – the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few. Through interviews filmed over four years, Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us ...

  • Revolution on the Horizon?

    Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, ...

  • Secessio Plebis

    Secessio plebis (withdrawal of the commoners, or Secession of the Plebs) was an informal exercise of power by Rome’s plebeian citizens, similar to a general strike taken to the extreme. During a secessio plebis, the plebs would simply abandon the city en masse and leave the patrician order to themselves.

  • Social Contract Theory

    Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that persons’ moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument to explain to Crito why he must remain in prison and ...

  • Some More Early American Documents

    Federalist Papers vs. Anti-Federalist Papers

  • The Free State Project

    The Free State Project (FSP) is a political movement, founded in 2001, to recruit at least 20,000 libertarian-leaning people to move to a single low-population state (New Hampshire, selected in 2003) in order to make the state a stronghold for libertarian ideas. The project seeks to overcome the historical ineffectiveness of limited-government activism by the small, diffuse ...

  • The Humanities Are Not “Frivolous”

    At Zócalo Public Square, Irina Dumitrescu argues against the notion that a liberal arts education is a luxury, sharing stories of political prisoners whose knowledge of languages and poetry proved crucial to their survival.

  • The New Idol

    Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my brethren: here there are states.

    A state? What is that? Well! open now your ears unto me, for now will I say unto you my word concerning the death of peoples.

    A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and ...

  • The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism

    The summaries of the relation to nihilism of Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, and Stirner, a nearly forgotten figure in intellectual history, are all perspicacious. Even the chapters on Nietzsche, about whom volumes are written these days, provide new insights. The brief section on the problem of nihilism for Japan is unprecedented in the English literature, ...

  • The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy

    US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went ...

  • To Be Governed

    To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.

  • Tools for Thinking: Isaiah Berlin’s Two Concepts of Freedom

    Negative freedom is freedom from interference. You are negatively free to the extent that other people do not restrict what you can do. If other people prevent you from doing something, either directly by what they do, or indirectly by supporting social and economic arrangements that disadvantage you, then to that extent they restrict your ...

  • What did Max Weber mean by the ‘Spirit’ of Capitalism?

    The proliferation of knowledge and reflection on knowledge had made it impossible for any one person to know and survey it all. In a world which could not be grasped as a whole, and where there were no universally shared values, most people clung to the particular niche to which they were most committed: their ...

  • What’s on the Agenda

    I remember, in my youth, feeling a certain sense of loss when I realized that the WWF was scripted. In the same way, reality television fans would be bummed to find out that their favorite show is scripted. It’s a feeling akin to what is felt when one learns that the Easter Bunny does not exist, Santa ...

  • Why Amartya Sen Remains the Century’s Great Critic of Capitalism

    Every major work on material inequality in the 21st century owes a debt to Sen. But his own writings treat material inequality as though the moral frameworks and social relationships that mediate economic exchanges matter. Famine is the nadir of material deprivation. But it seldom occurs – Sen argues – for lack of food. To ...

  • Why Religion is not Going Away and Science will not Destroy It

    In brief, global secularisation is not inevitable and, when it does happen, it is not caused by science. Further, when the attempt is made to use science to advance secularism, the results can damage science.