What’s our political future?

My crystal ball rolled off the table and broke, so I’ll have to guess. I didn’t think Donald Trump would win the presidency in 2016, so I don’t have a good track record. But hey, no one’s perfect. Economist Arnold Kling wrote a book called The Three Languages of Politics, and it’s an intriguing idea.Continue reading “What’s our political future?”

Stoicism & Epicureanism: What’s the Difference?

Stoicism and Epicureanism were ancient rivals. And both philosophies are back. Which philosophy is right? Do you really have to choose? I think Stoicism and Epicureanism were rivals because of their similarities. They’re variations on a theme. Both philosophies explore how to live a virtuous life. Both see ataraxia (“without disturbance”) as a path toContinue reading “Stoicism & Epicureanism: What’s the Difference?”

What postmodernism gets right

Bashing postmodernism is popular. But maybe it’s not all bad. I have a theory about theories: Most beliefs, whether philosophical, political, religious, or otherwise, make at least some valid points. But most also take their good ideas too far. Postmodernism is skeptical of all grand narratives, which they say typically serve the interests of theContinue reading “What postmodernism gets right”

Is evil real?

Is that a dumb question? We can point to all sorts of atrocities, so why would anyone think evil isn’t real? And if evil isn’t real, then is goodness not real? Could only one but not both be real? Whatever, man Relativism—contrary to popular opinion—isn’t the attitude that anything goes. No one believes that. IContinue reading “Is evil real?”

It’s hard to be good

We all seem deeply concerned about other people’s moral behavior—while making excuses for our own. Most of us think we’re more moral and self-aware than most other people. But how can the majority be better than the majority? Truth is, most of us are lying to ourselves. Looney Tunes Cartoons with an angel on oneContinue reading “It’s hard to be good”

Stoicism might not be a bummer after all

I heard the Dude is Epicurean. He follows the pleasure principle. Take ‘er easy. And he’s anything but unemotional. I’ve never heard anyone say Mr. Spock is a dude. But wait a minute. The Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski is a tale of the Dude being very unDude. This aggression will not stand, manContinue reading “Stoicism might not be a bummer after all”

Being a prince is a rip-off

I’d rather be the Lone Ranger. Once I was at a wedding when a three-year-old girl looked in awe at the bride. She asked her mommy if she could meet the princess. I’ve heard women say they tried to steer their daughters away from the whole princess thing, but to no avail. And having threeContinue reading “Being a prince is a rip-off”

Outrage is driving us nuts

Ever get the feeling that social media is trying to piss you off? Well, that’s a dumb question. Of course it is. In the mid-’90s we actually debated whether this new internet thing would bring people together or further divide us. Well, a quarter-century later we know the answer. Pop culture’s unending stream of consciousnessContinue reading “Outrage is driving us nuts”

Can you be Stoic and compassionate at the same time?

Stoic compassion sounds like an oxymoron. But what if I told you it’s not? Don’t say, “Calm down.” Provide calmness. Ever had someone yell, “Calm down!” at you? Did being yelled at have a calming effect? Of course not. A person in deep emotional distress needs someone to lean on, but if you become tooContinue reading “Can you be Stoic and compassionate at the same time?”

“Turn the other cheek” doesn’t mean what you think it does

Is Pope Francis a hypocrite who failed to turn the other cheek? The pope recently apologized for slapping a woman’s hand. She had grabbed the elderly pontiff’s arm, nearly throwing him off balance, and refused to let go despite a pained expression on his face. Despite his apology, online commenters chided the pope, reminding himContinue reading ““Turn the other cheek” doesn’t mean what you think it does”