freedom

freedom


Fake News in Trump’s America

fake news January 26th, 2019

Throughout the country’s short existence, the most authoritarian Presidents have been, in order: John Adams, George Dubya Bush, Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Jackson, and Donald Trump. There are grumblings on the Right that Obama was somewhat abusive of his power, and I think that case can be made (certainly, journalists and Freedom of Information Act seekers were very disappointed in him). I intend this essay to be about the psychology underlying political beliefs, and the hot-button topic in this realm is, perhaps with a plethora of absurdity, uttered by Trump almost daily: the term fake news. Trump most likely coined the term fake news, and though he is but a con-man, truth, lies, and deception predate him – laying bare the idiocy of our whole politico-cultural system.

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Paternalism: The Individual Vs. The People

November 21st, 2018

Paternalism is the idea that the State (one’s country) has a right to determine some rules that citizens are obliged to follow because the State knows better and something important is on the line. So, stopping at a traffic light might simply be a law – and one that everyone can agree with. Libertarians, however, object to some laws made by lawmakers on the grounds that they are unnecessarily paternalistic, and sap the liberty of the individual. Wearing helmets during motorcycling is a good example of an issue that is debated between libertarians and those who feel that the individual is not necessarily the best decision-maker when it comes to things such as safety. Clearly, gun rights are the issue du jour. Here are some thoughts about who gets to decide what, how, and why.

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Responsibility Necessarily Entails Free Will

free will October 8th, 2018

Though determinism has much weight on its side, I have to believe that free will is not an illusion. Imagine there were a god or a supercomputer which could predict with 100% accuracy what I was going to do, 100% of the time. Would I be responsible for my behavior? Could I be praised to doing right or blamed for doing wrong? Is my free will my own, or an illusion? The main reason for believing that if God or a supercomputer could predict my behavior with absolute certainty, I would not be responsible for my actions is that responsibility necessarily entails freedom to choose, to act.

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Does God Exist? The “Problem of Evil”

problem of evil August 26th, 2018

I was watching an episode of the psychological thriller “Dexter” last night (yes, I’m quite a few years behind), and a challenging scene came up. It was that of a woman who was held against her will as a sex slave. The same day, I at my wife’s (Catholic) Church, and the two really got me thinking. Specifically, about whether God exists and if so, how to deal with one of the main objections to the existence of God: the problem of evil. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, “It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist” (Blaise Pascal).

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Americans Aren’t Stupid, We’re Lazy and Misled

Americans aren't stupid August 21st, 2018

In a recent blog entitled “Are the American People Stupid?” I entertained the thought that yeah, we pretty much are. Americans have never been particularly high-brow, are more religious than most other leading countries, and are being swamped by a politics out of control and social media that is abysmally bad. So I wanted to attempt to paint a larger picture, to add some context to my depressing conclusion. In this blog, I explore the idea that Americans aren’t stupid, we’re lazy and misled. Many powerful and pernicious forces act upon us. I will get an assist from hip-hop artists Black Star and their song “Thieves in the Night”, believe it or not.

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Is Religious Tolerance or Fundamentalism More American?

religious August 12th, 2018

Is religious tolerance or is religious fundamentalism a better description of America and what the founding fathers believed we should be?  Did you know that 55% of Americans believe that Christianity was written into the Constitution and that the founding fathers wanted One Nation Under Jesus (which includes 75% of Republicans and Evangelicals) (USA Today)? It is true that Puritan pilgrims came here seeking religious freedom, and that today we are one of the most religious of industrialized nations. In this blog, I discuss this matter briefly and bring in a dozen or so elucidating quotes that are relevant. Bill Maher and Dennis Miller add a humorous flavor as well.

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Author John Abrams on His Employee-Owned Company

company July 31st, 2018

This essay is fully titled: “Thinking Like Cathedral Builders: Outrageous Behavior, Freedom, and Hope” and is authored by John Abrams. It is one of the chapters in the book LIVING A LIFE OF VALUE. In this piece, Abrams, president and CEO of South Mountain Company, Inc. , a forty-year-old employee-owned design and building company located on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and the author of THE COMPANY WE KEEP: Reinventing Small Business for Community, People, and Place (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2005) writes wonderfully.

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Existentialism: Authenticity vs. ‘Bad Faith’

authenticity May 3rd, 2018

In a prior post entitled “Existentialism, Humanism, Responsibility, and Freedom,” I examined meaning in life, Jean-Paul Sartre, existence, etc. In this blog, I would like to go a little further toward examining authenticity vs. the idea of “bad faith.” It will hopefully generate more light than it does heat as far as living one’s life with success, passion, deliberateness, and insight. As always, wisdom is about the highest goal, and happiness is not far behind. 

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Meaninglessness and Finding Meaning

meaning of life February 10th, 2018

This blog is an analysis of the short essay of Richard Taylor’s, “The Meaning of Life”, from his book Good and Evil (2000). Questions of meaninglessness, meaning, will, existentialism, free will, determinism, despair, and hope are touched on. In the end, the questions are asked, what a human is meant for, what makes him truly happy; what makes her have the will to go on? It is an easy argument to follow, and the culmination is fairly hopeful. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is integral to the essay. Quotes about meaning bookend it.

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Powerful Quotes By Famous Progressives

quotes by famous progressives February 8th, 2018

Liberals have a long history of bettering this country – and leading it better (than the opposition). When it comes to having a coherent and compelling philosophy, progressives suck. We fight amongst ourselves, equivocate, cower, and are even afraid to proudly use the word liberal. However, as Eric Alterman points out in his great book Why We’re Liberals: A Handbook for Restoring America’s Most Important Ideals, progressive politicians provide superior leadership, have more integrity, and speak for the ideals held by most Americans, by and large. This blog features many compelling and unique quotes by famous progressives.

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