If Buddhism Requires Anarchism, Why Didn’t the Buddha Say So?

A couple of months ago I wrote an article about how Buddhist ethical first principles commit Buddhists to probably political anarchism. The basic argument was simple: According to Buddhism, to even begin to practice, one must accept the Five Precepts. The first two are “to abstain from taking life” and “to abstain from taking what […]

Detective Pikachu, Avengers, and the Appeal of Esoteric Entertainment

I don’t know anything about Pokémon, but my kids are into it, and so I’ve been checking our reviews of the new Detective Pikachu movie. The reviews from Pokémon fans are quite good. The negative reviews largely complain that it’s inaccessible to people unfamiliar with the source material. Along similar lines, one of the few […]

The Sadness of a Border “Emergency”

I got stuck watching a bit of Fox News a month or so ago. One of the things that really struck me was how quickly it became clear that its target audience is terrified, and of very nearly everything. In the world of Fox News, blacks are protesting not to prevent police violence, but to […]

On racists in government and sunlight as a disinfectant

Rep. Steve King of Iowa said some pretty racist things. Again. This time, though, they were both shockingly unambiguous and came after a midterm election where the GOP got shellacked, and where its only hope to regain ground is in appealing to the kinds of people who don’t find racism all that appealing. So his […]

Abortion and the Law’s Control of Bodies

In yesterday’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Senator Kamala Harris of California, a likely presidential candidate in 2020, asked a perplexing question, and Kavanaugh provided an even more perplexing answer. Kamala Harris: “Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?” Brett Kavanaugh: […]

The Good Twitter Does

Twitter gets a lot of criticism, and a lot of it is well-deserved. But Twitter’s also an amazing place, where strangers can become friends, and where we can learn much from people we’d never have encountered otherwise. It was a death that made me fully grasp the scope of that. My friend @MeadBadger died on […]

Loyalty versus Obsequiousness Through the Lens of Donald Trump

A loyal person is never an obsequious person. Donald Trump demands loyalty from those around him. It’s why he fired James Comey, why he’s mad at Jeff Sessions, and why he pulled John Brennan’s security clearance. He makes everyone passing through his orbit sign non-disclosure agreements, a kind of explicit loyalty oath by way of […]

On Civility in Politics

Shunning is sometimes appropriate, and politics shouldn’t change that. Should we shun political opponents? Should we refuse to associate with them, or to serve them in our businesses? The matter with Sarah Sanders getting kicked out of a restaurant has a lot of people staking out what strike me as poorly examined positions on these questions, […]