The Humble Case for Liberty

The virtue of humility is found in recognizing our limits — and that humility ought to make fans of limited government. I could be wrong about pretty much anything. What I don’t know so outweighs what I do that my actual knowledge appears as little more than a small raft on an ocean of ignorance. I suffer […]

America’s Hyperbole Problem

Why our culture has become so exhausting. Ours has become a culture of hyperbole. Nothing characterizes American social interaction, mediated through politics and social media, more than our need to assure ourselves, and broadcast to others, that whatever is happening now — whatever currently grasps our unexamined attention — is the most, greatest, acutest of whatever has ever been. […]

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Needs to Get Better Than Its First Episode

“Heroes of Mandalore” is not a good start to the show’s final season. Star Wars Rebels rarely does two-part episodes well. Unfortunately, “Heroes of Manadalore,” the Season 4 premier, wasn’t an exception. This being the show’s final season, the quality needs to improve if Rebels wants to go out on a high note. Let’s get the […]

“Wonder Woman” Isn’t Bad. It’s Boring.

This by-the-numbers, visually dull movie doesn’t deserve the praise it received. Ninety-two percent of reviewers, according to Rotten Tomatoes, liked Wonder Woman — which just shows the limits of the site’s methodology. “Like” is such a milquetoast evaluation. A shrug of “Yeah, I thought it was decent enough” counts equally with “This was a genre defining cinematic […]

False Promises and Uncertain Economic Truths

Markets are overwhelmingly good, but the results of market processes aren’t always good for everyone, in every instance. Markets are overwhelmingly good, but the results of market processes aren’t always good for everyone, in every instance. Pretending otherwise isn’t persuasive. There’s an unfortunate tendency among some free market advocates to blame the victim: If you […]

Has There Ever Been a Box Office Smash Scifi Movie With Less Cultural Impact Than Avatar? We’re on our way to four(!) Avatar sequels, which is probably the same as number of people excited about Avatar sequels. It’s pretty striking, really, how quickly Avatar vanished from the public consciousness. The movie came out at the end of 2009, and in the years since, we’ve seen really no lasting attempts to […]

Which Star Wars Novels Are Worth Reading?

An ongoing list of the new canon books I’ve read, the ones I’d read again, and the ones I wish I’d never read in the first place. If you’re going to read Star Wars novels, which ones should you read? If you’re dedicated enough, you read them all, of course. But if your time is limited […]

Good Arguments Demand Careful Thinking

It is important to argue clearly, not loudly. If you watch enough people talk about politics, you’ll quickly conclude most people just aren’t very good at it. There’s often a kind of emotional intensity that clouds communication. But there’s also a general lack of skill at articulating the complex ideas and frequently-unexamined principles that motivate so […]

Maleness, Whiteness, Respect, and Donald Trump

Culture is shifting under the feet of white males, and many of them aren’t reacting well to it. Much of white male American has long felt it was owed respect because of its whiteness and maleness. And for decades, they pretty much got it. Now that’s changed, with people recognizing that respect has nothing to do […]

How Aristotle Predicted Twitter and the Alt-Right

Moral development can’t begin until the passions are under control I’m rereading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics for the umpteenth time for a book club with some of my colleagues, and a passage early on struck me as informative about much that’s going on in American culture today. It comes in Book 1 of the Ethics, and for […]