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, […]

Stupidity, Immorality, and Political Differences

We treat people’s political beliefs as indicative of their character or competence, but that’s often a mistake. Too often in political debate, we assume the absolute veracity of our empirical beliefs. We know that private schools fail to serve the underprivileged, or that immigrants take jobs, or that trade deficits harm the working class. We […]

Political Disagreement over Facts vs. Morals

Too often in political debate, we assume the absolute veracity of our empirical beliefs. There’s no possibility that we might not have enough information to justify our views or that our interpretive framework might have imperfections. Furthermore, because our views are both correct and seem obviously correct to us, they must also be obviously correct […]

Real Violence, Simulated Violence, and Thinking War is Awesome

Most of us enjoy violence. The top movies each year largely come from genres dependent on scenes of people getting hurt, whether comic book action, crime thrillers, horror, or sci-fi and fantasy epics. We play violent video games, shooting and punching and blowing up imaginary people or the avatars of other players. But the violence […]

The Incoherence of Denying Thick Libertarianism

If political philosophy is a branch of moral philosophy (and it is), then to have a political philosophy assumes having–even if only in an inchoate form–a moral philosophy. If that’s true, then the claim (and it’s a rather common one) that libertarians should only concern themselves with permissible state action and take no stand on […]