Category: Liberty’s Labors Lost

The Surrender Continues

Five seconds after daring to say in public the most obvious and uncomplicated truth on the planet today, namely that Vladimir Putin should not remain in power, Joe Biden’s administration was in panic mode trying to “downplay” and “walk back” that remark, fearing how it would be interpreted. Fearing how Putin might respond. Fearing how the statement might affect future negotiations with Putin...

Late-Stage Democracy vs. Late-Stage Tyranny

The recent actions of the United States of America and the Russian Federation with regard to Afghanistan and Ukraine, respectively, offer us a tidy summary of some essential differences between a declining democracy and a declining tyranny — differences which, characteristically, the tyranny recognizes and hopes to exploit, but the democracy does not. Democracy regards twenty years as too long to sustain a...

On Calculations of National Interest

It is standard rhetoric for those who oppose their country’s “getting involved in a foreign conflict” to say that a government’s role in foreign affairs must be determined by considerations of “legitimate national interest.” On its face, this is a sound position, and one with which any person possessing a modicum of rational restraint, forethought, or political moderation ought to agree. However, that...

What The West Is Not

Putin’s propaganda machine has been spreading misinformation — that favorite word of Western haters of free speech these days, used here in its proper context — trying to weaken Ukrainians by telling them their leaders have already abandoned them by fleeing the country. Tucker Carlson was probably already wetting his pants with giddiness over this exciting news from his master. Unfortunately, as with...

Blood Money

I see that Tucker Carlson, in the final hours before Vladimir Putin, whom he admires the way many teenage girls admire the boy band BTS, launched his all-out attack against a non-aggressive sovereign country, engaged in a typically stupid pro-Putin screed aimed at fellow Trump bootlicker Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham had dared to criticize the tyrannical behavior of Carlson’s crush, and to warn...

First Reactions On This Day

The world in general deserves this moment, having invited it lustfully for years; but the Ukrainian people do not. Vladimir Putin has been an authoritarian punk for his entire career, and since becoming Russia’s “president” for the first time, has systematically carried out the dismantling of all of his country’s flimsy structures of post-Soviet reform. Every world leader that played footsie with him...

Vaccination and Coercion, Fear and Freedom

A young woman I have known for many years, who has been my student and my teaching assistant, and with whom I have engaged in many lively discussions about philosophy, the Bible, and global politics, has reached a sudden impasse in her life plans and her career path — an impasse defined by vaccine mandates. We live in the era of mass intimidation...

Utopian Morality

In the past, communities were held together, and public morality maintained, by the personal sense of shame and obligation, the habituation of moderate emotional responses, the concern for family honor, and the desire to prove oneself worthy of the responsibilities of individual self-government. Today, in a quest to root out all moral aberrations and imperfections, societies employ school-indoctrinated slogans, omnipresent cameras, algorithmic monitors,...

Rusted Out

Neil Young is attempting to put the final seal on any pretense that rock music was ever about “speaking truth to power” or any such nonsense — not a moment too soon in my opinion. He is threatening to pull all of his music off Spotify unless that online service removes podcasts that “spread misinformation” about Covid-19 vaccines, specifically focused on the most...

Showing Your Papers

A few days ago, I took a student for lunch and enjoyed my first experience of being asked to present my proof of vaccination as a condition for being granted the privilege of eating soup in a restaurant. I took the opportunity to explain to my student, with whom I happened to be reading Brave New World that day, the special emotional significance,...