Tagged: Tyranny

Random Thoughts

Give and take.-– Everything that makes you tired of your fellow human beings can also, if you remember to let it, make you more appreciative than ever of trees, birds, turtles, clouds, and the way an otter’s head pops out of the thick river grass. Start to finish.–┬áThe first fully formed appearance of the essence of what is usually called Western civilization occurred...

Power Struggle

A terrible electrical storm passed directly over my neighborhood last night. The lightning was continuous and relentless, thunder claps following immediately upon each flash indicating the nearness of the storm’s center, and a driving rain providing a percussive undertone to the ongoing assault from above. The storm moved relatively slowly, bringing roughly forty-five minutes of full intensity before the audible distance between flashes...

The Freedom You Have

Montaigne wore a medallion around his neck engraved with the words, “What do I know?” It was his way of continually reminding himself of the necessary humility at the heart of the sometimes hubristic philosophic quest. My version of Montaigne’s medallion is the home screen of my cell phone, which, for about six months, has been adorned with my customized welcome message, “I...

A Few Hopes

I hope I would never materially damage other people’s lives or deprive them of their basic freedoms merely to protect myself from the inevitable risks and discomforts of living as a human being. I hope I would never rationalize my fears and insecurities to justify demanding that strangers be forced to live for my benefit, preference, or safety, against their own genuine or...

The New Cold War?

The current rivalry between the United States and China has much less in common with the Cold War than with the old Russia-China tensions. For the Cold War was, as common parlance would have it, “a clash of ideologies,” whereas today’s semi-hostile relations between the U.S. and China are really just a turf war between ideological allies whose respective self-interested ambitions have inevitably...

Thoughts On Populist Politics

Modern politicians smile for the cameras because they want to look normal and like “one of the people.” When they smile — at nothing, as a pose, to present themselves as smilers — they look like idiots who do not take life or politics seriously. Hence, they achieve their end perfectly: They look eminently normal. They look exactly like “the people.” Today’s political...

Easter Musings: What We Have Learned

The man whose life is celebrated on Easter weekend died at age thirty-three, having been earnestly engaged in the full blossom of his life’s mission for just a few short years. He died condemned as a criminal, and at the time was mocked and ridiculed, or simply ignored, by most of his fellow men. So much for the ultimate significance of empires and...

How to Handle This Moment

At the end of the Peloponnesian War, in 404 B.C., Sparta appointed a ruling committee in Athens, the group which came to be known as the Thirty Tyrants. At the time, Socrates, a private man but a figure of considerable repute and controversy, was sixty-five years old. His most famous student prior to that time, the divisive iconoclast Alcibiades, had already been assassinated...

Conservative Communist Canada

Doug Ford, the “conservative” premier of Canada’s most populous province, my native Ontario, has once again instituted a province-wide “stay-at-home order,” promising that those found in violation of his government’s strict but nebulous new rules on private behavior (i.e., living) and business activity (i.e., supporting oneself) — those whom Ford labels “bad actors” — will be punished. Will this ever end? I know...

Life Among the Slaves

We sing and dance. We tell easygoing jokes and eat delicious food. Our owners tighten the yoke sometimes to keep us humble. We watch our strongest boys play games and cheer for “our side,” just to imagine what it would be like if we were the owners, rather than the owned. The master jerks the chain, ever so judiciously, to remind us that...