Authoritarianism, Bad Ideas, Conservative, Democracy, Freedom, Human Nature, Idealism, Ideas, Ideologies, Liberal, Oppression, Political Ideologies, Political Issues, Politicians and Scoundrels, Politics, Society, Village Idiots

Traditional Conservatives vs Today’s Conservatives

SUMMARY: I make a sharp distinction between true conservatism and today’s most popular conservatism.  I then draw the conclusion that, while true conservatism is both necessary and good, today’s most popular conservatism is a radical and dangerous departure from it.

(About a 6 minute read) 

A curious thing about human politics is that it seems everywhere on earth to be roughly divided between “liberals and conservatives”.   That is, between people who are more or less inclined to experiment with new things, and people who are more or less disinclined to do so.

In recent years, there have been a number of scientific studies to see if there is some kind of biological or psychological basis for the division of human politics into those two camps.  A number of hypotheses have been proposed — such that conservatives lack empathy compared to liberals, or that conservatives are more likely to see the world as a hostile place compared to liberals — but so far as I know, none of those hypotheses has been backed up by a solid weight of studies except for one of them.

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Community, Fairness, Human Nature, Justice, Law, News and Current Events, Society

One Controversial Role of Juries

(About a 5 minute read)

Some years ago, an enraged husband shot and killed a young man in my hometown who had been cheating on the husband with his wife.  To aggravate matters, the young man had thought it wise to write several letters to the husband mocking him in nearly every imaginable way.

The husband was a private in the army — stationed at a distant base — and quite unable to afford a lawyer.  His public defender was one of the best lawyers in town, albeit young, and this was his first murder case.

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Adolescence, Adolescent Sexuality, Attachment, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Coffee Shop Folks, Coffee Shop Stories, Family, Fatherless Children, Fatherless Daughters, Fatherless Girls, Friends, Human Nature, Jackie, Jerks, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mental and Emotional Health, Obsession, People, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sarah, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Sex, Sexuality, Society

All the Young Women

SUMMARY: I take a look at the women I met some years ago in Colorado Springs, and then draw a few conclusions about the challenges they faced at that time in their lives.

(About a 8 minute read)

People are often more predictable than life itself.  I can often predict, with surprising accuracy, what a long-term friend will do in almost any situation, but my life has taught me that it can be considerably more difficult to predict where I will be in a year or two.

I certainly did not expect when I came to Colorado that I would soon know — at least casually — about 200 young men and women twenty years younger than me, nor that about two dozen of them would befriend me.

Yet that’s what happened — largely as a direct consequence of my choosing to frequent a coffee shop that both served the cheapest cup in town and was the hang out of hundreds of local high school students.  Since it was also the oldest and most established coffee shop in town, it was also the hang out of everyone else — from the mayor and some city council members to several homeless people.

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Authoritarianism, Bipartisanship, Cultural Traits, Democracy, Freedom, Freedom and Liberty, Ideologies, Memes, News and Current Events, Political Ideologies, Political Issues, Politics, Society

Two Key Weaknesses of the American Political System

(About a 6 minute read)

For the most part, the American Founders were politically astute men.  Many had served in their colonial legislatures, or — like Franklin — had considerable experience organizing people in order to get various things accomplished.  They were well aware of the political consequences of what they called “factions” — groups with an agenda.

What they did not foresee, however, was that the presidential system would inevitably lead to the factions coalescing into two parties.

Today, we know that is an inevitable consequence of a presidential system of government because we have seen it happen in every country in which the system has been tried — mainly African and South American nations.

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Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Buddhahood, Enlightenment, Goals, Human Nature, Life, Living, Love, Meaning, Mysticism, Purpose, Quality of Life, Satori, Self, Self-Integration, Self-Realization, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love, Values

More to Life

SUMMARY:  Many of us at one time or another in our lives feel that life is passing us by, that we are not getting as much out of it as possible.  For most of us who feel that way, there are ready remedies in entertainment, consumerism, and so forth — at least at first.  But for others, the desire for something more cannot be solved in such ways.  In this post, I look at what I consider the ultimate solutions to the problem of wanting more from life.

(About a 9 minute read)

It’s a curious fact that when a person is down and out, they can be too down and out to want to think there is more to life than their current fate.  The thought of a better life can be too painful to contemplate under the circumstances.

But for most of us, there are times in our lives when we are discontent, profoundly discontent, and in search of something more.  That sort of feeling is usually accompanied in my experience by boredom with life as it is, and perhaps a sense it will never get much better.

At which point, many of us instinctively turn to entertainments, to consumerism, to self-improvement books and articles, to politics, or religion.  Sometimes we switch jobs, buy a bigger house, take a vacation, or even — and I have seen this happen — get married or plan children out of boredom and to escape that feeling there should be something more to life than what we have.

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Art, Christianity, Creative Thinking, Creativity, Cultural Change, Cultural Traits, Culture, Human Nature, Idealism, Ideas, Ideologies, Intellectual Honesty, Invention, New Idea, Obligations to Society, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Society, Thinking

What Do Intellectuals Do, Anyway?

SUMMARY: American culture has a virulent strain of anti-intellectualism.  Consequently, few people understand or appreciate the role intellectuals can — and often do — play in a society.  In fact, many intellectuals can be seen as similar to cartographers in that they create ideas that can be used as guides to reality.  When they do so conscientiously and accurately, the whole society can benefit.

(About a 6 minute read)

It is a truism among people who study such things that American culture has, almost since the founding of the Republic, harbored a virulent anti-intellectual streak.  But the founders themselves were anything but anti-intellectual.

Franklin, for instance, was the leading American intellectual of their day, and Washington — possibly the most prominent non-intellectual of the era — often made efforts to improve himself in that department, for he did not think himself an equal to the others unless he could muster at least a passing familiarity with the great ideas of the time.

But almost with the deaths on the same day of Adams and Jefferson, American culture developed a marked anti-intellectual streak.  Some people have attributed that streak to the democratic suspicion of anyone who might appear to be smarter than oneself.  But while that might sustain American anti-intellectualism, anti-intellectualism seems to have gotten its start in religion.

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Paul’s Eight Edible Tips for New Bloggers

SUMMARY: Eight tips for new bloggers.

(About a 6 minute read)

If you’re like me, you have noticed that most people now and then say exactly the opposite of what they really mean.  This is no where so true as when people accept excellent advice.

At least, when accepting it from me, they usually say things like, “That’s the worst advice I’ve had since my fiancé’s dad’s on prom night!”, and “Paul, if I had wanted to die young, I would have asked you straight-forward how to die young.”  Meaning, of course, “Thank you for the superb advice!”

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