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Skipping The Summer Reading

This essay is about reading gay porn before class. And it resurrects an Ideological Outrage Of The Day from 2012. And a graphic novel. And striking out romantically. And Richard Dawkins.

U.S. Grant, Artistic Genius…

“Grant arrived at his operational vision through perceptual speed and a ‘gift of historic imagination,’ that enabled him to ‘take in at a glance the whole field of war, to form a correct opinion of every suggested and possible…campaign, their logical order and sequence, their relative value, and the interdependence of one upon the other.'”

The Principled Pragmatic Reader

Last week I got an email from reader Karen, who asked if I would be willing to share some book titles that might help her better know and understand my political philosophy of principled pragmatism.  At first I had no idea what to tell her; there really is no such thing as a compendium for…

The judge as moral philosopher

Reviewing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner’s Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts in the Claremont Review of Books, David Forte exposes Justice Scalia’s famous legal positivism as moral philosophy by another name.  “They call false,” Forte writes of Scalia and Garner, “the ‘notion that the quest in statutory interpretation is to do justice,’” and they, like Alexander Hamilton, prefer judges to be “‘bound down by strict rules and precedents.”  But judging, Forte pushes back, is […]

How Not to Discuss Whether We Need Stories

“Do we need stories?” asks Tim Parks. An interesting question. And an important one. But not a matter easily resolved within the confines of a few tweets, a couple Facebook updates, or an entire blog post (even one at the respected New York Review of Books). That’s obvious though, right? So why Does Parks appear attempting just that?…

Skimming for the Dirty Parts – Book Censorship In Public Schools, The Enders Game Controversy, and The False Allure of Public Decency

While it is true that I stole both Brave New World and Flowers for Algernon from the public library, it should be noted for the record that I did eventually return them. Plus, it was all Newsweek’s fault anyway. I was thirteen, and my parents had only just started subscribing to Newsweek. The magazine itself…