An Educational Suggestion

Tuesday, 21 July 2020, 23:33 | Category : Uncategorized
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The current wave of censurings, cancelings, dismissals, silencings and censorship in the academy actually has viable arguments behind it. These include the emotional safety and comfort of students and faculty, the desire for solidarity, the real menace of extremist and violent subversion, the protection of chosen identities, the dream of a harmonious human society, etc. […]

A Divestment

Tuesday, 21 July 2020, 12:52 | Category : Uncategorized
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I have just cancelled my Facebook account. I realize that in doing so I am giving up much that is good and distancing myself from friends who are very dear to me. But I can’t trust myself with it. I am retiring this year to become an emeritus professor, a bit like Lear when he […]

The Plague War

Tuesday, 21 July 2020, 12:29 | Category : Uncategorized
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I feel the pain in their incessant battle, The urge to bite, but armor shields the flesh, The trembling heart-shock of the feared rebuttal, The wanted wound that keeps the hatred fresh; I feel the murderous pity for the ones The enemy supposedly still harms, The warm companionship of well-shared guns, The pride of race […]

Nine Fallacies about Racism

Monday, 20 July 2020, 8:47 | Category : Uncategorized
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The current narrative about racism is based on a set of propositions which, upon closer examination, are both factually unfounded and logically incoherent. Let’s look at these propositions in turn. 1. Racism is a social invention. This proposition draws on the sociological assertion that human reality is socially and culturally constructed, which is a partial […]

Capitalism and Socialism: What do the Words Mean?

Tuesday, 14 July 2020, 16:43 | Category : Uncategorized
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Capitalism and socialism are two important words used in the world of “political economy.” As a literary scholar and poet I became interested in the field’s wild variety, its rhetorical use of language and often its surprising insights. For the last thirty years or so the field became a hobby. This essay shares some of […]

The Good and the Right

Sunday, 24 May 2020, 9:41 | Category : Uncategorized
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Laws, as many philosophers have opined, seem to be based on one of two foundations: what is good, and what is right. Very roughly, the distinction can be found in the difference between our own two traditions, of Roman law, and English common law; further back, between the ancient Hebrew ritual law, and the code […]

Evolutionary Aesthetics

Sunday, 3 November 2019, 11:43 | Category : Uncategorized
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  I wrote this long essay over six years ago as a response to an attack by Joseph Carroll on my pioneering work in the the field (in my book Natural Classicism, 1986, and other publications). I did not publish it at the time, as I dislike scholarly squabbles and had other fish to fry. But […]

The House of Lies: on the “social media”

Friday, 11 October 2019, 12:12 | Category : Uncategorized
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It is a cataract of souls in their own hell, Descending to a common destination, The drowning dragging down the swimmer till Both drink that last insipid cold potation. It’s a perfected drug, that learns itself from you, A feverish disease, virus designed for catching; It drags you from whatever human work you do, An […]

Old Thoughts that May Be Relevant Again

Sunday, 31 March 2019, 18:29 | Category : Uncategorized
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From a draft of my book The Culture of Hope, 1995: Chapter IV. Cultural Implications of the New Cosmology 1. Guidelines to the Solution of Cultural Problems The cosmology of a culture profoundly affects what it can or cannot do. Consider how Taoism in China, for example, encouraged technological innovation while somewhat discouraging a mathematically […]

Some vaguely liberal principles I seem to have found to hold up well

Saturday, 23 February 2019, 12:32 | Category : Uncategorized
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1. Human groups range from the whole human race through the nation, the city, the family and the individual (with many intermediate groupings like friendships, clubs, churches, professional organizations, corporations, international treaty organizations, etc). Larger groups often include many smaller ones. Even an individual can have subordinate sources of action, as evidenced by various sorts […]