You go ahead and keep feeling; I’ll do the thinking for both of us

It seems to me that when it comes to controversial topics like gun control, we tend to believe the other side is good at feeling their way through the issue but not so good at thinking their way through it. Meanwhile, we think we’re masters at dispassionate analysis, which is why we’re able to see things [Read More…]

When goods don’t cross borders, armies will

The quote that forms the title of this post comes from Otto T. Mallery (1881-1956), perhaps best known for his book Economic Union and Durable Peace. It came to my attention recently while listening to Blueprint for Armageddon Part 1 on Dan Carlin’s most excellent Hardcore History podcast. As the quote indicates, countries that are economically interdependent [Read More…]

Who is really naive–those who think violence can solve their problems or those who don’t?

I’ve received a fair bit of flack over a post I wrote last week that essentially blames the recent “terrorist” attacks in Canada on our foreign policy, namely, our decision to join the coalition launching air strikes against ISIS. I argued that had we chosen to pursue non-violent and humanitarian approaches to ISIS and their victims [Read More…]

Why “terrorists” are suddenly attacking Canada

The answer isn’t complicated. We are exporting violence right now at a level not seen in some time. Not only are we launching air strikes against ISIS, we are also exporting fighters on the other side. Therefore, it’s only natural that someone would seek to even out the exchange. We aren’t importing terrorists, but we are certainly importing [Read More…]

There is no B/13

Yesterday I got into a bit of an altercation with a student during a lecture on screenwriting. I was teaching about how the protagonist’s journey from one way of seeing the world to a completely different way of looking at the world essentially structures the plot of the entire movie. She wasn’t necessarily arguing with [Read More…]

The Unbelievers isn’t a documentary, it’s hubris of the highest order

Let me begin by making one point clear: Unlike many of my peers, I really like the New Atheists. I’ve read numerous books and articles by them, watched countless talks and debates, interacted with some of them online (PZ Myers and Steven Pinker), and I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting a couple of them in [Read More…]

Why having everyone agree with you would be the worst thing ever

One of the key ways we distinguish ourselves from the masses is through a definitive approach to life, whether it be trivial things like the way we dress, style our hair, the car we drive, or the music we enjoy; or more substantial things, such as the religious or political views we hold. Not surprisingly, it’s [Read More…]

How to criticize bad ideas

“We have to be able to criticize bad ideas–and Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas.” While no rational person would disagree with the first half of Sam Harris’ statement, his depiction of Islam as a veritable gold mine of fatuous propositions nearly prompted Ben Affleck to go Batman on him during a recent episode of Real Time [Read More…]

We didn’t fall from Eden–we are slowly but surely crawling out of hell

“A loathing of modernity is one of the great constants of contemporary social criticism.” So says Steven Pinker in the closing pages of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Pinker, and many others, see such angst underlying many contemporary movements, including environmentalism, religious fundamentalism, aboriginal rights initiatives, and even zombie apocalypse fantasies. [Read More…]

Obviously, air strikes fix everything

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