Author Archives: N.S. Palmer

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.

Normies Don’t Care About Ideology

Politically-aware people of all stripes often think about how to talk to “normies:” that is, normal people who don’t pay much attention to politics or other social issues. Normies don’t read The New York Times or Breitbart. They don’t spend … Continue reading

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A Visit with Esther and Joe

Did you ever wish you could thank some people from your past who helped you when you needed it? For me, two of those people were Esther and Joe. They owned a little “mom and pop” grocery store around the … Continue reading

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Utopia’s Biggest Problem

Blogger Marcus Ampe has written a thoughtful essay about utopianism. But he’s realistic about the impossibility of creating a perfect society. He wants, instead, to think about ways we can make society better. That’s a practical goal for which we … Continue reading

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Self-Esteem Versus Self-Respect

“Self-esteem” means feeling good about ourselves. And it’s nice to feel good about ourselves. It’s a cheap and easy pleasure. But it’s better if we have reasons to feel good about ourselves. That’s an important difference between self-esteem and self-respect. American President … Continue reading

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Things to Know and See

In the famous words of Emil Faber, “knowledge is good.” That’s because it helps us to live successfully and happily. It’s no guarantee. And it’s not always what we want to hear. But in general, it’s better to know the truth … Continue reading

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America Will Be (More) Authoritarian

History is full of surprises, but this prediction is a pretty safe bet: In the next 10 years, America will become even more authoritarian. It probably won’t be called “America,” though that change might take a little longer. The continent … Continue reading

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Intimidation Is Not Argument

One aspect of civilized behavior is that we try to settle disputes by rational argument, not by violence and coercion. Sadly, many people don’t know how to make a rational argument. Their first choice is to use the “argumentum ad … Continue reading

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You Broke It, You Bought It

“You broke it, you bought it.” It’s called the Pottery Barn Rule. If you you pick up a piece of store merchandise and you break it, then you have to pay for it. What’s left of it, anyway. It’s not … Continue reading

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In Defense of Misguided People

Misguided people are all around us. Of course, which people we call misguided depends on how misguided we are, ourselves. So I want to say a few words in defense of misguided people. They might not know the facts I … Continue reading

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Why Beliefs Divide Us

Why do beliefs divide us? This will sound like a joke, but it’s the truth: Beliefs divide us because it’s part of their job. We usually think of beliefs simply as being about facts: Two plus two equals four. Flowers … Continue reading

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