Category Archives: Political Science

A Pop Quiz About Government

We’ve got a pop quiz today, kids. But don’t worry: There’s only one question, and it’s multiple-guess. The authors of the U.S. Constitution were greatly influenced by a book called The Spirit of the Laws. It said there were three … Continue reading

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The Declaration’s Missing Word

Many recent social conflicts might have been avoided if the American Declaration of Independence had added one simple word. The Declaration’s second paragraph states the political ideals on which it was based: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that … Continue reading

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You Have Been Deceived

You have been deceived. There’s no shame in that. You might even take it as an indirect compliment. Fake psychics love to have scientists “test” their powers because scientists are easy to fool. Scientists work with observable facts, so they … 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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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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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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Why People Are Not Things

Is it ever justified to treat people unequally? Before you try to answer, notice something about the question: It’s not a factual question. It doesn’t ask what is, but what ought to be. We might include facts in our answer, but … Continue reading

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How Easily We Are Stampeded

Today, we lurch drunkenly from one moral panic to another. Last month, it was Covid Cooties. This month, it’s Killer Kops. Next month, it might be something else, just as alliterative and just as loosely connected to reality: whatever will … Continue reading

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