Category Archives: Political Science

Good Advice from George Washington

Until quite recently, U.S. President George Washington was considered the ideal American: honest, brave, wise, and patriotic. None of that has changed. Washington offered some good advice about how to have a healthy society and a just government: “We must … Continue reading

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Drug Policy: Good Is Better Than Perfect

American laws about recreational drug use are a mess. Americans rot in prison for using or selling marijuana, which is relatively harmless. They rot in prison for selling cocaine and heroin, which aren’t harmless but harm mainly heavy users, and … Continue reading

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Don’t Live Thoughtlessly

The American philosopher John Dewey argued that for most people, most of the time, thinking is a last resort. They only think when a problem or obstacle blocks their path. And he wasn’t wrong. Most of the time, we live … Continue reading

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Beware of “Exceptions” to Freedom

Yale University historian Timothy Snyder wrote a short book called On Tyranny that’s quite good. Each of its 20 chapters explains a way to preserve freedom and civilized society in the face of attacks by tyrannical government. The book came … Continue reading

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Character Is Destiny — For Nations, Too

China is our geopolitical adversary, but the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius had some advice that might help us in these difficult times. He said: “Only after a person has demeaned himself will others demean him. Only after a great family … Continue reading

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Don’t “Other” Other People

Most people aren’t familiar with the idea of “othering,” but they are familiar with what it is. They’ve seen it. They’ve done it to other people, and they’ve had it done to them. To “other” a group of people is … Continue reading

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Minding Our Own Business

I’m pretty sure that the Dalai Lama quote is fake, but it’s still true. “Not my effing problem” can be a path not only to inner peace, but also to social peace. Think for a moment about what it means … Continue reading

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Hope and History

A review of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, by Wilfred M. McClay Originally published on May 25, 2019 here. What is the purpose of history? Is it merely a record of facts—of dates and kings, … Continue reading

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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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