Apparently, the U.S. needs a war

According to the New York Times, “Mr. Obama said that many people were ‘war weary,’ and — without singling out the decision by Britain not to join in any attack — he added that ‘a lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it.'”[1] This “war weary” is a curious turn of phrase.

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  1. [1]Michael D. Shear, “Obama and Kerry Press Case for U.S. Action in Syria,” New York Times, August 30, 2013,

Big Brother wants you to be afraid

It was a strange thing, I thought, as I saw reports of police brutality in response to the Occupy protests.[1] How, I wondered, did these police officers expect to return to these communities having committed not merely egregious crimes, but crimes of violence against people they are supposed to protect? What, I wondered, was their end-plan?

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  1. [1]Paul Harris, “Police brutality charges sweep across the US,” Guardian, October 22, 2011,; Ted Mann, “The Occupy Movement Adds Volume to Police Brutality Complaints,” Atlantic Wire, October 23, 2011,; Mary Slosson, “Oakland police may face sanctions over handling of Occupy protests,” Reuters, May 2, 2012,

Why Pinker is wrong

Steven Pinker has made something of a splash with his defense of science—as if science were under attack—in the humanities.[1] Jerry Coyne wrote a rave review that essentially amounts to declaring Pinker’s piece a “must-read,” and attached a cartoon that reduces Pinker’s opponents to two persons who appear vaguely like a stereotypical “new age” adherent, and a stereotypical Islamic or Sikh adherent, the latter wearing a headdress that fits neither tradition well.[2] Ross Douthat, a conservative columnist for the New York Times, while finding Pinker’s essay interesting, concludes:

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  1. [1]Steven Pinker, “Science Is Not Your Enemy: An impassioned plea to neglected novelists, embattled professors, and tenure-less historians,” New Republic, August 6, 2013,
  2. [2]Jerry A. Coyne, “Pinker debones the “scientism” canard,” Why Evolution is True, August 7, 2013,

Where’s the revolution?

When one confronts the magnitude of challenges that threaten human survival in the near future, challenges our elites seem unable—and perhaps unwilling—to meet, there is no shortage of criticism to be leveled at our elites, and it is in any event apparent that a change is needed for our system of social organization.[1] But then there’s this:

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  1. [1]David Benfell, “Towards Sustainability,” April 11, 2013,