The Contest Between Homer and Hesiod, in Space

There is not much about Andy Weir’s The Martian that ought to work. And yet it works. The novel is like a twisted literary experiment: can you write a story that is about 5% dialogue, 10% action, and 85% exposition? And can the exposition be about scientific problem solving and the technical details of NASA […]

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The Rungs of the Ladder

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the “War on Poverty” (announced in January of 1964) and the “Great Society” (announced 50 years ago yesterday). These were America’s two great experiments in using the power of the federal government to transform and radically improve the country. Fifty years and some 15 or 20 trillion dollars—depending […]

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LBJ, Hippie

Thursday is the 50th anniversary of the University of Michigan commencement speech in which Lyndon Johnson laid out the concept of a “Great Society.” This was the wider framework for the “War on Poverty” he had announced earlier in the year in his State of the Union address. Reading through it, it strikes me that […]

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What the Left Gets Wrong About Constitutionalism

Richard Epstein has published a massive scholarly tome laying out the case for enforcing the Constitution in a way that recognizes its foundation in the principles of individual rights and limited government. There is a lot to be said in favor of this approach, not least of which is the outlook of its opponents. Take, […]

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How Science Works

How does science work? With science being used as the basis for regulations that are supposed to turn the entire global economy upside-down, and in an age when having science on your side has become a point of partisan pride, allowing some people to condemn anyone who opposes their politics as “anti-science,” we could use […]

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Crucial New Ideas That Are Not Hers

I recently published a commentary on how certain basic ideas about how to organize the Objectivist movement that were formulated in the 1980s have begun to fall away, implicitly rejected even by those who used to advocate them. Of those ideas, the only one on which I have seen any real debate is the question […]

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How Many Divisions Has RuPaul?

Americans don’t pay much attention to something called “Eurovision,” and I supposed we usually shouldn’t. It’s a kind of pan-European version of “American Idol,” in which musical acts chosen to represent every country in Europe stage overproduced performances of inoffensive and quickly forgotten pop anthems. While it’s a competition, it seems to be less about […]

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No, It’s Not Morning Again in America

We all know that in the eyes of the mainstream media, the only good Republican is a dead Republican—which is to say that they denounce Republican leaders while they’re alive, then suddenly find a reason to praise them after they’re safely dead. How they did this with Ronald Reagan was to ignore most of what […]

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The Psychopath Pathology

Years ago, I read an excellent book on the psychology of the career criminal. In the introduction, the author cautions readers against “medical students’ disease”: the tendency of first-year med students to suddenly notice that they have symptoms that are superficially similar to those of the strange diseases they’re studying. Similarly, he warned, as you […]

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To Love Man for God’s Sake

An Atheist Read the Bible, Part 5 Over the past year or so, I’ve been slowly whittling away at a long-term project I call “An Atheist Reads the Bible.” Unlike the “New Atheist” Richard Dawkins types, I’m not reading the Bible simply to refute it or to highlight every time the Judeo-Christian god seems to […]

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