History – Does The Declaration of Independence Define What It Means to Be an American?

One of my college textbooks for a political science class averred that being an ‘American’ – and by that I mean a citizen of the United States – is a uniquely political proposition.  ‘Political’ because being an American meant that a person bought into the ideal of the United States, as opposed to being born … Continue reading History – Does The Declaration of Independence Define What It Means to Be an American?

Politics — The Founding Fathers Want a Blue Wave

The Founding Fathers would have loved to see a "Blue Wave" in the 2018 midterm elections, leaving the United States with a divided government. This is not because they were particularly partisan towards any of the groups who claim to be leaders today, but rather because they believed that the power of the government does … Continue reading Politics — The Founding Fathers Want a Blue Wave

Current Events — Egypt’s Experience and a Worry for the United States

"The Fires of Spring" is a book about the Middle East that is part analysis and part travelogue through Turkey, Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia. The book is worth reading because it is a snapshot in time that gives a sense of history and also where we are today. But, when I read further … Continue reading Current Events — Egypt’s Experience and a Worry for the United States

Rousseau, the Social Contract, Snow Shoveling and America’s Current Situation

In “The Social Contract” Rousseau tackles the question of why we have governments and societies at all, what the limits are, and what the responsibilities are. Rousseau gets to the heart of the matter when he says that people form societies and governments in order to survive the forces of nature. “I suppose men to … Continue reading Rousseau, the Social Contract, Snow Shoveling and America’s Current Situation

I, Tonya: American Tragedy?

Do Aristotle’s virtues hold true in modern life? How about in figure skating? Below is another blogger’s take on how the classics still have something to teach us today.

mimesisity: on art, reality, etc.

In his Ethics, Aristotle argues that we acquire virtues like justice, temperance, moderation and wisdom through exercising them, and our fundamental dispositions of character are formed by the habits of reaction and behaviors instilled in us in childhood. (Yes, this is a review, of sorts, of the film about the figure skater Tonya Harding. Bear with me.)

…the virtues we get by first exercising them, as also happens in the case of the arts as well. For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them, e.g. men become builders by building and lyreplayers by playing the lyre; so too we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.

The same is true of appetites and feelings of anger; some men become temperate and good-tempered, others self-indulgent and irascible, by behaving in one way or…

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Homeric Tweets, or The Epic Poetry of Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s communication quirks have gotten a lot of attention, but commentators have missed what he shares with Homer and the other epic poets.   Something was familiar about his patterns of “Lying Ted,” “Crooked Hilary,” and lately “Sneaky Diane Feinstein.” (If you want to see a more complete list, The New York Times has … Continue reading Homeric Tweets, or The Epic Poetry of Donald Trump

Philosophy – Why Do We Have Governments? Locke Attempts to Give Us an Answer.

What is the purpose of government? Why do we even have it in the first place? Locke takes on answering these questions as his task in his “Concerning Civil Government, Second Essay.” Locke is answering many of the questions that have come up in some of the modern political debates. Perhaps if more folks were … Continue reading Philosophy – Why Do We Have Governments? Locke Attempts to Give Us an Answer.