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#NoBanNoWall Protest

This afternoon I took two of my three children to the protest outside senator Bob Corker’s office. If you’ve been living under a rock, Trump recently blocked refugees and legal residents from five mostly Muslim countries (where he does not hold business interests) from entering the country.

I honestly did not expect Trump to make such a bigoted move so quickly. Nor did I think he would pull it off as badly as he did. Especially worrisome is that he now appears to be snubbing his nose at a court stay of the president’s executive order. That is a serious danger to democracy, folks.

So I turned out to protest. It is one thing I could do. I know enough history to know that first a dictator gets democratically elected and then he dismantles the checks against his power. Of course, this has been underway for years. Greater power has shifted to the executive branch over the past few decades. No leader should be capable of something like this without congressional approval.

I brought my kids because it is important for them to understand what we value as a family. Today was a history lesson. It was a lesson in the past and an expression of our conviction never to repeat it. It is a cliché, but it is true, that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Well, in our family, nothing is not an option.

Vladimir Solovyov on the Tower of Babel

I have been working through Vladimir Solovyov’s Justification of the Good and wanted to get your thoughts on an interesting passage. Solovyov is great at making clever arguments, and this one about the Tower of Babel struck me as particularly clever.  Continue reading “Vladimir Solovyov on the Tower of Babel”

What’s Your Collaborative Research Platform?

The hardest part about being an academic ronin is the lack of conversation. People with traditional academic jobs end up talking to friends and colleagues in the hall or at the bar. It is an important stimulant for creative thinking and for providing one with resources one might not otherwise have known about.

“Have you read this article…?”

“There’s this great book by…”

“Let me send you a link to…”

You discuss what you are reading and thinking about, and you get suggestions on what to read and (thusly) think about.  Continue reading “What’s Your Collaborative Research Platform?”

Thoughts on Solovyov and the Social Trinity

This morning I was reading Vladimir Solovyov’s The Justification of the Good where he talks about pity being the foundation of altruism. He criticizes Shopenhauer, who said that pity arises out of an identification of the self with the other; the boundary between two separate things gets blurred. Solovyov criticizes this idea on the basis that there are not two purely separate things to begin with. Were that the case, and people were constantly confusing themselves with others, then not only would children eat while their mothers starved, but it is just as true that mothers could grow fat while their children starved. People would be in a constant state of confusion. That is manifestly not the case.  Continue reading “Thoughts on Solovyov and the Social Trinity”

My Wife is in the Hospital

Stephanie is a type two diabetic. After feeling crummy for a few days, last night she woke up several times vomiting. She got dehydrated. Imagine boiling a pot of salt water. The salt-to-water ratio gets higher. Blood sugar is like that. The more dehydrated she got, the higher her blood sugar went. For a while I was telling her she just had the flu, which may have been the case. But when her blood sugar hit the 450s, when it was in the 470s after I gave her insulin, and when she became delirious and incoherent, I decided we needed to get her to the ER.  Continue reading “My Wife is in the Hospital”

On Having “Too Much Style”

Today, I published an article in the Huffington Post in which I describe what would happen if God made a “your momma” joke. This got me thinking about feedback I got on a presentation this week; I was told that the levity in my presentation was incongruous with the gravity of the content. Continue reading “On Having “Too Much Style””