July 24, 2019

This is from a letter Sigmund Freud wrote to his pastor friend Oskar Pfister:

"I do not break my head very much about good and evil, but I have found little that is ‘good’ about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud...

July 22, 2019

[Years ago I took notes on the book mentioned below, which I thought I'd post here just for the heck of it. Maybe someone will find them useful.]

Reading Anthony Brewer’s Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey (1980). Sometimes my living in a postmodern culture makes me forget just how obvious the economic interpretation of history is. “The motives for imperial expansi...

July 19, 2019

A recent article of mine, called "Political Correctness Is Getting Out of Hand," elicited some angry emails. Not from people who disagreed with the thesis -- it seems that not only conservatives and centrists but even most leftists think political correctness sometimes goes too far -- but from people who objected to this sentence: "Ultimately it isn’t permitted....even to state m...

July 19, 2019

Been reading The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations Are Laying the Foundation for Socialism. It's a good book: provides useful ammunition to deal with the arguments of free-market enthusiasts. Planning on very large scales not only can work, contrary to Hayekian dogmas, but is nearly ubiquitous and does work. (In our present society, it works prima...

July 16, 2019

Lugubrious. That's the word for how I'm feeling tonight. That and self-indulgent. So I thought I'd write a blog post. These midnight moods used to ambush me frequently when I was in my 20s, sometimes eliciting sentimental poetry. Now I'm older, not much wiser, more callused, but still susceptible once in a while to the misty melancholy of existential yearning. Diffuse nostalgia,...

July 11, 2019

Here's a blog post for you masochists who are interested in the debates that go on among Marxist intellectuals over questions around revolution, strategies to get from capitalism to socialism, Leninism and its relevance or lack thereof to the present, etc.

It's kind of remarkable, actually, how much collective time is devoted to these abstract questions, how many thousands o...

December 27, 2018

[Excerpts from this book. See also this blog post, "Excerpts on happiness."]

The meaning of life?— Life is not totally “meaningless.” People’s commitment to their work, to relationships, and to life itself proves that. However, it is hard to deny that life is not as meaningful as we’d like. It is the evolutionary product of “meaningless” random variation and natural selection, no...

December 22, 2018

Over the years I've written a lot of reflections on the metaphysical issue of scientific realism vs. anti-realism or idealism. Idealism has always struck me as silly, whether in its Berkeleian form, its Schopenhauerian form, its logical positivist forms, or its more recent postmodernist forms. Here are some relevant thoughts (discussing Charles Taylor and other thinkers) I just p...

December 20, 2018

I recently read a great book called A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the History of Life on EarthCouldn't resist taking notes on it, so as not to forget it all. (I have an abysmal memory.) In case anyone might be interested, here they are. The history of life is such a fascinating topic I sometimes wish I'd studied the life sciences instead of philosophy...

December 13, 2018

Here's a list of some good leftist books I've come across over the years. Click on the titles for the PDFs. It's a somewhat arbitrary list, but I tried to keep it confined to fairly easy-to-read books, not overly theoretical or abstruse ones that might leave the beginning reader bewildered. I've been unable to find PDFs of certain excellent works, unfortunately. You can also cons...

December 12, 2018

[Here's an excerpt from a book on 'humanism' I wanted to write back in 2006. It's from a passage in which I was arguing against postmodern forms of literature, with their skepticism of old-fashioned narrative and all the other elements of a traditional literary aesthetic. Juvenile in some respects, this passage might at least contain a few thoughts that are defensible.]

...I’d adv...

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