The Ethics of Production

All productive acts contain, at their root, an idea. And at the root of that idea is a philosophic principle: something of value the individual mind can identify and prize. Production requires two forms of synthesis: physical and intellectual. In the whole history of man, no builder—or no successful builder, at least—ever began by erecting walls at random then set about uniting them, as a kind of casual afterthought. Some vision preceded his construction, preceded…

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Idealism Has a Place in a Pragmatic World

The idealist is often perceived as something akin to a knight of Arthurian legend: a man of exceptional virtue, who sidesteps the pitfalls of temptation by strength of will alone, whose fallible mortality is made adamant by his steadfast belief in certain eternal truths. He not only espouses virtue; he personifies it. But there is a fine line between Galahad and Don Quixote, and more often the idealist turns out to be not a chaste…

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On Political Etiquette

Political loyalty is a poison to sober, reasoned discourse. When a primacy is placed upon loyalty as a value, substantive and complex ideologies cease to be the standard of political ethics; they are deposed in favor of slavish obedience to party elites. A political etiquette that overemphasizes loyalty courts disaster, but so does a political etiquette that rejects the value of loyalty outright. The former promotes a system of patronage, where those at the top…

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Ideas, Not Gender, Are What Should Inspire Readers

A recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times claimed that the greatest works of literature are sexist, even those written by women; this determination was made by contrasting the number of times the pronoun “he” appeared in contrast to the pronoun “she.” This kind of logic, which bases a whole system of fairness on nothing but numerical frequency, is truly alarming as it promotes the notion that women can only be inspired by other women.…

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What is the goal of government?

What is the proper end of government? It is a deceptively simple question. For most Americans, the answer probably resonates with the broad goals outlined in the preamble of the Constitution- establishing justice, promoting the general welfare, securing the blessings of liberty. Political theoreticians would largely agree, though in more formal language, perhaps citing Aristotle’s analogy that a city is simply a partnership, and all partnerships aim at some good. These, however, are abstractions of…

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The dialectic of the soul

All action stems from either thought or motion- or a lack thereof. Similarly, discretion properly practiced rests on the catalyst of thought or emotion, but subjugated to their own realms. Thus, the discretionary process of an individual depends on the relationship between the head and the heart. The soul is comprised of a dialectic between reason and emotion. Sober, reflective analysis governs thought and passion’s moral-compass informs emotion. A failure to constrain the two- to…

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