Featured Essays

Thoughts on Gun Violence

From the “This is why we can’t have nice things” file: last month a new internet “challenge” broke, with copycat videos being posted of people licking ice cream and putting it back in the store fridge, inspired by a viral Twitter video of a girl doing the same. With fears naturally high that this would …

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Outsiders and Communities: Comparing Immigration and Gentrification

Image: Joseph Vorves (CC by/nc/sa) Change is a constant in the United States, including changes in population demographics. Whether it is immigrants arriving on our shores, or Americans moving from one part of the country to another, our history is full of people who are unsatisfied with their conditions, and who decide to settle somewhere …

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Getting Beyond Capitalism and Socialism

Since the 2008 financial crisis, there’s been a renewed interest in talking about the inherent problems and weaknesses of capitalism. There has even been renewed interest in socialism, or at least the “Democratic Socialism” which Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez espouse. This conversation is long-overdue. Economics is at the very heart of our national life, …

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Thoughts on the Return of Aziz Ansari

As we’re making progress with ourselves, we should also extend a “generosity of spirit” towards those who don’t have the same ethical framework as us, who haven’t “evolved” the way we insist is necessary. As we’re asking others to exercise their empathy, to perhaps finally address the harm their behavior or inaction has caused, we can offer the same empathy to them, and realize that we cannot fully know what’s in their hearts.

The Tweets of Wrath

President Trump wields Twitter like a battle-axe. On this, his supporters and detractors agree. He uses it to chop down his political opponents, circumvent the mainstream media, and rally his supporters. He is far from alone in this practice. But no Twitter user in America has proven themselves so able—and so willing—to explode the national …

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Make Nationhood a Thing Again: A Dispatch from Conservative World

While I was covering the National Conservatism conference in Washington D.C., a high-profile gathering of detached conservative intellectuals discussing lofty visions of the world, the American news cycle was parading around two very concrete controversies with relevance to the conference’s themes. Nike’s withdrawal of a new product designed around the old Betsy Ross Flag—ostensibly responding …

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The Democratic Debates: A Blue Take

It would be wonderful for the frontrunners to incorporate some of the passion of the underdogs, so the ultimate Democratic nominee might speak more effectively not just to the left, but to Americans from all over the political spectrum.

Better Angels 2019 Platform

Better Angels was born in response to the crisis of polarization—a growing crisis that hampers government, destroys trust, degrades public discussion, fosters isolation, and harms personal relationships.

A Braver Sort of Politics

We need to reward, not punish, politicians who take risks, who hold unpopular positions, and who build consensus across the aisle, even if it means losing an election.

For Women, and for Choice

That both parties continue to ask these questions—of where personhood begins and where autonomy ends—without pausing to adequately respond to the other side, is why the abortion debate has come to a standstill in the United States.

For Women, and for Life

It is important to distinguish between pushing an agenda for greater women’s rights, and pushing an agenda for a woman’s right that affects the life of another being.

The Case for National Service

Universal national service remains a highly worthy proposition, given the potential gains to our civic unity and ability to address the looming challenges that face our nation.

The Value of Military Service

Americans need to make clear once again, through concrete actions, that we owe something to one another, that we’re willing to sacrifice for one another, and that in the most extreme circumstances, that we’re even willing to lay down our lives for one another. And the fact that our fellow-citizens have been so willing, in the past, is exactly what Memorial Day is meant to honor and remind us of.

Patriotism and Diversity, Shallow and Deep

What we need is a deeper patriotism and a deeper diversity, each of which values citizens as individuals with their own combinations of values and beliefs, instead of pigeonholing them or criticizing them for failure to live up to our preconceptions.

The Stewardship of Creation

In addition to being a vegetable farmer, I’m a chef and cooking teacher. …I’ve spent the last twenty years thinking about issues of animal welfare and the ethics of eating meat.

Animals and Our Widening Sphere of Empathy

I’ve found myself much more concerned these days with the welfare of other beings, including those with which we don’t associate the same sort of “sentience” we ourselves or our beloved pets possess.