Back the Blue? Or Kill Them?

Trump supporters for Law Enforcement:

Back the Blue! Don’t let the Left disrespect cops or flout the laws!

Trump supporters for Sedition:

Message to law enforcement: execute a duly authorized search warrant on my property while enforcing the gun control laws, and I promise to flout the warrant and shoot you dead!

The first two photos were taken in the parking lot of Whitehouse Mall, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. The sign on the truck reads, “Law Enforcement for Trump.” The last three were taken a few miles north on County Road 523, in the Dreahook section of Readington, New Jersey. In other words, when push comes to shove, the Trump supporter on Route 523 is promising to kill the Trump supporter driving the truck. File under: “The Contested Legacies of Waco.” 

Do I have to? What makes the musts all musty.

This is a paper draft (still a bit drafty; helpful to have more of the context of debate, but hopefully the key points are accessible on their own; comments welcome). The actual working title is below (not the playful title of this post).



(i) oughts and requirements and the PL model
(ii) the PL model: dig it!
(iii) how extant “two kinds of reasons” reduction strategies fail
(iv) a better strategy: put fitting-attitudes meat on the PL model
(v) meeting Snedegar’s challenge: explaining the covariation (easy cases)
(vi) “going structural” to tackle the hard cases (morality)
(vii) conclusion 


I’m rereading Justin Snedegar’s paper, “Reasons, Oughts, and Requirements” (2016, He’s interested in whether “reasons firsters” about normativity broadly speaking can account for normative requirements, given that they are distinct from normative oughts. Continue reading

COVID-19, Risk, and Rights-Violations

This is a discussion that Michael Young and I started at my Facebook page on this article by Michael Tomasky in The New York Times (ht: Suleman Khawaja). Here’s Tomasky’s thesis in a sentence:

Freedom means the freedom not to get infected by the idiot who refuses to mask up.

I started the conversation, which we agreed to continue here instead of on Facebook. Continue reading

Who Is Sheldon Richman, and Why Does He Hate the Constitution and American Greatness? and Why Does He Love Jihadis, French Communism, Godless Atheism, and Weird-Ass Epistemology?

In Part 1 of this 2-part interview, I chat with Sheldon Richman about his youthful enthusiasm for the Swamp Fox and his guerilla fighters; the Constitution as a betrayal of the American Revolution and the Articles of Confederation; defying YAF with Karl Hess at the March to the Arch; the positive externalities achievable by sitting next to Dave Barry; using Koch money to fight big business; Robert Bidinotto’s dark anarchist past; the perils of publishing Kevin Carson; going crazy for Thomas Szasz; the identity of Filthy Pierre; how to smoke like Gandalf; an atheist’s favourite Bishop; and which prominent Austrian economist experimented on Sheldon’s newborn infant.

In Part 2, we chat about the Israeli occupation of Palestine; u.s. intervention in the Middle East; the meaning of Jewish identity; the relation between libertarian individualism and social cooperation; the communistic theories of Frédéric Bastiat; the theologico-political merits of Spinoza; Nathaniel Branden and George H. Smith on atheism; Thomas Paine and Lysander Spooner on deism; the philosophical failings of the New Atheists; rehabilitating the cost-of-production theory of value; the uses of coherentist epistemology for both theists and atheists; reading Wittgenstein for relaxation; the advantages and disadvantages of Randian approaches to knowledge and concepts; the sordid truth behind the special effects in Roderick’s videos (and in particular, what the deal is with Roderick’s hair); Sheldon’s case against open Borders; and the shocking misuse of libertarian think tank resources to photocopy body parts (but who did it, Sheldon or Roderick? and which body parts? watch and learn!).

Skidmarks on My Heart

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
–Percy Bysshe Shelley

This weekend is, for me, a tragic anniversary of sorts. On Saturday, October 11, 1986, I got the news that my cousin Waseem Toosy had died in a traffic accident in Saudi Arabia–on his way, ironically enough, to medical school. Waseem had periodically lived with us while he studied here in the States; he was like a brother to me. He was, I think, 18 or 19 when he died; I was 17. In yet another irony, his late father had been an orthopedic surgeon, and his brother Naeem ended up becoming an emergency-room physician. Continue reading


If I think Braelyn is a good person, I think this is so in virtue of her having certain descriptive features, like being kind or generous. And similarly, it seems, for other evaluative or normative features (Braelyn being morally required to refrain from injuriously striking Herro when he has minorly offended her, Braelyn having reason to tie her shoes, etc.). Meno-like, we might draw out and precisify our intuitions here.

(1) The ‘in virtue of’ refers to a kind of non-causal metaphysical determination or dependency (sometimes called “grounding” by philosophers). In this, it is in the same broad category as a thing being red in virtue of it being crimson (or it being crimson making it the case that it is red). Such determination or dependency does not happen across time and is not causal (e.g., it is not of the same type as my painting the object red making it red). Continue reading

#ProudBoys: Stand By…

We’re #ProudBoys, and we’re not standing down at all–we’re standing by. OK, we’re sitting by. But #ProudBoys nonetheless, having a gay old time.

Continue reading