New Blogger: John Davenport

I’m pleased to announce the addition of a new blogger to Policy of Truth, John Davenport, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Fordham University. John and I first met at Notre Dame in the 1990s, where we were both graduate students in philosophy; he was also an occasional visitor at the Felician Ethics conferences I used to organize when I was at Felician University, and he’s a fellow New Jerseyan to boot. He has wide-ranging interests in the history of philosophy, in ethics, in political philosophy, and the philosophy of religion (click the preceding link for details). His first post, forthcoming in a few days, is a defense of intervention in the Russo-Ukrainian war. I’m a bit bogged down in the MacIntyre conference right now, but I have John’s post in hand, and will be posting it at first opportunity. (I decided not to subject him without guidance to WordPress’s “block editor.”)

Welcome, John, and we’re looking forward to your participation and contributions!

New blogger: Suleman Khawaja

I wanted to welcome a new blogger to Policy of Truth, my brother, Suleman Khawaja. Suleman is currently a hospitalist at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where (in Ridgewood, not at Valley) he also runs a private practice as an expert witness on a variety of medico-legal issues. He received his BA in Political Science (minoring in Philosophy) at Duke University, and got his MD at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. He did his residency in Internal Medicine at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. By a strange coincidence, both Suleman and I studied extensively with Alasdair MacIntyre–as a graduate student at Notre Dame in my case, and as an undergraduate at Duke in his.

Suleman will be blogging here primarily on health care issues, with a particular focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.

GoFundMe Request: Tanya O’Malley

I wanted to share this GoFundMe request, a fundraiser for the equivalent of a scholarship for a young woman named Tanya O’Malley.

I met Tanya on a flight home from Rome back in 2016, after I’d spent the summer in Palestine, and she’d spent hers in Italy. We were total strangers to one another, mere seatmates on a nine-hour flight.

Instead of ignoring each other, or sleeping through the flight, we had an intense nine hour conversation…about education! And she initiated it, not me. She was at the time a 17-year-old high school student, and I was a 47-year-old college professor, but our thirty-year age difference melted away in nine hours (sooner, really). We became friends, and remain friends five years later.

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CFP: “Rethinking College”

Reason Papers (now edited by Shawn Klein, Arizona State University) has just issued a Call for Papers on the topic, “Rethinking College.” Here’s the blurb:

For years, we have heard about the coming bursting of the higher education bubble. Cancellation of college debt is an active political issue. Free speech on campus (or lack thereof) is a perennial issue. Criticisms of higher education from across the ideological spectrum continue to grow. The Covid-19 pandemic brought many of these issues to a head and has many people rethinking college. This symposium is interested in papers engaging these or other normative questions and issues about higher education.

Here’s a link with more information. Manuscript due date is July 15, 2021.

Value for Value: Helping Out Roderick Long

I’m a little late to the party with this, but better late than never. My friend and fellow PoT blogger Roderick Long has set up a GoFundMe for help with expenses during a particularly difficult time. I’ve cut and pasted the blurb for his GoFundMe page below, and cut and pasted a comment I wrote responding to it in the combox below. I’m elated to see that RoderickΒ  has exceeded his initial $8,000 goal, but see no reason to stop simply for that reason. I was also extremely pleased to see some of my Felician colleagues, like Sherida Yoder, who know Roderick only through PoT or my Facebook posts, kicking in to help. By the by, I’d love to overhear a literary conversation between Roderick and Sherida. Some day, we should all get together and party like it’s 2099.

But for now. please just give what you can. We’ll set up a separate GoFundMe for the Blowout Party for Friends of Roderick Long at a later date, when we’re all rich and famous. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (35): Pizza–Who Needs It

From my cousin Noreen Mahmood, a nurse at Fraser Health Authority, Delta, British Columbia, Canada:

I am a healthcare worker, an RN, and to be honest I don’t need free pizza or free cups of coffee. I don’t need money off of vouchers etc. I am grateful that I won’t be losing all my income due to this virus, and as much as I greatly appreciate the gesture: please please please offer a free cup of coffee or pizza instead to the families who are struggling to feed their children, the homeless on the streets, the older generation or self employed, and to anyone else who is suffering financially from Covid-19 measures, and is not covered by government grants or loans.

To my colleagues past and present, please copy and paste to get this message out there !! Thank you x

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Coronavirus Diary (15): What to Do When You’re “Locked Down”

Apologies for deluging you all with posts; I’ll try to keep these to a maximum of two a day. But the situation here in the New York/New Jersey metro area is getting increasingly critical. As I said in my very first post in this series, our situation is closer to Italy’s right now than most people realize. That outcome isn’t inevitable, but it can only be averted if we act. There’s no need to be sitting at home “bored” with the lockdown. There’s more than enough to be done even within its constraints. (If Gazans can do it, so can you.) I can’t publicize every plea for assistance I see, no matter how legitimate; I can only ask concerned readers to be on the lookout for them, and please consider responding to some. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (10): COVID-19 Narrative Project

I’m starting up a project here at Policy of Truth that I call β€œThe COVID-19 Narrative Project.” I suppose it involves a bit of wishful thinking: it’s a long-term project for when COVID-19 is brought fully under control. But I’d like to start now. Relevant information in the link just above. Please pass along to interested people in your networks (with the proviso that it’s a relatively low-priority issue at the moment).

Coronavirus Diary (9): Urgent Request for Medical Supplies

Via my sister-in-law, Jessica Franklin, MD:



We are in the same situation as all hospitals and running extremely low on supplies. Our priority is to protect our staff and we are exploring all options to get much needed supplies.

Request for Supplies Issued to the Community

Via email, Valley has issued a request for surgical masks, N95 masks, non-latex gloves, and fluid-resistant isolation gowns to more than 300,000 members of our community.

If you know someone who may have supplies either at home or at a place of business, please ask them to drop the supplies off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday – Friday at the hospital’s main entrance. A Valley staff member will be there beginning Monday to receive the supplies so those donating do not need to get out of their car.

Address: 223 N. Van Dien Ave., Ridgewood, New Jersey 07450