Sex Work: Moralism, Markets & Marxism

The issue of sex work and how it should be treated by society has long been controversial, particularly on the Left. While generally rejecting the conservative view that sex workers are themselves immoral (and filthy, dangerous, evil, etc.), progressives and liberals of various stripes have nevertheless struggled to find a …

Everything You Give Them Can And Will Be Used Against You

There’s a reason that unconditional support for the concept of free speech has been a defining characteristic of left-wing thought for centuries. Beyond the principle of the thing – and the principle certainly matters – there is the matter of power. And there’s a very simple fact about power: when …

Nature, Ability, and Value

Perhaps nowhere do the great philosophical issues of civilization become more evident than in how society treats the disabled. Take the current obsession with the notion of the “natural”, for instance. Human civilization is repeatedly criticized for being unnatural; the natural world is taken to be morally superior. But what …

The Entirely Ordinary Victory of Donald J. Trump

The election of a deeply reactionary representative of the American plutocracy – and political outsider – to the office of President seems to have caused a major intellectual crisis in American liberalism. Or perhaps not so much a crisis as a panic – a sudden desperation to deflect any and …

Things Are Not OK

Once upon a time I was talking to an old German man. “The government is blaming foreigners for everything,” he told me. “All these politicians, they’re completely corrupt! Taking money from corporations, doing whatever they’re told by the rich. They don’t care about ordinary people anymore. They don’t care about …

On Punching Nazis

There’s been a lot of debate about the use of violence to oppose various manifestations of the far right lately. Both sides of the argument are frequently indignant. How can it be OK to punch anyone? How can it not be OK to punch a Nazi? What’s missing from most …

We Are Not A Virus

In recent decades, there has been a growing tendency in the politics and philosophy of ecology that can only be described as anti-humanist. While this doesn’t constitute a coherent movement as such, there are several ideological assertions that crop up repeatedly across the entire spectrum of anti-humanist thought. The anti-humanist …

Human Nature

We can’t create a better economic system. We can’t beat cancer. We can’t achieve interstellar travel. We can’t overthrow the Czar. We can’t beat the plague. We can’t create machines that fly. We can’t overthrow the kings. We can’t prevent the infants from dying. We can’t cross the oceans. We …

Voting, Democracy, and the People

Whenever another election nears, the world fills up with paeans to the power of voting and doom-filled laments about people failing to do their democratic duty. Whenever someone suggests that people should actively avoid voting, no matter how they arrived at this conclusion, they are immediately hit by an immense …

An Authentic Opinion

In online debates, the idea will frequently show up that people who don’t belong to a particular (ethnic, sexual, cultural) group are not only ethically wrong to express an opinion on that group’s political situation, but are in fact incapable of doing so accurately due to being somehow essentially different …