All The Moral Sciences Club Articles

Clear-headed applications of moral and political theory to current affairs.

  • Country Music, Openness to Experience, and the Psychology of Culture War

    In the car, I listen to country music. Country has an ideology. Not to say country has a position on abortion, exactly. But country music, taken as a whole, has a position on life, taken as a whole. Small towns....

  • Economics, Immigration, and Eugenics

    In my last post, I mentioned in passing the eugenic dimensions of tax and immigration policy. The genetic quality of the national stock is a taboo subject, and for familiar, excellent reasons. Nazis! That said,...

  • Child Tax Credits Have Nothing to Do with Economic Freedom

    Yesterday I griped at length over at The Economist about Rick Santorum's so-called "economic freedom agenda." One point of Santorum's ten-point plan includes tripling the tax-code subsidy for kids. I can't for the...

  • Taming the Wandering Mind

    This lovely Hanif Kureishi piece on the often misguided drive to tame the wandering mind struck a chord with me. This is familiar: My son, who can skip and sing, found it difficult, for a long time, to read...

  • Men: too Emotional for Military Professionalism

    When asked by CNN's John King what he thinks about the Pentagon's recent decision to allow female troops to serve nearer the front lines of battle, Rick Santorum replied that this could be a problem because of the...

  • Eudaimonism is False

    My pals over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians are having an interesting conversation about the best justificatory foundation for their brand of classical liberalism. Kevin Vallier argues, correctly in my view, that...

  • Brain-Based Regulation

    Jonah Lehrer reports on new research from Steve Sapra and Paul Zak on the neurochemistry of Wall Street success: Drs. Sapra and Zak began by analyzing the genes of 60 professional traders working in five...

  • Mutually Beneficial Culture War

    So the Susan G. Komen Foundation has withdrawn its financial support of Planned Parenthood. Wailing and gnashing, wailing and gnashing. Erica Greider, my colleague at The Economist, offers an evenhanded overview...

  • Bourgeois Virtues

    Speaking of Deirdre McCloskey, Dalibor Rohac offers a nice overview of her recent work in a WSJ profile. Here's the core argument of McCloskey's most recent book, Bourgeois Dignity: Modern economic growth,...

  • The Morality Pill

    Writing in the New York Times, Peter Singer and Agata Sagan ask "Are We Ready for a 'Morality Pill'?" I dunno. Why? The infamous Milgram and Stanford Prison experiments showed that given the right...

  • What's So Special about the 1%?

    My post discussing Brian Leiter's proposal to seize 75% of the 1%'s wealth reminded me of a Michael Kinsley piece I meant to comment on last month, but never got around to. Here's Kinsley: My problem with...

  • Free New Book on Happiness Research and Public Policy

    The Institution for Economic Affairs, a free-market British think-tank, has released a freely-downloadable edited volume titled ... and the Pursuit of Happiness, packed with papers summarizing the public-policy...

  • Does Internet Piracy Really Hurt the Economy?

    Large swathes of the Internet today are protesting legislation now pending in Congress that would censor the Internet and burden many sites with impossible-to-meet regulatory demands. What's the rationale behind...

  • Justin Wolfers on Money and Happiness

    University of Pennsylvania economist Justin Wolfers, whose work with Betsey Stevenson I cited in my recent post on why economic growth is a moral imperative, sat down recently to talk with Patrick Bernau of the...

  • Is Marxism "Realistic"?

    I'd be happy to make a bet with real money that Marx was just plain wrong about immiseration, and will continue to be proved wrong.

  • What Is An Illusion?

    Some say our sense that life means something is an illusion, or that it would be an illusion if there were no god. Some say free-will is an illusion. These claims confuse me. The water I seem to see on the hot...

  • Why Economic Growth Totally Is Imperative

    This column (flagged by one of our eagle-eyed editors) by Kenneth Rogoff on "rethinking the growth imperative" is incredibly puzzling. Rogoff, a Harvard economics professor and former IMF chief economist, runs...

  • Against resolutions. Against the yearly

    I didn't make any New Year's resolutions, because why would I? Why make resolutions? Why do it at the beginning of a year? As ever, the wisdom of master Yoda must prevail: "Do or do not. There is no try."...

  • The Occupy Movement's Enthusiasm and Contempt for Democracy

    Following Julian Sanchez's lead, I've argued that now that the Occupy movement has succeeded in shining a spotlight on its primary concerns -- rising inequality, political corruption, and debt peonage -- Occupiers...

  • Meaning in Life Is Logically Independent of Questions about the Supernatural

    Andrew Sullivan quotes this passage from Jennifer Fulwiler's account of her conversion to Catholicism from atheism: If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human...