Category: Society

Economics, Politics, Society

International Tax Compliance

The biggest problem the world faces should go without saying: climate change. Human behaviour is changing the climate to the extent that it will be harder for people to inhabit certain parts of the world, and that will cause all sorts of other problems. But that problem is long-term, no matter how immediate it seems …

Philosophy, Society

Essentialism: The Terrible Legacy of Western Philosophy

In 2017 I wrote a piece about the root of so-called “alternative facts.” I blamed the ability of people to accept alternative facts as truth on Western Philosophy, but specifically on Plato’s essentialist view of reality. The piece became my most widely read ever, dwarfing my books and anything else I’ve published online. Frankly, I …

2020, Personal, Society

Journal of the Plague Year: Blood on Their Hands

If you had asked someone in Autumn 2019 which country would be best equipped to handle a pandemic, they might have answered “The United States”. They have the most resources of any country in the world. Of course, given who is in power, they might have expressed doubt. But ask the question in Autumn 2015, …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: Nobody Follows the Rules

“Nobody is following the rules!” That is what literally everyone is saying. So many people are saying it that some of the people who are saying it must also not be following rules. As Jenn put it, each of us thinks we are following the rules better than everyone else. And we want everyone else …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: It’s Oh So Quiet

Time has lost all meaning. Weekdays feel like weekends and weekends feel like weekdays. The only thing that lets me figure it out is consciously thinking about it. I have a weekday work schedule, which helps too. But I still have to think to myself “This is a weekday” in order to start it. So …

2020, Personal, Society

A Journal of the Pandemic Year: Day 37

Continued from Day 36 I think one reason I don’t have much to say about our pandemic is because I have been putting my faith in the experts, to a much greater degree than I normally do. From the beginning, my girlfriend was paying far more attention than I was and was more informed. And …

2020, Personal, Society

A Journal of the Pandemic Year: Day 36

The WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11th. On March 12th my province extended the upcoming March Break for an additional week. On March 14th, my country recommended against international travel. On March 17th, my province declared a State of Emergency. (The day before, my girlfriend’s office instructed them to work from home.) On …

2020, Philosophy, Politics, Society

The Problem of Subjectivity

Throughout most of human history, we haven’t done a good job of understanding objective reality. Learning about objective reality has been a slow, difficult process, with many setbacks, but which has rapidly accelerated in the last few centuries, especially the last one. If you compare the growth of scientific knowledge about the universe versus the …

Economics, Politics, Society

UBI Now

COVID-19 is causing all sorts of economic problems. Rather, reactions to COVID-19 are causing all sorts of problems. Behaviour that is good for reducing the spread of this virus is bad for the economy. Nobody is quite sure what to do or how to moderate the inevitable recession. Our government has a plan, this plan …

Economics, Politics, Psychology, Society

Status Rewards for Paying Taxes

As I have written elsewhere, I feel like tax avoidance/evasion is the second biggest problem humanity faces right now. The rich move most of their money out of the societies they earned that money in, and it sits in off-shore bank accounts, benefiting the account holder far more than it benefits the society where it …

Psychology, Society

How Do People Create Conspiracy Theories?

How do people come up with conspiracy theories? I was a former koolaid drinker, but I discovered a preexisting conspiracy theory (Oswald was a patsy) and drank it up. I never created my own, I just read about one that was already extremely popular. But someone had to be the first person to suggest that …

Politics, Psychology

Incremental Socialism is a Conspiracy Theory

I was having a conversation with a conservative on Reddit a while ago. The conservative I was primarily engaged with shared many of my views (to an extent) when it came to the nature of reality, something I was not expecting. I had posted those views because I thought fundamental disagreements of the nature of …

Philosophy, Politics, Society

What is the Point of Government?

The question “What is the point of government?” likely strikes you either as an obvious question or an absurd and pointless question, depending upon your philosophical beliefs. I assume either you think it’s a question always worth asking or a question never worth asking. Count me in the former camp. I believe asking “what is …

2018, Politics, Society

Ontario and the Notwithstanding Clause

There are many things to like about Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a more inclusive bill of rights than, say, the American one. But there’s always been a crucial flaw, the “Notwithstanding Clause.” This clause grants any provincial government the right to override the Charter in a specific instance for a specific period of …

1972, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Jumpers (1972) by Tom Stoppard

My favourite philosopher, Hannah Arendt, believed that space exploration, particularly manned space exploration, created a new paradigm for human beings. For the first time in history, humans could physically see what astronomy and math had only proved before, namely that we were just animals on a little planet in some little corner of the universe. …

2018, Personal, Philosophy, Psychology, Society

What if One of Your Core Beliefs is Based Upon a Lie?

Like any self-reflective adult, I like to believe that the beliefs I hold are based upon facts, not other beliefs. I spent a long time between the ages of 18 and 25 working to come to what I thought were defensible beliefs, beliefs based upon objective reality (as much as possible), rather than what I …

2018, Hockey, Philosophy, Society, Sports

The Nihilist Hockey League

I have been a fan of the hockey comedian/commentator Down Goes Brown for some time. I don’t remember when I became aware of him, but it was before he started writing for Grantland. I have appreciated both his comedic takes on what is a very silly league and also his perspective, which often seems to …

2008, Books, Economics, Non-Fiction

Predictably Irrational (2008) by Dan Ariely

This is a fascinating and sometimes amusing exploration of behavioural economics through descriptions of experiments that the author has conducted, and some he’s read about. It’s a pretty good introduction to behaviourial economics and social psychology. A number of these experiments were unfamiliar to me and some of them are really illuminating. I’m particularly interested …

Psychology, Society

How Does Donald Trump Have Friends?

This morning, I read an excerpt from the new book about Donald Trump’s first year in office as President of the United States of America. It was a fascinating read, confirming many things I believed and giving me much more of an in depth portrait into the madness that is the White House currently.  But …