Tag Archives | Steven Pinker

Conservatives Lose Their Word

Five Things You Need to Read Today 1. The Death of the Tea Party The Tea Party movement of ten years ago is now comprehensively dead. How do we know that? Because Republicans and Democrats in Congress just got together on a budget deal that approves deficits in excess of $1 trillion forever—at a time […]

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Salon of the Refused, Episode 14

Episode 14 of my video and podcast series, Salon of the Refused, is now available. I talk with Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, about the legacy of the Enlightenment. The conversation includes: exactly how good the state of the world is, “thick” versus “thin” philosophy, the […]

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That Noise the Kids Are Listening to These Days

Five Things You Need to Read Today 1. But He Fights I’ve been editing videos and working on other writing projects for much of the last week, so I wanted to do a roundup of news that happened while I was doing all of that–and a lot of interesting things happened. The first item is […]

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A Little More Enlightenment

Five Things You Need to Read Today 1. A Little More Enlightenment I recently re-posted my series of articles from last year on the legacy of the Enlightenment, including my review of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now. One year after the publication of that book, Steven Pinker looks back, in an article in Quillette, and responds […]

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The Vindication of Reason

Nathanael Blake invites me to “discuss our differences over a bottle of whiskey and a large stack of books.” I’ll say yes to the whiskey, though I’ll have a few additions of my own to make to his list of books. This is his introduction to a case that the Enlightenment ideal of rationality is […]

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Making the “Miracle”

Several recent books on the Enlightenment have sought to celebrate its legacy but have been strangely cursory in their examination of actual Enlightenment thinkers, their ideas, and their influence, sometimes treating the embrace of reason, individual rights, and political freedom as a “miracle” that seemingly came out of nowhere. If you’re interested in the question […]

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Unfrozen Caveman Intellectual

“There is no God in this book.” So begins Suicide of the West, Jonah Goldberg’s contribution to the recent flurry of discussion about the legacy of the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, there’s not much of the Enlightenment in the book, either. If Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now treated the philosophical movement of the 18th century as if it […]

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How to Defend the Enlightenment Without Really Trying

The Trump era—which has been characterized by a rise of anti-intellectualism, the ideological muddling of the right, and a swerve toward illiberalism on both sides of the political debate—has, by way of compensation, also produced a mini-revival of interest and debate about the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment. One of the most prominent entries in […]

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“If You Want to Be Stupid, I Can Be Stupid as Well”

Five Things You Need to Read Today 1. He Who Lives by the Federal Waiver Dies by the Federal Waiver The one really clear achievement of the Trump administration has been its anti-regulatory campaign, particularly its stunning reversal of policy at the EPA. I would like to see more of this made permanent by congressional […]

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Five Things You Need to Read Today

Here’s your weekly update, for subscribers only, drawing your attention to five stories that are worth catching. Today, the main theme is the search for political ideas. Any ideas. 1. “I Need Wider Powers” I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting on the news for the past week, but the Tracinski household was hit by the […]

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