Political Thought

Theodore Gericault, Heroic Landscape with Fishermen

The smart set needs to ponder the value of historical limitations.

By Justin Katz | June 14, 2022 |

An episode of the High Noon podcast featuring Oren Cass brought to mind a point relevant to my break from social media. Cass is, in some respects, a contrarian in conservative circles, expressing some healthy skepticism against the free-market bent of the Right (a bent, to be clear, toward which I definitively incline).  The assumptions of…

A water drop and ripples

We live in the world of “Doh!”

By Justin Katz | June 10, 2022 |

You may have seen this image on social media offered as evidence that Fox News is just propaganda: In combination with other similar observations, this is why I’ve been feeling down today. People are actually insisting that the single television news outlet not promoting the same content as all the others is the one spreading…

A water drop and ripples

McConaughey is just in the wrong venue.

By Justin Katz | June 8, 2022 |

Gun-control advocates are very pleased with the speech that actor Matthew McConaughey made from the White House podium, but as is typical, people tend not to look beyond agreement to important secondary considerations. By his choice to be a national activist on this issue, rather than a state one, McConaughey blurred his core issue in…

Van Gough's Prisoners Exercising

The gun-controllers’ dehumanizing talking point proves the importance of the Second Amendment.

By Justin Katz | June 4, 2022 |

The day of the school shooting in Ulvade, Joe Biden took to his national platform to blame people who disagree him about the Second Amendment and the practical steps to stop mass shootings: “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” That talking point has filtered down throughout the…

A joint in a dirty hand.

As with guns, the culture is important to consider when it comes to marijuana.

By Justin Katz | June 1, 2022 |

The issues of gun regulation and marijuana legalization have an interesting overlap, even as they head in opposite directions. To increase regulation of the former, advocates insist that we focus on the implements used for harm (the guns) and eschew — sometimes with great vehemence and insult to those who disagree — the notion that…

Image of Police Line tape.

Ulvade exposed a contradiction in our policy compromises around gun regulation.

By Justin Katz | June 1, 2022 |

Policy arguments driven by emotion will often have incoherent gaps in their logic, and the Ulvade shooting exposes a big one. Emotional people tend to focus on the most-dramatic element in a scene, which in this case is the shooter, and the solution appears to them to be removal of the gun.  The problem is…

Tidewater Landing design

Is anybody surprised the cost of the soccer stadium is going up?

By Justin Katz | May 31, 2022 |

When government officials allow a business to shift its risks onto taxpayers, the people can never be certain about how the costs will be “unexpectedly” driven up, but news like this is a near certainty: The cost of building a professional soccer stadium in Pawtucket has risen to $124 million, the city said Friday, $40 million…

Colors in a bubble

The flag of inclusion operates in an inverted way.

By Justin Katz | May 27, 2022 |

When I returned to college in 1996, after two years of difficult, low-paying labor, I pledged a fraternity, and one of the brothers asked another pledge and me to remove a triangle rainbow sticker that somebody had slapped on the rear bumper of his truck. I had to ask what the sticker meant, and the…

A child on a country road.

The impulse to turn every incident into a political question is unhealthy.

By Justin Katz | May 25, 2022 |

Especially when done with calculation for political gain. When our nation experiences another school shooting, advocates — right up to the White House, at this point — refuse to give us so much as a day to process the emotions and gather information.  They insist that they have the solutions, that they’re easy and obvious,…

Mother touching baby's hand

A world in which mothers don’t smother their babies is inherently good (even on Utilitarian grounds).

By Justin Katz | May 18, 2022 |

Having just finished a graduate course in ethics, I found my mind keenly tuned to a question when Quillette editor Claire Lehmann raised it during a conversation with Jordan Peterson.  Lehmann said she found herself offended, once, when asked in an ethics-related class whether she would smother her own baby to death so as to prevent…