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Mary Sue Should Die

I mentioned that I would discuss poorly written stories in order to discover what makes stories good or bad. One of these is the Mary Sue. There are a number of definitions of Mary Sue (and Gary Stu). A Mary Sue may refer to a self-insert character, an overly idealistic character, an author avatar or many other options. For the purpose of this discussion, I stipulate that Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) ar...

Political Power

I have shown in a previous series that the existence of a government, the power to tax, imprison and fine individuals and the power to regulate are all necessary on occasion and sometimes morally permissible. However, this does not show that the acts and powers claimed by our present governments are either necessary or morally permissible. Before such things can be discussed one must understand th...

Are Taxes Moral?

One of the arguments against the existence of special government powers such as the power to tax is that taxing is no different from theft. Since theft is wrong, so is taxing. A careful examination of this argument shows that it assumes that there is no moral difference between an individual under government and an individual without government. There is good reason to believe that this assumption...

Encouraging Respect

In my previous post, I showed that objectively offensive speech falls into two categories. False speech can be punished by law, while disrespectful speech cannot be. Free speech by itself cannot solve the problem of a lack of respect in speech, but neither can any law. Laws only make the situation worse. Respect can only be encouraged by virtue and sound reason, which require a good education, whi...

Essence and Existence

I have shown that there are two problems with universals and particulars. If there were a way to distinguish between individuals and universals, then there would be a solution to these problems. The distinction between an existence and an essence is such a thing. Each individual has a distinct existence but a universal has a common essence. Universals are any thing that has a name. For example, re...

Beginning Philosophy

I think that philosophy is very difficult for someone who know nothing about it and want to learn. In order to learn philosophy we must start at the beginning. Ordinarily, I would suggest that we learn by studying the great philosophers of history. But such a thing is no good to someone who lacks any philosophical knowledge at all. Philosophy begins by explaining what it is, why it is studied and ...

Non-Commerical Groups and Universities

In my last post, I explained that the government’ s main contribution to universities is in the form of tuition subsidies for public universities. The government also provides assistance to individual students and regulates public universities, but the main way that the government uses universities is by giving them money. The modern university is also used by various non-commercial groups. ...