What Building a Country Requires

It’s July 4th, 1776. Think about where America was in that moment: Blood in the streets. A revolution against an empire. Families ripped apart because a war forced them to choose sides. Hopeful successes on the battlefield repeatedly followed by dispiriting defeats. The uncertainty of victory, shrouded in the certainty of death and misery and …

Stop getting offended

Perhaps you’ve seen this little phrase floating around the internet these days: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!” What preposterous nonsense. Enough to make Marcus Aurelius turn over in his grave. First off, if you’re outraged, you’re probably paying too much attention. Second, we should always remember what the Stoics said about getting offended, that if you’re …

Talking Is Not Action

A recent Washington Post piece makes a startlingly sad claim: Gossip is the only monoculture left. People don’t all watch the same television shows anymore, like they did when Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show. They don’t hold the same bedrock beliefs about the world, like they did when liberalism (with a little “l”) was the guiding …

The trying is what counts

Around 1998, Miep Gies supplied a small note to be appended to the end of a forthcoming biography of Anne Frank. It was completely fitting that Gies have the last word on Anne Frank, given all that she had risked and sacrificed between 1942 and 1944 to provide for and supply Frank’s family as they hid …

How To Control Your Passions

If you’re someone who, like most of us, occasionally struggles with temptation or distraction or work aversion, there is a solution. Because the problem isn’t you, exactly, the problem is that you’re not putting yourself in the right situations. Or perhaps, more accurately stated, the problem is that you keep putting yourself in the wrongsituations. As …