On the concept of rape culture

I talk about two ways of defining rape culture and explain why the milder version is still disturbing and is clearly at play in my social circles (U.S. middle-to-upper-middle class millennials in a university setting). I look at the realm of dating to argue that notions of male superiority contribute to a rape culture and discuss alternative ways to frame dating to avoid naively absorbing this rape culture.

On Involuntary Celibacy

When people talk about incels and when incels talk about their plight of being sexless, there is a temptation to focus exclusively on the sexual aspects, and understandably (given the name of the community) that seems to be what it's all about. In this post I discuss the emotional, social, and cultural aspects of having sex and being in a romantic relationshp and how reducing the incel problem to sex obsession is not honest, moral, or helpful.

Caliban and the Witch (2004)

Witch-hunts are a phenomenon that are not only understudied but commonly not well understood or even misunderstood. I attempt to summarize a book that (among other things) is a fairly detailed treatment of the phenomenon of witch-hunts in Europe as well as later witch-hunts that have occurred and are occurring in other parts of the world. Caliban and the Witch links the ramp-up to witch-hunts to class struggle and political unrest, depopulation, early modern statecraft, privatization / enclosure of commons, and conquest in the New World, among other things. I summarize some of the book's historical content in this post.

Stoicism and self-help

In this post, I give a brief introduction to Stoicism and compare it to modern, watered-down versions of Stoicism, and, more broadly, other philosophies (or self-help methods) that are less demanding than Stoicism. I discuss why the strictness of Stoicism in its original form leads to relaxations that can often bear very little relationship to the original, and in some cases look almost the opposite of Stoicism. These relaxations can sometimes be troubling or dangerous because they allow Stoicism to be used propagandistically.

Mapping the Political Space – Part III: Enlightenment and Romantic Aesthetics

As part of my series on mapping the political space, I talk about two intellectual periods, the Enlightenment and the Romantic movement, that embody and inspire two clusters of aesthetics. I go over how both of these aesthetics can be used for good or ill, and discuss how these aesthetics are adopted by various political ideologies/camps.