Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

The Starks are Not the Good Guys: Morality and Game of Thrones

I’m a big Game of Thrones fan (both the books and the show), but there’s something that sets me apart from other fans–I hate the Starks. It’s my view that they are without question the most villainous family in Westeros, far worse than the Lannisters. This is a controversial view, but hear me out. I think I have a pretty strong case.

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My PhD Plans

Dear Readers,

This is a brief personal note to inform those of you who care about such things that I have decided to start my PhD in politics at the University of Cambridge this October. I plan to continue blogging, though I don’t know yet what effect this will have on the frequency of my posts. I can tell you this–I expect that resolving my PhD decision will put my mind at ease and lead to more posts between now and then, but beyond that it is harder to say. I am a quick writer when motivated, so if there is time available I expect at least some activity, even when I’m working on other projects. In recent weeks there have been gaps in my posting because I have been visiting several potential PhD destinations, meeting excellent people at all of them. I’m very pleased to have gotten into Cambridge’s PhD program and look forward to my time there. If all goes to plan, I will finish the PhD by mid-2018 and have my doctorate at age 26. I want to thank you all for your continued readership–I began this blog in the summer of 2012, before the start of my third year in undergrad, and it has continually been a dear companion to me ever since. I have been pleased to see the blog get Freshly Pressed three times and to see it be named one of WordPress’ recommended blogs. When I started, I did not expect any response at all. To my surprise and delight, the blog audience has grown almost continuously since the day I started it, and the blog serves as an excellent archive of my ideas and my development as a political theorist over the last few years. Going forward, I hope to continue to have the time and inspiration to write more posts at or beyond the quality level to which you and I have grown accustomed.

Thanks again for all your continued support.

–Benjamin

Candidate Evaluations: Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio has declared his intent to run for president, so it’s time for another entry in the 2016 Candidate Evaluations series, where we examine a candidate’s background, policy history, and explicit statements in an attempt to figure out whether the candidate would actually be any good at being president. Too often, no one bothers to ask these question, focusing instead on electability or likability. Previous entries have included Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Hillary Clinton, none of which were able to earn even a tentative endorsement.  Will Rubio do better?

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The Trouble with Unpaid Internships

These days, many young people find that the competition for entry level jobs is very fierce—so much so that to get a job, you need to already have job experience. But if you need job experience to get the job in the first place, how do you go about meeting this requirement? Increasingly, young people are finding that unpaid internships are the only solution. 60% of employers prefer to hire people who have completed internships. As a result, 55% of college seniors report having worked as interns, more than double the figure from the early 1990’s. More than one million Americans work as interns every year, and about half of those are unpaid. That’s at least 500,000 unpaid interns. If each of those interns worked 40 hours a week for 12 weeks at a minimum wage job, each one would earn $3,480. That’s almost $2 billion combined, and a lot of the work that unpaid interns do is worth more than the minimum wage. What’s going on here?

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Candidate Evaluations: Hillary Clinton

The inevitable has happened–Hillary Clinton has announced that she’s running for president. And so it’s once again time to continue my Candidate Evaluations series, where we examine a candidate’s background, policy history, and explicit statements in an attempt to figure out whether the candidate would actually be any good at being president. Too often, no one bothers to ask these question, focusing instead on electability or likability. So far, we’ve covered Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, neither of which did especially well. Will Hillary Clinton fare any better?

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