A few months back, I watched a show on Netflix called BoJack Horseman. There’s a bit in the show where BoJack, the protagonist, gets into an argument with a veteran about the nature of heroism:
In particular, BoJack says:
Maybe some of the troops are heroes, but not automatically. I’m sure a lot of the troops are jerks. Most people are jerks already and it’s not like giving a jerk a gun and telling him it’s okay to kill people suddenly turns that jerk into a hero.
This has got me thinking–what does it mean to be a hero?
A while back, I wrote a piece called “A Critique of Peter Singer“, one of my more popular pieces on moral theory. Since I wrote that piece, I’ve spent more time reading and thinking about Singer, and I am now prepared to offer an additional critique that in some places supersedes and in other places adds to that one. Read the rest of this entry »
I subscribe to a weekly news magazine called The Week. It’s an excellent magazine highlighting the various things commentators have been saying in the popular press over the past week. In the most recent issue, however, I saw something strange. In the banner, there was a picture of Karl Marx, and the question “Is Marxism Back in Fashion?” This struck me as quite bizarre–I hadn’t seen any mention of Marx or Marxism in the last week. I turned to the relevant article and discovered that the controversy being highlighted was over Thomas Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Many commentators, particularly those writing in right-leaning publications, were referring to Piketty and his work as Marxist (for an example, see Kyle Smith’s piece in the New York Post) This apparently is so uncontroversial that The Week felt comfortable guiding people to the story with a Marx reference. I found this extremely troubling, both because Piketty is most certainly not a Marxist and because the practice of calling all those with radical left-wing views “Marxist” is an attempt to straw man those leftists and prevent people from thinking seriously about their views. I’d like to elaborate on both themes today.
It is often argued by feminists that women are exploited in traditional relationships. Economically dependent and doing many hours of unpaid childcare, it’s argued that women do not, in the traditional structure, receive the full value of their labour in exchange for their services, and that the traditional marriage in which the woman does not work strips her of her freedom and independence and raises the cost to any move on her part toward autonomy. However, is it possible to also perceive the traditional relationship as exploitative of the male role? I propose it is. Here’s how.