Sandel attempts to dismantle an underlying premise around meritocracy to show the way through our current state of affairs.

This excellent read, The Tyranny of Merit, by Harvard philosophy professor Michael Sandel, actually shifted some of my thinking, and I love a good lightbulb moment provoked by a book! I found the book sometimes a little outside my reach in places enough to need to read a few chapters numerous times, but I think I’ve got the gist of it all.

In a nutshell, some of us hope that judging people based on their merit makes for a more fair…


A primer on the history and ways to define and combat nihilism.

A year after coming out with Nihilism and Technology, Dr. Nolen Gertz wrote just plain Nihilism, an “examination of the meaning of meaninglessness: why it matters that nothing matters.” It’s a really short book, but it took a while to wade through it all. Here it all is even more briefly assembled with my own understanding here and there.

We typically think of nihilism as very simply meaning, “we believe in nothing” (4), but he counters that from the start with the polar opposite definition of Russian nihilism…


The history of how Canada got sucked into the privatization and deregulation of free market capitalism.

Linda McQuaig’s newest book, The Sport and Prey of Capitalists: How the Rich are Stealing Canada’s Public Wealth, is a fast read full of local history and written as history should be written, as colourful stories about fascinating people! But, in order to try to remember any of it, I’ve whittled it down to the bare bones here. …


A conversation between Robert Reich and Michael Sandel.

Robert Reich, an economist and professor of economics at Princeton who served under Ford, Carter, and Clinton administrations, had a great discussion with Michael Sandel, political philosophy professor at Harvard, about Reich’s new book: The System: Who Rigged It and How to Fix It. I can only find the 60 minute video on facebook, but here’s my summary of the ideas below. …


What was Michael Moore thinking??

So I just noticed I’m getting a lot of traffic for a post I wrote 8 months ago that advertised the release. Back then I wrote about some concerns with the film based just on the trailer and the backstory.

I actually watched the film on Tuesday, Earth Day’s eve. It’s free for the next month. It’s a weird production overall. The music is a mix of 70s rock and iMovie background choices. There’s some Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, and Black Sabbath in there at odd random times. I mean, if you’re going…


A summary of a 90 minute interview with Hedges

Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for the New York Times — until they didn’t like his anti-American coverage of the Iraq invasion — and an ordained minister, recently walked away (or was fired) from Truthdig in solidarity with Bob Scheer, and now he’s in the middle of writing a book, but he spent an hour and a half talking about everything on The Jimmy Dore Show. I’ve transcribed some key points below under headings, with links and images. …


A critique of Mark Manson’s book, with lots of philosophy for fun!

I read this book last summer, but people are suddenly talking about it (and his earlier book) all over the place for some reason — maybe because we’re just seeing that things are really messed up. Even my youngest asked to borrow it, so it’s time to revisit. I give it mixed reviews.

Here’s the problem: It’s a bit sloppy with the use of studies and with the philosophy. He names drops a whole host of philosophers, and gets a few general ideas right (and some really wrong)…


Why are vegan docs so full of questionable studies??

I’ve come to believe that determining the very best diet is as individual as figuring out the best course of action to treat anxiety or depression. We are each our own guinea pig. Individually, we each have to try a few things, gradually, while monitoring our energy levels, abilities, and general feelings of good health and wellbeing, to see what actually works for us. That takes time to get right. I was raised on meat and potatoes, but then I read Diet for a Small Planet when I was a teenager…


How a widespread misunderstanding of the scientific method was enough to produce mass doubt about the very real problem of climate change.

Michael Mann recently tweeted this:


A brief history of why we fail to do anything about climate change.

This is a quick read outlining the history of the efforts to do something to slow down fossil fuel use. Everything we know now about climate change, pretty much, we knew with great certainty forty years ago, in 1979. “The climate scientist James Hansen has called a 2-degree warming ‘a prescription for long-term disaster. Long-term disaster is now the best-case scenario. A 3-degree warming, on the other hand, is a prescription for short-term disaster” (4). 5 degrees will bring the fall of human civilization. “The Red Cross…

Marie Snyder

I ramble endlessly about the environment, social injustices, and philosophy at apuffofabsurdity.blogspot.ca.

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