The fearful blaze ravaging Notre Dame Cathedral came under initial control, this evening. Parisians then gathered on Cité Island in the Seine River, at the very center of Paris, to sing together as night fell. French President Emmanuel Macron announced that despite terrible losses, the structure had been saved, and the 1,000-year-old triumph of French Gothic architecture would be rebuilt. Already, some had begun to recall that some 180 years ago, it was the great French Romanticist novelist and poet, Victor Hugo, whose genius saved the Cathedral. In fact, it was the power of Romantic literature to lift men's hearts that is credited with re-igniting public love of the Cathedral and so rescuing it. In fact, it was the power of Romantic literature to lift men’s hearts that is credited with re-igniting public love of the Cathedral and so rescuing it. It often has been noted that a chief theme of Notre-Dame de Paris (in the English version, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) is the architecture of the Cathedral—its greatness, its beauty, its meaning. Hugo began the novel in 1829 (it was his first, he was known only as a poet and dramatist) to rouse the French public to the neglect and destruction that were overtaking the structure. The architecture long had been neglected, or destroyed, and replaced by new buildings or parts of buildings in a newer style. As shocking as it seems, today, the medieval stained glass panels had been replaced with white...
In 1972, American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer challenged and defeated Boris Spassky, the defending champion from the USSR, in the World Chess Championship. It was the height of the Cold War. Called the Match of the Century, the epic competition symbolized the power struggle between the world’s two superpowers. When Fischer won, he was the first American ever to do so, and the first non-Soviet to win in nearly thirty years. The last game of the match began on August 31. Spassky resigned after 40 moves and never returned to play. On September 1, Fischer was awarded the championship. The 2014 film, Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire and Liev Schreiber, focuses on Bobby Fischer. Back in 1972, however, Ayn Rand was at home, with her husband, watching the match, and she had her eye on Boris Spassky. On September 11, 1972, Ayn Rand published “An Open Letter to Boris Spassky” in her then biweekly periodical The Ayn Rand Letter. Thus Rand’s letter was dated a mere ten days after Spassky’s crushing defeat. She was 67 years old. Her hatred of Communism was unabated, and she wasted no time before giving Boris Spassky a piece of her mind. “Dear...
Bjorn Lomborg’s diagnosis: Decades of climate-change exaggeration in the West have produced frightened children, febrile headlines, and unrealistic political promises. The world needs a cooler approach that addresses climate change smartly without scaring us needlessly and that pays heed to the many other challenges facing the planet. Decades indeed. Ten years ago: “One in Three Children Fear Earth Apocalypse.” And before that, my 1991 (!) The Wall Street Journal article, “Global Problems Are Too Big for Little Kids,” on widespread reports of children coming home from school scared that the world is ending soon. The conclusion: Frightened or apathetic children are not going to grow into the adults who will be able to solve the world’s problems. Problem-solving requires confidence that solutions can be discovered and a healthy self-esteem about one’s ability to find them. These attitudes require nurturing over a long period of time, on countless small, day-to-day issues. Too much too fast can only destroy them. Education is about helping children grow into knowledgeable, creative thinkers with emotional resilience and a can-do spirit. The opposite of that is indoctrination that results in young adults oscillating between angry dogmatism...
I’ve written about how totalitarian ideologies such as communism and Nazism have a lot in common. Both subordinate the individual to the state and both give the state power over the economy. And both slaughter millions of people. My buddy from grad school, Matt Kibbe, has a great video on this issue. Needless to say, I agree with Matt’s characterization. How high does the death toll need to get before people realize that communism, like its sister ideology of Nazism, is despicably evil? The battle is not right vs. left. It’s statism vs. individualism. Let’s look at some writings on this issue. We’ll start with...
Jason Stotts is a philosopher and psychotherapist who has long been interested in the intersection of philosophy and psychology that is sexuality. He received his Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Brandman University in 2015 and his Bachelor of Arts in both Philosophy and Economics from Denison University in 2006. In terms of his philosophic work, Jason is primarily interested in sexuality and ethics, but is also very interested in philosophy of emotion, philosophy of psychology, and epistemology. In terms of philosophers, he is primarily interested in Ayn Rand and Aristotle, but also enjoys ancient philosophy more generally. Jason is a member of the Society for the Philosophy of Love and Sex (SPLS) of the American Philosophical Association. In terms of his psychological work, Jason specializes in sex education, sex therapy, relationship therapy, and general psychotherapy. His work is primarily grounded in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), but he is also very interested in Philosophic Therapy (the good life, virtue, the role of other people, etc.) and Existential Therapy (meaning in life, death, etc.). The Atlas Society Senior Editor Marilyn Moore recently interviewed him about his book Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics. MM: Culturally we are in a period in which there is a lack of trust, particularly between men and women, in regards to sex. Some people might read the title of your book, Eros and Ethos: A New...

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