I start philosophy classes with Book I of Aristotle’s Physics.

The text is dense. It doesn’t teach itself, but I’m there. And I’m funny. The text introduces a few important concepts: elements, causes, starting points, and the relevance of wholes and parts.

Then I just go down a list.

Elements: I introduce the idea that beings are made up of parts. From here, you can go two different ways. Either your parts are made up of other parts and those parts are made up of other parts, and we get smaller and smaller bits of indistinct parts to infinity, or…


There are many arguments for a Federal Job Guarantee. This argument ties the program to the realization of freedom.

Pay attention to two recurring insights: freedom emerges through infusing an ethical principle that 1) accounts for how the options presented to people are calibrated to be attentive to, or reflect, the people who are choosing between those options, and 2) stabilizes the institutions through which people plan to realize their aspirations, so they do not labor in vain.

Prologue

Against the Notion of Freedom in Nature:

A good number of Americans are taught to romanticize their relationship with nature as…


Instead of casting healthcare as a human right, we should conceive the lack of healthcare as a problem for civil, political, and family freedom. Policies are not legitimate because they affect humans; they are legitimate because they enable or degrade the modes of self-determination humans, as choosing selves relatively free from biological determination, happen to be able to engage in.

The problem with illness is that stops us from being able to realize our freedom, e.g., fulfilling responsibilities of our free families and participating in civil society. …


I’m reading debates in early modern philosophy, and I’m amused by how much they help explain our contemporary political problems. I think I can write this down in plain English. Here you go:

We want to be able to categorize the world, not just in the abstract, but we want our categories to reach all the way down and account for individuals’ properties in existence. …


The idea that choice is the same as freedom is a disaster. I’m going to explain why in a piece that takes three minutes to read.

Choices are degrading if you aren’t reflected in the options among which you choose. It’s like a vegetarian who walks into a restaurant that only serves beef, chicken, and fish. Or a pregnant woman choosing to get an abortion, compelled by the knowledge that she doesn’t have access to the resources to raise a thriving kid. …


The Peanut Butter Falcon is a revolutionary movie. It’s on Amazon Prime right now. You should watch it.

What makes the film revolutionary? It transfigures and clarifies the advance of freedom. Revolutions emerge for myriad reasons. Some of them technological, e.g., the cotton gin or washing machine. Others of them religious, e.g., the Protestant Reformation is going to have its social and political ripples, now that you can no longer lean on the authority of the priest, and the ultimate responsibility for your soul lays with yourself, that’s going to change the way you look at your boss in all…


I’m occasionally invited to go on Rising, an internet show hosted by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti. The show’s premise is that the working class in America is being hosed by economic elites, and populists on the Right and Left can band together to wrest control of the nation’s social and political life from oligarchs, regardless of the cultural differences between the American Right and Left.

A handful of dubious assumptions undergird this premise, and most of them can be waved off as the two hosts agreeing on what they agree on and disagreeing on what they disagree on.

However…


Obama’s election and Harris’s selection aren’t symbols. Symbols are abstract. The meaning of a symbol is external and adjacent to the form it comes in. For example, if you use a lion as a symbol of courage. That same lion could just as easily be a symbol of carnivorous hunger.

Rather, Obama’s election and Harris’s selection are romantic expressions of concrete freedom. This is terrifying. Let me tell you why:

Obama’s election and Harris’s selection are expressions that your race, gender, or religion shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want to do, regardless of whether or how you change…


There are a lot of sex stories that are bigger than sex, and Krystal Ball’s monologue today starts out as a dive into our weird fascination with how candidates seek sex, but then she reveals a deeper problem with how we get meaning in our lives, and why we are so averse to evaluating politicians based on the policies they push.

Morse is a progressive politician, but that doesn’t matter because he may have hooked up with some college Dems. However, Ball’s point here is much deeper. …


Terrorists

White culture is incompatible with Black empowerment. So if you are serious about Black Lives Mattering, we have to reform White cultural institutions: their families, churches, and schools. Furthermore, I don’t think that framing these efforts as self-defense is an adequate ground the fight for racial justice. We need to be honest about going on offense, not defense, to win freedom.

If we want racial justice, we have to target and revolutionize the characteristically White pre-political institutions that sustain awful politics and social policy. There is no neutral defense. It’s not an accident that there are multiple books on how…

Irami Osei-Frimpong

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