Obstacles And Pitfalls For The Youthful Student Of Philosophy

I was recently asked in correspondence to provide some thoughts on the pitfalls and obstacles to the study of philosophy.  I have to admit that it was something of a relief to get this request, as it offers me a pretext to describe my own ideas on this subject.  All of us seek a greater level of understanding of things; but perhaps few of us give much thought to avoiding the obstacles to understanding.  A horse and its equestrian rider, however, cannot clear a hurdle until they have had experience in judging its height and length.  Here, then, are some of the most commonly encountered pitfalls of the student of philosophy. 

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The Weird Tale Of Jenkins’s Ear

Governments looking for a pretext to justify a predetermined course of action will undoubtedly find one.  Some outrage can be seized upon, some barbarity can be dangled before the public, or some looming danger can be created to whip up support for a policy.  It is an ancient stratagem, and an effective one.  A convincing casus belli needs only the correct manner of its deployment. 

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The Complete G Manifesto Tweet Readings

Bookmark this page. In one place, you have links to every G Manifesto tweet reading. The first one was made in 2018, and the last in 2020. Since the G Man has deleted his Twitter account and blog, I consider these tweet readings to be an important part of the historical record on one of the great internet personalities of recent years. I also feel I played a role in introducing his account to a wider audience. And not only are you hearing the tweets themselves, but you’re hearing them read by me. Enjoy. May he return to us soon.

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Epic Journey: Lord Roberts Marches From Kabul To Kandahar

The late 19th century saw an intense competition between the British and Russian empires for influence in central Asia.  Once act of this “Great Game” was the Second Afghan War, which was fought between 1878 and 1880.  Britain’s goals were two-fold:  to keep tsarist forces out of Afghanistan, and to create a friendly buffer state between the British Raj and Russian territory. 

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A Fire Destroys H.M.S. “Bombay”

Fire both fascinates and terrifies man.  It has nurtured man’s ascent from savagery to civilization by cooking his food, keeping him warm, and smelting his metals for war and agriculture; and yet nothing else so triggers his instincts of panic and terror when trapped in its presence.  Fires in large buildings and aboard ships at sea are especially terrible because the victims of these fires often have nowhere to flee.

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Carry All By The Sword: Stephen Decatur Burns The “Philadelphia”

We have noted elsewhere that the young United States went to war against the Barbary principalities of northern Africa in 1801.  President Jefferson found the continued payment of tribute to these piratical opportunists to be obnoxious, and resolved to punish the corsairs militarily.  Tripoli returned the favor by declaring war on the Americans.  Sword and bullet would now settle the matter. 

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Stephen Decatur Personally Fights And Kills An Enemy Captain

Stephen Decatur ranks as one of the greatest of America’s early naval commanders.  His only equal in bravery and fighting prowess was John Paul Jones.  He was the kind of man who could not sit by the sidelines and watch a fight play out; he had to be in the thick of the action, issuing commands, and inhaling the sulphurous smoke of battle.  Yet he was no rash hothead; his decisions, while bold and daring, were always based on a sound consideration of military realities. 

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The Gradual Slide Into Moral Corruption (Podcast)

In this podcast we discuss Alexandre Moratto’s 2021 film Seven Prisoners. The movie describes the experience of a young man named Matheus, who is basically sold into a modern form of industrial serfdom in Sao Paolo. He tries to rebel at first, but quickly learns the futility of resistance. But being ambitious, he gradually begins a series of accommodations with his oppressors that strip him of his honor. What is the price of one’s soul? What is the price of one’s humanity? The loss of one’s moral base happens slowly, gradually, and almost imperceptibly.


A brilliant, morally profound film, and one that we should all reflect on.

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Memory Of The Fallen: The Work Of Fabian Ware

Continental Europe is dotted with serene and beautiful cemeteries from the First and Second World Wars.  They are also found in the Dardanelles, holding the fallen of the Gallipoli campaign.  They are ordered, serene, well-kept, and dignified with the solemnity that supreme sacrifice confers.  Tourists now visit them frequently, strolling among the chiseled headstones that sprout like white flowers amid seas of green.  

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