Steven Yates

Introducing Logical Thinking (III) “What is the Meaning of a Word?”

Written by Steven Yates on Friday, 26 April 2013. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

The necessity of analyzing language and looking for definitions has always been an important part of philosophy, and is part of the job philosophy should do in society.

Introducing Logical Thinking (III) “What is the Meaning of a Word?”

“What is the meaning of a word?” asked Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951), one of the twentieth century’s most influential philosophers, at the beginning of lecture material dictated to his students and published after his death under the title The Blue and Brown Books.

Introducing Logical Thinking (II): Patterns of Reasoning

Written by Steven Yates on Thursday, 14 March 2013. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

To ascend above instinct alone and move beyond the animal to the human, requires the development of an explicit intellectual framework for understanding reality. This is the role of logic.

Introducing Logical Thinking (II): Patterns of Reasoning

In the first installment of this series, we looked at reasons why readers should find it worth their time to study logic. Understood as the study of rules governing correct reasoning, logic should provide us with the most neutral framework available for understanding our disagreements and determining who has the better reasoning on their side—for those willing to acknowledge them and use them. It can also serve as an important tool of intellectual self-defense.

Introducing Logical Thinking: Why Study Logic?

Written by Steven Yates on Thursday, 07 March 2013. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

Stephen Hawking has declared that philosophy is dead. In this, Hawking is dead wrong. Our present culture now willfully ignores philosophy, but it's importance has never been greater.

Introducing Logical Thinking: Why Study Logic?

What is logic, and why should anyone be interested in it? I suppose those ought to be our initial questions. This being the opening article in this new and somewhat experimental series, I will tackle the second question here and the first one in Part II. 

Liberals Are Simply Not Very Bright

Written by Steven Yates on Thursday, 21 February 2013. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

They believe themselves to be of superior intellect, and they control the gates to government and academia. But their blind adherence to failed ideology indelibly brands "liberals" as intellectually deficient.

Liberals Are Simply Not Very Bright

Every so often, some “study” appears purporting to show that liberals are smarter than conservatives. You’ll find a recent example here. Books have been written on the subject; left-leaning cognitive scientist George Lakoff, for example, maintains in his book Moral Politics (1997) that the conservative worldview is steeped in a harsh and destructive “strict father” perspective, while that of liberals is of a gentler “nurturing parent.” In other words, liberals are nurturers while conservatives are uncaring authoritarians. Most of this sort of “research” is done by liberals and published in journals or issued by publishers whose referees and editorial boards are mostly liberals. There is a widespread assumption—among liberals, of course—that liberal dominance of academia and journalism is proof in the pudding that liberals are smarter. They wouldn’t be dominant among the Western intelligentsia otherwise, would they?

Should We Scrap the Constitution?

Written by Steven Yates on Tuesday, 08 January 2013. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

An irresponsible professor has published in the New York Times an essay calling for the abolition of the Constitution. If we want instant tyranny, then his proposal is the recipe.

Should We Scrap the Constitution?

It was bound to happen sooner or later—especially with the post-Newtown, Conn. environment giving rise to a determined effort on the part of our national elites to disarm the U.S. citizenry and that pesky Second Amendment is standing right in their way.

Can Freedom Survive the "Progressive" Triumph?

Written by Steven Yates on Wednesday, 21 November 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

Obama Re-elected by the Brave New Generation: How the Affirmative Action-PC Mindset Ruined the U.S., and How Ron Paul and God Remain its Only Hope.

Can Freedom Survive the

Countless rationalizations have appeared for how Barack Obama managed to defeat Mitt Romney on November 6 despite having presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression. Sometimes these are accompanied with advice for the GOP. Much of it boils down to: start appealing more to women (especially educated single career women) and minorities (especially Hispanics). Making the assumption, which may not be correct, that we didn’t have massive vote fraud that day, the evidence is in: beneficiaries of federal entitlements and preferential policies now outnumber those in the largest non-preferred group (straight white Christian men who identify with free market economics and Constitutionally limited government).

Moving Day! Why One Leading Intellectual Left America

Written by Steven Yates on Monday, 06 August 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

Steven Yates has been a successful and influential scholar and patriot for years, but he has chosen to leave America and live and work elsewhere. He explains why in a poignant and important essay.

Moving Day! Why One Leading Intellectual Left America

The day was Tuesday, May 29, 2012. I watched from my third-floor front porch as a 40-foot container on a flatbed trailer pulled up in front of my apartment building. Four guys from the moving company I’d hired, plus a few friends who’d come to help out, had already hauled the bulk of my belongings down to the ground floor breezeway. With the container open, everyone (myself included) began to load: furniture; clothing; pet supplies; library — boxes filled with books, academic journals, ring binders of Internet articles organized by author; originals and copies of my writings (books, articles, correspondence); boxes containing myriad other belongings including mementos of my deceased parents and their belongings (photograph books, financial records, Veterans awards, my mother’s cross-stitchery, and more); boxes packed with collectable vinyl records from the remote past; etc. There were a few items I’d gathered that belonged to others and which I was having shipped for them (they were paying me, in one case quite well). Over the next four hours, it all found its way onto the container. I’d arranged payment (a hefty sum!) for the shipper several days before. I did the paperwork; we closed and locked the container. The truck started, and off went a substantial portion of my life.

A Future Legend — Part II

Written by Steven Yates on Tuesday, 19 June 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

The dystopian nightmare continues with the Balkanization of America and the military invasion and subjugation of a broken and debased United States.

A Future Legend — Part II

There was another development I need to talk about. Illegal immigration had been a problem going well back into the 20th century—back to the 1960s, in fact—when politicians made it easier for Mexicans and others to enter this country and stay, legal or not. No other national government I know of ever embraced national policies that weakened the dominant culture.

A Future Legend — Part I

Written by Steven Yates on Tuesday, 12 June 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

In a dystopian nightmare vision of the future, trains run on time, but no one rides them. Pensioners get their checks, but they're worthless. And violence, slavery and poverty reduce the majority to homelessness.

A Future Legend — Part I

I’m writing this quick as possible, because if it gets into the wrong hands, I’m in for a world of hurt. Fortunately, few of the troops that entered Greenville last night read English. They probably won’t know what it is. So if this by some chance finds its way into the right hands, at least there will be some kind of record that hasn’t been written by the “victors.” What happened to America? 

From Republic to Empire: the Tragic Trajectory of the U.S.A.

Written by Steven Yates on Monday, 07 May 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

Is America still the land of the free and the home of the brave? Is this still the country of stubborn individualism and independence? If the answer is "No," then to find our way back we must understand what has gone wrong.

From Republic to Empire:  the Tragic Trajectory of the U.S.A.

This story has been told many times before, but it needs to be told again and again: especially for those who might not be scholars or educators but find that some disruptive event in their lives, such as a seizure of their property or a confrontation with hostile government officials, brings them up short and compels them to ask a simple question:  what the dickens happened to their country? I found myself starting to ask that question when I was doing graduate work in my chosen field. That was in the 1980s, and it seemed to me that education at all levels had gone badly off course; there was little interest in the kind of education that produces men and women fit to live in a free, Constitutional republic. 

Thrive Film Offers Unique Perspective on Our World Situation

Written by Steven Yates on Friday, 06 April 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

Filmmaker Foster Gamble’s movie, “Thrive,” covers a wide variety of topics from “free energy” to UFOs and conspiracies. But does it offer anything constructive? A professional philosopher takes a look at the controversial film.

Thrive Film Offers Unique Perspective on Our World Situation

Last November I encountered a documentary entitled Thrive: What in the World Will It Take? I came across it online by accident one weeknight and starting watching out of curiosity. Since it was after 11 pm I’d intended to watch just the first 15 minutes or so. The film checks in at around two hours and seven minutes, and two hours later I was still glued to my computer. The next day, I ordered a physical copy of Thrive.

Pseudo Rationalists

Written by Steven Yates on Thursday, 16 February 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

American Loons?Last week I ran across a silly website—probably counterproductive because if actually noticed, it will bring more attention to many of those it targets than they ever would receive otherwise.

The site is the product of a certain mindset: not just hooked on the “scientific outlook” as the philosopher Bertrand Russell once called it, but arrogant, condescending, and authoritarian. Those in its grip see themselves as rational—defenders of reason and truth. In practice they equate rationality with commitment to philosophical materialism and expansionist government. They enjoy slandering Christians and poking fun at belief in God, sometimes reveling in their own blasphemy. Their politics are typically left of center, sometimes far left of center; recently they’ve been citing a Canadian study supposedly showing that leftists are intelligent but timid and conservatives are stupid. They consider themselves logical thinkers who rest their convictions on evidence; but they identify very strongly with authority, intellectual or political, and the more centralized the better. While they usually have no formal power of their own, they have no qualms about bullying others with their opinions. Over the past few years, some have begun compiling enemies-lists: those they see as threats to their worldview.

Who Was Leopold Kohr?

Written by Steven Yates on Saturday, 21 January 2012. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

Leopold KohrA few months back I encountered an article online with the curious title, “This Economic Crisis is a “Crisis of Bigness.”” Such items attract my attention, because like many other observers I am convinced that both government and many corporations are too large to accomplish even well intentioned goals, and that the impulse for a more centralized society—the impulse that leads to “bigness”—was a mistake from the get-go. Likewise the effort to create “global governance.” Globalism seems destined to make the rich richer, wipe out the middle class, and create vast populations of poor people. Is such a system actually governable?  

Reading the article, I encountered for the first time the work of a thinker I’d not heard of before: Leopold Kohr, who turned out to have been the teacher of E.F. Schumacher, best known for his collection of loosely connected essays entitled Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (orig. 1973). Kohr spent close to ten years trying to find a publisher for his manuscript The Breakdown of Nations—finally issued in 1957. The book’s attack on the “cult of bigness” went against the grain of its time, which was towards ever-larger organizations and ever-widening centralization. Power had already begun to migrate from nation-state to international organizations (the UN, the International Monetary Fund, NATO, etc.). Kohr’s book was ignored and sank without a trace. It remained out of print until 1978. The second edition, published without fanfare, also disappeared. Again the book was out of print until Green Books reissued it in May 2001. Who was its author, and what was his message?

The Idea of Directed History

Written by Steven Yates on Friday, 23 December 2011. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

President Woodrow Wilson with What is directed history? As the term implies, it is the idea that history—typically modern and recent history—has been taken in a specific direction by wealthy and powerful people we can identify if we try: a relative handful of extended families acting across generations who have very specific long-term goals for the world.

The alternative might be called accidentalism. This would be the contrary idea that the errors of the past couple of centuries—errors whose number and magnitude of severity have been accelerating of late—are just disconnected events and unlucky accidents, the product of “leaders” who didn’t know what they were doing and disasters they couldn’t control.

Accidentalism faces two immediate problems. First, the idea that our “leaders”—and their overseas equivalents—have been stumbling around in the dark for decade after decade, clueless, is belied by the fact that almost without exception they have studied at, and graduated from, some of the world’s most prestigious universities. In Great Britain, we’re talking about Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of London which includes the London School of Economics. In the U.S., it would be Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of Chicago and similar elite colleges. I suppose, today, a student can come out of those places as clueless as when he went in. It depends on the student—and sometimes on his family ties. For some, a degree or two from such institutions places him within reach of some of the Western world’s most important and influential networks.

National Defense Authorization Act: An Open Door to a Totalitarian America

Written by Steven Yates on Tuesday, 06 December 2011. Posted in Opinion, Steven Yates

John McCainAdolf Hitler published Mein Kampf (1925-26) well before he rose to power. His two-volume tract laid out the essentials of what he wanted to do, which was to establish a New Order. He would destroy the parliamentary system and put an end, once and for all, to the “Jewish peril.” There was just one problem. He wasn’t taken seriously. Surely he and his then-obscure National Socialists wouldn’t do that. But then, Hitler and his Nazis rose in stature. In 1933 he became Chancellor of Germany. It was too late. His plan was in motion. A few Jews—and many intellectuals, Jewish or not—had wisely fled the country. Reports of atrocities began to circulate. The reports weren’t believed. The Nazis weren’t laying waste to the economy, after all, and the majority of German citizens saw themselves as better off. The rising militarism? Germany had enemies without as well as within! The country had to protect itself! It had to act!

The Second World War happened. After the Nazis were defeated, their death camps were revealed to the world. The horrible truth emerged: a small group of evil men driven by an uncontrollable lust for power really would do that!  

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