Blog Posts


The Oregon Experiment: Anarchism Succumbs

“The authorities were corrupt, even the best of them. The power they held was often by default.... They had as much power as we gave them, and when we wanted to take some back we could. Yes, they might jail us in the end, but only because we held ourselves back. Fear and respect flowed in our...

Must Reading: Shipler's Rights of the People

If I could recommend one book to the lay reader about what is going in our courts, sadly, it would not be my own: It would be David K. Shipler’s, The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberty. (If the reader had the taste for an earthier assessment of what it is...

A Fresh Look At Socrates

The trial and death of Socrates stands alongside that of Jesus of Nazareth as a milestone in our civilization. What these deaths signify is far from clear. Neither man wrote memoirs about what he taught. Both were killed by political authorities intent on doing what politicians always do –...

Wills v. Whoosh: Whoosh Wins!

This current New York Review of Books features a savage review of All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age, a new book by Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly, by Garry Wills. Entitled "Superficial & Sublime," Wills is impressive as always with his...

Darrow, Love and the Cost of Contentment

"There is no such thing as justice – in or out of court." The words are Clarence Darrow’s. The same Clarence Darrow who once said:"Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom. Justice is what comes out of a courtroom."
These are decidedly antinomian...

All Things Shining: The Gods Are Calling

If you cannot imagine enjoying, of even finding wise counsel, in a book recommending a return to something like polytheism, you are not alone. I have difficulty enough contending with the lingering specter of monotheism: one god, or, more precisely, the loss of any sense of one God, is heartache...

Consensual Consequences

Reform of sex offender legislation will most likely not take place in the courts. Real change will come in the form legislation. Lawmakers need to be taught the consequences of the laws they pass. They need to learn these lessons from those targeted by the laws. Hence, I say every lawmakers in the...

John Brown and the Grapes of Wrath

I love John Brown. I have for a long, long time. Indeed, one of the best books I have read in the past decade is about the abolitionist. Russell Banks’s fictional biography, Cloudsplitter, is what fire would be like if it could be compressed into two dimensions. My mind burned as I read that...

Leo Tolstoy and Tony Serra

I have a secret. I think Leo Tolstoy might be reincarnate and practicing law in California. I’m not sure how far I want to go with this hypothesis, but there are certain similarities between the Russian Count and a solitary soul out West. I would never have been able to spot the resemblance...

End-of-Life Planning and A Noble Death?

Someone tell me: Just how did it happen that I need to defend my right to die? Death is part of life, the tail end of a bargain none of us struck. Asserting that I have a right to die is gibberish. Would that I had a right to remain alive; that would be a right worth any fight. Death is a...

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