Jason Stotts on Erotic Love

Jason Stotts, psychotherapist and author of Eros & Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics (paid link), discusses sexuality as an expression of our ethical lives, analyzes the false choice of repression versus hedonism, and addresses gender identity and other aspects of our sexuality. This is the Self in Society Podcast #22. See also Stotts’s web page. The episode is also available via iTunes.

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Polar Express and the Limits of Belief

Years ago, when first I tried to watch the 2004 Robert Zemeckis film Polar Express, I found the visual effects so bizarre that couldn’t sit through the film. But last year my young son watched the film on an Imax screen and loved it, so this year the family watched the film together at home.

I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would. To me, what’s interesting about it is how it sketches, through a strange dream sequence, the psychology of loss and anxiety.

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In Defense of Rudolph

Caitlin Flanagan doesn’t like the 1964 television film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Actually it’s not entirely clear to me that she’s serious; her article is so strange I wonder if it’s tongue-in-cheek or satire. But it seems like Flanagan probably is serious so I will respond as though she is.

In my view, Rudolph is one of the greatest films of all time.

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Christina Sandefur on the Defense of Property Rights

Christina Sandefur of the free-market Goldwater Institute in Arizona discusses her coauthored book, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America (paid link), and related issues. This is the Self in Society Podcast #21. This episode is also available via iTunes and YouTube (audio only).

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Robert Alan Goldberg on American Conspiracy Theories

Historian Robert Alan Goldberg discusses the history of conspiracy thinking in the U.S. and explains how “new” conspiracy theories such as that involving QAnon recycle and embellish old themes. This is the Self in Society Podcast #20. This episode also is available on iTunes.

Buy Goldberg’s book, Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (paid link), via Amazon.

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Timothy Sandefur on Frederick Douglass

Timothy Sandefur, author of Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man, discusses Douglass’s life, political philosophy, and influence in his day and up to the present. This is the Self in Society Podcast #19. This episode also is available via iTunes.

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Buy Sandefur’s book, Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man (paid link), at Amazon.

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Michael Donnelly on Homeschooling and the Law

Michael Donnelly, Senior Counsel and Director of Global Outreach with the Home School Legal Defense Association, discusses the motivations for homeschooling and the legal aspects of it, with a special focus on Colorado. This is the Self in Society Podcast #18. The episode also is available via iTunes.

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Mark Silverstein on Your Rights when Interacting with Police

Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado, discusses your rights when interacting with police, troubling police actions during protests, and Colorado police reforms. This is the Self in Society Podcast #16.

Listen to the episode via iTunes or YouTube (audio only).

Read my article based in part on my discussion with Silverstein, “Police interactions come with rights, responsibilities.”

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Six Steps Toward Ending Police Abuses

“Please, I can’t breathe!” George Floyd begged as a Minneapolis police officer crushed a knee into his neck as he lay prone and handcuffed. The officer who killed Floyd deserves to be tried for murder, and the officers who participated or stood by and watched deserve to be tried as accomplices.

It doesn’t matter here what Floyd is alleged to have done. The person who called 911 said that Floyd was trying to pay a store with fake bills and that he was intoxicated. I have no idea whether the allegations are true. The officers involved claimed that Floyd resisted arrest. Video shows that Floyd struggled as police yanked him from a vehicle, after which Floyd cooperated. [Update: Subsequently released video seems to show Floyd struggling with police in a police vehicle.] Regardless, the officer’s extreme use of force obviously was entirely unnecessary to subdue Floyd. No reasonable person doubts that crushing a person’s throat for minutes on end can kill the victim. It is a police officer’s job to bring the accused to the courts for justice, not to play street executioner.

What, practically, can we as regular people do toward stopping such senseless violence by a minority of the people we pay to protect us? Here I review six main ways.

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