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In the early 2000s, I worked for a year as an IT contractor at Amtrak’s headquarters in Washington DC. My experience there showed one of America’s greatest problems, as well as its solution.

The U.S. federal government created Amtrak in 1971 to consolidate private railroad companies that were ...

George Washington
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Until quite recently, U.S. President George Washington was considered the ideal American: honest, brave, wise, and patriotic. None of that has changed.

Washington offered some good advice about how to have a healthy society and a just government:

"We ...

Freedom means responsibility
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Yale University historian Timothy Snyder wrote a short book called On Tyranny that's quite good. Each of its 20 chapters explains a way to preserve freedom and civilized society in the face of attacks by tyrannical government.

The book came out in ...

A simple story in Chinese
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It ain’t much, but it's the first story I've written in Chinese.

I'd wanted to write about Chinese political philosophy, but I found that my vocabulary was too limited to do it. Surprisingly, some Chinese ideas about governmental legitimacy are the same as those of our Western tradition, just dressed up in different language.

My story ...

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China is our geopolitical adversary, but the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius had some advice that might help us in these difficult times. He said:

"Only after a person has demeaned himself will others demean him. Only after a great family has destroyed itself will others ...

In-group versus out-group
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Most people aren't familiar with the idea of "othering," but they are familiar with what it is. They've seen it. They've done it to other people, and they've had it done to them.

To "other" a group of people is to devalue their lives, welfare, and concerns. It's not new, nor is it done only by humans. In their ...

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Many people say that "the arc of history bends toward justice."

Pardon my French, but ce n'est pas vrai. It's not true. In fact, it's the opposite of the truth.

If there is going to be justice in our world, we have to make it happen -- and we also have to get lucky. Very lucky.

Sure, everyone ...

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You can trust people. Honest. That's not a joke. Trust me.

But it's important to know what trust is. Then you can trust people in the right way.

A couple of analogies might help explain the point.

Suppose that you see a big rock on the grass in front of you. Based on past experience, you know at least two more things ...

Blog | Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things