Can Philosophy Unite a Divided World?

Through the Language of Ideas, We Can Understand and Embrace New Morals and Concepts

As a scholar of the history of ideas, I’m interested in the debates pitting cosmopolitanism against nationalism. Roughly speaking, cosmopolitans believe that we can create spaces where people of different backgrounds and religions and nations can mingle and respect one another as individuals. Nationalists believe that a person’s identity is bound to and by the society, culture, political system, values and crucially language to which he or she belongs. Other is other. While these ideas might seem somewhat abstract, we are seeing them play out in the departure of the …

California’s Not Built to Become Its Own Nation

#Calexit Distracts From the State’s Golden Opportunity to Counter American Nationalism

California may have the size and economy and independent spirit of a good-sized country. But California is not a nation. Which is precisely why it would be so self-destructive to …

The Shame of Living in an Authoritarian Democracy

In Hungary, Nationalist Politicians Help Themselves (and Their Lovers) to the Spoils of Power

I was a young man studying journalism when conversation about the first Fidesz government in Hungary broke into our dining room. It ended with a dead political silence in my …

Why I Won’t Stop Flying EgyptAir

Despite the Recent Crash, the Airline Is as Endearing as the Country

“Yalla, go!” ordered an Egyptian girl behind me, pushing me into the security line mob.

Just 20 minutes before departure, the gate for a direct TunisAir flight from Cairo to …

Manifest Destiny, That Atrocious Ideal

A Wintertime Visit to a Onetime Nuclear Test Site Reveals the Lengths Americans Go to Own Whatever They Please

On the outskirts of Tularosa, New Mexico, I drove among sacred mountains. It was three days before Christmas, 2014, and it was over 70 degrees. With the A/C cranked, I …

Its Reluctance Notwithstanding, Britain Is a Part of Europe

The Island's History and Destiny Are Tethered to the Continent, but It Still Fights for Its Sense of Exceptionalism

The cars zipping unexpectedly by from right to left as you try to cross the street can be jarring for an American newly arrived in Britain. But it’s nowhere near …