There are people who believe that members of NATO actually have to pay dues to the United States, and that it's only fair we mention it. There are people who believe that bilateral trade deficits matter in a global marketplace. There are people who believe Sean Hannity.

Honestly, until those people either die, read below the fold, or are challenged by people they trust—that enthusiastic 38% approval mark is going to stay right where it's at. It's fine to believe in things. But what we're up against is not so much a political plurality as it is a tribe that chooses belief over knowledge every time. People who prefer the short-lived sensation that perhaps nothing is as it seems over the dull stasis of finding, verifying, and knowing facts.

A lot of the Christians I know and respect can speak with wisdom and eloquence about whether evil exists, where it comes from, and how it spreads. To hear them speak on these subjects is to be deeply compelled by the notion that fear is most potent when it isolates us—and further, that it is weaponized when we use it to lie to ourselves, and then others. Too often, the intelligence and awareness these people possess is not seen or understood by the many non-believers I know. Christians are often described as ignorant, if not stupid people.

 Fourteen years ago, I started a blog at this address. I was a young man—just twenty-one years old. It was my third year of college. I was a Painting major with a growing sense that I had beliefs, opinions, and observations that would benefit the world if they were shared. The internet was quickly maturing into a culture of engagement, connection, and curiosity, and blogs were the platform of choice for the renegade self-publisher, sure of their own expertise. I saw in that world an opportunity in which my stock as a person, as an identity, would rise with every post, every beautiful photo, every painting. The world of adult transactions awaited me, and my website would be the account to which I made my deposits. Read more...