In 2009 Jon Baskin, Etay Zwick and I co-founded The Point, a twice-yearly “journal of ideals” whose basic aim is to provide thoughtful essays on contemporary life and culture. Rather than accepting the split between academic work that is rigorous but recondite and journalism whose elegance masks a lack of serious thinking, we wanted to challenge readers to think about their everyday lives in relation to some of the great ideas of the past and present, and to challenge writers to achieve that effect without being either condescending or pretentious. So far I have written sixteen articles:

  1. “On Superficiality” – on the desire to talk to beautiful people
  2. “A Fool’s Game” – on Boris Johnson and the role of truth in politics
  3. “Elite Education” – if you’re an egalitarian, how come you teach at an elite college? (Syndicated in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)
  4. “On Birthrights” – on living with the arbitrariness of the nation state
  5. “Making an Exception for Yourself” – do lockdown rules apply to the wise?
  6. “Quiet Time” – on the tension between parental and political commitment
  7. On Being An Arsehole: A Defense” – on the relationship between being a philosopher and being an arsehole.
  8. “To Fellow Travelers” – an editorial on the notion of political travel, via a reflection on the American left’s recent fascination with Greece.
  9. “Mobilizing Mutual Learning: Bureaucracy and Idealism in Tartu, Estonia” – a narrative piece that investigates an idealistic project taking place under the auspices of the EU’s “Science in Society” program.
  10. “No Such Thing: Margaret Thatcher and the End of Society” – the sequel to (3), a reflection on Adam Smith and Plato by way of Thatcher.
  11. “Socialism We Can Believe In” – part one of an attempt to fill an old bottle (socialism) with even older wine (courtesy of R. H. Tawney and Plato).
  12. “Hail Mary Time” – what might sports teach us about politics? (“Notable Essay” in Best American Essays 2012; “Special Mention” in Pushcart Prize 2013; Portuguese translation in Forma da Vida, No. 2/Abr 2013.)
  13. “Why Conservatives Should Read Marx” – if capitalism produces “creative destruction”, why aren’t conservatives anti-capitalist? (Interview on Australian radio here.)
  14. “What Is Popular Philosophy?” – a review of the documentary Examined Life, in which I argue that Socrates shows us a way for philosophy to be popular without being populist or popularizing, discussing Timothy Williamson and Bernard Williams along the way.
  15. “The Withering of Narcissus: Playing Tyrant on the Internet” – what would Plato and Ovid have made of Facebook?
  16. “Obama: Philosopher-King” – why were intellectuals so excited about the Obama campaign?

I have also written a few pieces for other magazines:

  1. Putting the Political Back in Politically Correct” – both a defence and a critique of political correctness (Chronicle of Higher Education)
  2. “Reasonableness Without Reasons” – a review of Yascha Mounk’s The People vs. Democracy (Los Angeles Review of Books)
  3. “The Ugly Truth” – are ugly people oppressed? (Aeon Magazine; Interview in The Times (London) here)

For a while The Point ran a web-only feature called “Points”, which challenged authors to make a point in just one paragraph. These were my efforts:

  1. Point 33 – on cynicism and higher education.
  2. Point 42 – on my sympathy for Colonel Gaddafi.
  3. Point 62 – on Ron Paul.
  4. Point 72 – on conspicuous restraint.
  5. Point 87 – on the healthcare mandate.
  6. Point 97 – on the Olympic opening ceremony.
  7. Point 107 – on the first presidential debate.
  8. Point 156 – on Bob Dylan’s Super Bowl ad.

As an undergraduate at New College, Oxford, I founded a magazine called The Owl. Here are two articles from that time:

  1. An interpretation of Bob Dylan’s Visions of Johanna.
  2. Chicago as Sim City: the first impressions of an Englishman.

Plus a couple of postings from a blog that is also now defunct:

  1. Product placement in Casino Royale.
  2. Some notes on Bob Dylan’s allusions to Ovid and Henry Timrod in Modern Times.