What Does The Second Amendment Mean To You?

With the recent shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX, attention has been focused on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. What do you think of it?

The text reads, in full:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What are you willing to sacrifice?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What do you believe?’


Does this amendment signify a deep-seated right for individuals to bear arms? Is it an antiquated holdover from years ago? Does the vague language help or hurt it?

You don’t need to be a constitutional scholar to hold an opinion. What is yours?

Related questions: How can we encourage debate? Personal Rights or Public Safety? When should you not follow the law? How can we be safe?

What Is The Nature Of Celebrity?

We all know the word celebrity means a person who is famous. But how famous does one need to be in order to become a celebrity? And what does fame even mean?

As an example, let us consider a simple measurement of fame: the number of Twitter followers someone has. 10 followers? Not famous. 10 million followers? Probably famous. But what about in between? Is there a specific number that changes a person from a regular person — even a popular one — to a celebrity?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes you you?’


Of course, you may not think that social media followings are a true test of popularity. But there are many people who may become well-known: actors, politicians, musicians, sports figures, business leaders, etc.

But what, exactly, does that fame mean? If someone is known for being a star basketball player, he or she may be known to millions of people around the world. Does that notoriety come with any responsibility? Oftentimes you will hear someone say that an athlete should “stick to sports” when they offer an opinion outside their sphere of influence. Should they?

A celebrity has a wider reach than a non-celebrity. How much should that wider reach be encouraged and used? Does something said by a famous person mean more than the same thing being said by you or me? Should it?

Ultimately, many people dream of becoming famous some day. It does have some perks, no doubt about it. However, fame often comes with a loss of privacy, and insincere relationships. Would you be willing to trade a normal life for one of fame?

In many respects, our culture venerates celebrity. But what does it even mean?

Related questions: How important are important people? What do you revere? How important is the artist to art? What makes a person interesting? Celebrity or anonymity?

Climate Change: How Would You Act If Your House Was On Fire?

For decades humans have known that we are driving climate change.  And for most of that time, it’s been clear that unless we change our ways, the planet may become largely, if not wholly, inhospitable to humans as well as many other plants and animals.

The experts tell us that we’ve reached a tipping point.  We cannot reverse climate change any longer.  The best we can hope for is to stop the progress and mitigate the damages we’ve already wrought — the impacts we see now as well as those that are already in motion due to current actions.

Concretely, the United Nations warns us that we will experience hotter temperatures, more severe storms, increased droughts, rising ocean levels, loss of species, not enough food, increased health risks, and increased poverty and displacement.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What are you willing to sacrifice?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What do you believe?’


Our house is on fire.

It’s been burning for quite some time.  But the fire, until fairly recently, progressed slowly.  Not so any longer.  The pace of climate change has been increasing.  And every year, it seems we need to recalculate the rate of change to faster still.   To stop the progress and mitigate the damages will require immediate changes to the world, national, and local economies; more sustainable agriculture practices; assistance to struggling regions of the world already seeing life-threatening impacts; sustainable technologies (old and new), and dramatic changes to our personal lives.

While some advocate for the necessary immediate changes, the dominant view appears to be kicking the can down the road. We convince ourselves that new technologies will save us or that younger generations will take this seriously and enact needed changes. So, we’re either pinning ourselves to shallow hope or acknowledging that the pains of change are not ones we will initiate.

We should expect more of ourselves.  How would you act if your house was on fire?  Because it is.

Related questions: How is climate change impacting you? What is keeping us from sustaining the planet? What is the greatest problem facing humanity?

Should We Pay Attention To The News?

Sometimes it seems that trust with our journalistic enterprises is at an al-time low. Should we even pay attention to the news?

One problem with the way we consume our news is that it is becoming ever more partisan. Whatever your political beliefs may be, there is a cable channel, website, or newspaper that will reinforce that view. Other sources are, of course, “fake news” and must be lying.

In addition, the way the news is currently being reported is hyper-sensationalized. If it bleeds, it leads, as the saying goes. Whatever gets ratings or clicks is what tends to drive news cycles these days.

So that seems like a problem with how the news is presented, not with the news itself. If we could simply supply some journalistic standards, maybe we could fix the current problem of divisive, misleading  coverage that oftentimes spills over into overt propaganda.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘How much of our thoughts are our own?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How much is enough?’


But even politically neutral, factual reporting creates a problem: a distorted view of reality. Negative stories tend to be more noteworthy than positive ones. A child being abused is news, but 10,000 children not being being abused isn’t.

If you hear a constant drumbeat of negative news stories, your natural inclination is to think the world is worse than it actually is. To illustrate, violence has been falling in the U.S. for decades now, and yet many Americans think crime is worse than it has ever been.

And yet, in order to have a functioning democracy, you need to have a well-informed electorate. How can we, as a society, be well-informed without reporters reporting on that society?

Is there a way to tune out the news and yet stay informed? Is there a way to fix the current broken system to make it work better for us? Should we pay attention to the news, or ignore it for our own well-being?

Related questions: What news from the last year made you optimistic? How can we encourage debate? How do you know who to trust? What is the greatest problem facing humanity?