People keep asking me what I think about Dave Chappelle’s new standup comedy special, The Closer. Before I go any further, I should probably say something about why I’m getting this question.

If the people asking were friends of mine who hung out and got high and watched funny shit…


An admittedly grumpy composite portrayal of every conversation I’ve ever had with a “prison abolitionist”:

Me: “I think the American prison system is vile and indefensible. We lock up way way too many people for way way too long and there are tons of people in prison right now should…


Ingrid Seyer-Ochi is wrong about Bernie’s “white male privilege”

(Brendan Smialowski/Getty)

After Joe Biden took the oath of office on January 20, he delivered an inaugural address that centered on the importance of bipartisan “unity.” This, he suggested, was as important to him as emancipation had been to Abraham Lincoln.

The speech was delivered to a small crowd of politicians wearing…


Quentin Smith (1952–2020)

Quentin Smith (Arc Illustration)

The title, from T. S. Eliot, is simultaneously fitting and ill-fitting. Quentin Smith, the American philosopher, is gone. His work, notably in the philosophy of time, will go on.


Marchers at the 1964 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom hold signs demanding equal rights, full citizenship, full employment, and decent housing

Noah Berlatsky claims in his article Why Class First Leftists are Wrong that I advocate something called “class first leftism.” This came as a surprise to me.

By the time I got to the end of the article, I felt a little bit like Jimmy Shorts in Martin Scorcese’s gangster…


We should think of America’s divisions more in terms of class and ideology, and less in terms of race

A Black Lives Matter demonstrator in Washington, DC, November 14, 2020 (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty)

I am not a fan of MSNBC. Like a lot of leftists, I find the network almost as annoying as centrist liberals and their Never Trump allies find Fox News and OANN. …


On reorienting the politics of reform towards the substantive

Mark Antony statue in Vienna, Austria. (Gerhard Trumler/Imagno/Getty)

A friend recently sent me some screenshots from his neighborhood Facebook group. Everyone there was outraged that the local beer place hadn’t issued any sort of statement condemning police violence and expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

The website of the establishment in question mentions “a grassy backyard,” brags about…


Many libertarians diagnose the problem well, but their solutions could make things worse

Demonstrators in New York City, June 15, 2020 (John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

I’m a democratic socialist. I’ve spent a lot of time debating libertarians. But we don’t disagree about everything. Every time I chat with libertarian comedian and podcaster Dave Smith, for example, we agree on things like drug legalization, mass incarceration, and America’s seemingly endless wars in the Middle East.

The…


His suggestion that Joe Biden, not Bernie Sanders, is the true embodiment of the Nordic model for society is historically and politically illiterate

(Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty)

Once the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination narrowed to two candidates, voters faced a stark choice. One of the candidates regularly invoked the successes of Scandinavian countries, places that have spent decades successfully beta-testing reforms like socialized healthcare, postal banking, and more union-friendly labor laws—the very reforms the candidate…


Trump being worse than Biden doesn’t change that

Joe Biden at the Democratic primary debate March 15, 2020 (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

(See April 30 update at the bottom)

Some of my friends and comrades on the left think that the differences between Joe Biden and Donald Trump aren’t important. This isn’t a straw man. I don’t know how widespread these sentiments are but I’ve seen several instances of Twitter users of…

Ben Burgis

Ben Burgis is a philosophy instructor at Georgia State University Perimeter College and the host of the Give Them An Argument podcast and YouTube channel.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store