Game of Thrones is not a political show. It is a show about politics itself. The fantasy elements are almost superfluous. The core of the series is how it tackles different ideas of power and squares them against each other in the brutal arena of m̶e̶d̶i̶e̶v̶a̶l̶ ̶E̶u̶r̶o̶p̶e̶ Westeros.

The series starts off with King Robert Baratheon, an accidental revolutionary. He is an excellent military commander, and ends up taking political control over seven kingdoms after some personal drama leads him to destroy the old regime. …


There’s a popular point of view that proposes the only meaningful difference in politics is between socialism and capitalism. Socialism is whenever the government does stuff, and capitalism is whenever free private individuals do stuff. In this view, terms like “state capitalist” and “libertarian socialist” are meaningless oxymorons. Fascism and Communism are not meaningfully distinct concepts: they basically boil down to nationalist socialism and international worker’s socialism.

I’m usually pretty dismissive of this way of thinking. It’s extremely reductive, boiling down the vast forms of human organization into two flat categories. …


I just got hit with the old Socialism doesn’t work because of human nature “argument”. This wouldn’t usually bother me too much, but it was in reply to an article I spent weeks researching for, so I was pretty irritated.

It’s a great example of a thought-terminating cliche, a tactic used by cults and the like to prevent critical thinking. Cliche means it gets repeated nauseatingly often. Thought-terminating means it’s dismissive and its purpose is to shut down discussion. …


YPG fighters in a farming cooperative

The true test of a political system is how it reacts to challenges and crises in the real world. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria was born into some of the most difficult circumstances on the planet. Originally known as Rojava, the administration arose in the midst of the Syrian Civil War, in direct conflict with the genocidal Islamic State. After multiple invasions from Turkey and abandonment by its American allies, it has been forced to negotiate with an incredibly complex set of internal and external actors, many of whom pose a threat to its existence.

It’s in…


In 1947, the Christian Socialist Methodist Minister Harry Ward wrote a pamphlet called Soviet Democracy, celebrating the achievement of a socialist democracy that exceeded anything built by the United States. Beyond a collaboratively constructed constitution establishing both the legal and economic rights of its people, the USSR was able to implement its lofty ideals through “hard-won experience”.

According to Ward, collective ownership of the economy allows for a new kind of “creative democracy”, in which the people collaborate with experts to develop plans working towards the common aims of all. …


Apparently, there’s a big scare going around that small businesses aren’t going to be able to open back up. They’re short handed and they can’t find good workers. According to some politicians, unemployment benefits are incentivizing people to stay home. The only solution is to reduce these benefits and push people to go back to work.

There’s another trend, which isn’t talked about so often. Most of the businesses closed due to the pandemic may never reopen. A recent analysis by the New York Federal Reserve predicts that 97% of the businesses currently closed will stay that way permanently. …


With the dominance of Karl Marx and his most authoritarian adherents over the past century, it can be easy to forget that socialism used to mean more than “when the government does stuff”. Socialism pre-dates Marx and covers a wide variety of beliefs, ranging from technocratic government policies to naturalistic cooperative communities based on voluntary exchange. Broadly, socialists believe that the economic system should be run by and for the benefit of society as a whole rather than individual powerful people.

Libertarianism has similarly become limited in scope. Broadly speaking, libertarianism is the philosophy that freedom is the core political…


I have recently been in correspondence with the Polish-American political writer Henryk A. Kowalczyk. As someone who grew up in the Polish People’s Republic, his politics are defined by his experience growing up in a socialist state where oppressive government oversight crushed free market innovation and ruined any chance for prosperity. With access primarily to the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, he naturally developed beliefs similar to the economist Milton Friedman. Basically, he favored free markets and limited government, the opposite of Soviet Poland.

He reached out to me because my approach has been almost the opposite. I loved Milton Friedman and…


Memorial coffins on the US-Mexico barrier for those killed crossing the border fence in Tijuana, México

I was reading through editorials in the Denver Post when I came across one of the most baffling arguments I have ever heard. 13 people had died in a car crash after smugglers drove an SUV packed with 25 immigrants through a hole cut in the border fence. The vehicle was severely overloaded, and it’s possible that it had become too difficult to control leading up to the accident. According to our good editorialist, if there had been a border wall in place, this wouldn’t have happened.

When you reach a high level of martial arts proficiency, you can sometimes…


I really like Lindsey Ellis. I don’t always keep track of her videos, but when I do, they’re always incredibly well thought out and thought-provoking. So, when I heard there was a major controversy around her, my first reaction was to wonder how anyone serious could have a problem with her.

I think my gut feeling has broadly proven true. Her recent video handling the harassment campaign against her was brilliant and insightful. She demonstrated a level of vulnerability and grace I don’t think I’ll ever be capable of. …

Sam Young

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.

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