It is time to rethink what we have long taken for granted.

Photo by Reimond de Zuñiga on Unsplash

The metaphor of the marketplace of ideas is frequently brought up when we discuss the merits of free speech. In its broadest strokes, the marketplace analogy suggests that the best (and the true) opinions naturally emerge when ideas are freely expressed and allowed to compete with one another.

It is obvious where this idea gets its inspiration. Laissez-faire economics is a key element of our capitalist ethos today. We are told that market forces, free from the restraint of the government, will interact to produce the most efficient allocation of resources. …


The historical short squeeze that r/wallstreetbets and GameStop fans are hoping will repeat itself

The Fearless Girl on Wall Street (Image by @blunkorama on Unsplash).

If you are not aware of the battle between Redditors and Wall Street that has been playing out over the last few weeks, you might honestly be living under a rock. With GameStop — a nostalgic but ailing video game retailer — serving as the main battleground, a gamble by a small group of amateur investors has evolved into a global revolution against Wall Street.

What is the deal with GameStop? What is at stake here? And why are some investors so confident in a ‘short squeeze’ for this particular firm?

What is the issue?

At its essence, the GameStop mania has to do…


Demystifying Church History

Is the Church one of the most anti-feminist institutions around?

Image by @Jontyson on Unsplash.

Is it still up for debate whether or no women have suffered discrimination at the hands of the Church throughout history? One thing is clear: women have been regarded as weaker or inferior to men by many — including, or especially in the Church— sometimes even treated as objects to be traded rather than autonomous individuals.

Today, women can be found in politics, business, education, and so on. We have had female heads-of-state, CEOs, professors, judges, and many other areas previously thought to be exclusive to men. …


Some things we can still learn from the sophists.

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Democratic politics is simultaneously dependent on speech but also immensely suspicious of it. For instance, the best politicians tend to be those who are recognized orators and quiet people rarely join politics. The exceptions, few and far between, are nevertheless noted for their lack of rhetorical flair.

At the same time, we often scorn the very same politicians for being “glib”, “suave”, and “all talk no action”. Even further, politicians are often blamed for being manipulative — their passionate rhetoric deemed to be distracting and dangerous for our serious democratic deliberation.

The Historical Antecedents: Sophists

Interestingly, the ancients thought of Sophists in the same…


Why rejecting such behavior might also not best the way to go

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Whether it is called ‘performative activism,’ ‘performative allyship,’ or ‘performative wokeness,’ this controversial form of social media activism is at once prevalent, but also vehemently disparaged.

The problem is experienced in almost every social justice movement. Just to name a few instances, we have had corporations turning Pride Month into another commercialized holiday, the 20 million #BlackoutTuesday posts that ended up drowning out the voices of the BLM movement and its activists, as well as the celebrities singing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ in a two-minute cringe-fest that ultimately made little difference for those seriously devastated by the global pandemic.

But is…


Investigating ‘free speech’, ‘neutrality’, and ‘balance’ in universities.

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When far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos arrived at UC Berkeley in 2017 for a speaking engagement, he was met with community protests so overwhelming that he ultimately did not get to speak. Across the years, other figures like Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, and Andy Ngo also experienced such resistance.

What typically ensues is a never-ending debate about free speech. Should we allow all to speak freely without fear of consequences? Or should we limit some speech, such as those that are false or harmful?

A more specific question is also relevant here: If the primary goal of institutions like…


Of conspiracy theories, echo-chambers, and disparate realities

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Yesterday, pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol, forcing the evacuation of Congress and a halt to the certifying of the Electoral College results. Brandishing body armor, Blue Lives Matter patches, and MAGA clothing, this mob perpetrated the most significant breach of the Capitol since 1814.

Many of these people cited baseless or debunked allegations of voter fraud for their protests, believing — against all evidence — that “the election was stolen”. This was yet another sobering reminder of the great schism between Americans today.

But for me, what happened yesterday made it ever-clearer to me that people living under the…


Demystifying Church History

Women played prominent roles in the early church movement. So, why have they been forgotten?

Image by @neonbrand on Unsplash.

Talk about women in the New Testament and most of us would probably only be able to name Mary (mother of Jesus), Mary Magdalene, and perhaps the sisters, Mary and Martha who appear in the gospel of Luke. The more invested reader might know Phoebe, who Apostle Paul referred to as a deacon in his Epistle to the Romans.

But that’s about it.

Yet, historians today note that many more women contributed to the early Christian movement than we typically think. In fact, some served in highly prominent positions and roles that were eventually erased or forgotten from our history…


How to tell when chasing productivity becomes unproductive and what to do about it.

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My productivity systems are supposed to serve me, but sometimes it feels like the opposite is true.

I am not the most organized or disciplined person, but I have always been kind of a nerd when it comes to productivity hacks. For instance, I had a bullet journal for a couple of years, I am an ardent ambassador of Inbox Zero, and I used to religiously apply the 50/10 Pomodoro technique to complete my tasks. Even now, I use Notion to organize my life and writing.

One of my guilty pleasures is also content that some would call “productivity porn”…


As it turns out, the wheel was actually reinvented.

Image by @cartega on Unsplash.

As the hallmark of humankind’s innovation, it might not be an understatement to think of the wheel as one of the best inventions that has graced human civilization. To be sure, the wheel revolutionized work, transportation, agriculture, engineering, and so much more.

(If you don’t believe me, try going about your day without using anything with or created by wheels!)

As an invention, the wheel is fairly unique in its relative simplicity — hence the idiom dissuading us from reinventing the wheel. …

Esther K.H. Ng

New kid on the Medium block. I write about politics, philosophy, and other stuff. ‘Cat lady’ is an appropriate and coveted label.

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