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Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.

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Michael J. Hurd Ph.D. last won the day on February 9 2017

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  1. We all perhaps tell lies at one time or another. Most are little white lies to spare somebody’s feelings, or to get out of a commitment that we probably should never have made. The majority of people feel guilty after telling a lie, probably because they took advantage of somebody’s trust; somebody who cared enough to believe what they said. Lies fall into several categories. The first is the lie we tell because we don’t know how to say “no.” We’re asked to do something, and we say “yes” because it’s easy and it feels good at the time. But when the chips are down, we don’t follow through. How
  2. Thomas Merton wrote, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone — we find it with another.” How you interpret this quote, if you agree, will determine whether love brings you joy or misery. Merton’s quote implies a major error. You can’t find meaning in life through loving another. If you did, then you’d depend on that person for your life’s meaning. But can’t life first be valuable and meaningful for yourself? Does the person you love add to that joy, or is he or she the only thing responsible for it? If all you need is love, then once you find the per
  3. Feminist opponents of President Donald Trump protest in the streets because Trump said lewd things about a woman’s body when he didn’t know he was being taped. Yet imagine what would happen if President Trump, or one of his supporters, said something like, “Consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.” What if a Trump-supporting religious activist defined consent as a flawed Western concept that emerged with women’s suffrage and female body autonomy, and that marital rape is properly an invalid concept in God’s eyes? Because these statements are exactly what Jonathan Brown, a professor of Islamic
  4. North Korea fired a ballistic missile into nearby seas on Sunday, drawing a joint rebuke from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump. Abe, speaking at a briefing with Trump in Florida, said the missile test “can absolutely not be tolerated” and called on North Korea to fully comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions. The launch was the first provocation by North Korea since Trump took office. “The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” Trump said in brief remarks. Neither Abe nor Trump took questions. Kim Jong Un
  5. “We have in this country a large ‘hate-America left,'” author David Horowitz recently said. “It dovetails with the Democratic Party. It’s a party of hate.” “The spirit of the whole Democratic Party looks on people that disagree with it as racist, sexist, homophobes, Islamophobes,” Horowitz added. “That’s why we can’t have a civil discussion in America anymore.” There’s nothing wrong with hatred, so long as your hatred is based on love of something rational. What, exactly, do Democrats love when they rant with hatred about any and all dissenting opinion? That’s the question. If you want supp
  6. “Discussions are always better than arguments, because an argument is to find out WHO is right and a discussion is to find out WHAT is right.” I don’t know who said this. But it’s more profoundly true than you may know! The issue here involves objective truth — and reason. Rational people seek to find out what’s true using reason. Reason, logic and facts are the way we discover and discern what’s true. Granted, it’s not always obvious what’s true. In complex areas, it can be debatable. Sometimes there are mere options and preferences. But it’s the methodology that counts here. When you’re di
  7. People often react badly when you say something they’d rather not hear. But it’s just as bad when you don’t say what they want to hear. The perfect example is an email I received from a reader: “Dear Dr. Hurd: My mother just doesn’t get it. My new husband and I have a great relationship. No matter how hard I try, I can’t convince her. She’s nice to him and doesn’t talk badly about him. But I know my mother, and I can tell she doesn’t really approve. We’ve done everything she’s asked, including having the wedding she always dreamed of me having. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I hoped it
  8. Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, almost didn’t make it. Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the deciding vote for her confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The objection involved the nominee’s support of charter schools. All Democrats and some Republicans dislike charter schools. Why? Don’t they increase quality and standards? Yes, but … they also increase accountability. And as irrational as it sounds, accountability is the last thing that supporters of public schools want, because it could eventually put those public schools out of business. It’s so easy to be i
  9. When dealing with others, it’s important to be careful about the way we phrase things. And “being nice” has nothing to do with it; the way we phrase things has an impact on how we view them, and sometimes it can be unhealthy. For example, if you say, “I think I’m addicted to cigarettes,” you’re implying helplessness. I know everybody says we’re supposed to think of things like this as addiction, but that doesn’t do you any favors. Why not validate your power over smoking by saying, “I shouldn’t smoke, but I like the effect I get from it. But it’s more important that I commit to stopping.” It’
  10. Everywhere you turn these days, someone claims someone else’s ideas are “dangerous.” Latest example: Santa Clara University students hoping to form a chapter of Turning Point USA were denied by their peers after claims the nonprofit organization stands against “humanity.” Turning Point USA is a youth group that promotes limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility on over 1,000 campuses nationwide. A chapter request by conservatives at Santa Clara University was rejected by a 16 to 10 vote on Feb. 2 due to unfounded claims TPUSA is linked to white supremacists. Advocates of un
  11. A disturbing wave of seven suicides and likely drug overdoses has swept through Columbia University so far this school year — and students say cutthroat academics and inadequate campus counseling programs are in large part to blame. The student deaths include three in January alone — two of whom police suspect overdosed, plus an exchange student from Japan who killed herself by leaping from the seventh-floor window of her Broadway dorm. The four other student suicides came once a month, from September through December, The New York Post has learned. They include a promising 21-year-old jour
  12. Gay conservative and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannapoulos’s speech on the University of California Berkeley campus Wednesday night was cancelled after violent rioters shut down the university, setting fires that turned the campus into what CNN anchor Jake Tapper described as “an inferno.” The protesters were described as violent by witnesses on social media and video of the riots confirm that description. Video shows rioters violently attacking Milo supporters and people wearing Trump apparel, mercilessly spraying them with pepper spray. One video shows a college-aged girl giving an interview
  13. The mass shooting committed in Orlando last year brought the issues of homosexuality and religion into the forefront. In the aftermath, I received an interesting email from a website visitor who asks, “I’m not sure I can give proper advice to my brother. He’s gay and really loves our parents, who are slightly religious but don’t practice. They’ve made anti-gay remarks in the past, and he’s afraid they won’t approve of his sexuality. He’s 18 years old and a freshman in college. I’m really at a loss for what to say.” When your parents make anti-gay remarks, they’re not talking specifically abou
  14. California Democrats are going on the offensive, firing the first shot in their pitched battle with President Donald J. Trump, and threatening to “cut off the Feds” by withholding taxes. According to CBS San Francisco, former State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, Jr. said: “California could very well become an organized non-payer. … They could recommend non-compliance with the federal tax code.” Democrats are considering the tax revolt as part of what CBS San Francisco called an “all-out war” against the Trump administration, which could also include holding back state transfers of funds to th
  15. We’ve all heard that it’s wrong to make excuses. It’s a rare mental health professional who even talks about the issue, much less takes the position that excuses are bad. Other than myself, one of the few who has addressed the issue in writing is retired psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Daniels, known to many by his pen name, Theodore Dalrymple. Dr. Daniels has called excuses a “barrier to self-understanding.” Excuses like, “It’s not our fault if we’re obese,” for example. “It’s a disease. It’s the food manufacturers’ and restaurants’ fault. Portions are too big… or it’s genes, evolution, neurochemis
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