I’ve long been interested in the intersection between hard power and morality. I grew up through America's endless wars, various financial crises, and the global shift from American supremacy to the contested world stage. Then, I nurtured aspirations to join the military, dedicate my life to public service, and be the ultimate gentleman-patriot. As a little kid when the Twin Towers fell, I’m not sure I had another choice than to buy into the narrative that American invasions, coups in democratic countries, and the empowerment of corporations over citizens meant ‘freedom’.

In high school and then college, I discovered the works of James Baldwin, the legendary linguist and activist, Noam Chomsky, and the founder of the international relations theory of offensive realism, John Mearsheimer. Baldwin completely redirected my sense of the states' abuse of the masses, and where to find hope in the next steps. Chomsky sent me deeply into theories of democratic responsibility and how institutions of the rich and powerful battle for our minds and beliefs. Mearsheimer offers the best work on what global superpowers want, as well as the successful or unsuccessful steps they take to reach them. It helps to balance out red herrings in the news. What we’re repeatedly told isn’t necessarily what’s happening, especially on moral issues.

I'm a democrat (lowercase ‘d’) at heart. I believe wholeheartedly that the just society involves the political participation of the public and the protection of its interests from tyrannical forces. As such, knowing what’s happening in our world is critical. This pursuit involves knowing everyone’s interests. Major corporations run the information output, and thus replicate their own interests over the poor and abused, even if only subtly.

My goal with the Sense Review is to offer some pieces, with evidence, that cut through illogical or false narratives on politics of greatest importance. As an American, I focus on American crimes and failings. They often involve other heinous power grabs, as shown in my discussions on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Do not ever confuse my criticism of US actions for implicit support of other tyrannical regimes.

I chose "Candide" as a penname from Voltaire's famous novel by the same name. Enlightenment concepts of freedom and reason and self-governance have been my theoretical background, and I use them to critique other ideas like the colonial Liberalism that came from Europe and the Enlightenment. I know Candide makes me sound like an ass, but let’s chalk it up to the flair of a semi-anonymous blog.

I currently study ethics and politics at the University of Chicago, following a brief stint in D.C. working in policy. My background is otherwise in organizing around poverty and education. I registered the domain for this blog when I was 15, thinking I would have educated things to say much sooner than I did. Ten years later, I’m finally in a place to get some of these thoughts out and improve my writing.

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