Are we becoming more moral faster than we’re becoming more dangerous? Mankind is facing an apocalyptic moral test, Robert Wright says. Is the world slouching toward a grave systemic crisis? History is punctuated by catalytic episodes — events that can become guideposts toward a more open and civilized world. Is the world really better than ever? The headlines have never been worse, but an increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good — and only our pessimism is holding us back. The fifth beginning: Though world events may seem depressing in 2017, we are in the midst of a new age that will usher in global peace and cooperation.

Why did Sebastian Gorka attract so much ire from the foreign policy community? Gorka’s overdue exit still leaves numerous figures to haunt the White House. The Gorka that matters isn’t leaving the Trump administration. Controversial culture warrior Wade Horn lands mystery job in the Trump administration. Trump appointee William C. Bradford says it was hackers, not him, who called Obama’s mom a “w@!re”. Top State Department officials step down in “Black Friday” exodus. Trump cybersecurity advisors resign, citing his “insufficient attention” to threats. At least 69 people have now quit Trump’s White House advisory groups. Is it still possible to serve honorably in the Trump administration? Serving in the Trump White House may require a horcrux or two.

Ted Lechterman (Stanford): The Effective Altruist’s Political Problem. Sharon N. Tran (UCLA): Between Asian Girls: Minor Feminisms and Sideways Critique. Turkish democracy might be dead — and things could soon get a lot worse. Oxford University professor Bo Rothstein quits Blavatnik school in Donald Trump protest. ICE plans to start destroying records of immigrant abuse, including sexual assault and deaths in custody. Must democracy, sovereignty and economic integration remain incompatible today? Jonathan Derbyshire reviews After Europe by Ivan Krastev and The Rise of the Outsiders: How Mainstream Politics Lost Its Way by Steve Richards. The future called: We’re disgusting and barbaric.

Nancy McCormack (Queen’s): When Canadian Courts Cite the Major Philosophers: Who Cites Whom in Canadian Caselaw. Joe Humphreys on Paul Ricoeur, the philosopher behind Emmanuel Macron. Why is a little-known Yale professor’s book on death a best seller in South Korea? One of Descartes’ most famous ideas was first articulated by a woman. The pale philosopher king: Money — and with it whiteness — can be found running underneath the philosophy programs of most colleges like groundwater. German philosophy has finally gone viral — will that be its undoing? Don’t be so sure: Peter Adamson on skepticism in the history of philosophy. This simple philosophical puzzle shows how difficult it is to know something. Hanging ten with Kant and Sartre: Working less can save the world (and other philosophies of surfing).

The National Flood Insurance Program was already $24 billion in debt before Harvey. How Washington made Harvey worse: A federal insurance program made Harvey far more costly — and Congress could have known it was coming. This is what flood denialism looks like: After Hurricane Harvey, lawmakers could keep shoveling money into stopgap programs — or they could admit that warming seas won’t fix themselves. Walter Shapiro on how a big-spending liberal is a conservative who has been flooded: Hurricane Harvey challenges Republican party. Christian Caryl on the political lessons Americans should learn from Hurricane Harvey.

Trump uses natural disaster to promote his hats. “At his first briefing in Texas, Trump thanks FEMA Director William Brock Long and says he’s come ‘very famous on television’ due to Harvey”. Trump visits hurricane-ravaged Texas: “We’ll congratulate each other when it's all finished”. Trump has showed the absolute minimum amount of empathy for Houston victims. Thread: “So there's been lots of pundit speculation whether if needed, Donald Trump could rise to the occasion as ‘comforter in chief.’ Clearly not”. Will Hurricane Harvey prompt a Trump “reset”? People will do anything for a unifying Daddy in the White House: There is so much wrong with this sentence in the New York Times. To the mainstream media: Stop politicizing a natural disaster.

“Father of environmental justice” Robert Bullard: Houston’s “unrestrained capitalism” made Harvey “catastrophe waiting to happen”. Houston flooding always hits poor, non-white neighborhoods hardest. Houston, take heed from us Katrina survivors — this is what lies ahead of you. Insurance companies are preparing fleets of drones to assess the damage of Harvey.