A balancing act needs to be pulled off, acknowledging what populism identifies correctly as deep problems in our politics while resisting the often conspiratorial details and simplistic, unworkable solutions. This requires neither dismissing the populists out of hand nor granting too much to them. Most of all, it requires making the case that society can only hold together and make progress if it adopts a more moderate, consensual, boring, mainstream kind of politics.
The idea that unconscious biological forces drive our beliefs and actions would seem to pose a real threat to our free will. We like to think that we make choices on the basis of our own conscious deliberations. But isn’t all that thinking things over irrelevant if our final decision was already written in our genetic code? And doesn’t the whole edifice of personal responsibility collapse if we accept that “my genes made me do it”?
Small thoughts about big subjects; big thoughts about small things; seeds of thought, scatttered to either take root or not; plus short links to longer work. Microphilosophy is the website of the writer Julian Baggini.