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Politics & society

This tag is associated with 179 posts

The implications of longevity

Crime hard-liners were always fond of the simplistic slogan “Life means life”. What we’re now learning is that when the meaning of “life” changes, the meaning of life changes, too.

Manchester attack: human compassion triumphs

The antidote to nihilism does not require any appeal to the transcendent or the divine. I’d take the values expressed by all those who opened their doors in Manchester purely out of human compassion over the futile search for a higher meaning any day.

Do Tim Farron’s views on homosexuality matter?

I want to know what kind of man Farron is and knowing he is an evangelical Christian does make me question his judgement and whether he is the best person to lead his party. However, democracy only works when despite this, people like me are willing to support people like him when we see we share the same political goals. Democracy requires broad coalitions of interests among people who differ.

In defence of hierarchy

Essay in Aeon co-authored with Stephen C. Angle, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Daniel Bell, Nicolas Berggruen, Mark Bevir, Joseph Chan, Carlos Fraenkel, Stephen Macedo, Michael Puett, Jiang Qian, Mathias Risse, Carlin Romano, Justin Tiwald and Robin Wang.

The housing delusion

Decades of policy, not misfortune, have put good housing out reach of millions. Given that access to decent housing is one of the most basic hallmarks of an advanced, civilised country, you might have thought this would be considered a scandal that would dominate political debate. In fact, there is only one aspect of the housing market that has any perceptible effect on elections: price crashes cause the government of the day to haemorrhage votes.

Be Like The Fox

The political philosopher Erica Benner used to read Machiavelli like most of us allow others to read him for us, cherry-picking the outré quotes that identify him as an opportunist amoralist. But then she started to notice something strange: most of what he wrote was not very Machiavellian…

How to win the argument

“I say to people in Québec: your kids are going to change you more than all these immigrants. I’m a grandfather now and I see what has happened over these two generations and it’s huge. We dropped the central religious identity of Québec in this time, nobody forced us from outside.”

Painful truths

Love is so last century. What the world needs now, the only thing that there’s just too little of, is empathy. Empathy is widely touted as the key to effective management, good government, better medical care, improved wellbeing, higher-achieving schools, excellent parenting, even world peace. It’s clearly time for a backlash…

Thought for food

The idea of philosophizing about food still strikes many as pretentious and absurd, despite a recent growth in the literature. It embarrasses practical, empirical Anglo-Saxons, who would rather leave such musings to our more phenomenological and literary-minded Continental cousins. Nicola Perullo is one such cousin, but now that his Taste as Experiencehas been translated into English, it is perhaps time to rec­onsider our cultural suspicion of combining intellect and ingestion…

Gifts and God

A curious modern ritual of the festive season is to lament the excess and commercialisation of Christmas while simultaneously partaking in it. Perhaps it is not only at family gatherings that Christmas has a tendency to bring to a head simmering tensions. It also seems to be a time when the dissonance between our simultaneous loving and loathing of capitalism becomes almost unbearable.

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