Much has been made recently of the need to fortify something like a “new centre” as a corrective to the unsavory excesses of both right- and left-wing variants of identity politics. However, despite apparent unanmity on this common enterprise amongst prominent public figures who profess an antipathy towards regressive identity politics, there has been virtually nothing specific offered in the way of what this “new centre” might look like — neither in terms of a moral common ground that could unify erstwhile ideological strangers, nor in terms of particular policy implications.

I can of course understand the reluctance to venture…

I think enough time has passed now to be able to speak frankly and reflect soberly on some of the recent events surrounding the BLM-inspired protests and the associated social media furore, without devolving into an ad hominem spiral. I was disturbed by a lot of what I saw online on #blackouttuesday, and by a lot of what I’ve seen since then. Not more disturbed than when I saw the footage of George Floyd being killed. But disturbed nonetheless.

I saw many good friends of mine completely lose the run of themselves, peddling and paraphrasing insidious statements and slogans that…

Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy

In recent weeks the governments of many major European nations have been converging towards short-term social and economic lockdowns as a way of flattening the curve of COVID-19. As an emergency response, the policy is perfectly understandable, especially in light of what happened in Italy and Spain prior to their own now-belated lockdowns. I therefore take no issue with the lockdown measures as a reasonable short-term attempt to flatten the curve, and pre-empt the overburdening of healthcare systems. However, there has been a disturbing lack of clarity and even discussion about what is to be done next.

Below I sketch…

A table towards the end of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Technical Summary, condensing their findings on various weather extremes. The discrepancy between these quite tentative conclusions and the insistent public alarm is puzzling, to say the least.

The public rhetoric surrounding climate change has reached fever pitch in recent months. The rise to prominence of the impressive young climate activist Greta Thunberg has perhaps been the catalyst for this most recent convulsion of public outcry over what has been dubbed our ongoing “climate emergency”, or “climate crisis”. The nascent international movement known as Extinction Rebellion has staged numerous high-profile protests and publicity stunts in a number of countries, causing considerable disruption and garnering plenty of media attention. What is perhaps most noteworthy about the movement is its name — Extinction Rebellion. We have had environmental and climate-related…

The following is me taking creative license with some features of religion, specifically religion in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. What I’m trying to do is see if there are at least some semi-plausible ways of making sense of the ideas of heaven, religious morality, and life after death/resurrection. I don’t submit the following as a hypothesis, nor do I believe it’s a particularly convincing story on its own terms. However, I do find it marginally more compelling than the Christian narratives with which I was raised.

Preliminary remarks

There are enduring mysteries which science appears very far indeed from solving, which…

It’s a familiar scene. A socialist and a critic of socialism are engaged in heated debate. The critic invariably raises what the socialist considers a hackneyed and lazy objection: “Well what about what happened in the Soviet Union? Or in Maoist China? Those were socialist states. Are you really endorsing such systems? Don’t they prove that socialism doesn’t work?”

The socialist scoffs, shakes his head dismissively, and rehearses his own correspondingly hackneyed reply:

No. Those weren’t really socialist states. They were socialist in name only. In fact, they were just co-opted by corrupt forces from within or compromised by destabilizing…

On 19 August, the Guardian reported that Venezuelans fleeing their country’s economic, political, and humanitarian crisis are being attacked by natives of neighbouring countries, who have grown weary of the relentless influx of migrants (a term that sounds increasingly euphemistic-’refugees’ is a more accurate descriptor). For nearly 20 years, Venezuela’s regime has blamed foreign actors and ‘neoliberal’ subversives for every woe and calamity that has befallen the country. But the disastrous results of the Bolivarian socialist experiment were both predictable and widely predicted-and not just by contemporary observers and analysts. …

Fluss’s piece on Jordan Peterson is filled with unsupported charges, cookie-cutter left-wing strawmanning, and unselfconscious irrationalism. In other words, he’s full of shit.

In case you’re puzzled by the snide tone of the above title and subtitle, don’t worry. I’m not actually an embittered adolescent out to slander the more popular kid who just ran off with his crush. Nor am I an unusually hysterical philosophy lecturer hell-bent on deploying a whole litany of formal and informal fallacies in the service of slandering and misrepresenting a much more highly-regarded peer. …

Strawmanning of socialism is as unfair to socialism’s opponents as it is to socialists. There are very good arguments against socialism out there, and they’re the ones we should be referring to at every opportunity.

It has become hackneyed of late to preface political thinkpieces with the observation that we are living in unusually polarised times. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure that it’s true. It may be that the ubiquity of social media rather gives the impression that there prevails more trenchant division now than ever before, when in fact it merely gives people a more immediate means to publicly air political disagreements that were always there to begin with. …

Libertarians start most political and philosophical debates on the back foot. This is not meant as a complaint. Any “radical” ideology prescribing fundamental and sweeping changes to the status quo — whether socialist or anarchist or whatever — reasonably faces this default burden of proof. As such, I feel no special grievance in having to begin most political discussions in defensive mode. However, in the case of libertarianism, there is typically an additional obstacle not faced by radical ideologies associated with “the left” (I use scare quotes to head off the mistaken counter-characterisation of libertarianism as belonging to “the right”)…

Hugo Newman

I hold a PhD in Political Theory from University College Dublin. I'm co-founder and director of an eLearning company and currently live in Madrid, Spain.

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