In Defence of Normal Behaviour

They speak no words of peace, but against the quiet in the land they fashion deceitful speech. (Psalm 35:20) If you are wise enough to avoid Twitter then 'The Great Chinese Prom Dress Scandal of 2018' may have passed you by. Briefly, Keziah Daum, an American teenager in Utah, went to her high school prom... Continue Reading →

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Freedom of Speech and its Critics

In recent years debate around free speech issues has tended to focus on university campuses (or, strictly speaking, campi.) Radical students have got into the habit of using protest, or the threat of protest, to exclude or disrupt speakers who advance viewpoints which they, the radical students, find objectionable. One of the lines of argument... Continue Reading →

In Defence of White Heterosexual Patriarchs

There is a school of thought which argues that human societies are predominantly characterised by oppression and by the resistance which this generates. The goal towards which such societies should travel is liberation from tyranny and the attainment of equality for all. Following from this there exists an observable hierarchy of oppression and, therefore, of... Continue Reading →

Born Free?

Two historical figures born about a thousand years apart, have played a crucial role in establishing what might be called the mental architecture of the Western world in 2018. One, Benedict of Nursia, has been designated as patron saint of Europe while the other, Jean Jacques Rousseau, might equally well be named as the patron... Continue Reading →

Against Disembodied Ideas

If the institutions of democracy and capitalism are to work properly, they must coexist with certain premodern cultural habits that ensure their proper functioning. Law, contract, and economic rationality provide a necessary but not sufficient basis for both the stability and prosperity of post-industrial societies; they must as well be leavened with reciprocity, moral obligation,... Continue Reading →

On Political Correctness

Back in the 1980’s I was a young Marxist and so was in at the ground floor of what is now called political correctness. Probably as a result of this I've always had something of a soft spot for it. Indeed the proposition upon which it rests is perfectly reasonable. As I understand it, it... Continue Reading →

In Defence of Mansplaining

As is often the case with memes born on social media mansplaining started of with one particular meaning but swiftly morphed into something rather different. In its original manifestation it was a nicely observed and humorous account of a demonstrable phenomenon which had the possibility of effecting long overdue personal change in its uncomfortable targets.... Continue Reading →

Sex Abuse & Belief-Systems

If the events of recent decades have taught us one thing it is that no belief-system, political, philosophical or religious, has, on its own, the ability to inoculate men against abusing their power in order to gain sexual gratification for themselves. Liberal men and conservative men, religious men and secular men, cerebral men and men... Continue Reading →

The Sky is Erupting

Bob Dylan has written more than a few enigmatic lyrics in his time and Farewell Angelina (most famously covered by Joan Baez) certainly fits into that category. It is, though,  one of the characteristics of poetry that it can convey meaning without at the same time making logical sense. If your only encounter with the... Continue Reading →

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