All Posts Filed in ‘Politics

ballot box
Post

What do we mean when we talk about democracy?

Democracy is defined as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Typically through elected representatives, but not always. In ancient Athens, democracy was direct rather than representative, with citizens selected by lot to sit in the assembly, the same selection process we …

Facebook avatar
Post

Facebook and identity politics

Is it a coincidence that the rise of identity politics coincides with the rise of the Internet and in particular of social media? Identity politics has been around for a while and predates the internet, but it’s become particularly impactful in the last few years. Facebook is centred on the personal profile. It encourages people …

Eastern Bluebird
Post

Twitter to introduce pronoun field

With many users already displaying their preferred pronouns in their profiles, Twitter has decided to introduce a pronoun field which all users will be encouraged to fill. Robots will be required to use the it/its pronoun, with humans having to pass an “I am not a robot” captcha test before being allowed to enter their …

Steven Pinker during a lecture for Humanists UK
Post

Enlightenment Now

I went to see Stephen Pinker on Monday night, interviewed by Decca Aitkenhead of the Guardian, talking about his latest book, Enlightenment Now, an argument for science, rationalism and humanism. Bill Gates’ new favourite book apparently, knocking his previous favourite, Pinker’s  Better Angels of Our Nature, off the top spot.

Post

Indulgent purity

Some of us, maybe all of us to some extent, like our principles to be pure, unsullied by the messiness of reality.

Post

Motivated reasoning is the Earth’s best friend

Friends of the Earth is no longer fundamentally opposed to nuclear power and neither is the Green party of England and Wales. They still oppose nuclear power, but now because of its cost and how long it takes to build, but they’re quite happy to keep existing power stations running. They no longer see them …

Post

Why a carbon tax and dividend is progressive

Suppose you have a very simple society consisting of just three citizens: Mr Poor lives in a bedsit in Peckham and is very poor. He doesn’t cook, just lives on cereal, biscuits and Dorritos but very occasionally treats himself to a kebab. He gets around by bike or takes the bus. His carbon footprint is …

Post

I used to know what I thought about Iraq

Back in 2002/3 when we were demonstrating against the war it seemed so much simpler. Now, though I can see the case for air strikes, that to leave those fleeing IS without air cover could result in massacres which will be filmed and shown to us, it feels like we’re trying to put out a …

Post

Fossil fuels? No thanks.

You don’t often see badges or bumper stickers with slogans like that. The antinuclear ones are all over the place. If future historians look back on this era perhaps they’ll conclude that a major factor influencing our failure to decarbonise rapidly enough was that the environmental movement put its resources into campaigning against the wrong …

Post

I is not PAT

Here’s an equation, a nice simple little equation: I = PAT The equation was developed in the 1970s during the course of a debate between Barry Commoner, Paul R. Ehrlich and John Holdren. This little equation has had a big effect over the years on environmentalists and how they think and talk about the problems …