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Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Reason versus emotion? It’s a false dichotomy

Thumbnail : Reason versus emotion? It’s a false dichotomy

With its elevation of intuition over reason and the unconscious mind over rational thought, David Brooks’ new book is an explicit attack on Enlightenment values. It’s time we defended rationalism and passion. Read my review of The Social Animal, in the spiked review of books, here.

NPR: talk of “uneducated” Americans is the real outrage

An embarrassing video has led the Chief Executive of NPR (National Public Radio) to resign. Vivian Schiller offered her resignation a day after a conservative film-maker released a video that captured an NPR fund-raiser talking to people pretending to be donors from a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. NPR – the publicly-funded and listener-supporter radio network that many people […]

Debate how to hire, not fire, teachers

With thousands of teachers’ jobs on the chopping block across the country, there is a vigorous debate over how to implement layoffs in a “fair” way. At issue in New York and other states is the policy of LIFO, “last in, first out”. Seniority is the determining factor. There are calls from across the political spectrum […]

Nanny strikes again: NYC bans smoking in parks and beaches

Thumbnail : Nanny strikes again: NYC bans smoking in parks and beaches

With backing from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Council yesterday banned smoking in city parks and beaches. Bloomberg is known for introducing nannying measures to control personal behavior. This latest ban is an extension of his ban on smoking in restaurants and bars imposed in 2002. The main reason given for the ban is to prevent second-hand smoking; the Council’s […]

Ann Furedi responds to William Saletan on late-term abortion

In Slate, William Saletan last week used the recent case of the Philadelphia abortion-clinic doctor, Kermit Gosnell, to re-state his argument against late-term abortion. In that article, one of the “absolutists” who Saletan criticizes is Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. Furedi herself recently wrote “a moral defence of late abortion” in spiked,which […]

Leave the Tiger Mother behind

Thumbnail : Leave the Tiger Mother behind

For a level-headed take on the Amy “Tiger Mother” Chua business that puts the discussion into perspective, I recommend you read Nancy McDermott’s post. She argues that this is another case of “seeing social and cultural issues through the prism of parenting”: It seems to me that we have displaced classical philosophical questions about the nature of […]

Naomi Klein, reactionary

This Naomi Klein talk is so crass, wrong and bad, it’s hard to know where to start. In about 19 minutes, Klein manages to: make a glib a analogy between the BP oil spill and financial crisis criticize risk-taking as “reckless” advocate the precautionary principle elevate Mother Nature over humanity (and present Mother Nature as truly feminine) blame men, and […]

Brendan O’Neill debating over-population in the New York Times

In his “Dot Earth” blog for the New York Times, journalist Andrew Revkin yesterday wrote about his recent correspondence with spiked editor Brendan O’Neill on the issue of over-population. It’s brief, but a great read nonetheless. The post is called “Deconstructing a bestiary of Malthusian ‘miserabilists'”, and Revkin quotes O’Neill as saying: An NGO that arrives in poor Africa […]


Remembering Martin Luther King on his Day. Remarkable man.  This video is of King speaking in Montgomery, Alabama in March 1965. It reminds us of one of his great talents: his oration. Such poetry in his powerful words, such passion, and made all the more important because he was backed by a real struggle. Note how the lyrics of the Battle […]

Football and a nation of wusses

Thumbnail : Football and a nation of wusses

The trend in American society in recent years towards risk-aversion and excessive safety-first concerns are undermining an American institution known for toughness: football. I was nearly knocked over by last week’s news that, for the first time in its history, the National Football League called off a game because of weather. A game in Philadelphia between the local […]

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