Trump, Brexit and the Tragic Left

On 8 November 2016, a reality show celebrity and business man with no political experience of any kind became US President Elect, against all expectation. Earlier that year, on June 23 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU, against even the expectations of those vociferously running the ‘leave’ campaigns. These events need some explaining.

Let’s have a look at Trump first. There’s a prevailing view that people who voted for him are essentially racist, misogynist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and generally nasty. Internet memes such as this one make fun of this.

dear_americans

I laughed too. And then, on 8 November, Donald Trump won the election.

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Just words on a page? Aslan v Harris

harris_aslan

Anyone who follows the debate on fundamentalist Islamic terrorism will be familiar with Sam Harris and Reza Aslan. They usually come across as intellectually diametrically opposed, but are both clearly humanists and deep thinkers. The fact that two such intelligent students of world affairs, belief systems and geopolitics cannot find a common reference point from which to have more substantive debate is informative.

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How militant advocacy kills good ideas: the case of abolitionist veganism

This post is about how hardline militancy about potentially good ideas (eating less meat, open source software, reducing alcohol consumption) cruels rational debate, and often has the opposite effect in the real world of that intended. Militants are essentially ideologues and fascists and need to be called out for it.

Firstly, to any vegans or vegetarians reading this: I like all both of these things. In moderation:) Now read on…

Recently I accidentally become embroiled in a comments section discussion / flame war attached to an Alternet.org article called ‘Unsavory: The Problem With Angry Vegans Who Push and Preach Their Ideals‘. Most of the flaming was by other people and for other people, so I escaped with only minor charring around the edges. Continue reading

Islam and Violence – getting our thoughts in order

I posted last week on my outrage and revulsion of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, 7/Jan/2015. Those of us in the UK, France, other European and Western countries, and many around the world, expressed similar outrage. Now what?

I spent a good part of the last week thinking about my own reaction, and researching all manner of Islam-related topics on the net. To my surprise, along with much to be depressed about, I found some specific and unexpected resources – all created by Muslims – that give me some hope. (See ‘Resources’ in the middle of this post).

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Gun control: a debate in need of framing

Is the aftermath of the most recent gun massacre in the US any different from those before? Many hope so due to the fact that the dead were mostly little kids of the ages of 5-7; it seems such an unacceptable atrocity that even the gun lobby would realise the need for change. Right? I doubt it. But it doesn’t mean no progress can be made. [this post updated with DailyBeast poll link under opinions 23/12/2012].

Newtown flag of honour

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Sunday, (pre-)occupied at St Paul’s Cathedral, London

Today on the London tube I was reading the introduction to ‘The Monstrosity of Christ: paradox or dialectic?’, a debate between Slavoj Žižek and John Millbank, edited by Creston Davis, the latter the author of the introduction. My post here is not about the main subject matter of the book (two views of theology / christianity) but the final sentence of the introduction stayed with me for the day:

The monstrosity of Christ is the love either in paradox or in dialectics – and I believe, may be the pathway beyond the current popular-absolutist rule of finance, spectacle, and surveillance.

Although we can argue about the faith part of this (or even reject it out of hand), the two sides this statement resonate nowhere better right now than at tent city in the forecourt of St Paul’s cathedral, in the heart of the City of London.

Occupy London St Pauls Continue reading