Is the internet destroying society?

I have to confess, I’m a big fan of technology. I own a MacBook Air, an iPad, a smartphone, a digital camera, a speaker system and much else besides. Every time Google or Apple announce the release of a new product, I’m always amongst the first to hear. But recently, I’ve come to the conclusion …

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Jordan Peterson and the rise of conservative pseudo-intellectualism

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian professor of psychology, who has recently become famous because of his critiques of political correctness, post-modernism and left-wing notions of cultural appropriation and gender theory. His rise to prominence has been sudden: he is now ubiquitous on television, newspapers and magazines. Peterson is particularly popular amongst educated young men, frustrated …

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Eating out in America

You are deep in conversation with your companion (in this case my wife) in a restaurant. The occasion is intended to be romantic, and you really could do without intrusions. When suddenly, actually four times during the meal, you are interrupted in mid-sentence by the waitress: “Is everything o.k?; “Have you got everything you need?”; …

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How the Democrats can win the midterms

In the aftermath of Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, Democrats are feeling dejected. It seems the country is institutionally biased in favour of wealthy, well-connected men. The pleas of a woman who is “100% certain” she was assaulted carry little weight. It is tempting to give up the fight and go home. But …

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Why are students and millennials increasingly left-wing?

The popular conception of millennials in the conservative imagination is that they are a bunch of over-sensitive, politically correct crybabies. Young people are often referred to as ‘snowflakes’, that is, people who think they’re so special and unique, rather than simply being just like everyone else. Universities are seen as places where freedom of expression …

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Are American men in crisis?

According to some commentators, American men are in crisis. For Democrats declining workforce participation rates, rising suicide rates and increasing drug use are symptomatic of an economy that is too weak and rigid to offer men the opportunity they need to thrive. Republicans prefer to focus on social causes of men’s woes: the rise of …

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Should Epicureans have children?

Awhile ago, I wrote piece on how Epicureans should raise children. Robert has made his own contributions on the subject, which can be read here. Today, I thought I would address something altogether more fundamental: whether Epicureans should be having children at all. From what I can gather from my research, Epicurus disapproved of marriage and …

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The sorry state of British education, part 3, universities

The conclusion of a three-part series on British education. You can read the first part on GCSEs here, and the second part on A-levels here. British universities are amongst the best in the world, beaten only by the United States, a country with five times the population. They attract high numbers of students from virtually …

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The sorry state of British education, part 2, A-levels

The second in a three-part series on the sorry state of British education. You can read the first part on GCSEs here. A-levels are the exams British students take at 18 years old to assess whether they can go to university, and how prestigious a university they can go to. They are also important when applying …

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The traditional dinner party is apparently doomed, part 2

Second part of yesterday’s posting (too long for a single one): It seems that the formal dinner is on life support. No one is setting out different wine glasses or (horror!) seating interesting strangers next to one another if they have special things in common. Entertaining is now informal, from a buffet to a casual …

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The sorry state of British education, part 1, GCSEs

The first in a three-part series on the sorry state of British education. Hope you enjoy these multi-part blogs.  I started secondary school in 2008. Then, British secondary education was in a terrible mess; the Labour Education Secretary Ed Balls was presiding over a period of serious grade inflation. GCSEs, the qualification achieved by British …

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Immigration again: victims of domestic and gang violence

In recent months, there has been a surge in the number of immigrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Immigrant rights advocates say that is because they’re fleeing extreme violence in their home countries — violence that shows no signs of abating. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has broad powers over the nation’s immigration courts, …

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Why fraudulent news travels fastest

False news travels much faster online than the truth because of our craving for novelty. In the largest-ever study of how news spreads on social media, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysed 126,000 stories on Twitter from between 2006 and 2017. They found that false stories were 70% more likely to be retweeted …

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Argue with them, don’t just write them off as ignorant

Letter to The Guardian The flaw in the argument for denying far-right propagandists a platform is the failure to address how else the mass of us who oppose the unacceptable views can turn voters away from supporting them if we do not engage with their facile and untenable arguments. The strategy of ignoring them or …

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Air pollution is a killer. Tax the polluters.

A recent opinion poll suggests that 70 per cent of people in the UK are worried about air pollution and half want the state to do more. The British government does nothing. The main problem are highly polluting diesel vehicles. Air pollution will gradually fall as the oldest, most polluting vehicles are replaced. Yet the …

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