Category Archives: Society

Living in an Age of Extremity

We used to live in uninteresting times, as much as that can ever be said.

Things did not seem to happen. And if they did happen, they happened to other people. The rest of life and the business of living passed easily, dreamily, and the world was always at arm’s length. Continue reading

Philistinism Redux

Review – The New Philistines: How Identity Politics Disfigure the Arts by Sohrab Ahmari

Identity politics, that very modern ideological constellation, with its fixation on race, class and gender, has migrated from academia into the arts. Queer theory, feminist readings, post-colonial studies – all these have carved out significant positions at the heart of the art world. Many artists and ‘creatives’ aspire to these doctrines; they increasingly govern the propagation of culture as well as new criticism of canonical art. Such things matter more than could be expected. Continue reading

There Is No Chance That Donald Trump Will Be Impeached

Donald Trump was a big fan of boasting on the campaign trail. He said he was a great builder – the best in the world. He said he had a secret plan to defeat Isis in 30 days. He said he had a good brain and the best words. Continue reading

Enemies of the People, Past and Present

‘The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death.’ So declared Maximilien Robespierre in a speech delivered to the French National Convention on Christmas Day, 1793. Continue reading

Of Tyranny and Violence

The people disappeared in Syria’s military prisons do not have graves, but they do have names. They may not have been accorded funeral rites, but they have faces and stories and their families have memories of their presence. The war which has destroyed much of Syria can be localised: to a family, to a single person, to a face. And within the wider war lurk stories of cruelty and barbarism which affect individuals but whose effects spiral outwards. These specific instances of savagery become institutionalised. Continue reading

Katie Hopkins and Nigel Farage Tell America That Britain Is Scared and Divided – We Are Not

For some people, these islands seem just too small to satisfy their ambitions. Not content with Britain, many want to be known around the world; they want to be famous in a new and different way. Continue reading

America Can Still Be a Positive Force in the World

The election of Donald Trump as US president was a big moment. His victory in November reflected a steep change in the way the United States is run and the way it per­ceives other countries.

Trump has little good to say about many international norms that underpin the liberal world order. He disdains NATO. He has no intention of supporting America’s allies among the Syrian opposition. Trump is notably well-disposed towards Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin. Continue reading