Power Dynamics

Reality Denial

When do we let our political judgements be swayed not by a rational analysis of the facts, but by self-interest, wishful thinking, superstition or just plain irrational prejudices? Whether rapid climate change is taking place and is caused by human activity is surely a matter of scientific analysis, on which I suppose one may hold different perspectives, e.g. one may return from an unusually mild southern Greenland only to witness subzero temperatures in Madrid. One’s objective analysis during a...

Breeding Hatred

One of the biggest dilemmas for environmental realists is striking the right balance between the potential infringement of human rights required to power down to a more sustainable society on one hand, and the inevitable threat to human rights if we don't take action now. Let's call this the human rights dilemma. One solution is simply to deny the relevance of the coming environmental collapse by idealising a variant form of cornucopia, believing everything would be okay if we just wrested power from the...

Knee Jerk Hysteria

Most Sudanese citizens of all religious affiliations are desperately poor. As in most other African countries early deaths through malnutrition and disease are so rife that many just count themselves lucky to be alive, let alone benefit from the wonders of Western consumerism, fun culture and post-modern enlightenment (the kind of fuzzy thinking that endows us with some kind of moral superiority over all things ethical). But Sudan has a hidden jewel, the oil reserves in its Southeastern corner known as...

Blaming the Messenger

Spiked Online are at it again, jumping at the chance to blame common atrocities on the spectre of green fascists . To the likes of Frank Füredi and Brendan O'Neill a green fascist is anyone who doesn't believe in their technocratic vision of unlimited human and material growth, if indeed they believe their own propaganda. More is always better and anyone who says otherwise opposes progress . ... A couple of weeks ago a school shooting in the Finnish town of Jokela captured the imagination of the...

The Persuasion Industry

In one way or another a growing percentage of workers in the UK are engaged in various sectors of the persuasion industry. Call it new media, education, publishing, marketing, sales, customer relations, call centres, advertising, entertainment, legal services, lobbying, consulting, advice bureaux, research institutes, awareness raising charities, they are all in the multi-billion pound business of persuading. These businesses try to persuade us to buy products, borrow more money, adapt our lifestyles, seek ...

Blair concedes Iraq Lies

Information Clearing House recently republished extracts from the late Robin Cook's diaries, in which Blair concedes that Iraq could not strike the West or even nearby Israel with weapons of mass destruction. It also reveals how the initial scepticism of some New Labour Cabinet ministers in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq soon turned into loyalty as Blairite rhetoric morphed into crocodile tears over the human rights of oppressed and disenfranchised Iraqis. ... Some analysts insist the likes of ...

On the Wrong Track

A good way to dispel concern about an emerging trend is to set up a phoney debate pitting the views of social conservatives rejecting cultural change against progressive change enthusiasts, e.g. only paranoid Daily Mail readers could possibly oppose the growing encroachment of war-themed video games in mainstream life. Progress is by default associated with trendy young culture with little regard to its key disseminators, while negative reactionism refers to recalcitrant opposition to progress. We thus...

Rewriting History

A few months after Coalition forces successfully secured control of Baghdad and toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein in Fardus Square before the world’s media, Tony Blair referred to way future historians will remember the liberation of Iraq. It is certainly possible to construct a version of history in which the US and UK armed forces liberate a country condemned to years of tyranny by a murderous despot and then proceed to build the foundations of a new liberal democracy extending both wealth and...

Get ready for the Big Corporate Takeover of the Web

The Internet is not going to disappear any time soon, at least short of a nuclear holocaust or a world-wide power outage. Big business has simply invested too much money in it to let that happen. What's at stake is the pioneering concept of a free and open network of hyperlinked resources. Media leviathans may feel threatened by You Tube, but they'll learn to work with it. Although server farms and desktop PCs may still produce an annoying hum, they represent a tiny fraction of global electricity...

It's official, Dissent is a Mental Illness

If you obsess with or consider stalking political celebrities, personally I think your fixations and potential actions are both ill-advised and in all likelihood counterproductive. Politicians not only thrive on publicity, the media would be quick to whip up a frenzy of hysteria should anyone attempt to threaten their life. An assassination attempt represents a huge a public relations coup for an unpopular member of the ruling elite. Admittedly some milder comical forms of stalking such as egg-throwing or...

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