Churchill, the Devil, and Hitler: An analogy for our own time

‘If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference of the Devil.’ — Winston Churchill, in a speech to the House of Commons. ‘Churchill allied with Stalin,’ notes the Churchill Project in a timely piece. I myself have been confronted with controversy in my call for renewing a strategic alliance with Russia … Continue reading Churchill, the Devil, and Hitler: An analogy for our own time

The medieval mysteries of ‘Attack of the Clones’

‘Impossible to see, the future is,’ notes Yoda in political discussions with the Chancellor of the Republic, reasoning, ‘the dark side clouds everything’ — an ironic admission in front of the secret Sith lord who had already seized the reigns of democratic power. The Chancellor’s next steps involved translating political power into military might — … Continue reading The medieval mysteries of ‘Attack of the Clones’

Kanye West’s Enlightening Fox News Interview: ‘Bring the best design to the people’

Kanye West is an astonishing individual. Endlessly maligned by media outlets throughout his career, Mr. West’s pivot from music to fashion has subverted expectations about his artistry and creativity in general. ‘He clearly thinks out of the box’, the Fox News interviewer said after the interview. For those who have not heard My Beautiful Dark … Continue reading Kanye West’s Enlightening Fox News Interview: ‘Bring the best design to the people’

Why the physical world is a lie

There’s a lot of paranoia going around about ‘fraud’, ‘lying’, and ‘deception’, sometimes encapsulated by the term ‘abuse’. These are certainly ugly, often evil, realities — but not for the reason we usually imagine. In David Runciman’s seminal Political Hypocrisy, the Cambridge Professor of Politics draws a distinction between first- and second-order hypocrisy. The first-order … Continue reading Why the physical world is a lie

Plato, Rousseau, and the politics of philosophy

A recent book by Cambridge intellectual historian Christopher Brooke traces Philosophic Pride not to its usual imagined source, a utopian faith in abstractions, but to Stoicism, which places faith in the concrete world around us. Philosophers’ inflated sense of self comes out of, well, the self, as physically instantiated in our biological constitution. Eventually, Stoicism … Continue reading Plato, Rousseau, and the politics of philosophy

The politics of truth: A manifesto

We live in undeniably dark times. News headlines of death and despair abound. In such a climate, politics is hardly seen as our salvation. Indeed, politics is seen by many as the problem. One reason given for the decay of our political institutions is that politicians lie. The phrase ‘fake news’ also abounds news headlines … Continue reading The politics of truth: A manifesto

Language as evolution

Language as legitimation: The evolution of the signs of space and time Changes of State, a study of natural and political languages, in space and time. Institutions are linguistic insofar as they are are based upon actors’ knowledge, conscious or unconscious, of certain ‘rules of the game’. These rules denote the linguistic basis for institutional … Continue reading Language as evolution

Voices of Capital I: Welcome!

Welcome to this series of essays on three ‘voices of capital’: The Economist, The Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal. What do I mean my ‘voices of capital’? To answer that question, let’s get more specific. By capital, I mean the interests, or the needs, of two social entities: The market system (capitalism); and The … Continue reading Voices of Capital I: Welcome!

On power: Tech, the state, and class

Power comes in many forms. Productive power is a relationship between society and nature, whereby people transform nature through technologies (or ‘forces of production’, as Marx called them). Social power is a relationship between people, involving both coercion (the use of threats and rewards, most often to maximise power over production) and legitimation (the use … Continue reading On power: Tech, the state, and class