Devil May Dare

Devil May Dare

“Daredevil” is not a word that many people associate with Germany these days; certainly not the nation’s military. And that’s probably a blessing, even if its allies long for less hesitant support. The history of Germans acting boldly took a wrong turn shortly after Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door. Does anybody want to risk urging them to act now and think later? More»

The Russian Option

The Russian Option

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister, apparently took a decision that shocked many across Europe last week. He announced that the representatives of the Right Livelihoods Award, who bestow the yearly Alternative Nobel Prize, were banned from announcing this year’s winner at his ministry, something they had been doing for 18 years. More»

Right for the Wrong Reason

Right for the Wrong Reason

Few pieces of journalism have aroused the ire than Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem did when it was published in 1963. Arendt, who covered the trial for The New Yorker, seemed to have her own agenda. At times her tone bordered on flippancy, particularly when she accused the Judenräte, the councils that ran the ghettoes of Poland and Russia, of collaboration. More»

Latest entries
What's Left After Revolution?

What’s Left After Revolution?

The Left has confronted the same problem since it acquired that name, over 225 years ago: how to strike a balance between pragmatism and idealism, pursuing what people need to live better now without forgetting what they might want in a world less needy. It’s remarkable how little progress has been made towards achieving this goal. More»

Referendum Day

Referendum Day

“Why do you want Scotland to be independent? You’re English!” These words were spoken to me by my 99-year old Godmother, Auntie Margaret, who has known my Glaswegian mother for the past sixty years and me ever since I was born (including the five years that I was a student at Glasgow University). More»

Pimping Climate Action

Pimping Climate Action

I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch. More»

Torino and the Left

Torino and the Left

Squatters busted by the cops. Defiant asylum seekers sticking it to the man. Denunciations of capitalism, imperialism, and the bourgeoisie. In Italy, of course. It’s so dated-sounding, Hugo Chavez might as well have scripted it. Typically provincial leftists, still stuck in 20th century. At the very least, they could be blogging this stuff. Someone call Russia Today. More»

McDonald's Takes Europe

McDonald’s Takes Europe

There are reasons for Europeans to feel antipathy towards the United States, just as there were in previous decades. But expressing these sentiments is not as easy as it used to be. The bait-and-switch move that reliably substituted cultural targets for political ones is becoming harder to pull off. More»

Free of London

Free of London

In only a matter of days, Scotland will decide on its future. The Left seems to have lined up behind the Yes-side of the referendum on independence. What is the case for unionism here? Surely, there has to be a progressive angle. After all, the Union stood firm against the rising tide of fascism in the early decades of the twentieth century. What makes it unworthy of progressive politics, now? More»

No True Islam

No True Islam

Senior Muslim scholars are beginning to push back against Islamic State propaganda. Britain’s Faith Associates consultancy organized a four-minute video in July featuring many leading Sunni and Shia imams. More»

Leftist Religion Problem

Leftist Religion Problem

Watching the major powers in the Middle East maneuver has become increasingly painful for anyone who still believes that politics can sustain our better natures. Cynically self-serving, with callous disregard for the dignity of human life, their moves have helped to revive every conspiracy theory in the book and inspire plenty of new ones. This is a major problem, especially for the Left. More»

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

“So we’re not ‘against’ these people, and ‘for’ these other people. What are we really ‘for’? A more just political formation, one that would allow for equality at the level of citizenship,” Judith Butler concludes the second part of her conversation with Mark LeVine. “Religion may be extremely important, but I don’t think it should be a prerequisite for citizenship, and certainly not there.” More»

Designing Postwar Japan

Designing Postwar Japan

The debate was about who knew Japan better: the “Japan Crowd” or the “Lobby,” on the right, or the “New Dealers” in the SCAP. The story of the US Occupation from, 1945 to 1952, is the story of these camps’ shared assumptions about the limitations of the Japanese psyche. In the end,  the conservatives won, disproportionately influencing Japanese politics, and America’s imperial administration. More»

Hijacking the Arab Spring

Hijacking the Arab Spring

You’ve heard it before. Supporters of the Arab Spring always say that Islamists “hijacked the revolution.” The statement gets repeatedly invoked in reference to the crises in Libya and Syria, where the revolts ended up fostering the rise of extremist groups, who dominate the resistance, today. More»

The Paranoid Style

The Paranoid Style

There’s something of a cottage industry in the US, devoted to tying contemporary politics to their intellectual forebears. In some cases, it’s a matter of pure character assassination, as in the assertions from the far right that Barack Obama is some sort of  socialist. From the leftward side of the spectrum come claims that this or that politician is a devotee of the thought of that great seducer of the adolescent male mind, Ayn Rand. More»