Only White People Can Be Racist? Don’t Be Absurd

As the culture war rages unabated, a war of attrition draining the mental and emotional energy of all decent sensible people with internet connections and social media accounts, we are seeing a doubling down of the most vicious and socially destructive forms of identity politics. Race, gender, sexual orientation; valid topics of discussion, to be sure, but the positions of identitarians on all sides of the political spectrum make reasonable conversation impossible by making every form of identity a zero-sum game: intersectionality on one side, bigotry on the other, no matter what the complexities of one’s views. Read More…

In These Polarised Times It Is Important To Hear The Other Side

Megan Phelps, a former member of the incredibly divisive Westboro Baptist Church has given an inspiring TED talk on why and how she left the church – of which she was one of the most zealous and committed members.

Her decision to leave the WBC was not a Damascene conversion. It was part of a long process of engaging with people who opposed her on social media. Often they did so with anger or bemused disdain, but, occasionally, she would encounter individuals who would argue with her civilly. It was these discussions that began to slowly chip away at her harsh worldview, eventually causing it to collapse.

The story of Megan Phelps is a powerful illustration of just how important it is to listen and speak to those with whom you disagree. Especially in these polarised times where people too easily dismiss perspectives they don’t like.

 

Theresa and Trump Are Gambling With The Support Of Their Bases

As a natural optimist, I sometimes wonder if it is wiser to be more pessimistic. Especially when it comes to politics.

Though, I am still not sure whether that means expecting that anything bad could happen or that few good things can.

One lesson I have learned well is not to put too much faith in the promises of politicians. Anyone who does will be disappointed, as they are bound to break them. Read More…

The Social Currency of Victimhood

 

Much has been made in recent months of the so-called “generation snowflake”. This is hardly surprising given the disproportionate role of millennials in re-shaping social and political norms in frankly sinister ways; the destruction of free expression and open conversation on university campuses; the championing of censorship, the anti-science impulses that run through gender-identity movements; and the segregationist attitude to identity in general. To be clear from the outset, I am always against the demonization of people just for the membership of a generation or age-group – I always found the stereotyping of Generation X as feckless and nihilistic or Generation X’s own loathing of baby-boomers distasteful. I was disgusted by the hatred directed at the elderly following the Brexit vote and I recognise that there are many millennials who are extremely frustrated by the attitudes of their peers. Be that as it may, generation snowflake, as a description of an attitudinal subset of millennials, is somewhat apt and warrants further analysis. Read More…

How Simple Narratives Conceal Complex Truths. Interview With Peter Hitchens

On the Imagine Athena podcast I had the great pleasure of speaking to the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, one of my go-to writers and thinkers.

We discussed how simplistic moral narratives are used in political discourse to conceal harder, more complex truths about the world.

Did Britain really attain the victory it set out to in WW2? Is Britain’s relationship with the US a lot more adversarial than the two countries like to admit? And can Trump really make America great again?

The two books he mentions in the podcast are The Deluge by Adam Tooze and The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan

The Imagine Athena Podcast is also available on iTunes.