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Category: Society

Defending our Veterans

Defending our Veterans

In many areas, my support for conservative policies is based on pragmatism. While all political decisions have a moral dimension, quite often that position is based upon utilitarian rather than deontological considerations. In economics, for example, my support for the free market is based upon pragmatic considerations rather than its innate moral value – and I have no qualms about the state stepping in where it doesn’t, for example to break up monopolies. Similarly, teaching phonics is good because it…

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Guest Blog: The different flavours of conservatives

Guest Blog: The different flavours of conservatives

A guest blog by Josh Monteiro, Pastor of Emmanuel Church, Northstowe, and written in a personal capacity. The views expressed are the author‘s alone. In biblical studies over the last 50 years, there has been a growing recognition that there was not a single simple thing called “Judaism” in the 1st century AD but a variety of different Judaisms, with some commonalties, but some important differences as well. Historical study requires an understanding of the different movements within Judaism just…

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On Communists

On Communists

First they came for the Communists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Communist Then they came for the Socialists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist Then they came for the trade unionists And I did not speak out Because I was not a trade unionist Then they came for the Jews And I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew Then they came for me And…

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Religious discrimination in Canada

Religious discrimination in Canada

Last week the government of Quebec passed a discriminatory law that would ban the wearing of kippah (skull caps), turbans and hijabs (headscarfs), among other religious symbols, for all public servants in ‘positions of authority’. This includes teachers, police officers, judges and others. At a stroke, this law bars traditional religious people – many of whom may feel morally obliged to wear such symbols – from a large swathe of public life. It is not the case that all religious…

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Signal-boosting: Free Speech

Signal-boosting: Free Speech

A short, eloquent and powerful explanation of why, ‘But free speech only means the government can’t arrest you,’ is a terrible defence for those who seek to defend silencing others. Laws, Principles and Social Norms I agree with it completely.

‘Don’t know they’re born’

‘Don’t know they’re born’

A major reason why young social progressives are turning against free speech is that they can’t imagine being in a situation where the authorities don’t share their values. This comes across very clearly in conversations about the limits of free speech, academic freedom, freedom of association and similar. Many are thoughtful, considered, reasonable people, willing to contemplate that maybe some ‘dangerous’ or ‘offensive’ ideas should be allowed to discussed, within certain limits. But as the conversation continues, you realise the…

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Harvard descends to new lows in the war on academic freedom

Harvard descends to new lows in the war on academic freedom

It’s a fundamental of our system of justice that anyone accused of a crime, however vile, deserves a fair trial and the right to a defence. This applies to everyone: murderers, rapists, terrorists, racists, paedophiles – and even Harvey Weinstein. Defence lawyers who take on these unpalatable cases are understood to be fulfilling an essential role in the justice system, not to be personally supporting murder or terrorism. The students and authorities at Harvard University clearly think otherwise. This weekend,…

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How Identity Politics Divides Us

How Identity Politics Divides Us

Those of us who oppose to identity politics often do so because we believe that it is a worldview that increases societal division, by encouraging people to divide themselves into groups within society and then pitting those groups against each other. This would be in contrast to worldviews that strengthen society by seeking to focus on what unites and brings people together, perhaps as citizens of a nation, members of a community or even employees of a company. There have…

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Rights vs Freedoms

Rights vs Freedoms

Note that these are not new ideas; they have been discussed extensively in academia and elsewhere. But it is a lens that I find can be helpful. In some recent reading and discussions a concept that has come up is the distinction between freedoms and rights. Broadly, this states that traditional liberalism focuses on freedoms – for example freedom of speech, religion and association – whereas the modern social progressive movement focuses on positive rights, such as the right to…

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Confirmation Bias and Vote Leave’s Crimes

Confirmation Bias and Vote Leave’s Crimes

The differing opinions over whether the fact that Vote Leave broke electoral law had any impact on the result of the Brexit Referendum offer one of the clearest examples of confirmation bias in recent history. In the absence of confirmation bias, opinions should be uncorrelated. The crime wasn’t discovered (or even suspected) until well after the vote, so there’s no way one’s views on the impact could have affected an individual’s votes. And while many other political issues are correlated…

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