Category Archives: Free Speech

Giving something away for free is not a sign of it having value

The progressivist push against citizenship took another big leap forward with the British Labour Party decision committing the Party to giving the vote in general elections to all UK residents. As things reveal their nature (and importance) in their history, a quick trip through citizenship’s backstory helps to see what is going on. Origins and […]

The urban rural divide in the US and other complexities of polarisation

Former libertarian, now progressive, Will Wilkinson has a report up on the rural urban divide in US politics (pdf), connecting the concentration of economic production in a service economy in megacities, sorting by migration and internal movement, and cognitive patterns (particularly pertaining to Openness to Experience and, to a lesser degree, Conscientiousness) to the drift in the […]

Piety display not virtue signalling

I have an essay in Areo Magazine arguing that piety display is often a more accurate term than virtue signalling for what people are typically referring to. The piece then examines the dynamics of, and the reasons for, political correctness. Read it here.

A misconceived attack on libertarianism

Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay have produced a Manifesto Against the Enemies of Modernity. There is much to agree with in it but at least one part is thoroughly misconceived, which is the attack on libertarianism. Such an attack is a strange thing to read in such a manifesto, for if any ideology seems a product […]

A comment on border walls

This is based on a comment I made here. The success of Israel and Hungary in putting up border barriers has been cited as evidence in favour of President Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall. A counter-argument raised against such citing is that those walls are much smaller than the Trump proposal. It is true that the US-Mexican border is 3,201km long, […]

Islam as philosophical dead end

Classical (622 to c.940) and early medieval Islam was a civilisation and period with a rich philosophical tradition. Yet Islam became a philosophical dead end, an example of how societies, indeed, an entire civilisation, can stop supporting philosophy as a significant autonomous realm of enquiry. Islam is a civilisation where religion swallowed philosophy, with consequences we are still […]

Why I am voting Yes in the SSM postal survey (but won’t be telling anyone else how to vote)

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me well that I’ll be voting “Yes” in the Same Sex Marriage postal survey. After all, I’m a small-l liberal, non-religious legal academic with many friends in same-sex relationships. I’m the stereotypical “Yes” voter. But I have become increasingly concerned that the “Yes” vote will not win, despite […]

Well, we’re back

Many moons ago, Katy Barnett (Legal Eagle), Lorenzo M Warby (Lorenzo), and I (skepticlawyer, aka Helen Dale) ran quite a popular blog from this site. Apart from Lorenzo’s sterling efforts, the blog has fallen by the wayside, and we kind of forgot its Facebook ‘fan’ page existed. However, since all three of us have got books either published […]

Multiculturalism is an experiment that might fail

Multiculturalism has become a sacred marker of progressivism: one absolutely has to be in favour of multiculturalism, or one is not a good person. A person seriously critical of (let alone hostile to) multiculturalism is, in fact, outside the moral pale. There are deep problems with this. First is defining what one means by multiculturalism–there are quite a […]

Immigration and social order

The entire debate over immigration, particularly illegal immigration, turns on the issue of social order — specifically, its value and cohesiveness. Those who think there is simply no issue — that no people who make the effort to go to another country to live can be a threat to the social order they are entering, […]