Conversation

On population

Malthus has been buried many times, and Malthusian scarcity with him. But as Garrett Hardin remarked, anyone who has to be reburied so often cannot be entirely dead. Herman E. Daly, Steady-State Economics: The Economics of Biophysical Equilibrium and Moral Growth (1991) There are several canned responses that always seem to come up whenever theContinue reading “On population”

On demagogues

The lovely dullards again and againInspiring their bitter ambitious men. W. H, Auden, “Danse Macabre” Presumably due to some administrative lapse many years ago, I received the education of a gentleman, which included a study of the classical languages. (I suppose some unfortunate gentleman of the same name was sent to a Secondary Modern toContinue reading “On demagogues”

On corruption

As to the existence of corruption (it is a villainous word, by the bye we call it persuasion in a tangible shape): as to the existence, then, of persuasion in a tangible shape, we do not wish to deny it ; on the contrary, we have no hesitation in affirming that it is as notoriousContinue reading “On corruption”

On domestication

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. George Orwell, Animal Farm If you read any history of the beginnings of agriculture – and if you haven’t yet, I recommend that you do; ColinContinue reading “On domestication”

On borders

Nations, like individuals, tell stories in order to understand what they are, where they come from, and what they want to be. National narratives, like personal ones, are prone to sentimentality, grievance, pride, shame, self-blindness. There is never just one—they compete and constantly change. The most durable narratives are not the ones that stand upContinue reading “On borders”

On accountability

It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts. Mahatma Gandhi I would go further than the Mahatma: it is impossible to escape the consequences of one’s acts. But this is is of course not the received wisdom amongst our elites. Of course one can escape the consequences of one’sContinue reading “On accountability”

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