Monthly Archives: January 2011

Soccer and Revolution

There’s an idea that floats around occasionally in socialist-and-similar ideology that ‘sport is reactionary’ because, like alcohol or religion, it distracts people from Pressing Social Problems and deflects their desires for Solidarity and Meaningful Struggle into the form of 22 … Continue reading

Posted in North African Politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Defining Contempt: Help Me Out Here

It’s important, supposedly, to respect people – to treat them in ways that express or ‘are consistent with’ respect for them. But what is respect? Conversely, the opposite sort of treatment seems like something to avoid – treatment that degrades … Continue reading

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Drug Law and Deer Antlers: A Model of Irrational Repression

A while back a friend linked me to this talk, in which Sam Harris describes drug laws as irrational on multiple levels. I have no disagreement with that – but the natural next question is: if a given set of … Continue reading

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Who’s In My Society?

If we take the words ‘society’, ‘community’, ‘association’, and ‘state’ to each mean a group of people, each of whom holds a certain relationship to at least one other, who in turn holds that relationship to another, so that the … Continue reading

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Humans as Machines and as Organ-systems

People do things – often useful things. That’s pretty much the starting point for economics, politics, sociology, etc. But why do they do things, especially challenging things? Here’s two very general ways of answering that question, two ‘pictures’ that one … Continue reading

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My name is Luke and I am a Mass of Fluids

As a human, I have/am a ‘body’. This post has no point beyond playing with ways of describing this body that might create a sense of refreshing unfamiliarity. Consider entities like puddles, raindrops, ponds, glasses-of, clouds. These are all ‘fluid … Continue reading

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Facebook’s ‘New Profile’

I am, to put it bluntly, a little miffed. A few weeks ago, Facebook asked me if I wanted to upgrade to a new profile design; I declined, cautiously but good-naturedly. The good-naturedness was slightly reduced after a couple of … Continue reading

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What is Important?

Is there, or can there ever be, a meaningful notion of ‘perspective’ in political discourse? Everyone knows that ‘a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic’ (a saying that cannot be accurately attributed to Joseph Stalin … Continue reading

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Extra Votes for Prisoners!

Phil has a nice post about the UK Labour Party attacking the government for plans for give (some) prisoners the right to vote. According to the no-doubt-honourable-Tory-MP Philip Davies, “It is totally unacceptable to allow prisoners the vote. The whole … Continue reading

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What’s the Rationale for Democracy?

Why do we live in ‘democracies’? And why should we want to? I’ve been watching a conversation recently about the uses/abuses of the word ‘democracy’. Norman Geras castigates Priyamvada Gopal, who demands “real democracy”, for “conflat[ing] political democracy with the … Continue reading

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