Book Review: Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah
By Neil Lock
Although it was first published in 2006, I only recently became aware of this book. One advantage of being so late to the party is that I had plenty of reviews to look at, and so could judge what others think of the book before trying it. And the judgements were varied and interesting. Many of them, indeed, told me as much about the reviewers as they did about the book itself. Those on the political left tended to be dismissive of both its substance and its style. Of the rest, some seemed bemused by it, but many were enthusiastic. So, as the subject is in an area of great interest to me, I decided to read the book and add my twopennyworth.
Political community and the Anti-Enlightenment
By Neil Lock
It’s plain that there’s a lot wrong in politics today. Our prosperity, our lifestyles, our rights and freedoms and our sanity are all under assault by the political class and their hangers on. So today I’ll ask: What has gone wrong?
I’ll state my conclusions up front. I see two strands of mishap, which together have led to the present situation. The first is weakening of the bonds that ought to hold political communities together. This, I think, has led to the decline and consequent failure of the nation state as a political system. It has also aided the rise of internationalist and globalist schemes, such as the European Union and the United Nations.
The second strand is a climate of thought, shared by many in the political class and among their cronies, which rejects the values of the 17th- and 18th-century Enlightenment. It rejects ideas like human progress, reason and science, objective truth, universal natural law, tolerance of difference, and the rights and freedoms of the human individual. Instead, it resists progress, denies the value of facts and rational thought, promotes moral relativism, and aims to politicize everything and to impose a suffocating conformism on everyone.
Some Thoughts on Pacifism
By Neil Lock
Christian Michel has posed the question: “Is pacifism not only inept, but also morally abhorrent (evil everywhere should always be fought)?”
This question isn’t as simple as it sounds. For a start, my dictionary gives three different meanings of the word “pacifism.” (1) Opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes. (2) More specifically, refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds. (3) An attitude or policy of non-resistance. Read more
By Neil Lock
(Author’s Note. This is an updated and re-written version of my earlier paper “Diesel Fumes” on the same subject).
Back in April the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, introduced from the coming October a £10 a day “toxicity charge” for pre 2006 cars, both petrol and diesel, entering the current London congestion charge zone. He also set out plans for a London “Ultra Low Emissions Zone” (ULEZ) . From April 2019 (brought forward from September 2020), it will cost £12.50 per day to drive in this zone a diesel car first registered before September 2015, or a petrol car built before 2006. Furthermore, he plans to extend this zone to the area inside the North and South Circular roads by 2021.
For some time, I’ve been on the mailing list of Roger Helmer, the UKIP MEP. I have quite a lot in common with him. Through state funded scholarships, we both had unusual educations (and some would say “privileged,” though I’d disagree). We were both trained as mathematicians; and we have both rejected the prevailing political orthodoxy.
I’ve only been in the same room as Roger once – at an anti-EU meeting, at which he (and Sean Gabb) spoke, in the Conway Hall back in 2005. And I’m not comfortable with some of his views, notably his religious conservatism. Nevertheless, I regard him as a kindred spirit. So, I read what he writes in his e-mails. And when the moment is right, I’ll respond. Thus, this.
In his June newsletter, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be on the Internet yet, Roger announces his retirement from politics. (Another rat deserting the sinking ship!) But he also makes the effort to clarify what Brexit is about. And he does it excellently.
I’ve been critical of Donald Trump in the past. But just recently, he made the best decision he has yet made. Not just for Americans, but for all of us human beings.
I refer, of course, to his decision that the USA will exit the Paris climate “agreement.”
Anyone, who has looked at and understood the facts, knows that the “human emissions of carbon dioxide will cause catastrophic global warming” scare is, and always has been, a scam.
Donald Trump has got this issue right. Probably, he has done so for domestic US political reasons. But his decision has already started to echo around the world. And why? Because, all but uniquely for a politician in the last half century, he has supported truth against lies.
Well done, Donald. And all of us should follow his example.
To be found at https://libertarianpartyuk.com/manifesto-2017/
- The focus is medium term; on things like “the constitution,” an English parliament, procedures for complaints against government officials, and Swiss style referendums. Not bad ideas in themselves, but I don’t feel they are addressing today’s issues.
- The word “state” is given a capital S throughout. It doesn’t deserve one.
- I feel there is too much emphasis on matters military, and too much kindness towards military people.