Author Archives: Neil Lock

On Justice


On Justice

By Neil Lock

Like “equality,” which I discussed recently, the word “justice” is used with different meanings by those of differing political opinions. I thought it might be of interest to compare and contrast some of these meanings, and to offer my own ideas on the subject too.

Read more

Advertisements

On Equality


On Equality

By Neil Lock

 

“Equality” is a word often heard in political discourse. But those of differing views tend to use it with incompatible and even opposing meanings. So today, I’m going to look at different ways in which the word “equality” is used in a political context. And I’ll try to elucidate my own view on the matter.

Read more

Bottom up versus top down


Bottom up versus top down

By Neil Lock

Today, I’m going to look at two diametrically opposed ways of thinking, and at the practitioners of those two ways. One way, I call bottom up; the other, top down.

Bottom up thinking is like the way we build a house. Starting from the ground, we work upwards, using what we’ve done already as support for what we’re working on at the moment. Top down thinking, on the other hand, starts out from an idea that is a given. It then works downwards, seeking evidence for the idea, or to add detail to it, or to put it into practice.

These two opposed methods bear on far more than just the way we think. The idea of bottom up versus top down can be applied to many dimensions of our lives. It can be applied to our overall world view, and to our views on religion. To how we seek knowledge. To our ethical and political views. To our conception of government and law. To our opinions on economics and environment. To how we communicate with others. To our views on education and media; and many more. Bottom up versus top down isn’t a single scale of (say) 0 to 100, but a multi-dimensional space, in which each individual’s position is represented on many different axes.

Read more

Book Review: Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah


Book Review: Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah

By Neil Lock

September 2017

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.

Read more

Political community and the Anti-Enlightenment


Political community and the Anti-Enlightenment

By Neil Lock

September 2017

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.

Read more

Some thoughts on pacifism


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

« Older Entries