3 Stoic Lessons that could help Heal our Toxic Political Culture

Philosophy, Politics

Emotional. Tribal. Irrational. These are just three adjectives which could be applied to the political discourse of the 21st century. Both in the United States and Europe, discussions have reverted from constructive criticism and mutual understanding to name-calling, de-platforming, and retreats into echo chambers. None of this is particularly useful for a pluralistic society.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Back in the days of Ancient Rome and Greece, the founding fathers of the stoic school of philosophy taught the importance of clear-mindedness and rationalism in the development both of the self and of society. Here a three of these lessons which now, more than ever, need to be relearned.

Britain’s Political Homeless

Britain, Politics

In two-party democracies such as ours in the UK, true representation can become a tricky thing to achieve. Voters are often left to choose whomever they perceive to be the lesser of two evils, and third-parties can seldom achieve any real power in Westminster (the exception of course being the Liberal Democrat’s short-lived stint between 2010 and 2015). Indeed, democracy in Britain has long been criticised for its inability to provide real representation to its citizens.

Since When is Free Speech a ‘Right-Wing’ Idea?

Philosophy, Society

It’s not uncommon that certain ideals will have a political bias attached to them. The immigration debate, for instance, has long taken a left-vs-right structure, as has the gun debate. You can usually make an educated guess at someone’s political leanings based on the positions they take on certain issues.

But today, many seem to think this applies to one of the most fundamental pillars of democratic society; the right to free speech. Not only has the freedom to express oneself somehow become a controversial issue, but some people now see taking a pro-freedom stance on speech as evidence that one is somehow a right-winger.

This perception is both false and problematic. Why, then, has free speech suddenly become a facet of the right?

Over-regulation and Medical Ethics don’t Mix

Philosophy, Politics

Few transactions require quite so high a degree of trust as those between medical professionals and their patients. In placing their lives and wellbeing in the hands of doctors, patients must forgo a certain degree of bodily autonomy to a another. To ensure that this trust is not abused, doctors have for years taken a promise to put the wellbeing of the patient above all else. This promise is, of course, the Hippocratic Oath.

3 things you can do in the UK at 16 (And 3 things you can’t)

Britain, Society

Recently, many supermarkets in the UK have voluntarily decided to impose a ban on selling highly-caffeinated energy drinks to children under the age of 16. In an interesting turn of events, the retailers themselves have decided to self-restrict in this manner, without the state’s usual heavy-handed imposition.

This is really a first for the UK, whose government is usually chomping at the bit when it comes to controlling our decisions. Be it protecting us from the dangers of cigarette packaging, or the second-largest party suggesting a ban on junk food commercials, or simply taxing all of our favourite vices to death, Britain is usually the European flag-bearer of nanny statism.

The unique British brand of state interference, however, has left teens in the UK with some rather juxtaposing freedoms. Here are three fun things you can do as a British 16-year-old (and three things you can’t).

The Paradox of Levelling the Playing Field in the Name of Equality

Society

Concepts of equality have long formed the keystones of Western philosophies. Revolutions have been fought in the name of equality, our courts are built around the idea that we are all equal before the law, and activists have spent the last century working to break down the systematic inequalities affecting our societies.

Why ‘Maximum Pressure’ on North Korea Will Only Strengthen the Regime

Economics, Politics

Last Friday, President Trump announced a new wave of sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to curtail the smuggling that goes on between the hermit state and its neighbours, China and Russia.

This comes as part of Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ campaign, espoused by his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump to the South Korean President, whereby the administration hopes to coerce the DPRK into ceasing its nuclear programmes.

The problem is that economic sanctions have consistently failed to achieve cooperation from North Korea, and they’re unlikely to do so now.