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.
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.
Freedom of speech is undoubtedly one of the most important features of any democratic society. Without it, knowledge could not be shared, injustices could not be called out, and the marketplace of ideas would be reduced to a single, miserable stall. Yet the state seems to need constant reminding of the importance of free expression; to them, it always seems to take second place.
Scotland will become the world’s first country to set minimum prices for alcoholic beverages, following a clearance for the law by the Supreme Court. Beginning in May 2018, vendors shall be legally required to charge at least 50 pence-per-unit. To put this into perspective, an average 750ml bottle of wine contains 10 units; Scottish vendors will thus be unable to sell bottles of wine for any cheaper than £5.00.
The idea behind minimum pricing is that the cheap, strong booze popular amongst alcoholics and teenagers will be less easily attainable, thus reducing alcohol-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths.
In reality, minimum pricing is likely going to do more harm than good.
North Korea could, arguably, be considered the nation-state equivalent of a time-capsule; a society perpetually stuck in the cold-war era. For all the hermit state has been discussed, it is seldom (if ever) noted for progression, growth, or change of any sort.
Education used to be the realm of the wealthy aristocracy; to be educated was to be rich, while the impoverished masses remained illiterate and ignorant. Today it’s a human right of every child, as enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.