Category Archives: Society

Gay marriage rites

I think I am in favour of gay marriage, on balance, with some reservations. I would not wave placards in the street, or even change my vote on this issue.

Posted in Philosophy, Politics - national, Society | 100 Comments

The great globalisation slowdown mystery

Here’s something I only noticed while writing a short piece for INTHEBLACK magazine: the rise of globalisation is not only slowing down almost to a halt, but in some places (like the Netherlands) may have been slowing down since around … Continue reading

Posted in Economics and public policy, Interesting Graphs, Society | 23 Comments

More metadata musing

In answer to my post earlier today about the data retention bill, frequent commenter Patrick Fitzgerald made a rather important point about the data retention zeitgeist: Embrace the panopticon Ken, buy yourself a webcam, attach it to your head and … Continue reading

Posted in IT and Internet, Law, Society, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Where are we with Geo-Engineering in 2014?

Geo-engineering is increasingly looking like the only politically viable way of averting temperature rises above 2 degrees in the coming century. This is for three interlocking reasons: i) Any mayor country can try geo-engineering on its own without permission from … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Cultural Critique, Economics and public policy, Environment, Ethics, History, Life, Politics - international, Science, Society, Uncategorized | 108 Comments

An overarching theory of sexual abuse scandals

Ross Douthat in the New York Times presents a compelling theory about the waves of sexual abuse scandals, from Roman Catholicism to Rolf Harris to Rotherham. Remember that these scandals are scandalous precisely because their perpetrators all got away with … Continue reading

Posted in Society | 28 Comments

Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul? | Jesse McCarthy at The Point

In this marvellous essay, Jesse McCarthy puzzles over why there is “a bloody knot in the social fabric that is as vivid in Ferguson, Missouri today as it was in Baldwin’s Harlem half a century ago.” He starts with “Fifth … Continue reading

Posted in Politics - international, Race and indigenous, Society | Leave a comment

The Pell Principle: Mission will trump morality

The current inquiry into institutional child abuse holds some interesting lessons about the nature of religion, which I’ll stay clear of here. But it also holds a larger lesson about the ability of organisations to act morally and to act … Continue reading

Posted in regulation, Religion, Society | 20 Comments