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FACTFULNESS, MODERNITY, & ENTERPRISE

Posted by on Oct 8, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

FACTFULNESS, MODERNITY, & ENTERPRISE

Chimpanzees greatly outperform our well-educated elites in their knowledge of important world trends.  So says – indeed, so proves – the late Swedish doctor and researcher Hans Rosling in his excellent book Factfulness. Both the general public and the elites get the answers to his questions badly wrong, and often the more highly-placed the respondents, the worse they do. The book turns received wisdom entirely on its head, and also explains, with an admirable avoidance of bile and blame, why we misunderstand the truth completely. Rosling...

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IT’S ONLY ROCK & ROLL – BUT I LIKE IT

Posted by on Sep 24, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

IT’S ONLY ROCK & ROLL – BUT I LIKE IT

And now for something completely different.  Does pop music – and popular culture generally – herald the end of Western civilization? One man who believes it might do is the admirable Jonah Goldberg, whose Suicide of the West I have already reviewed favorably.  In one chapter of this book – Pop Culture Politics – he says some truly intriguing things.  He quotes Victor Hugo, who said “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words, and that which cannot remain silent.”  He could well have also quoted Plato – “A change to a new type of...

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CAN WE HAVE TOO MUCH INDIVIDUALISM?

Posted by on Sep 10, 2019 in Blog | 4 comments

CAN WE HAVE TOO MUCH INDIVIDUALISM?

Earlier this week I was treated to a little brain stimulation by a visit from Kate Andrews and Darren Grimes of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London.  We walked in the country lanes of the Algarve (Portugal) together with Sooty, our black Labrador.  On one walk we took to asking each other questions, and one that Darren asked was the relationship of individualism to community.  Were they in tension, opposed to each other, or complementary? “I don’t think you can have too much individualism,” was Kate’s immediate answer.  Clear,...

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KOCH’S GUIDE TO CYCLING SURVIVAL IN AMSTERDAM

Posted by on Aug 27, 2019 in Blog | 2 comments

KOCH’S GUIDE TO CYCLING SURVIVAL IN AMSTERDAM

In Lisbon I lasted only three hours before I crashed over a raised tram line, went over the bike, broke my left arm, and ended up in the hospital (a real education, but that’s another story).  I may be tempting fate, but I’ve now been in Amsterdam a month, cycling every day out to a fantastically wide canal with the largest barges I’ve ever seen, and a lovely bridge where I can gaze at the ducks and swans, pick blackberries, and even – so two handsome ladies on bikes told me – see a ringed snake in the bushes and water. Here is my cycling...

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SUICIDE OF THE WEST

Posted by on Aug 13, 2019 in Blog | 3 comments

SUICIDE OF THE WEST

WHAT IS DIFFERENT FROM 2006? In 2006 former Culture Minister Chris Smith and I argued that the West was in danger of committing suicide, but the jury was still out.  “Down one road, the road currently bearing more traffic, lies cynicism, unmitigated selfishness, indifference, re-centralization and aggression … Down the other road lies a recovery of our nerve – confidence in ourselves and our culture; emotional unity within America and within Europe, and between Europe and America, and with other European settlements, a society and...

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SUICIDE OF THE WEST

Posted by on Jul 30, 2019 in Blog | 3 comments

SUICIDE OF THE WEST

THE KOCH-SMITH VERSION Last time we peeked at the Jonah Goldberg version of Suicide of the West.  Now it’s time for the version of the same title published thirteen years ago by myself and Chris Smith, the former Labour Culture Minister and now the Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge. What is striking is the similarity of message, though of course the words and reasoning are different.  Lord Smith and I made three simple points: First, Western civilization has created something no previous civilization has managed – an immensely rich...

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SUICIDE OF THE WEST

Posted by on Jul 16, 2019 in Blog | 2 comments

SUICIDE OF THE WEST

THE JONAH GOLDBERG VERSION In 2006, Chris Smith, former British Culture Minister and now The Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, and I published Suicide of the West.  In this post I look at the same title published in 2018 by Jonah Goldberg.  It’s a fine book and I hope you will read it.  To whet your appetite – and in case you are sadly too busy to read a wide-ranging, discursive, fat book – I’ve boiled it down to what I think are its four cardinal ideas.  (Direct quotes are in italics. I have sometimes compressed the text without using … marks.)...

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SHOULD WE GIVE UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Posted by on Jul 2, 2019 in Blog | 4 comments

SHOULD WE GIVE UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

The question came into my mind just now when reading some words written in 1944 from a Nazi prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Where self-respect is abandoned, where the feeling for human quality and the power of reserve decay, chaos is at the door.  Where impudence is tolerated for the sake of material comfort, self-respect is abandoned, the flood-gates are opened … That is a crime against humanity. In other ages it may have been the duty of Christians to champion the equality of all men.  Our duty today, however, is passionately to defend the...

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SUPERIOR STRATEGY = DIFFERENT STRATEGY

Posted by on Jun 18, 2019 in Blog | 5 comments

SUPERIOR STRATEGY = DIFFERENT STRATEGY

One of the pleasures of being an author who’s written several books is that you can occasionally go back and re-read previous works, and, if they are any good, it’s really surprising how much you can teach yourself!  Today I picked up a book of mine I haven’t re-read for ages – it’s called Smart Strategy, and even though I say so myself, it’s quite fun! This post concentrates on an early section whose message is summed up in the equation – superior strategy = different strategy.  I’ve summarized and changed it a bit to pack it into blog-post...

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AN OLDIE & SHORTY BUT GOODY: THE VON MANSTEIN MATRIX

Posted by on Jun 4, 2019 in Blog | 2 comments

AN OLDIE & SHORTY BUT GOODY: THE VON MANSTEIN MATRIX

“There are only four types of officer.  First, there are the lazy, stupid ones.  Leave them alone – they do no harm.  Second, there are the hard-working intelligent ones.  They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered.  Third, there are the hard-working, stupid ones.  These people are a menace and must be fired at once.  They create irrelevant work for everybody.  Finally, there are the intelligent lazy ones.  They are suited for the highest office.” If you want to win the rat race, here is some advice...

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