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FACTFULNESS, MODERNITY, & ENTERPRISE

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...

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IT’S ONLY ROCK & ROLL – BUT I LIKE IT

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...

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CAN WE HAVE TOO MUCH INDIVIDUALISM?

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...

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KOCH’S GUIDE TO CYCLING SURVIVAL IN AMSTERDAM

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...

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SUICIDE OF THE WEST

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...

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SUICIDE OF THE WEST

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...

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