breaking news from the world of ideas

by Danielle Boxall
Thursday, 3
October 2019
Reaction
15:58

Marina Hyde’s selective feminism

Marina Hyde has nailed it again, and political Twitter is cock-a-hoop. Her bit about the Conservative Party conference was an instant hit, “the 2019 morale-boosting equivalent of singing We’ll Meet Again during the Blitz.” Cummings, Boris and Mark Francois all take a beating.

As do the attendees of the Bruges Group’s fringe event headlined by Francois:

“He’s amazing, isn’t he?” sighed the woman in the row behind me. I would estimate that at the Bruges Group, a scientific 83% of the women in the audience own cooking aprons printed with the torso of a French maid, would regard Boris Johnson disturbing their cobwebs as “a bit of fun”, and estimate there are between three and four units in an entire wine box. All of the above is the fault of 100% of the men at said event.
- Marina Hyde

Am I being po-faced, or is this little riff downright misogynistic?

For someone whose recent tweets include “Woman after woman after woman after woman has had to stand up tonight and plead with Boris Johnson to moderate his language for their own safety, and he just doubles down every time. What an absolutely hollowed-out human” – I think it’s fair to assume Marina considers herself an impeccable feminist. ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Thursday, 3
October 2019
Video
12:27

Tory MP: kleptocrat “bling” oligarchs should be unwelcome in London

Tory MP John Penrose – the PM’s “anti-corruption advisor” – made a splash at the Conservative Party conference by criticising the capitalist system in such strong terms that members in the audience complained that he sounds like a Labour MP. One quote in particular caught our eye:

You will see an incredible number of flash cars being driven by oligarchs who have got their money by stealing the GDP… They have swiped it. They are now crime lords, drug lords or kleptocrats and they have repatriated it to Britain and we have let them come into the country and they are living the high life, a really bling lifestyle, and they are some of the nastiest people on the planet and we are giving them houseroom.
- John Penrose

This is an interesting and under-explored issue. The Left tend to steer clear of it because it sounds anti-foreigner, and the Right steer clear because it sounds anti-wealth. It’s politically interesting because it’s a symptom of the liberal world order right in the heart of the cities that are supposedly the beneficiaries of it – quite apart from the ‘left-behind’ towns and people that have been the focus since Brexit. ...  Continue reading

by Peter Franklin
Thursday, 3
October 2019
Idea
08:07

Why do some people find more purpose in life than others?

In June, UnHerd ran a series of articles called Riven Britain, which looked beyond disparities of income to look at the other inequalities that divide us. For instance inequalities of accumulated wealth, wellbeing and the beauty of one’s surroundings. We also looked at geographical inequality and the profoundly unequal way in which people with learning disabilities are treated.

One inequality we didn’t mention, however, was what one might call existential inequality – between those who believe their lives have meaning and purpose and those who don’t.

A YouGov survey commissioned for a report by the libertarian Cato Institute reveals significant existential inequalities between Americans. ...  Continue reading

by Tom Chivers
Wednesday, 2
October 2019
Factcheck
14:01

My technology lesson for Boris

Boris Johnson referred in his conference speech to some world-leading British science and technology. And there is absolutely no doubt that we do, indeed, have some world-leading British science and technology.

But it’s worth looking a little more closely at the things he mentioned. His point was that Britain can do these amazing things, so why shouldn’t we be able to do Brexit? “I am fed up with being told that our country can’t do something,” he said.

“Thanks to British technology there is a place in Oxfordshire that could soon be the hottest place in the solar system: the Tokamak fusion reactor in Culham.” ...  Continue reading

by Giles Fraser
Wednesday, 2
October 2019
12:12

Chinese Christians face real danger

In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party banned the Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation technique practised by many tens of millions of people around the world. You may have seen some of its followers in the park, with their distinctive slow moving exercises and breathing regulation techniques. They don’t seem especially politically threatening. Nor does their general philosophy of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. A blend of Buddhism and Taoism, Falun Gong grew strongly in the 1990s, prompting the Communist Party to fear its potential as a threat to its hegemony, hence the ban and subsequent crackdown. ...  Continue reading

by Paul Embery
Wednesday, 2
October 2019
Reaction
07:26

‘Stop funding hate’ is a dangerous campaign

Sometimes the campaigns that appear the most unthreatening and innocuous turn out to present the greatest danger – the type that use high-minded language and sentiment in an effort to appear respectable and uncontroversial. It is easy to fall prey to their apparent sincerity, to be seduced by their eminent reasonableness.

One such campaign is ‘Stop Funding Hate’, which, so it tells us, is striving to make our media less racist, less bigoted, less, well, ‘hateful’. Who could possibly quibble with that? Except that this isn’t the campaign’s real intention at all. The most cursory examination of this outfit’s activities shows that its ultimate desire is to snuff out opinions it doesn’t like. And it does this by publicly naming and shaming companies which advertise in newspapers whose editorial line it disagrees with. Stop Funding Hate hopes that this negative exposure will force these companies to boycott those newspapers in the future, and that this in turn will compel editors to toe the line – or even force the newspapers to go out of business. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Tuesday, 1
October 2019
Idea
15:20

Why #MeToo is a Christian movement

Tom Holland’s Dominion is truly is an epic work, telling the story of how Christianity came to create the modern, western soul.

One of Holland’s central points is that Christianity was a sexual revolution, placing restraints on men’s sexual appetites whereas previously a powerful man might have taken any slave girl he liked while engaging in worshipping a bunch of rapists.

Now, as Paul had commanded, every human body was sacred.

Instincts taken for granted by the Romans had been recast as sin. Generations of monks and bishops, of emperors and kings, looking to tame the violent currents of human desire had laboured to erect great dams and dykes, to redirect their floodtide, to channel their flow. Never before had an attempt to recalibrate sexual morality been attempted on such a scale. Never before had one enjoyed such total success.
- Tom Holland, Dominion
 ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Tuesday, 1
October 2019
Video
12:58

Watch: UnHerd goes to Tory Conference

We found a quiet(ish) spot at Conference in Manchester to discuss whether, beyond Brexit, the Tory Party are really answering the demands of Brexit voters…