breaking news from the world of ideas

by Peter Franklin
Thursday, 1
December 2022
Analysis
15:43

Sorry Maria Ressa, censoring speech won’t save democracy

The journalist suggested that we can only protect freedom by constraining it

Maria Ressa is a brave woman. Best known for her campaigning journalism against Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian government in her native Philippines, she has defied arrest and the threat of a long prison sentence. In 2021 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov. 

Her recent comments on the limits of free speech — for instance, in this interview with Stephen Colbert — therefore matter. The context is the blame she attaches to social media for Duterte’s rise to power. Generalising from the Philippines to other countries, including America, she argues that social media has “come in and used free speech to stifle free speech.” This was met with warm applause from Colbert’s audience of liberal Americans.  ...  Continue reading

by Joan Smith
Thursday, 1
December 2022
Reaction
12:58

Emily Bridges’s wild claims go unchallenged on ITV

The cyclist linked critics of trans athletes to the Colorado Springs atrocity

Few subjects are as contentious as the involvement of trans athletes in women’s sport. Pictures of the transgender American swimmer Lia Thomas towering over female athletes on the podium are a vivid illustration of the unfairness of allowing biological men to compete alongside women.

Or are they? According to ITV Wales, it isn’t the women we should feel sorry for. Earlier this week, the channel broadcast a documentary about a trans cyclist who wants to race against female athletes. ‘Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has opened up to ITV about her journey’, its Twitter account gushed. Beneath the tweet was a link to an interview with Bridges, which began uncompromisingly: ‘I’m a sister, a daughter, a partner, a friend, an athlete and a person.’ ...  Continue reading

by Ralph Schoellhammer
Thursday, 1
December 2022
Analysis
10:15

Germany’s new immigration law is doomed to fail

Olaf Scholz's proposal does not address the root causes of migration

In a planned reform of its immigration system, Germany has decided to make it easier for its migrant population to become German citizens. Call it a reverse-Sweden, if you will. At first glance, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s proposal seems quite reasonable — the country’s bureaucratic apparatus is tedious and makes it difficult to integrate new arrivals, even if they possess skills valuable for the labour market. 

After all, research institutions have estimated that the German economy would need approximately 400,000 qualified immigrants each year to keep the industry going and  — probably even more importantly — to ensure the sustainability of the pension system. ...  Continue reading

by Philip Pilkington
Thursday, 1
December 2022
Debate
07:00

Britons want a Net Zero referendum

After Brexit, could we see 'Netexit'?

Earlier this month, world leaders gathered in Egypt for the COP27 summit to discuss issues surrounding climate change. At the conference there was much talk of so-called Net Zero: the idea that we should reach a point where the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere is cancelled out by the amount of greenhouse gases the atmosphere can absorb.

Numerous world leaders are targeting Net Zero by 2050, which would require enormous changes in the way we live and consume. For example, as part of these plans, leaders want to phase out vehicles that use fossil fuels, meaning none can be sold after 2038. Given how reliant we are on these vehicles for both personal transport and supply chains, this would mean huge disruptions to the way we live — and, potentially, to our standard of living. ...  Continue reading

by Eric Kaufmann
Wednesday, 30
November 2022
Chart
16:00

Ethnic minorities are keeping Britain Christian

Without minority growth, the church would be in a dire condition

Britain is fast becoming a country dominated by people who don’t affiliate with Christianity, the latest census figures reveal. Fewer than half (46%) of residents of England and Wales ticked the ‘Christian’ box in 2021, compared to 59% in 2011 and 72% in 2001. The raw number of Christians fell from 33.3 million to 27.5 million, a loss of nearly 6 million souls. 

While the media has lumped Christian decline in with White British ethnic decline, the two are largely separate. In fact, ethnic minorities constitute a de-secularising force that is counteracting religious, including Christian, decline. Without minority growth, the church would be in an even more dire condition. ...  Continue reading

by Flo Read
Wednesday, 30
November 2022
Reaction
13:30

The healing humiliation of Matt Hancock

The MP's stint in the jungle was his most successful embarrassment yet

With Matt Hancock’s departure from the Australian jungle in third place, his reputation (we are informed by YouGov) has been enhanced among British voters. He’s not suddenly a popular figure, but 14% of the population have a more favourable view of him now than they did before, which when you’re Matt Hancock is a welcome move in the right direction. The ritual humiliation of his stint on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here seems to have done the trick.

Six nights a week we were treated to a carnival of social and corporeal mortification. The other contestants gleefully participated in the flogging. They hated Hancock and they didn’t hide it. Even Boy George, a man jailed for chaining an escort to a radiator, didn’t accept him: “I find him slimy, I find him slippery.” He had to shower next to a Hollyoaks hunk and wear spandex shorts beside Mike Tindall. When he wasn’t being bitten by snakes in the challenges, Hancock was being stung by a wild scorpion that had wandered into the camp. The producers hardly had to try. Every flora and fauna in that jungle was out to get him. Evidently the British public would, even in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, spend their wages on votes to torture him. Some trials were biblical (swarms of flies and plagues of rats), some visceral (vats of rotting meat and a camel’s anus) and some downright cruel (chatting to Chris Moyles). ...  Continue reading

by UnHerd Staff
Wednesday, 30
November 2022
Video
11:56

John Mearsheimer: The West is playing Russian roulette

We are screwed, says the realist foreign policy scholar

Chicago professor and political theorist John Mearsheimer joined UnHerd‘s Freddie Sayers in Westminster this week. The world-famous scholar of realism had just returned from Hungary, where he met with Viktor Orbán to discuss the war in Ukraine. In the studio, he defended his controversial take on Putin’s motives and warned that America is losing sight of the greater threat: China.

Read a full write-up of their interview here.

by Oliver Bateman
Wednesday, 30
November 2022
Explainer
10:44

The secret to Liver King’s success? Steroids

A leaked email reveals the dark side of the fitness industry

Over the course of the past year, an “ancestral fitness” personality named Brian “Liver King” Johnson has become a ubiquitous presence on the internet. Skyrocketing from relative obscurity to become an influencer with millions of followers, this short, thickly-bearded, heavily-tanned, and always-shirtless man cuts an impressive figure who belies his 45 years. 

He attributes his eye-catching physique to the consumption of raw organ meats and testicles in conjunction with an “ancestral lifestyle” built on nine tenets (“wins,” “primals,” “move,” “eat,” “cold,” and so on). Even as his fame grew and high-profile people in the sports and fitness world, like podcaster Joe Rogan, accused him of steroid use, the Liver King merely said he was glad famous people were talking about him. At the same time, he adamantly maintained that performance-enhancing drugs played no role in the development of his physique — which he claimed to have been building since he was a teenager. ...  Continue reading