Category Political Philosophy

On the ‘moral’ objection to a basic income: are humans ‘hard wired’ to work?

The Conservative MP Nick Boles generated some headlines before Christmas for his denunciation of a universal basic income: the increasingly fashionable proposal that all citizens should receive a fixed cash benefit from the government. His argument is fairly glib (I have to wonder if he genuinely believes he’s satisfactorily dealt with the issue in just […]

Another way 2016 revealed democracy’s fallibility

2016, I think it’s fair to say, has not been a good year for confidence in democracy. Brexit, Trump and the various ructions to come have reawakened some of the oldest arguments in political theory: that democracy doesn’t work. David Van Reybrouck ruminates on the poor quality of debate in democracy. Arguments abound that the […]

What should voters look for in their politicians?

Amidst the political chaos of the past few months, some have taken the opportunity to reflect on what it all means for democracy. In particular, the question of whether individual Members of Parliament are bound to permit Britain’s exit from the European Union because their voters supported it has led to a number of reflections […]

Thatcher was right, there’s no such thing as society – but that doesn’t mean abandoning individuals to their fate

Will Haydock has written a stimulating post about culture, individualism and alcohol policy. He asks whether there is any point discussing drinking ‘cultures’ in an individualistic neoliberal political environment. He spends a bit of time reflecting on the notorious Margaret Thatcher remark that exemplifies this sentiment, the claim that “There is no such thing as […]

An ideological split in the Labour Party?

This post expands on some of the ideas explored in this discussion with Jolyon Maugham regarding this post by Colin Talbot – read those and you’re up to date Colin Talbot’s recent post on the future of the Labour party suggests that it is on course “for an all out civil war between its social […]

Open borders are not undemocratic, but maybe they should be

There is a vital difference between the appropriate procedure for making a decision and the substance of that decision. Yet this distinction is often overlooked. Suppose we are deciding what type of pizza to get for dinner. You might say, ‘we should put it to a vote’. That is your opinion on the best procedure, […]

Does Effective Altruism entail Socialism?

Julian Baggini raises an interesting question in his recent interview with Peter Singer on Effective Altruism: namely, what would an Effective Altruist economy look like? Baggini suggests that if most or all people became effective altruists, the result would economically ruinous, and therefore counterproductive: Then there is the argument that giving up all our relative […]