Month: May 2015

How can the British live with their electoral system?

I woke up to some bad news on the morning of May 8th.: an unexpectedly decisive victory for the Conservatives, who proved all the polls wrong and ended up with an actual majority. I’m not British and I don’t live in the UK, but I did grow up there and still take an interest in British politics. Furthermore, the neoliberal wave which started with Ronald Reagan and was enthusiastically welcomed by his friend Margaret Thatcher, did not stop at the English Channel. What happens in the UK is very relevant for anyone living in Europe. For whatever reason, this news made me angry, so it was time for a serious rant… (more…)

Bertrand Russell : The Ethics of War

This essay, which was written exactly a century ago in 1915, with the First World War in full swing, asks the question whether war is ever justified, and if so under what circumstances. Knowing that Bertrand Russell’s pacifism had cost him six months in Brixton Prison in 1918, I didn’t expect any surprises here – but in that I was much mistaken. He makes it plain from the start that he does not consider the current war justified, but neither does he take “the extreme Tolstoyan view that war is under all circumstances a crime”. He is a utilitarian, and considers that war is justified if it is for the good of mankind as a whole, a viewpoint which can lead to some (for me) unexpected consequences… (more…)