Ian Mortimer’s magnificent new book ‘Centuries of Change’ describes the myriad ways in which European societies have been transformed over the past thousand years. The following blogs summarise Mortimer’s work and ask just how much progress have we made? This first post takes us up to the end of the seventeenth century. Continue reading
On 24 October 1945 the United Nations Organisation was formally inaugurated during a short ceremony at the US State Department in Washington, when twenty nine countries ratified the United Nations Charter. This post celebrates the most significant of the United Nations’ achievements – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Continue reading
“The real drama since 1776 has been the relentless attack of the prosperous few upon the rights of the restless many.” Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is a political activist whose criticisms of U.S. foreign policy are often controversial. An advocate for popular struggle to achieve real democracy, he is also scathing in his critique of what passes for democracy in the U.S.
In this post I outline three of the key positions that Chomsky has held for decades and invite you to comment on these controversial but crucial issues. Do you agree with Chomsky that this really is how the world works?
Human history can be seen as a centuries-long struggle between two distinct types of human being – the psychologically normal majority of humanity who are capable of altruism and compassion, and a small psychologically disordered minority whose pathology renders them capable only of violence and greed. For most of history, and in many places still, the ruthlessness of the pathological minority has allowed them to dominate the psychologically normal majority.
The psychology of psychopaths and narcissists kills the spirits of normal human beings. Exploitation, subjugation, dehumanisation, hypocrisy, hatred, and fear are the basis on which they order the societies they control. Soul murder, alongside physical murder, is the hallmark of their reign. Given this reality, the leaders who inspire us most are those who recognise that the struggle for democracy is both a political and a spiritual one. Such leaders strive to fulfil our collective longing for a political system that protects the dignity of every individual. One such leader is Aung San Suu Kyi. Continue reading
Failure of leadership is arguably the greatest curse afflicting our world. Too many countries are cursed still by leaders who oppress their people, make a mockery of the institutions of government, and cling to power regardless of the cost in lives lost and suffering inflicted. As a result, our humanity is degraded by psychopathic leaders incapable of looking beyond their own narcissistic self-importance.
As author Dov Seidman has written, the world craves genuine leadership – leaders with moral authority who have the ability to elevate us and enlist us in a shared journey. Nelson Mandela was such a leader. And he was such a leader precisely because his behaviour was the antithesis of psychopathic leadership. Continue reading
Racism as the Norm in Human History
I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die Nelson Mandela
Today Nelson Mandela is honoured as a hero and the anti-Apartheid campaign he led is celebrated as having ended an appalling injustice. But for most of history the racist beliefs against which he fought were almost universally accepted in white societies. In the broader sweep of history, Mandela will be remembered for helping to bring an end to the belief that people are inferior because of the colour of their skin. Continue reading
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the world’s first and only global court to adjudicate crimes against humanity. But leaders of Sudan and Kenya, who have inflicted terror and fear across their countries, are trying to drag Africa out of the ICC, allowing them the freedom to kill, rape, and inspire hatred without consequences. Continue reading