The spread of democracy has been one of the most profound political changes in human history, and provides an indispensable defence against those who abuse power by oppressing others. But as many pseudo-democracies attest, elections on their own provide only a weak and often impotent defence. In many countries today that are deemed to be democratic, elections are simply a sham used by leaders to legitimise autocratic rule. The fundamental pillar upon which democracy must rest, and without which it becomes a mockery of itself, is the rule of law. Continue reading →
Nationalism and religion are making a comeback in the United Kingdom. In a recent article in The Church Times, David Cameron claimed that Britain is a Christian nation, and urged Christians to be more evangelical about their faith. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) meanwhile, is riding high in the polls and gained seats in councils and the European parliament with its message that the UK, having all the resources it needs within its borders to thrive in our globalised world, should withdraw from Europe and close Britain’s borders to immigration. Continue reading here.
In the second part of my recent interview on Doug Bennett’s radio show ‘Unspun: An Experiment in Truth Telling’ we discuss the danger of nuclear war, how religion can be exploited by psychopaths, how thugs often take over when crises hit, and what societies can do to protect us from people with dangerous personality disorders. This blog contains extracts from part 2 of the interview, which can be heard in full here. Continue reading →
I’m just back from the MatchPoints Seminar on ‘The Culture of Politics, Economics and International Relations’, in Aarhus, Denmark, where I gave a presentation on ‘Culture as Defence against Pathological Elites’. A number of interesting questions came up again and again over the four days of the conference. Is progress inevitable? Are human rights a western invention? Does modernisation have to mean westernisation? Continue reading →
The biggest danger to our rights today is not from government acting against the will of the majority but from government which has become the mere instrument of this majority…. Wrong will be done as much by an all-powerful people as by an all-powerful prince.
When psychopaths and people with other dangerous personality disorders hold power, the result is political tyranny. Continue reading →
This week’s election in Pakistan marks the first transfer of power from one democratically elected civilian government to another in the country’s 66-year history. The challenge for new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is to build on this landmark event and create a peaceful democratic society in Pakistan. He will find that holding elections was the easy bit. Continue reading →