Should Governmental Policy Be Based On Ideology or Evidence?

Ideology –
“A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic
or political theory and policy”

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Guilt and Responsibility: Lessons from the Holocaust

If you shoot a person dead, you are rightly held accountable for their death. What happens though if you press a button to initiate a machine that shoots a person, are you just as responsible? How accountable are you if you are in the room at the same time that the process is occurring and you choose do nothing to stop it? Where does the responsibility for the death of a person begin and end?

In the late 1930’s and the early 1940’s Nazi Germany and its allies and satellite states embarked on a process of human extermination. The event we know as the Holocaust saw the most depraved and barbaric actions a human being is able to inflict upon another. Though exact figures are impossible to decide upon, approximately 11 million people were killed for being considered sub-human. Among them were the deaths of over six million Jews, as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis looked to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth.

In camps set up around central and eastern Europe, victims were transported to their deaths. The names of these camps will forever be etched in the history of the human race. A constant reminder of the cruelty that we as a species are capable of. Treblinka, Belzec, Buchenwald, Chelmno, Sobibor and Auschwitz are places that are considered as manifestations of pure evil. It is important to remember though, that evil did not create such suffering and destruction; humans did.

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Space Exploration: An Unnecessary Expenditure

With a population of 1.2 billion people, and with a recent election bringing a voter turnout of almost half of that, India holds the title of the “world’s largest democracy”. The sheer size of the population makes India an important figure on the global stage, and the existence of its own space exploration programme places it alongside the likes of China, Russia and the USA.

Both the size of its electorate, and the existence of its space programme, bring tremendous national pride to the nation and its inhabitants, but with roughly 30% of its 1.2 billion population in poverty it begs the question of why India has a national space exploration programme in the first place.

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Solzhenitsyn’s Third Way

From what little I have read of, and from, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he appears a highly acclaimed yet highly divisive character. He reminds me somewhat of Slavoj Zizek in the way that he cannot be pigeon-holed into one political school, and attacks aspects of both the left and the right within politics itself.

Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece Cancer Ward is a wonderfully poetic critique of the Communist Soviet Union. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and the further I progressed into the book, the deeper my appreciation grew for it.

One of the joys of reading great books are the different meanings and interpretations an individual can take from the text. What the book says to one person, may not reach the ears of another. Truly great books do not just tell a story through the words, and on the written lines, but they tell a story between the lines. The interpretation of words and phrases, the literary techniques in certain passages, the decision for the author to use a certain manner of speaking. There is a story within the story.

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Leave The House

It was Thomas Hobbes, in his book Leviathan, that declared without a state man is in a constant climate of struggle and fight. He called this the “state of nature” whereby it is a “war of all against all”. He makes a compelling argument for the coming together of all peoples, and the creation of a civil society and state. This society, and this state, was intended to protect men from a life that was otherwise “nasty, short and brutish”.

People were persuaded, coerced and sometimes forced to become members of the state because it was in their own interests. Who would want to face a life out in the wilderness, struggling to make ends meet? Under constant threat, with very little security? It seemed like an obvious decision to make. Lets step inside this “state”, lets live under its roof and lets prosper, together, as a society.

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