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Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Credit: Frank Augstein/PA)

“It is fatal to look hungry. It makes people want to kick you.”

George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

Back in October, I wrote an article about how British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his party refused to feed children dependent on free school meals over the school holidays in the midst of the UK’s second national lockdown. It wasn’t until footballer Marcus Rashford challenged them that they made a U-turn. …


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James Madison

After the siege of the Capitol, the question remains, is American Democracy doomed? And to answer that question one must go back to the Founding Fathers — namely John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.

These three wrote a series of articles to sway public opinion towards the creation of a unified nation of states through the Constitution and a strong national Government, you may have heard of it, its called the United States of America. These articles, known as the Federalist Papers, outlined what Hamilton, Jay, and specifically Madison, saw as the prospective dangers to democracy. Key amongst them were factions. When different groups of people with different interests start yelling at each other, everything sort of devolves into chaos — and this is what America has become, a country of factions. The Federalist Papers were written before the official unification of America. …


American Civil War Round Two?

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(Credit: Leah Millis/ Reuters)

Not even a week into 2021 and we already have another history defining moment happening before our eyes — as if 2020 didn’t provide enough content already for history degrees for years to come. So, the question on all our lips, both in and outside of the US, is: what is going on in America?

What Happened?

On Wednesday 6th of January 2021,at 12 pm EST, President Trump, the tyrant in the toupee, made a speech in Washington, asserting his false claim (that had been proven false by the Supreme Court), of widespread election fraud. I mean, its hardly surprising is it? I don’t know about you, but I never thought Trump would go quietly. Trump said in his Washington speech, “We will never give up. We will never.” However, his Vice President, Mike Pence, seemed to have other ideas, refusing to overturn the results of the election, and refusing Trumps demands to send the electoral college votes back to the state. Seems Pence has at least a tiny semblance of respect for the democratic process. …


And That’s Ok

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Albert Camus (Henri Cartier-Bresson: Decisive Moments, Santa Monica: Peter Fetterman Gallery, 2015, pl. 16)

I suppose this article should begin with a sort of disclaimer. It is going to be dealing with depression and suicide, and is going to be heavily existential and nihilistic (can you blame me? I’ve been reading Camus).

Almost everybody has been kept up at night asking themselves ‘what is the point?’ Why do we keep getting up every morning? We know that all things end, yet we continue to live: why? Some call this nihilism, but that term does not just mean believing in nothing, but actually refers to a variety of philosophical, psychological, and ethical positions. Though all forms of nihilism differ, they all originated from the basic premise that there is no meaning, value, or order in life. Nihilism was first coined at the end of the 18th Century by German philosopher Friedrich Jacobi in response to Enlightenment reason, which he feared would explain away the conditions of religion. The Enlightenment’s rationalist approach would explain away any spaces for uncertainty and mystery, rendering everything as knowable. …


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You are an actor, but I’ll let you in on a secret…so is everyone you know, and even the people you don’t know. The random strangers you pass on the street or see on the bus, even me. We are all performing, and not in the arts-y “all the world’s a stage” type way. We are all inauthentic, everything we do is formed and shaped by others — the things we say, what we enjoy doing, how we behave — its all to woo the audience. Who is the audience you might ask? Each other, and ourselves.

Take virtue signalling as an example. Virtue signalling is what happens when deliberate performances collide with ‘hot-button’ social issues, it is to disingenuously engage in social issues, not out of genuine concern, but to promote our own self-image. That being said, we don’t all virtue signal. We are actors, but we don’t all use the same techniques. It is a real phenomenon but it has become a catch-all term to label anyone who cares about anything a fraud, and almost anything can be called virtue signalling. The truth is that we live in a post-truth world, where we don’t trust anyone to stand for anything for the right reasons. But virtue signalling doesn’t just occur on an individual level, often someone’s identity or a social issue is used for profit in the form of advertising strategies. …


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J.R.R. Tolkien

The world is in a crisis…more than one. Of course, we are currently in a global pandemic, but there is also a refugee crisis, racial tensions across the globe, multiple human rights violations, climate breakdown, a housing shortage, mass unemployment and international economic and moral depression…yup that’s 2020 alright. We all wish we had 2020 vision so we could have predicted this and seen it coming, but only one man did predict it, and he’s been dead since the 70s. That man was the famous author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien.


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Everything we do produces a digital footprint, because, like it or not, we live in a digital age. If we swipe our credit card to buy a sandwich, or if we drive to our friend’s house, we are in a state of constant surveillance. It seems like everything we do feeds the Big Data beast, but why? Why are data giants like Google or Facebook so hungry to get hold of our private information and our metadata? What are they using it for? Will we ever have real private lives again? What is privacy in the digital world? What happens when capitalism and surveillance become one? …


The Human Steam-Engine

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Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford’s appeal to the Government to extend the holiday food vouchers for school children has been rejected by the Government. Yes — you heard that right — this Government is refusing to feed children during a Pandemic, going into one of of the harshest winters Britain will have ever experienced. Rashford, who has recently received an MBE for his services to vulnerable children, initially had to force the Tory Government into making the U-Turn to feed children back in June — their reluctance to feed them is nothing new.

But why? Why would anyone refuse to put food into the stomachs of impoverished children? Well according to a № 10 Spokesperson, “We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic when schools were partially closed during lockdown. We’re in a different position now with schools back open to all pupils.” The spokesman continues, “It’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays. We believe the best way to support families outside of term time is through Universal Credit rather than Government subsidising meals.” This is a strange stance to take, not only for the obviously immoral message, but because this is the same Government that just until a few months ago had a policy all about subsidising meals, the ‘Eat out to Help out’ scheme — whereby those eating in restaurants on certain days would see the price of their meals reduced — and as previously mentioned already had a scheme in place to feed hungry school kids over the holidays. One thinks that the Eat out to Help out scheme was simply to boost the economy, especially as this scheme was a key factor in the 2nd wave of Covid we are now experiencing. …


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Al-Jazari’s illustration for the elephant clock

The Golden Age of Islam was a time of prosperity and advancement. With Islam as their driving force, Muslim scholars excelled in literature, science, and above all, technology. Due to the scientific advancements of Islamic societies, technology become not just a useful tool, but a symbol of wealth, and even to a higher degree, a thing of art. And nowhere is this more evident than in the work of Ismail Al-Jazari, a Muslim engineer with a deep understanding of Utilitarian technology. And the most amazing thing about Al-Jazari’s many inventions, as we shall soon see, is the fact he came up with them all in the 12th Century, years before the Industrial Revolution. …


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Imagine the political spectrum plotted out on a graph, the two ends of the horizontal x-axis representing the left and the right, and the two ends of the vertical y-axis representing authoritarianism and libertarianism. The Overton Window is a small square around the centre of the graph over the origin that describes the range of views currently acceptable and tolerated by society, whilst excluding those that are considered radical or extreme. Its inventor, Joseph Overton, believed any political idea can be implemented even if it seems absolutely socially unacceptable at that moment — the only thing you need is the right strategy and enough time. For Overton, whether a political idea is feasible or not doesn’t depend on the beliefs of politicians, but rather on the range of socially acceptable ideas. Over time, the window can shrink or expand, occurring under the natural influence of public opinion and cultural change, or by premeditated manipulation. …

About

Adam De Salle

I am a young writer interested in providing the intellectual tools to those in the political trenches so that they may fight their battles well-informed.

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