A tale of two militias: finding the right label for the Oregon protests

When an armed group occupied a federal building in Oregon to protest against the US government’s land management, the media quickly seized on the word ‘militia’ to describe them. The Guardian
When an armed group occupied a federal building in Oregon to protest against the US government’s land management, the media quickly seized on the word ‘militia’ to describe them. The Guardian [More]

Generations of asylum seekers

With this family history behind me, questions of immigration are never far from my mind. I owe my existence to the generosity of the UK in taking in generations of refugees, as well as the kindness
With this family history behind me, questions of immigration are never far from my mind. I owe my existence to the generosity of the UK in taking in generations of refugees, as well as the kindness [More]

Gender politics of the generic “he”

There’s been a lot of talk lately about what pronouns to use for persons whose gender is unknown, complicated, or irrelevant. Options include singular they and invented, common-gender pronouns. Each
There’s been a lot of talk lately about what pronouns to use for persons whose gender is unknown, complicated, or irrelevant. Options include singular they and invented, common-gender pronouns. Each [More]

Threat Assessment II: Demons of Fear & Anger

Embed from Getty Images In the previous essay on threat assessment I looked at the influence of availability heuristics and fallacies that directly relate to errors in reasoning about statistics and
Embed from Getty Images In the previous essay on threat assessment I looked at the influence of availability heuristics and fallacies that directly relate to errors in reasoning about statistics and [More]

What are human rights?

On this anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is worth reflecting on the nature of human rights and what functions they perform in moral, political and legal
On this anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is worth reflecting on the nature of human rights and what functions they perform in moral, political and legal [More]

The meaning of “terrorism”

Anyone who saw the terror on the faces of the people fleeing the attacks in Paris last week will agree that terrorism is the right word to describe the barbaric suicide bombings and the shooting of
Anyone who saw the terror on the faces of the people fleeing the attacks in Paris last week will agree that terrorism is the right word to describe the barbaric suicide bombings and the shooting of [More]

GOP Closes Doors to Newborns

In a nearby possible world, the GOP politicians decrying refugees extended their arguments just a little further.  It went a little something like this..."Who in their right mind would want to
In a nearby possible world, the GOP politicians decrying refugees extended their arguments just a little further.  It went a little something like this..."Who in their right mind would want to [More]

Taxing the 1% III: The Avoidance Argument

View image | gettyimages.com As noted in previous essays on this topic, those with the highest income in the United States currently pay about 1/3 of their income in taxes. Some on the left
View image | gettyimages.com As noted in previous essays on this topic, those with the highest income in the United States currently pay about 1/3 of their income in taxes. Some on the left [More]

George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’

On 19 October 1945, George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay "You and the Atom Bomb," speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United
On 19 October 1945, George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay "You and the Atom Bomb," speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United [More]

Alabama & Voter ID

vot View image | gettyimages.com In 2011 Alabama passed a voter ID law that would go into effect in 2014. This sort of thing was usually subject to approval from the Justice Department, but the
vot View image | gettyimages.com In 2011 Alabama passed a voter ID law that would go into effect in 2014. This sort of thing was usually subject to approval from the Justice Department, but the [More]