Why political views are shaped by our inner bee

Why political views are shaped by our inner bee

A few weeks ago hundreds of Afghans went on a violent rampage after some American troops accidentally burned a copy of the Koran. These protests dwarfed those that followed the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians two weeks later. To educated westerners this behaviour seemed primitive, to atheist ones positively bizarre. Yet as evolutionary psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains in this fascinating study of morals, politics and religion, this appeal to sanctity is innate, normal human behaviour. Humans, Haidt says, are “90… Read on

The rise of the super elite

The rise of the super elite

Charles Murray has produced a sociological study of America that should startle readers on both sides of the Atlantic. The political scientist has trawled through the statistics to paint a picture of how American society has changed from 1963 to 2008, and his conclusions are clear: that since the 1960s America’s society has cracked into three parts, with a broad middle class separating a super-rich elite and a growing underclass. Back in 1960, Murray argues, America was essentially a… Read on

Church as state

Church as state

The Canadian-born, British-educated, American-based Mark Steyn is the biggest of the big beasts of the Anglosphere conservative commentariat. He is one of the wittiest, most original and erudite of writers of this era, even if one of the more pessimistic. As one of the reviews of his last book put it, he’s the only person who can make the impending apocalypse laugh-outloud funny. That publication, America Alone, looked at the demographic implosion facing most of the western world; the sequel… Read on

Man is not great

Man is not great

God is having a hard time of it right now. With Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion already top of the British book charts and Michel Onfray’s In Defence of Atheism leading the French bestsellers, Christopher Hitchens now wades in with his own attack on the Almighty. A recently naturalised American, Hitchens comes from a mildly Anglican Hampshire family and was educated at a Methodist school, so he hardly suffered the sort of bells-smellsand-beatings upbringing that makes good misery memoir. Yet… Read on

Let’s hear it for the Terror 



Let’s hear it for the Terror 



It is often said that if you are not a socialist at twenty, you don’t have a heart, and that if you are one at forty, you don’t have a head. Anyone who has read Mark Steel’s Reasons To Be Cheerful , a wry look at his small part in the anti-Thatcher movement of the early 1980s, will know he certainly had a heart. And those who read his latest work will soon realise that, though he has a fine… Read on