Category Archives: Behaviour

The Sentimentality of David Brooks…

The English poet and critic T.E. Hulme once wrote, of religion, that he did not “put up with the dogma for the sake of the sentiment” but preferred to “swallow the sentiment for the sake of the dogma”. This was a … Continue reading

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On Compassion…

I recently enjoyed a holiday in the beautiful Polish city of Gdansk: known for the grim shipyards where Lech Wałęsa first led striking Polish workers in their opposition to the communist regime but also boasting grand old churches, elegant streets … Continue reading

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Ménage à Terrible…

Laura Smith, in the Guardian, romanticises the open relationship of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. She approvingly quotes the author of The Second Sex‘s claim that it was the “one undoubted success in my life” and concludes that “there … Continue reading

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Give Me the Damn Marshmallow…

Death of a Gentleman is a good film exploring the corruption of the International Cricket Council. Money-mad officials from the big three nations – India, England and Australia – have been throttling test cricket in their own self-interest. It is … Continue reading

Posted in Behaviour, Bias, Psychology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What is Virtue Signalling?

“Virtue signalling” is a phrase more de riguer among political pundits than “YOLO” was among the youth. Apparently coined by James Bartholomew in the Spectator it has since been deployed by everyone from the Daily Mail‘s professional overexposer Liz Jones … Continue reading

Posted in Behaviour, Ideology | 11 Comments

Conquest’s First Law…

The historian Robert Conquest died yesterday. One thing he was famous for, as well as writing poems and exposing Soviet tyranny, was his “Three Laws of Politics”: the first of which was “everyone is conservative about what he knows best”. … Continue reading

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On the Perils of Being an Intellectual Outlaw…

I still like Christopher Hitchens. No, really, I do, and I say that despite disagreeing with almost all of his opinions: the one-size-fits-all liberal internationalism; the reckless interventionism; the dogmatic atheism and the socialist nostalgia. I say that despite disliking … Continue reading

Posted in Behaviour, Belief, Ideology | 1 Comment

The Social Anti-Social Animal…

Inside humans is a deep fear of loneliness and a deep need to connect with others. Some choose the life of a hermit but they are exceptions. It is men who are most proud of their independence, indeed, who most … Continue reading

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Varieties of Narcissism…

Self-hatred is not humility; it is, in fact, a cousin of self-love as both are descended from self-obsession. Rather than being exceptionally great one is exceptionally bad. Neither assertion, in most cases, is a true one. This has political as … Continue reading

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Nightmares of an Eminent Person…

Ray Monk’s biography of Bertrand Russell’s later life, The Ghosts of Madness, is among the most depressing books that I have ever read. For readers who think of Russell as the twinkly grandfather of liberal humanism it will come as … Continue reading

Posted in Behaviour, Belief, Family, From the Archives, Rationalism, Reviews | 1 Comment