Though it has not come as a surprise, the attack on the credibility of the 2020 election by US President Donald Trump and his Republican Party cannot simply be brushed under the rug of history. Once the norms that underpin constitutional democracy have been tossed aside, there is little left to fight for. America’s failures to address past injustices – including the subjugation of indigenous peoples, slavery, racism, and the deprivations of the poor, immigrants, and the incarcerated – helps to explain why trust in democratic institutions has been so corroded in the first place. Having been made brittle, America’s institutions have long been vulnerable to attack. By Katharina Pistor
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Results for Op-Ed World Culture & Society
Wednesday 25 November 2020
Washington DC, USA
Sunday 8 November 2020
Joe Biden has won the US presidency, but he will have a hard time restoring ethical concerns in a country with so many voters who have become indifferent to the well-being of those outside their immediate communities. Donald Trump has been defeated, but the election showed that more Americans than ever have come to identify with his narcissism. By Peter Singer
Thursday 29 October 2020
Ann Arbor-MI, USA
Unlike the old superpower contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, the incipient cold war between China and the US does not reflect a fundamental conflict of unalterably opposed ideologies. Instead, today’s Sino-American rivalry is popularly portrayed as an epic battle between autocracy and democracy. ...The idea that we can choose only between freedom in an American-style democracy and order in a Chinese-style autocracy is false. The real aim of governance is to ensure pluralism with stability – and countries everywhere must find their own path to this goal. By Yuen Yuen Ang
Tuesday 20 October 2020
For all the hand wringing over Donald Trump's authoritarian rhetoric, the 2020 US election is not really about the incumbent. It is about deep-seated suspicion regarding the national government's role, which makes populism a recurring feature of American political history. By Eric Posner.
Wednesday 9 September 2020
Auckland, New Zealand
In many Tongan households in Aotearoa where the children have lost their Tongan reo, it is likely to be because the parents, despite their fluency in the reo, do not use it with their children at home. But Tongan is never irrelevant because it carries thoughts and feelings, knowledge and understanding, world-views and identities, dreams and aspirations – and what it means to be a Tongan human being. By Dr Melenaite Taumoefolau for Tongan Language Week 6 – 12 September 2020.
Thursday 3 September 2020
Proponents of digital identification see the COVID-19 pandemic as a once-in-a-century opportunity, with a potential “jackpot market” of nearly eight billion people. In these dangerous times, using digital IDs to help control the spread of the virus and eventually to manage the distribution of a vaccine is often deemed appropriate and necessary. But there are ethical pitfalls. Rather than submitting people to a data-driven and AI-directed system that relies on surveillance and control through digital IDs, we should create more decentralized participatory frameworks. Collaborative approaches, based on the power of civil society, form the backbone of a strategy that uses our social talent to achieve humanity’s collective goals. By Dirk Helbing and Peter Seele.
Tuesday 7 January 2020
We can begin with the presumption that it is wrong to take human life. President Donald Trump won’t deny that. A year ago, for example, he said: “I will always defend the first right in our Declaration of Independence, the right to life.” Trump was addressing his remarks to anti-abortion campaigners, but a right to life that applies to fetuses must also apply to older humans. Is there an exception for “bad guys,” though? Was the double assassination at Baghdad International Airport ethically defensible? - Peter Singer
Tuesday 20 August 2019
Auckland, New Zealand
Dear Australian Deputy PM ... Your fruit grows with the phosphate taken from the islands...where they can no longer bear fruit. Yuki Kihara 2019.
Tuesday 2 July 2019
Wellington, New Zealand
Wherever one looks – the media, political leaders’ rhetoric, or online discussions – one finds a bias toward bad ideals. This is not to suggest that we (or most of us) endorse, say, racism, misogyny, or homophobia, but rather that we grant them efficacy. We believe that extremist ideals must be combated, because we implicitly consider them potent enough to attract new adherents, and contagious enough to spread. At the same time, we tend to take positive ideals less seriously. By Nicholas Agar.
Thursday 6 June 2019
In short, the big religion story in the last century is not one of ideological struggle between Christianity and Islam, with Islam winning. It is a story of growing corporatization, with local and folk religions everywhere being gradually but inexorably replaced by churches and mosques that are affiliated with two of the world’s main religious brands. You may regret it or welcome it, but it has proved unstoppable. By Paul Seabright.
Tuesday 14 May 2019
Having watched popular protests, from the color revolutions in the former Soviet Union to the Arab Spring, challenge their counterparts’ power, the world’s autocrats have been adopting legal measures aimed at incapacitating civic groups, including pro-democracy movements and human-rights NGOs. Among the most sweeping measures are those enabling officials to monitor and punish activists’ online activities. For activists, pushing back against draconian cyber laws and other forms of digital repression will not be easy, not least because it remains uncharted territory. By Janjira Sombatpoonsiri.
Wednesday 10 April 2019
Auckland, New Zealand
Tongan people, a product of centuries of monarchy and social hierarchy, are never born free or equal, and the Tongan language has no word for ‘rights’ as in ‘to have rights’, nor a conventional way of saying that one has a voice in something. Dr Melenaite Taumoefolau examines the gulf between modern and traditional Tongans and why the language has no term for human rights. She says the knowledge gulf between the two camps is huge.
Saturday 23 March 2019
Oxford, United Kingdom
The Commons originally elected a Speaker to help it speak truth to power, find strength in numbers, and resist intimidation. The voices of the less important were no longer drowned out or fragmented, and could challenge entrenched authority. Where did the Speaker come from, and why was the position created during England’s so-called “Good Parliament” of 1376? By Marion Turner
Monday 18 March 2019
Celebrating Easter on the right date has always been a source of worry for the Christian churches. Because what is the right date? In early centuries, one tried to follow the Jewish Passover, but that was wrought with problems. Our calendar, or rather the Roman calendar, as it was in use at that time, is based on the yearly movement of the sun, while the Hebrew calendar follows the moon. By Firitia Velt.
Saturday 2 March 2019
Wellington, New Zealand
For some activities, the involvement of a machine spoils the experience. Consider social media. Facebook and Twitter cannot reduce loneliness, because they are designed to serve up a biased sample of social experience. Like digital sugar, they can make a social interaction instantly gratifying, but they always leave an empty feeling behind. By offering merely a simulation of social experience, they ultimately make us lonelier.
Tuesday 12 February 2019
First, an almost infinite amount of speech is set free by digital democracy. The web then becomes a crowd, a free-for-all, where everyone shows up armed with his or her personal opinions, convictions, and truth. ... We thought we were giving every friend of the truth the technical means with which to contribute, boldly but modestly, to the adventures of knowledge. Instead, we convened a feeding frenzy. Truth’s body was laid out on the table and, fueled by a cannibalistic urge, we set to tearing it apart. By Bernard-Henri Lévy
Tuesday 13 November 2018
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on October 2 has focused attention on the Saudi regime. And yet the strong response to Khashoggi’s brutal murder stands in stark contrast to the relative indifference the West has shown to the vastly larger number of victims of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. Saudi airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians, including children who died when school buses were bombed. Now those deaths are themselves heavily outnumbered by the toll of the widespread famine engulfing Yemen “much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen”. By Peter Singer.
Wednesday 3 October 2018
New York, USA
Does human nature exist? The answer has implications for anyone concerned about ethics. In an era defined by amoral political leadership and eroding social values, thinking about the essence of humanity has never been more important....Views on human nature affect views on ethics. And today, our ethics are a mess. By Massimo Pigliucci.
Friday 1 June 2018
London, United Kingdom
A big reason why Western politics is in such disarray is voters’ pessimism about the future. Today’s naysayers come in three shades: Accepting pessimists; Anxious pessimists and ...finally, Angry pessimists – often populists and their supporters – who think economies are rigged, politicians corrupt, and outsiders dangerous. They have no desire to manage decline; they want to destroy the status quo. And they may pursue lose-lose outcomes simply so that others will suffer. What these groups have in common is a dearth of viable solutions. Philippe Legrain.
Wednesday 4 April 2018
It’s not just in America that a youth-led revolution is coming alive. Around the world, young people are becoming a power in their own right. These new movements reflect our current digital age, in which young people can increasingly connect with one another in their own countries and across borders. In doing so, they are exposing the gap between the promise of opportunity and the grim reality of unequal chances – especially for girls. The torch is not being passed to a new generation; this new generation has had to seize it. They deserve our support. By Gordon Brown