Mrs T and sympathy: Francis Wheen reviews Thatcher’s Britain: The Politics and Social Upheaval of the 1980s by Richard Vinen, No Such Thing as Society: A History of Britain in the 1980s by Andy McSmith, and Rejoice! Rejoice!: Britain in the 1980s by Alwyn W Turner. Yes, we are all in this together: Since it was first published, The Spirit Level has won admirers including Ed Miliband and David Cameron, but also provoked sharp attacks — Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett explain why its ideas about social equality still have weight. The deserving or undeserving poor: Can the welfare state ever distinguish between those who deserve help and those who do not? This is a dangerous time for Britain’s economy — and a wide consensus supporting cuts does not mean they are the right policy. Farewell welfare state: John Gray on the coalition. From Dissent, Jeffrey Williams on the squeeze on British higher education. The costly new idea of a university: With tuition fees about to triple to make up for the withdrawal of state funding, it is time to reread Coleridge, Bentham and Mill. It is said that the prospect of prison was never daunting to a man who had been to a proper English public school. No more raised hands to answer questions, and a short, sharp burst of PE first thing every day — It's school with a difference. Is it time for atheist schools? Francis Beckett outlines his proposal for Britain's first avowedly humanist state school (and a response).


A new issue of the Journal of Third World Studies is out. Alex M. Thomas (Hyderabad): Economists, Listen to Feyerabend. “A Guantanamo on the Seas”: Eugene Kontorovich has struggled to return the outlawry of pirates to the legal agenda. A review of Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World's Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation by Ted Fishman. Truth to power: James Howard Kunstler explains how the world is going to get bigger and rounder again. From Too Much, a review of The Trouble with Billionaires by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooksl and over across the Atlantic, reformers have begun a year-long probe that has the fire-power — and credibility — needed to challenge the sacred cows of the global executive compensation status quo. A review of Roosevelt's Purge: How FDR Fought To Change the Democratic Party by Susan Dunn. Fun but utterly fallible: Miller-McCune.com’s resident skeptic, just as you might expect of a Scorpio, will have no truck with horoscopes or astrology. From World Affairs, Michael V. Hayden on intelligence reform; and R. James Woolsey, Rachel Kleinfeld, and Chelsea Sexton on the case for a distributed grid and a low-oil future. Paradoxical Truth: Paradoxes have been confounding minds since Aristotle, but we ignore them at our peril. Robert Egger on 5 myths about hunger in America. Utne Reader profiles Bill McKibben, voice of reason, man of action.


Radha D'Souza (Westminster): Three Actors, Two Geographies, One Philosophy: The Straightjacket of Social Movements. From Adbusters, a special issue on revolution. Despairing of conventional politics, militant peace activists are turning to radical tactics: An interview with William T. Hathaway, a Special Forces combat veteran turned peace activist. Be the Media: A look at the current state of activist media and the work of Franklin Lopez. The Internet is no substitute for person-to-person organizing, but it is a tool that can be used by activists — and it is potentially a rather powerful tool. A book salon on The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell: How to Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws, and Get the Change We Voted For by Jamie Court. A review of Seeds of Change: The Story of Acorn, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group by John Atlas and Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America by Jeffrey Stout (and more). A review of Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century by Paul Kengor. From The Scavenger, advertising’s agenda of white heteronormativity: In just one and a half minutes, film director Baz Luhrmann’s Incredible: Australia ‘Come Walkabout’ ad manages to be racist and sexist; and if you haven’t been diagnosed with a neural "condition", such as such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, aspergers syndrome, depression, attention deficit disorder and so on, you benefit from neurotypical privilege. Here is a cybernetic hypothesis about liberalism: It's a brain disorder, a confusion between right and left hemispheres.


A new issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report is out. From Forbes, an interview with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. From UN Chronicle, a special issue on Education for All. Lou Friedman on why human spaceflight is worth the cost. Against obscurantism: Argentinian philosophy professor Horacio Potel on the fight against restrictive copyright laws that are criminalising teaching and research. Is a left-right antiwar coalition possible? How Apple is like Old Hollywood: Tim Wu on his book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. The world’s first living buildings: A new generation of buildings is upending what you thought you knew about construction. From Science Creative Quarterly, Michale Ferro on boiling lobsters and other things people do; and up or down? Martin A. Andresen on an efficiency-based argument for optimal toilet seat placement. From Low-tech Magazine, automata have been built for more than 2,000 years, but contemporary artists have elevated the craft to a higher level — aside from their emotional value, automata offer a glimpse of a future, post-oil technology. A review of Alasdair Macintyre's Engagement with Marxism: Selected Writings 1953-1974. Can Salon.com, deep in the red, keep the conversation going? From The L Magazine, Crystal Gwyn on the Late-Night Tribes of NYC: Stalking local youth, one party at a time. Think you can make David Brooks laugh at himself in The University of Chicago Magazine’s column-parody contest? He’ll be the judge of that.


Geoffrey P. Miller (NYU): Logos and Narrative. From Verbum et Ecclesia, Daniel P. Veldsman (Pretoria): How "Religious" is Religion and How "Natural" is Naturalness? On the Question of the Naturalness of Religion; and Jacobus W. Gericke (NWU): The Hebrew Bible in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion. From Political Theology, a review of Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought by Joshua Berman. Are more Bible versions bad for the Good Book? Intellectual Poison: Benjamin Wiker on how Thomas Hobbes ruined Biblical scholarship. A review of Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel by Alexandre J. M. E. Christoyannopoulos. A review of The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (With Answers) by Mark Mittelberg. A review of Mark Johnston's Saving God: Religion After Idolatry. A grand unified theory of man: In the academy, the real argument over science and religion is not about God but rather about how social and natural scientists understand people. A review of The Religion Virus: Why We Believe in God: An Evolutionist Explains Religion’s Incredible Hold on Humanity by Craig James. Survival of the Godliest: Does strong religious belief provide an evolutionary advantage? S(h)aving religion with Occam's Razor: A comparison of atheist and religious morality. Paul Young on the nature of information, a doorway to a postreligious world. What is gained by framing research on religion, secularity, and modernity in terms of “multiple” or “contending” modernities, and what “new paths for constructive engagement” might such a frame afford?

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