Free Speech 2: What Is Free Speech and Why is it Good?

This is the second post in a series exploring the concept of free speech and its relationship to political protest, particularly relevant to recent discussions regarding the disruption by protesters of Donald Trump rallies. First post here. What Does the Right to Free Speech Entail? The right to freedom of speech is an idea about [Read More…]

Boy Scouts of America: Still Bigoted

I was a Boy Scout for about two seconds. I liked the toggle and felt there was something swishy about the pseudo-military uniforms, which oscillate wildly between butch and high camp depending on the wearer and the situation. I also liked our school Scout Leader, who was a charming man who always dressed impeccably and [Read More…]

No I Am Not OK

In some ways I’m not a stereotypical Englishman. I don’t have that legendary English reserve, or much of a discomfort with feelings. I try to live my life like an open book, and when I’m happy, grateful, excited, or in love I want to share that. I try to be a joyous influence in others’ [Read More…]

Who Gets a Platform on the College Campus?

When I was an undergraduate, the Cambridge Union invited Jean-Marie Le Pen – then Leader of the National Front Party of France – to debate immigration. Le Pen is a highly polarizing figure: a darling of the French right wing, and a demon to the left. Seen (rightly, I think) as a race-baiting, foreigner-hating, anti-semitic, [Read More…]

Marching through Ferguson

It’s strange, perhaps, for an activist to admit they do not enjoy marches. Marches and rallies – so often the go-to response when a community wishes to demonstrate power, generate solidarity, or express outrage – make me deeply uncomfortable. The emotional energy, the collective passion, the chanting and shouting and call-and-response: all of it makes [Read More…]

Neil Tyson on Philosophy – Let’s Not Overreact

Watch this first – it’s my video about this issue which attempts to satirize both Tyson’s views on philosophy and the reaction they have provoked in some quarters: Recently Neil deGrasse Tyson made a stir with some comments about philosophy on the Nerdist podcast. Speaking clearly with a hint of jest, the world-famous science communicator [Read More…]

Neil, We Need to Talk

I have some serious words with Neil deGrasse Tyson about philosophy. The ghost of Carl Sagan looks on. [Read more…]