Usually related to education, philosophy or society, I write these to give form to some of things I grapple with. If they can spur on debate and reflection so much the better.


Napoleon's New Rep

Who would have thought it, one day, I would come to see Napoleon and his legacy with disdain! It feels as though it was only yesterday I was sitting in class in my 3rd year of university listening to a lecture on the french revolution - on how it created the modern age of nation-states and opened the era of democracy - and feeling a certain pride swell inside me. Did I not take heed of that first sign? Pride for what!? As if I had had a hand in the revolution myself… But that pride enraptured me (as it does many-a-frenchman) and I found myself writing an essay praising “the rights of man, emancipation from prejudices, and equality of citizenship, and all these ideas [that] Napoleon has retai

Is War Finally Loosing Out to Peace?

Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity is convincing me that it is. Not yet half-way through and I'm finding his argument as robust as it is convincing. Balancing (a lot of) statistical analysis with history, criminology and psychology, Pinker questions our assumptions about violence and his answers are illuminating. Was, for instance, the 20th century really "the most violent ever" as is commonly thought? Certainly it had two World Wars, Stalin and Mao's purges, and genocides to boot. But we have a myopic tendency to remember things that are closer to home. What of the 40 million slaughtered during the Moghul conquests of the 13th century, u

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