Many large democracies are now at their highest-ever recorded level for democratic dissatisfaction, including the UK, US, Brazil, Mexico and Australia A report released in January 2020 by the new Centre for the Future ofRead more
Strategy, the link between policy and the battlefield, is now more important than ever.
If there is another great power war, it will be imperative for the political leadership to be clear and definitive about their strategic goals and about what victory would look like – at a time when the range and technological complexity of the weapons systems involved will provide a major barrier to the level of understanding of civilian leaders.
Australia’s strategic quandary emerges from its status as an ally to a great power. If it abrogates its responsibility to set national policy aims by joining in a coalition in which one great power antagonist determines the goals of the war it cannot claim to have a strategy. It cannot claim to be linking Australia’s national priorities to the military actions. Its fate would be in the hands of its great power ally.Read more
There are important distinctions when it comes to the way governments claim to have been ‘guided by the science’ when justifying their approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministers are not saying they are following a course of action because ‘an experimentally and observationally validated law of nature has been brought to my attention’. They mean that social scientists, based on some assumptions and suppositions, have modelled a range of possible outcomes and produced a number of projections, not predictions.
It is not science but policy, that mixture of ideology, politics, and pragmatism, that the ministers are doing when the choose between the pandemic options.
Governments should not be able to avoid scrutiny and accountability for their actions by leaning on the authority of science.Read more
In an article in The Guardian, David Runciman shows how the pandemic has removed “one layer of political life to reveal something more raw underneath”. He writes, “As Hobbes knew, to exercise political rule isRead more
Seeping faintly through the pronouncements and policies of some government responses to the coronavirus pandemic are the vapours of older belief systems; a whiff of utilitarianism, the scent of social Darwinism, and the fetid reek of eugenics.
Closer examination of the UK government’s ‘herd immunity’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that it’s not too farfetched to connect contemporary politics with these ostensibly outdated ideas.
The capacity of governments to respond appropriately to crises has never been more important. How will they respond to greater crises? Where will they find their moral moorings?Read more
Modern politics in most democracies is largely organised around versions of the competing world views of liberalism and conservatism. But neither of the loose ideological gangs that cluster around the flags of the conservative and liberal camps (Right and Left) seem intellectually prepared to address the major problems facing the world.
To any clear-eyed observer the current trajectory is taking us to an undesirable place, and reliance on the earlier assumptions of some sort of meaning or progress, transcendental or immanent, unfolding into the future is insupportable.
The link between past and future is broken, and meeting today’s challenges needs to beign with a reorientation of political perceptions.Read more