The jailing of nine men who sexually exploited girls as young as 13 in Greater Manchester shone a light on a murky underworld that exists across the UK but few people are aware of.
Some have focused on how the victims were white and their tormentors nearly all of Pakistani heritage and questions were raised over whether race was a factor in this case. Is there any consensus about whether race has played a part in such crimes?
Paul Bloom, psychologist and Yale professor, argues that empathy is a bad thing—that it makes the world worse. While we’ve been taught that putting yourself in another’s shoes cultivates compassion, it actually blinds you to the long-term consequences of your actions. In this animated interview from The Atlantic, we hear Bloom’s case for why the world needs to ditch empathy.
ay 2010, as Britain headed into its last general election, elites all across the western world were gripped by austerity fever, a strange malady that combined extravagant fear with blithe optimism. Every country running significant budget deficits – as nearly all were in the aftermath of the financial crisis – was deemed at imminent risk of becoming another Greece unless it immediately began cutting spending and raising taxes. Concerns that imposing such austerity in already depressed economies would deepen their depression and delay recovery were airily dismissed; fiscal probity, we were assured, would inspire business-boosting confidence, and all would be well.
People holding these beliefs came to be widely known in economic circles as“austerians” – a term coined by the economist Rob Parenteau – and for a while the austerian ideology swept all before it.
But that was five years ago, and the fever has long since broken. Greece is now seen as it should have been seen from the beginning – as a unique case, with few lessons for the rest of us. It is impossible for countries such as the US and the UK, which borrow in their own currencies, to experience Greek-style crises, because they cannot run out of money – they can always print more. Even within the eurozone, borrowing costs plunged once the European Central Bank began to do its job and protect its clients against self-fulfilling panics by standing ready to buy government bonds if necessary. As I write this, Italy and Spain have no trouble raising cash – they can borrow at the lowest rates in their history, indeed considerably below those in Britain – and even Portugal’s interest rates are within a whisker of those paid by HM Treasury.
While there is uncertainty as to when and how disgust became embedded in our system of ethics, there can be no doubt that its influence on society has been transformative. Without this powerful emotion to keep us all in line, we could not have achieved so much as a species. Miraculously, disgust has got us to cooperate without raising a fist – indeed, often without so much as a slap on the wrist. It has elicited so much good merely by the shaming and shunning of those whose actions harm the group.
For that reason, some thinkers have come to view disgust as a sacred gift. Leon Kass, chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics under the administration of George W Bush, counselled that we should heed ‘the wisdom of repugnance’. This voice that wells up inside us warns when a moral boundary has been crossed, he argued. In an article for the New Republic in 2001, he called for people to listen to its outrage at acts such as human cloning, abortion, incest and bestiality. Repugnance, he wrote, ‘speaks up to defend the central core of our humanity. Shallow are the souls who have forgotten how to shudder.’
Needless to say, Pizarro has a less rosy view of disgust – and not without cause. As we’ve seen, it can make prejudice feelright, justifying the stigmatisation of immigrants, homosexuals, the homeless, the obese and other vulnerable groups. Moreover, our natural revulsion to disease has fed into the notion that sickness is God’s punishment for sin – a view that still persists around the world even as modern medicine has dramatically advanced.
“In the nineties, President Bill Clinton embraced globalization as the overarching solution to the country’s problems,” the New Yorker‘s George Packer writes in a recent feature. “But the new century defied the optimistic predictions of elites, and during this election, in a nationalistic backlash, many Americans…have rebelled.”
Most of the stories like Packer’s focus overwhelmingly on Americans: They go to Trump rallies, visit post-industrial towns, and profile Trump voters. But this approach misses a critical global context. It’s tempting to think of Trump as something uniquely American, but the truth is that his rise is being repeated throughout the western world where far right populist have been on rising in polls
In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism.
The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.
It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.
The results of the survey are difficult to interpret, pollsters noted. Capitalism can mean different things to different people, and the newest generation of voters is frustrated with the status quo, broadly speaking.
Secret files from British colonial rule – once thought lost – have been released by the government, one year after they came to light in a High Court challenge to disclose them.
Some of the papers cover controversial episodes: the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, the evacuation of the Chagos Islands, and the Malayan Emergency.
They also reveal efforts to destroy and reclassify sensitive files.
The Foreign Office says it is now releasing “every paper” it can.
But academics say the Foreign Office’s “failure” to deliver the archive for decades has created a “legacy of suspicion”.
In particular, the first batch of papers reveal:
Official fears that Nazis – pretending to catch butterflies – were plotting to invade East Africa in 1938Detailed accounts of the policy of seizing livestock from Kenyans suspected of supporting Mau Mau rebels in the 1950sSecret plans to deport a Greek Cypriot leader to the Seychelles despite launching talks with him to end a violent rebellion in Cyprus in 1955Efforts to deport Chagos islanders from the British Indian Ocean TerritoriesConcerns over the “anti-American and anti-white” tendency of Kenyan students sent to study in the US in 1959 – the same year Barack Obama’s Kenyan father enrolled at university in Hawaii