Author: James Black

LIBERTY’S VOICE: Censorship, public opinion and consensus – how dissent is discredited in free societies

By James Black There are two kinds of censorship. One from the state, such as the kind that we are currently seeing in Turkey at the hands of the fanatical President  Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And censorship by popular opinion, such as we are now seeing in universities, mainstream media and on social media. The first is relatively straightforward, though not easy, to fight. Nothing short of traditional protest will stop it. The second kind of censorship people don’t even think is censorship at all. In fact, many people prefer the unanimity of public opinion to dissent, confusing popularity for...

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LIBERTY’S VOICE: Hillary, Bernie, Corbyn, Trump and May – what’s missing in the new grass-roots politics?

By James Black The individual is all that stands between democracy and ochlocracy. And much more dangerous than violent mob rule, is the slow-burn tyranny of mediocrity and social homogeneity. The foundations of society lie in recognising the individuality of another. You can’t have empathy, innovation, progress, or even survival, without the centrality of the individual. It has been said over and over, that the rise of both Right and Left-wing grass-roots politics is a sign of disillusionment with the neo-liberal, generic politics of spin doctoring and vested interest. Donald Trump appeals to America’s Right by saying the unsayable,...

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LIBERTY’S VOICE: Qandeel Baloch’s death is a sign that reactionary religion cannot survive the social media revolution

By James Black The death of 26-year-old Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch on July 15 exposes more than just the victimisation of women in reactionary Islamic countries. Baloch’s murder at the hands of her deranged brother reveals an inherent tension between repressive religion and the emancipatory power of social media. Baloch had hundreds of thousands of subscribers and followers. Her posts frequently flew in the face of popular conservatism. She was unapologetic about her sexuality and unapologetic about her opinions – two things that made her a marked woman in Pakistan. Social media, for all its faults and...

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LIBERTY’S VOICE: Brexit, consensus and values before economy

By James Black Following the Brexit vote, Britain’s leading political parties are battling for their respective souls. In the government party, the Conservatives, former Home Secretary Theresa May has swept to power in place of David Cameron, after pro-Brexit outlier Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the leadership race. It remains to be seen how the Brexit base within the Tories will respond to a business-as-usual, Blairite leader like May.  Labour, Britain’s opposition party, sees leader Jeremy Corbyn clinging to power, following the resignation of nearly the whole of his shadow cabinet and a vote of no-confidence from 210 MPs....

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