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JOHNSON’S POST-TRUTH SPEECH TO TORY CONFERENCE - INTERESTING TIMES 11

JOHNSON’S POST-TRUTH SPEECH TO TORY CONFERENCE - INTERESTING TIMES 11

October 8, 2020

In this podcast, I examine Boris Johnson's speech to the Tory Party Conference 2020. I identify several instance of incoherence within the speech. These concern the ostensible allegiance to private provision of public service which on examination is seen to obscure the actual entanglement of state and corporate power, the rhetorical reduction of the concept of freedom to a triviality, a scant regard for truth, a display of ignorance as to the nature of historical narrative, and, hoping no-one will notice, talking as though xenophobia and a concern for social justice can be reconciled, which they can't.  [Free. 34 minutes.]

GRASSROOTS AND ASTROTURFING

GRASSROOTS AND ASTROTURFING

August 21, 2020

In this podcast we analyse the phenomenon of astroturfing in which billionaire money is martialled to produce artificial facsimiles of authentic grass roots movements. As well as giving some examples,  we outline some methods which can be employed to detect astroturfing and similar ruses to mystify the nature of society and the economy.  The discourse follows on from our recent podcast,  What Can We do? [Free. 42 minutes.]

WHAT CAN WE DO?

WHAT CAN WE DO?

August 12, 2020

In this podcast, I apply some raw thinking to characterising what seem to be the two primary political orientations in Western 'democracies' today. These are conservatism and progressivism. I identify and characterise two tendencies in progressivism, majoritarianism and vanguardism. Both of these pose practical and theoretical dilemas. I propose a broad way forward for progressives which mitigates those dilemmas. The discussion passes through a range of issues, amongst them, the natures of inequality, wealth, power and revolution. [Free. 1 hour.]

LAO TZU 21

LAO TZU 21

July 8, 2020

In this podcast we discuss Chapter 34 of The Tao Te Ching. In this Chapter, Lao Tzu describes the Tao as best he can, emphasising its low key and quietly stealthy operation of supporting, suffusing and embracing all things, including humans. We explore the explicit instructions for mediation that the chapter contains. [Free. 13 minutes.]

A STATUE DIES - INTERESTING TIMES 1

A STATUE DIES - INTERESTING TIMES 1

June 8, 2020

This podcast is the first of our series of immediate reflections on current affairs. In it, we deal with the toppling of a seventeenth century statue of slave-trader Edward Colston by demonstrators in  Bristol. We celebrate this action and offer arguments against the right-wing reactions to this event. [Free. 39 minutes.]

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

May 19, 2020

In this podcast, we discuss the specifics of US and UK anti-lock-down protests which naturally leads on to a discussion of freedom per se and how it can be exercised so as to remove the freedom of others. This involves considerations of property, inequalities of wealth and power, discerning evidence, and evaluating narratives in the face of media and governmental disregard for truth. [Free. 24 minutes.]

THE CONVERSATION OF HUMANKIND

THE CONVERSATION OF HUMANKIND

May 14, 2020

In this podcast, we consider the conversation of humankind over millennia and the way philosophy can be understood this way. We give reasons for wanting to encounter it and share that encounter. The first is to equip ourselves with tools for enquiry, so that we are not 're-inventing the wheel'. The second is for its own sake, to delight in its sublimity and beauty. The third is so that we may be good ancestors.  [Free. 14 minutes.]

 

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

May 8, 2020

The plethora of conspiracy theories circulating in the public discourse attests to a time of real crisis. In this podcast we examine the epistemological issues that arise from this situation, particularly with reference to scepticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the matter of trust. We also briefly look at the relevant politics and the role of elite money in promoting conspiracy theories and how these theories, though perhaps rightly suspicious of government, nevertheless come down on the side of the status quo. We finish with some recommendations for self-care in the face of the toxic sea of post-truth that public discourse has become. [Free. 28 minutes.]

LAO TZU 17

LAO TZU 17

April 27, 2020

In this podcast, we return to our long project of commenting on the Tao Te Ching. This time we comment on Chapters 29 and 30 which speak out against hubris in leaders. The character types of typical leaders is taxonomised and contrasted with that of 'the sage'. The sage, we are told, is without pride, false charm and greed and leads with a light touch. Consequently, his leading style avoids environmental destruction. Lao Tzu also speaks out against warlike behaviour in leaders and spells out the destructive consequences such as famine. We suggest that these lessons are very relevant  to our current political situation. [Free. 22 minutes.]

VIRUS POLITICS

VIRUS POLITICS

March 17, 2020

In this podcast I sketch out the features of the COVID-19 pandemic as it stands at the time of recording [15/3/20] before considering its political aspects. I argue that one feature of the catastrophe is that it is a black swan event further destabilising already unstable global capitalism. The inability of markets, neo-liberal ideologies and corporate profit fetishism to address the consequent, dire public health and economic crises is exposed very vividly, I claim. I then describe how the right will inevitably attempt to weaponise the resulting chaos, placing the human enterprise itself in jeopardy and how the broadly progressive wing of humanity must seize the initiative, both in terms of mutual aid organisation and on the ideological plane. Claiming the pandemic should not be politicised plays right into the hands of the malignant right. [Free. 24 minutes.]

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