Political Animal Magazine2019-03-27T14:53:23+00:00

SPOTLIGHT

Four Reasons Civilization Won’t Decline: It Will Collapse

March 27th, 2020|

By Craig Collins

As modern civilization’s shelf life expires, more scholars have turned their attention to the decline and fall of civilizations past.  Their studies have generated rival explanations of why societies collapse and civilizations die.  Meanwhile, a lucrative market has emerged for post-apocalyptic novels, movies, TV shows, and video games for those who enjoy the vicarious thrill of dark, futuristic disaster and mayhem from the comfort of their cozy couch.  Of course, surviving the real thing will become a much different story.

The latent fear that civilization is living on borrowed time has also spawned a counter-market of “happily ever after” optimists who desperately cling to their belief in endless progress.  Popular Pollyannas, like cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, provide this anxious crowd with soothing assurances that the titanic ship of progress is unsinkable.  Pinker’s publications have made him the high priest of progress.[1]  While civilization circles the drain, his ardent audiences find comfort in lectures and books brimming with cherry-picked evidence to prove that life is better than ever, and will surely keep improving.  Yet, when questioned, Pinker himself admits, “It’s incorrect to extrapolate that the fact that we’ve made progress is a prediction that we’re guaranteed to make progress.”[2]

Pinker’s rosy statistics cleverly disguise the fatal flaw in his argument.  The progress of the past was built by sacrificing the future—and the future is upon us.  All the happy facts he cites about living standards, life expectancy, and economic growth are the product of an industrial civilization that has pillaged and polluted the planet to produce temporary progress for a growing middle class—and enormous profits and power for a tiny elite. (more…)

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): Pros and Cons

March 27th, 2020|

By: Hendrik van der Breggen

Canada’s government has decided to expand the scope of medical assistance in dying (MAID). MAID has been legal in Canada since June 2016. During the next few months the restriction that natural death must be reasonably foreseeable will be removed, and this summer the possibility of offering MAID to mature minors (children) and people with mental illness will be seriously considered.

Unfortunately, public discourse on MAID has been skewed: arguments in favor of MAID seem more prevalent than arguments against. Call me old-fashioned, but I think citizens—informed citizens—should look at pros and cons, not just pros. Let’s do that.

(Spoiler alert: I think the cons outweigh the pros.)

Clarification

First, some clarification. “Medical assistance in dying” is a euphemism—and thus is misleading at the get-go.

When certain words are considered too blunt, harsh, painful, or offensive, people sometimes substitute a euphemism, that is, a more acceptable term, a term with fewer negative connotations or with more positive connotations, than the blunt, harsh, painful, or offensive term. (more…)

THEORY

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PRACTICE

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): Pros and Cons

By |March 27th, 2020|0 Comments

I favor the pro-life position on the abortion issue, all the while realizing that many good and decent people disagree with me. Why do they disagree? It seems they are influenced by popular claims and arguments favoring the pro-choice view. I intend no disrespect to anyone in saying this, but I think that many popular claims and arguments favoring the choice for abortion consist of knots of illogic that should be untangled.

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JUSTICE

Long Walk to Freedom: Xenophobia Continues Against African Migrants in Johannesburg, South Africa

By |October 4th, 2019|0 Comments

South Africans need to have a national dialogue about what it means to have immigrants in their midst and what part of this falls outside the country’s earlier vision of being a Rainbow Nation. South African cannot continue to preach the gospel of African Renaissance while it practices the talk of xenophobia

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ARTS & LETTERS

Woodstock Turns 50: Behind the Curtain with John Morris, Head of Production

By |August 15th, 2019|0 Comments

When you have a master or a leader, there’s always another master somewhere fighting them off or trying to contest them. The masters of other people can look pretty annoying to you, if not contemptible, irrelevant, reprehensible. I think about Beatlemania, where people were just horrified — What the hell is going on? These four guys with weird floppy haircuts. Or with Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, or any of the other rock stars. The disgust and terror that people have that others are caught up.

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