Archive for the ‘“Who Is This ‘We’, White Man?”’ Category

The Great Utopian Delusion

There are many works of science fiction in which Man, having come to his senses, has repented of his rapacious ways and turned his planet into a peaceful garden. But there is no “Man” that can repent and come to his senses, only individual men who can repent and come to their senses, and often […]

The End Of Poverty And All That

It is a widespread assumption that the world’s poor could be fed and watered at a modest cost to the rest of us – the figure of USD 75 billion is bandied about, a tiny fraction of our weapons expenditure – if only we could organise the structures necessary for such a transfer. To which […]


The great medieval historian Ibn Khaldun was the predecessor of Spengler and Toynbee, analysing the rise and fall of civilisations as something regular and predictable. His preferred mechanism was the coherence and solidarity of the asabiyya, or ruling group; which started off lean and hungry, took over a territory from outside, went soft and finally […]

On The Equality Of Everyone Except You

From all utopian schemes, someone is always left out. The Qarmati of the medieval Persian Gulf ran a state that furnished public loans to the impoverished, start-up loans for artisans, free house repair, free government mills and other welfare measures associated with modern communisms. A lot of the hard work, however, was done by their […]

On Perquisites

Many things that were once reserved to the aristocracy are now common property. In place of the palace menagerie, where imperial splendour was manifested in the display of exotic animals, we have the zoo where divorced fathers take their children on a Sunday. And yes, we have public libraries that would have astonished our ancestors. […]

On Hand-Made Shoes

Peter Mayle, Peter Mayle, the author of A Year in Provence, has written of an experiment in fine living, wherein, at his publisher’s expense, he discovered that hand-made shoes really were a very different experience to off-the-shelf. It may thus be your feet that appreciate the luxury rather than your snobbish brain. And yet it […]

Unfeeding The World

The terms “fast food” and “junk food” are all very well as nouns, but are hard to turn into verbs. It might be more economical to describe the modern megacorporations as selling us “unfood”; we can then go to the unfood shelves in the unfoodstore. This would also allow us the verb “to unfeed”. “Feed […]