Josiah Bartlett: Ten word answers

A “ten word answer” is not a sufficient answer for the fictional president, Josiah Bartlett. In fact, a “ten word answer” is not an answer at all. However, it is an answer that is deemed sufficient by many politicians including Josiah Bartlett’s fictional opponent. In his book, De svarer ikke, the Danish professor in rhetoric, Christian Kock, analyses and discusses the various forms of ten word answers as well as their consequence. Each chapter has a theoretical theme, which the empirical cases fluctuate around. This post does not set out to elaborate on each chapter. Rather, the focus is on one of the key theoretical contributions of his book, which is …

Iran in 40 years: From fundamentalism to reformism – the presidents

Iran in 40 years is a collection of pictures from Iran that depict a societal evolution. One that starts with the founding of the modern Islamic Republic of Iran and the fundamentalism that it represented. I choose a picture of Khomeini’s supporters. His first real president was Ali Khamenei, who is now supreme leader. He was followed by the pragmatist, Akbar Rafsanjani (pdf). He was followed by the reformist and always smiling Mohammed Khatami, whose presidency represented a challenge for the conservative establishment. In 2005, the conservative Ahmadinejad ran against former president Rafasanjani, and won. In 2009 Ahmadinejad ran again against Khatami’s heir and former prime minister, Mir Hossein Mousavi …

Growing dehumanisation of Russia’s homosexuals

The Olympics is a major international event. Our task is to be as politically correct and tolerant as we can be. That’s why we made the decision not to raise this issue during the Games, (my emphasis; Igor Ananskikh, the head of the Russian Duma Committee, Interfax) Thus spoke Igor Ananskikh, member of the Duma or the Russian parliament, on the question of homosexuals during the Sochi Games. As emphasisesd Ananskikh argues that during the Games, Russia will be as political correct and tolerant as possible. In other words, the very second the Games are over and Russia no longer feels the media spotlight, political correctness and tolerance dwindle. While this …

Mapping attitudes since the Egyptian spring

In 2011 the Egyptian spring erupted in with demonstrations that grew until the Egyptian army removed Egypt’s longest sitting dictator, Hosni Mubarak from power. In 2012 the Egyptians elected Mohammed Morsi as his successor, who in turn is from the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2013 Morsi was removed by the Egyptian army following similar protests as those that paved the way for Mubarak’s fall. In this post, I have collected a series of statistics that elucidate what happened especially during Morsi’s tenure. The Pew Research Center measured the mood among the Egyptians. Firstly, the number of satisfied Egyptians increased with only two percentage points from 2010 to 2013. The number of …

Dehumanising academics in politics

I have for some time thought about dehumanisation not only in connection with the relationship between various (etnic) groups, but also vis-à-vis the public debate especially on social medias such as Youtube as well as in regular media. While it takes place in all debates, it is in particular interesting in connection with potential political solutions on i.e. economic issues as well as the reasons for their dismissal. The other day I wrote a post about a talk, where two Keynesian economists took part. Especially Krugman, the one of the two, is often yet without any basis treated as an academic with controversial ideas to say the least. In the …

Krugman and Stiglitz talking among other about inequality

INETeconomics held a great talk between two of the most prominent economists in the world: Paul Krugman (page endorsed by Krugman) and Joseph Stiglitz. In the talk they gave their (Keynesian) view on in particular the economic crisis that rages on in the US, but briefly addresses the debt crises of Europe. Their views, however, are applicable on Europe as well. Krugman in particular has forwarded the argument that austerity is not a solution for Europe. Besides discussing the economic crisis, Krugman and Stiglitz addresses at least four issues. First and foremost they talk about the Great Depression and compares it to the current depression. Secondly, they discuss stagnation and inequality. …

Conspiracy theorists as a nuance

There has already been written a lot about conspiracy theory as well as their theorists. One angle, which I find interesting, is the democracy angle. While most modern democracy theorists acknowledge the importance of freedom of speech such as Robert A. Dahl, freedom of speech must also entail enlightenment. That is, it must contribute to a greater but also credible understanding of what is at stake. Alternatively, the public cannot remain informed and thus make the informed choice any selection of a decision maker is. Journalism, albeit with all its flaws, is a professional activity that deals critically, but also loyally with their sources. As Anders Brink Lund writes, “The …

The Russian “Crimson Tide”

Crimson Tide has by some been called one of the best submarine films of its time. I am not sure it qualifies for such an honour as it is not as much a film about the life on a submarine such as the German marvel Das Boot. Rather it is a depiction of a real fear, which prevailed in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The crisis in the former Soviet Union has intensified. With a nuclear base in the hands of nationalist rebels, the world is waking up to another Cuban missile crisis, and the USS ‘Alabama’ is dispatched to deep waters within striking distance of …

Juan Cole’s mistake: Conflations

Juan Cole is an American history professor, who has studied the Middle East throughout most of his professional career. On his blog, he wrote a post about the century long assault on the Muslim, which according to Cole has left tens of millions of Muslims dead since 1798. There are many problems with such a statement, but especially two stands out, which can be summed up as the conflation of the West as well as the Muslims. His first mistake is the conflation of the concept of western powers. Cole argues that the Western powers are a threat to the Muslim world because of numerous invasions on countries dominated by …

Religious violence, dehumanised victims, and the Woolwich murder

The Woolwich murder prompted a need to explain what happened. Many answers suggested that they were members of a radicalised environment, detached youths, as well as no communication between the youths and the greater community . Often lack of employment options have contributed to this. These explanations are, albeit correct, also insufficient. While they explain the underlying factors, they do not explain why such violence is possible. It is thus possible to ask, how these groups or individuals can act this way. What is it that enables such activities. The first answer is related to intra-group communication (the community), whereas the second is related to the concept of dehumanisation. The …