The Utopia of Rules – David Graeber (2015)

The Utopia of Rules – David Graeber (2015)

The premise of this book is that we live a deeply bureaucratic society – if we do not notice it, it is largely because bureaucratic practices and requirements have become so all-pervasive that we can barely see them, or worse, cannot imagine doing things any other way. Although this might seem a little exaggerated, I share his critique of our seemingly ever-growing propensity to tackle our problems with rules and regulations.

So, it was with great expectations that I picked up this book, only to be Continue reading “The Utopia of Rules – David Graeber (2015)”

Liberalism, The Life of an Idea – Edmund Fawcett (2014)

Liberalism, The Life of an Idea – Edmund Fawcett (2014)

This is what one could call a tour de force: a biography of liberalism from 1830 until now. As far as I know, the first of its kind. And its a great joy to read – at least for those interested in the history of ideas.
Fawcett (a former journalist) is clearly knowledgeable, has done his research and tells the story of liberalism from a wide set of viewpoints.
He sees four lines of thinking that have shaped practical liberalism; 1) the acknowledgement of unavoidable ethical and material conflicts in society 2) mistrust of power 3) belief in human progress 4) respect for others, summarized as: conflicts, resistance to power, progress and respect. Continue reading “Liberalism, The Life of an Idea – Edmund Fawcett (2014)”

Soumission – Michel Houellebecq (2015)

Soumission – Michel Houellebecq (2015)

One of the most intriguing notions Houellebecq puts forward in his latest novel is not that the populist right is a stable force in the political landscape, nor that in 2022 a Muslim party wins a large share of votes. No, it’s the reaction to this outcome that surprises. When it becomes clear that the first round of the 2022 French presidential elections is won by the Muslim party, followed by the Front National (by then still led by Marine Le Pen) the two traditional centrist parties, the PS and the UMP, choose – in a coordinated effort to prevent the Front National from winning the election – to partner up with the Muslim leader Mohammed Ben Abbes. Continue reading “Soumission – Michel Houellebecq (2015)”