H. L. Mencken’s Fight for the ‘Great Truth’

By Gustav Jönsson

Henry Louis Mencken once wrote, “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”

How right he was. It is hard to find a pithier summation of the difficulty defending free speech. How easy it would be to stand up for freedom if it only meant supporting people of Salman Rushdie’s ilk. Often, you will find yourself supporting unlikable scoundrels, but you must, nevertheless, fight against the abridgement of their civil liberties. For Mencken, this led him to defend Henry Ford’s right to print antisemitic nonsense.

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The Thing About Idealism

Written By: Claire Gould

 

Opening my mouth to speak immediately betrays the fact that I am American. What follows are questions from strangers about our politics. Did I vote for Trump? No? Then was I “Feeling the Bern”?

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Dear Aung San Suu Kyi

Written By: Margot Hutton

 

Dear Aung San Suu Kyi,

I always have admired you for your engagement in the effort to bring peace and democracy to your country. I believe this fight needed your bravery, patience, and devotion to make Myanmar a better place for everyone living there.

Those decades of fight, of sacrifice, of house arrest, as you dared to promote a better world and speak out against a dictatorship, were not for nothing. It was a victory when you took office as foreign minister and state counsellor last year.

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What has happened to UK Party Politics?  

The recent council and mayoral elections held across the UK on the 4th May have made one thing very clear; party politics is in a complete muddle. Most parties suffered losses at the ballot box, no one more so than Labour which lost 320 seats across the country. Indeed, Professor John Curtice concluded that the local elections demonstrated a 7% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, who were the only triumphant party of the night, gaining a crushing 558 seats across the country.

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An Interview With GU Green Party

In an increasingly turbulent political climate – Trump, Brexit, and rising right-wing populism across Europe – that seems to be turning away from caring for our fellow human beings, it can be hard to know where to go next. How best should we respond to these upheavals? How do we voice our dissatisfaction when we don’t like where things are going? And what can we do to protect the most vulnerable members of our society? we sat down with Chandler and Frida, members of the green party, to talk about student activism, the future of the left, a more empathetic kind of politics.

Which demographic in society do you think is shown the least amount of empathy?

Frida – I definitely think migrants and asylum seekers, a lot of people tend to target them because it’s easy to target people who are unfamiliar to you.

The working class is a target group as well, especially with the Conservative government. It’s easy to target them as well. They cut down on benefits and taxes, and then demonise that group so it’s easier to justify those things.

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Why is Climate change such a politicised issue in the US?

Year after year records have been broken for global average temperatures: without a doubt, climate change is well underway. The scientific consensus is clear – 97% of climate scientists agree that contemporary global warming is caused by humans. If only this clarity could be said about the politics of climate change.

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IndyRef 2: Might We Really Be Better Together?

Déjà vu, right? Just two years after Scotland voted to remain in the UK, here we sit with the prospect of another referendum. Recently the SNP released a draft bill showing the possibility for a second referendum for Scottish Independence – because this is exactly what we need, just a little bit more madness in a country seeming to implode each day. Of course, though, this was to be expected. The SNP made their point very clear throughout the campaign for the EU referendum; that if it did go the way no one expected, Scotland would revert to its independence mayhem.

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High Court throws spanner in the works of May’s ‘Hard Brexit’

So much for Brexit means Brexit. The high court has made its decision, and said that Parliament alone have the power to trigger Brexit. This decision came as a shock, as Theresa May had previously insisted that government would decide when to trigger the process. The defining reason given by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, was the fundamental factor of the UK constitution that the parliament is sovereign and unable to be bound. Despite this, almost immediately an uproar followed. Politicians from both side of the debate have chimed in, with Nigel Farage being one of the first to voice his dismay over the decision. Others, including the leaders for both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, have reacted more positively; both leaders cited that now was the time for negotiations to be made, and that transparency was required with all matters affecting Brexit.

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The Dark Side of Churchill: On imperialism and the new fiver

The brand new polymer five-pound note has now entered circulation, claiming to be safer, cleaner and more durable than its predecessor. While its benefits have been proven to be measurably true, questions have arisen concerning the appointment of the note’s new figurehead- the face of former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. According to the Bank of England, their choice to commemorate Churchill is due in part to his role as an inspirational statesman, orator, leader, and Nobel Prize winner who led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Most of his achievements would undoubtedly cement his title as one of Britain’s greatest individuals; however, there are those who are less enamored by Churchill’s actions. Critics have insisted on laying bare his unsavoury and overlooked opinions on race, justice and imperial atrocities, imploring the nation to reevaluate the values we revere, and to take a more dispassionate view on our British heroes.

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