Author: Sam Ashworth-Hayes

Liberalism—Decline or Survival

The world is still coming to terms with Charles Darwin. Denial of evolution is usually associated with the evangelical Right—a world entirely and perfectly created in seven days—but the Left is just as fond of disowning conclusions that the application of Darwin’s theory produces when they are ideologically undesirable. The uncomfortable truth is that evolution is not just something that happens to animals at a glacial pace—it is a process that plays out in any system where replication is related to success. Human societies are no exception to this rule and bearing this in mind can be surprisingly useful for understanding the world around us. From a Darwinian perspective, the point of a culture is to replicate itself. From this, all else follows. The rules and rites that govern a society fall into shape as systems for maximising the fitness of a culture for surviving its environment: laws reduce and resolve conflict, religious prohibitions on eating “tainted” food maintain hygiene, sexual taboos and morality minimise the spread of disease and ensure that there will, ultimately, …

As America Simmers, Corporate America Racks Up the Retweets

“#BlackLivesMatter,” tweeted Mashable editor Chris Taylor last week. “The #StarWars trilogies show how a democracy becomes a police state with stormtroopers, how fascism oppresses opponents, and how fascism [supporters] rise again after its defeat. Step up, Lucasfilm.” Taylor, the author of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise, eventually deleted the tweet after it became the subject of widespread mockery. But you can see why he thought that Lucasfilm, a cash-cow subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, might bend to his wishes. Amidst the climate of outrage that has prevailed since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25th, numerous companies have publicly denounced racism and social injustice—often reaping much praise as a result. On May 30th, for instance, Netflix tweeted out “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.” It now has more than a million likes. To …