Global Issues

Overview

My writing about global issues is framed by five concepts:

  1. Constitutionalism: (an 'ism', a historiosophic ideology (not just a legal framework) which advocates for the unalienable rights of the individual in contrast to other historiosophic ideologies such as Marxism. I will always favor a social contract that is most amenable to policies that are not antagonistic to those unalienable rights. I believe the Founding Fathers of the United States had a greater intuitive understanding of the nature of being a human being than the more intellectually "profound" philosophies of the leaders of the French Revolution or of Karl Marx.
  2. Grand Strategy: I will always favor policies that give pride of place to Grand Strategic considerations and resources over operational and tactical convenience. Grand strategic considerations are the filter through which ideological principles and policy desires must pass in order to test their practical utility. They should dictate strategy as well as operational and tactical considerations. In this I consider myself a devotee of Basil Liddell Hart – the great British military philosopher.
  3. Consequentialist Ethics: I believe, ultimately, that the relative morality of any policy must be judged by its positive consequences for society at large without violating the unalienable rights of the individual. This was a position advocated by the great American philosopher William James. It puts him at odds with the deontological ethics of Emmanuel Kant, which puts great stress on the intent of the actors rather than the consequences of their actions, as well as the utilitarian ethics of Bentham ("the greatest good for the greatest number", which very often is used to violate the unalienable rights of the individual – e.g. the misuse of eminent domain). It also rejects the virtue ethics of Aristotle which judges the morality of an action according to the personal virtue of the actor or actors.
  4. Futurism: Like constitutionalism, it is an 'ism' – an ideology that posits that the future is always more important than the past. We live in the future and cannot live in the past. We have volition over the future – the future is not fate. We have moral and ethical responsibility for the future; we can only have guilt and regret for our moral failings in the past. We can be proud of our past, be inspired by our past, celebrate our past, but free, autonomous human beings should never let the past become a dictator over their lives, actions and policies.
  5. Tolerance for human failings: I believe the search for perfection is inherently totalitarian and that the constitutionalist project has as its core ambition how to make better societies out of imperfect human beings. In this I agree wholeheartedly with George Orwell who, in critiquing Gandhi wrote: "The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection…sainthood is…a thing that must be avoided… (those who) aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings".

The Founding Fathers, Basil Liddell Hart, William James, a romantic infatuation with the possibilities of the future, George Orwell and an inherent tolerance for human failings. This sounds like a heady mixture but they are, for better or worse, the keys to much of my thought. I am, however, ecumenical by nature and will occasionally use other standards of argumentation, such as old fashioned concepts like logic and imagination (and being a Jew, sometimes sarcasm).

For my global issues criteria click here.


My Articles on Global Issues

The Future of the EU

The Future of the EU

What lessons MUST the EU learn going forward? Supercilious attitudes and one-size-fits-all policies cannot maintain themselves over the long run.

The Triumph of Optimism

The Triumph of Optimism

Utopianism was coeval with advent of "Modernism" and "Idea of Progress"; and Enlightenment belief that humanity could create rational/just societies.

The Future of Constitutionalism

The Future of Constitutionalism

Constitutionalism means the limitation of the power of the sovereign vis-à-vis the unalienable rights of the individual.

The Tyranny of Mathematics

The Tyranny of Mathematics

While the postmodernist social scientist often uses words to obfuscate, ‘hard sciences’ scientists often use mathematics to obfuscate.

The Second American Century

The Second American Century

The 21st century promises to be the American Century to an even greater extent than the 20th

Arguing with a Dead Man

Arguing with a Dead Man

This letter disputes Christopher Hitchens' view that monotheism is evil. Monotheism contributed to science, constitutionalism and social justice.

Egypt and the limits of democracy

Egypt and the limits of democracy

The following appeared on the Op-Ed page of the Los Angeles Times (August 27, 2013) regarding the situation in Egypt.

Unlimited Energy’s Growth

Unlimited Energy’s Growth

The revolution in material science now taking place—specifically “smart materials”—shows that there are no limits to growth.

The Death Penalty – an American Jewish View

The Death Penalty – an American Jewish View

I am not opposed to the death penalty in principle. I am, however, opposed to it in practice.

No Natural Resources? Lucky You!

No Natural Resources? Lucky You!

Countries with natural resources invest in resource development. Countries without natural resources invest in their citizens to generate wealth.

Optimistic Environmentalism: A Guide for the Responsible Educator

Optimistic Environmentalism: A Guide for the Responsible Educator

Environmentalists are either Human Centered (anthropocentric) or Nature Centered (biocentric) which denigrates policies based on primary concern for humanity.

Handicapped Liberation

Handicapped Liberation

The handicapped are seen as needy objects of concern, rather than autonomous subjects capable of managing their own lives.

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Putin plays chess; Obama plays marbles”; What am I missing? Hasn't anyone noticed that Putin just lost Ukraine?

Scenario 2099: Rewilding, Population Implosion, Artificial Photosynthesis, and – Global Cooling?

Scenario 2099: Rewilding, Population Implosion, Artificial Photosynthesis, and – Global Cooling?

Environmentalists in 2099 were worried about the impending manmade Ice Age and the disappearance of the world’s deserts.

Understanding Obama

Understanding Obama

When Obama says he wants to pivot from Middle East to Asia he is reflecting decades of American policy reevaluation

The War on Islamism

The War on Islamism

‘War on Terror’ is a ludicrous concept. The enemy is not terror but the Jihadist campaign to conquer world.

Energy: The Grand Strategic Joint of the  21st Century

Energy: The Grand Strategic Joint of the 21st Century

Energy is the grand strategic joint of human civilization in the twenty-first century.

The Future of the Religion Business

The Future of the Religion Business

The aggregate turnover and cash flow of religious activities globally make religion a major world business sector.

NO Limits to Growth

NO Limits to Growth

Prophets of doom, from Malthus to Ehrlich to ‘Club of Rome’, have always been proven wrong by human imagination.

The Women’s Century

The Women’s Century

The 19th century was European; the 20th century was American; the 21st century could be the women’s century.


Recommended Reading

The stateless Kurds are right about radical Islam, but the west is too meek to stop Isis’s fascism

The stateless Kurds are right about radical Islam, but the west is too meek to stop Isis’s fascism

The Kurds have no hesitation in describing radical Islam as “fascism” and seeing Kobani as our generation’s Guernica.

Salman Rushdie condemns ‘hate-filled rhetoric’ of Islamic fanaticism

Salman Rushdie condemns ‘hate-filled rhetoric’ of Islamic fanaticism

The bravest Muslim in the world speaks out against "Jihadi Cool"

The lessons of 9/11

The lessons of 9/11

Christopher Hitchens with another brilliant diatribe against Islamist Fascism and its leftist supporters.

395 signatories call to dismantle parallel legal systems

395 signatories call to dismantle parallel legal systems

Sharia courts in Britain are a quick and cheap route to injustice; do nothing for minority rights or social cohesion.

Siding With The Oppressor

Siding With The Oppressor

The politics of betrayal of the pro-Islamist Left

The B.D.S. Threat

The B.D.S. Threat

The B.D.S. movement advocates the right of return of all Palestinian refugees, meaning the end of Israel –their hidden agenda

Turning Oil Into Salt by Gal Luft and Anne Korin

Turning Oil Into Salt by Gal Luft and Anne Korin

Anyone who wishes to really understand the essential issue of energy (not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking) should buy this book.


Lectures on Global Issues

Reinventing Government Bureaucracies

Reinventing Government Bureaucracies

How technology can enable us to deconstruct bureaucracies, making them both more efficient and more democratic

The Future of Energy plus sense & nonsense about environment

The Future of Energy plus sense & nonsense about environment

Given whats in the R&D pipeline the "Energy/Environment Conundrum" will be solved by 2030

World trends

World trends

What might happen and what could happen

The Future of learning not Education

The Future of learning not Education

No social institution has been less affected by technological advances and modern economic and global citizenship requirements than education.

The Future of Health Care

The Future of Health Care

There is no healthcare system; there is a disease care system. We are responsible for our own health.

The World in 2099

The World in 2099

Fifteen billion people with American standard of living and minimal negative environmental impact

No Limits to Growth

No Limits to Growth

Prophets of doom, from Malthus to Ehrlich to ‘Club of Rome’, have always been proven wrong by human imagination.

Strategic Futurist Thinking Workshop

Strategic Futurist Thinking Workshop

Real time change requires Strategic Futurist Thinking as a necessary survival tool; to escape the limitations of past knowledge.

The Women’s Century

The Women’s Century

The 19th century was European ; the 20th century was American and the 21st century could be the women’s