There is no such thing as political neutrality
Being evenhanded with evil ideas is "ridiculous," argues Martin Amis.
MARTIN AMIS: Salman Rushdie has argued that you can't be—you know, it's idiotic to say you're above politics, because politics is all around you and above you and beneath you. I was resistant to that idea, but it's clearly true, isn't it, that it's very hard to imagine a piece of writing or a longish speech that doesn't have political bearing on us all. So I think neutrality is a chimera. It's not there. It's a mythical creature.
And evenhandedness is its own trap as well. I mean if the press had not been so "evenhanded" we would have President Clinton and not President Trump. Some things are so clearly wrong, so unshirkably ill-advised that I think being evenhanded about it is ridiculous. What do you do with Alex Jones and those people who harass the bereaved parents of Sandy Hook or Parkland, Florida, and say – and threaten them with death and say they're worthless—what is the phrase – emergency actors, crisis actors. Now I'm not going to sit down and say well let's go through your points one after the other. And we hear a great deal about being respectful to white supremacists. I'm not going to be respectful. I haven't got it in me to be respectful of that. Some things are malum per se, evil in themselves and the crisis actor business is one of them.
- Every piece of writing has a political bent, says Amis. Thus, in his view, neutrality is a chimera — a "mythical creature."
- Some things are so "unshirkably ill-advised" — such as white supremacy — that Amis believes treating such views "evenhandedly," as an alternative perspective of equal moral standing to others, is ridiculous.
- Amis says that he doesn't have it in him to be respectful toward people who harass the bereaved parents of Sandy Hook or Parkland, Florida.
The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"