18 September 2016: It was a pleasure speaking at the Václav Havel Library in Prague on the state of our media, the relativization of truth in a post-fact world, and (my favourite topic) the dangers of Russian disinformation. The full video of the panel discussion in which I partook is available below; the crux of my argument begins at 27:07.
Written on 3 July 2016, in Oxford
After six years and two degrees, it’s finally time to come home. I have now spent a quarter of my life in Britain, chasing the elusive European identity that always felt just out of reach, hanging in the air like a mist that tickles the skin yet cannot be grasped. I suppose this vague sense of displacement is fated for all children of immigrant families, those born in one place but raised in the spirit and memories of another. When I first arrived, then in Scotland, the happiness I felt to finally be where I belonged — in ‘Europe’! — was so overpowering it bordered on delirium. I was just a stone’s throw from Prague and Vienna, cities that have always had my heart. For the first time in my life, I felt like part of a larger community — intuitively understood by the strangers who floated past me on the street and sat beside me at cafés, in virtually every city and every country I went. It is true that the pace of life is different here, with an appreciation for the aesthetic that is seldom found in America. But live anywhere long enough, and you begin to notice the cracks in the facade. Once the superficial pleasures of daily life start to grow familiar, grievances inevitably follow.
In November 2014, Oxford Students for Life organised a debate, to be hosted at Christ Church, a college at Oxford University, on the motion “This House Believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All”. Two guest speakers were invited: Tim Stanley to speak in favour of the proposition and Brendan O’Neill to speak against. As Stanley wrote in his post-mortem of the ensuing ordeal, “this wasn’t a pro-life demo and the subject wasn’t whether or not women should have the right to choose abortion. […] [T]he motion ha[d] nothing to do with abortion rights per se and was simply a consideration of how having effective abortion on demand affects wider society”.