Tag: britain

Toxic Femininity Exists and Gillette Is Feeding It

Luke-David Boswell | United Kingdom

I’m a bit late to the party on the Gillette advertisement. But after watching the video, I learned that it sums up the current political climate; a small, vocal group of radical feminists are speaking without a clear understanding of men. I’ll forever stand by the belief that feminism is for the equality of both sexes. However, this increasing group of self-proclaimed social justice warriors receives constant media catering. In many cases, this is due to merely being brash and vocal against people who disagree and searching for ways to label society as oppressive.

I can agree that the motives of Gillette are brave. Nonetheless, the way they depict toxic masculinity (which I believe exists) is obviously stereotypical and against the popular opinion. For this reason, I cannot fathom how it got approval. If we’re going to discuss toxic masculinity and take out all our energy focusing on how men are apparently the devil, then we also have to talk about toxic femininity.

What Is Toxic Femininity?

Toxic femininity is noticed in passive aggression, person-to-person manipulation and systemic manipulation of victim complexes. A frequent talking about weight in women’s circles, female on female ‘slut shaming’, and using the status of a woman to ruin a man’s reputation are all evident. Ignoring that toxic femininity exists is detrimental to feminism’s own principles of equality. It is an issue we must recognize as much as toxic masculinity is attracting attention.

Toxic masculinity is not at all barbecuing, having a beard, playing sport, hunting, fishing or even laddish humor. Instead, we should recognize toxic masculinity for what it is. A harmful mental aspect of being a man and the pressure to assimilate into the regimented image of manliness is a key reason why many men feel like they don’t fit into current society.

Real Instances of Toxic Masculinity

Toxic masculinity is present in the objectification of women, violence, and the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality. It also appears in an inability to express emotions and in homophobia when men express non-masculine traits. Hugging a male friend, crying or struggling with mental illness may sometimes get the response of ‘man up’. as a man is often countered with ‘man up’. These issues are the true exemplifications of toxic masculinity. The issue is much more complex than the single narrative that many in the feminist movement focus on.

My main problem is the ad focused on how men need to improve themselves and become like Gillette suggests: the best they can be. Instead, we should also focus on how men need help overcoming the restrictions society has placed on them. Gillette, though, chose to generalize about men, further adding to a narrative of hatred.


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After a Rejected Brexit Deal, What Comes Next?

Rufus Coombe | UK

Theresa May lost the vote on her Brexit deal this week with 202 votes in favor and 432 against. This is the largest commons defeat for a government since 1924, with 118 of Theresa May’s own MPs voting against her. Britain’s future relationship with Europe is once again uncertain but one thing is now clear: May’s deal is dead. There are three popular alternatives which we may see in the coming months.

The 585-page agreement, which Theresa May brought back from Brussels, received criticism for being both too ‘hard’ and too ‘soft’ a deal from both sides. A soft Brexit maintains many ties with the EU, whereas a hard Brexit severs many.

The Failed Brexit Deal of Theresa May

A sticking point in the deal for both remainers and leavers alike was the proposed Irish backstop. This is a plan to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open at all costs. However, to do this the deal proposed to have EU law bind all of Ireland. Instead, there would be a border between Northern Ireland and the UK. This would effectively force the UK to split and create a border within its own territory.

The deal also included a £39 Billion payout to the EU (roughly the defense budget for a year). The deal asserted that Britain would keep ‘equivalent standards’ to the EU on employment, regulation, and the environment. This means that Britain would not be able to compete with the EU by becoming a tax haven. Many ardent leavers see this as a breach of sovereignty.

Additionally, the backstop agreement does not allow the UK to leave unilaterally. Rather, they must remain in the EU until the EU gives them permission to leave. This means that EU nations could hold the government to ransom. It seems difficult to negotiate a fair deal when the EU has huge power over our land. One Conservative MP repeated the apt proverb: “You cannot reason with a tiger with your head in its mouth”.

Others opposed the deal as they said it went too far. For example, it included taking Britain out of the single market and customs union. The government also acknowledged that it would make Britain worse off.

Britain leaves Europe, with or without a deal, on the 29th of March, 2019. The questions thus become: who will try to obstruct Brexit in the next few months? How successful will their operations be? There are many rival factions within Parliament but the main three are the following:

A Second Referendum

Around 125 Members of Parliament from all sides of the house support this notion. It would involve another vote by the British people. It is a position that almost exclusively remainers support. As a result, many see it as an attempt to reverse the previous vote. Most Conservatives and the leadership of the Labour Party strongly oppose this. It would mean that Britain would have the option to go back to the EU.

A No-deal Brexit

Not a single MP supports this publicly as a first option. However, fervent Brexit supporters would support a no-deal over delaying the leave. These individuals are small in number but nonetheless very vocal. The government has refused to rule out a no deal Brexit.

Experts predict that a no-deal scenario would be disastrous for the economy. Thus, businesses and Parliament alike widely oppose the plan. Its supporters are often dismissed as zealots and ‘extremists’. Despite this, do not underestimate the possibility of it occurring. This is the default position on the 29th of March if Parliament has not ratified a deal.

A Norway Option

Currently, Norway is not a member-state of the EU, but the two groups have close ties. Some in Britain believe that the best way forward is to adopt a similar policy.

This would include the negotiation of a new deal which would keep Britain in the customs union and single market. It would also mean that EU rules and regulations would apply to Britain. However, much like Norway, the country would not have control over the creation of these rules.

Britain would also be unable to set its own immigration policy. It is possible that a majority of Parliament could support this notion, but negotiations would likely delay Brexit, which the government opposes. It would end up being popular in Parliament but not with the people. Brexit supporters may see it as a sell-out. On the contrary, remainers might consider it a waste of time and still fight for a second referendum. The division between these two factions will probably appear soon.

The Most Likely Scenario

The MPs who threw themselves behind Theresa May will now have to find a new option. Many will stick to the party line, which indicates that no-deal may be possible. With the gridlock in Parliament, we may find ourselves walking into a no-deal Brexit.

The next important vote in Parliament will probably be an attempt to rule out a no-deal or an attempt to delay Brexit. If the conservatives can hold the line on these votes, then no-deal becomes much more likely. If the government loses these votes, we will likely get a deal ‘softer’ than the one the house just rejected. It is unlikely that there will be another referendum unless the Labour Party changes its position. 


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Is Britain Still a Free Country Today?

By Rufus Coombe | United Kingdom

During the 19th century, Britain was a pioneer of freedom, a leader in individual liberties, and a staunch defender of the ideas of classical liberalism, many of which have their origins in British philosophy. Today, Britain no longer stands as a staunch bastion of liberty nor does it stand out in its defense of free markets. Britain, the country that began modern capitalism, lead the campaign against slavery, created the first restrictive constitution (the Magna Carta), popularised free trade and which was at the forefront of the fight for personal liberty. Much of this changed dramatically during the late 20th century.

An integral question for the modern day is; does Britain still protect the values of free people and free markets it once espoused? How authoritarian is modern Britain?

A common talking point of the right, particularly in America, is the alleged authoritarianism of Europe. The focus of such arguments usually revolves around the supposedly tyrannous state of Britain. One should explore the accuracy of this sentiment and tackle both the myths and the truths of the accusation.

Britain and Negative Rights

To assess the validity of the claims about freedom in Britain, start by using the idea of negative rights. Negative rights are a rejection of the contemporary view of rights. They state that an individual is free if others cannot inhibit them from acting. Negative rights impose a duty on others to abscond from intervening whereas positive rights compel another to act to provide the right. An action is not representative of freedom if others are forced to aid you in any way. By this definition, one does not have a ‘right’ to healthcare because healthcare forces others to act for you (they must pay taxes to subsidize it). However one does have a right to private property as private property only requires that others refrain from infringing upon your land. These differences will be crucial in the analysis.

Britain, for a large part, is still a free society. Inalienable rights such as the right to property and life are still tenets of its legal system. Murder, rape, and theft are prohibited by the British state. The government still carries out its proper protective functions such as the protection of life and property.

Furthermore, British press freedom is ranked 40th in the world, low for a western country but still above the global average. Britain, in theory, also has equality in the eyes of the law for sexual and racial minorities summarised in the 2010 equality act which forbids the state or judiciary from discriminating based on race, religion or sexuality. Moreover, the police force is unarmed and has restraints placed upon it. This protects the citizens from being violated by a rogue or overreaching constabulary.

However, Britain has ventured into an age of authoritarianism. With enforced progressivism, the introduction of an extensive welfare state, and increasingly invasive powers handed to the police, Britain seems on the cusp of becoming Orwellian.

An Orwellian Country

The principle of voluntary association has been disregarded and replaced with a new idea that one’s land is no longer one’s own but rather the property of the community. This is seen by the popularisation of collectivist values with most, if not all prominent politicians arguing from the collective perspective on issues such as healthcare, education and unemployment benefit. No prominent political party supports the privatization of these faculties of the state.

The individual is no longer free to use their property as they see fit, instead the use of land is now often dictated by the state. For example, intrusive Pigovian taxes augmented by heavy substance controls means that people can no longer buy and sell what they want. Britain has waged an extensive war against ‘victimless crimes’ with a costly drug war and stringent rules on prostitution. Implementation of a sugar tax and congestion charges (effectively taxes on driving in certain areas) has allowed the state to step further forwards in its march for omnipotence. Britain is very much a nanny state with Pigovian taxes on everything from alcohol to energy drinks.

In addition, it is now illegal to refuse service to certain groups of people or to extend membership organizations to only one member. For example, the equality act of 2010 means employees and property owners cannot discriminate based on race, sexuality or gender. While equal treatment should be encouraged, legislation compelling it is in flagrant violation of the principle of individual sovereignty. The state intervenes to ensure that an opening to one is an opening to all- a job must be equal to all applicants regardless of the wishes of the employer. In Britain, one has no choice but to bake the cake. The moral reservations of individuals are cast aside for the demands of the collective. Unlike in some countries (such as the US) where the right to refuse services have been preserved.

Furthermore, Britain has implemented numerous draconian free speech restrictions which inhibit the individual’s ability to speak candidly and openly. With the recent and notoriously case of count Dankula, who was fined for racist language and hate speech after filming his pug making Nazi salutes, it is clear that Britain is no longer free, even in the realm of entertainment. The police in the UK spent 3,750 police hours tackling online hate speech, most of which was even too trivial to be taken to court. Britain has begun curbing freedom of speech- a fundamental tenet of freedom.

But it is not only jokes which are being censored (albeit unfunny ones). The government has criminalized numerous political organizations of an unsavory nature. The actions of individual members of these groups have led to the government cracking down on their very existence. Such as the banning of National Front (a neo-fascist organization) which was banned in December 2016. Again, the right to free association falls apart.

The Surveillance State

Then there is the issue of privacy. In 2016 the government passed the investigatory powers bill, also dubbed the ‘snoopers charter’. This was only the most recent extension of the state’s powers to monitor and collect online content. The bill stipulates that all data providers must monitor and keep a record of their users’ messages and viewed content which the security agencies can then view if necessary. The UK authorities now have the power to draw up and read anyone’s private messages or see their web history, a clear violation of the right to privacy.

Government mass surveillance does not end at the internet, the security agencies also have a prodigious network of security cameras. It is estimated that there are 11 people per security camera in the UK. Britain is one of the most surveyed countries in the world.

Moreover, Britain also has a protruding welfare state. Funded by burdening tax rates (some brackets which are in excess of 40%). People are being extorted to pay for the government, large tax rates are the enemy of a free and prosperous country. The British welfare state is one of the most intrusive and malignant welfare programs in the world. The arguably bureaucracy riddled welfare system is now being reformed, however, the main principle of collective responsibility remains. To those who believe in a free economy, this spells bad news.

41% of GDP in the UK is from government spending. This exorbitant amount of government spending coupled with cumbersome regulations means huge sections of the economy are now de facto controlled by the state. The constant stream of new regulation flowing from parliament augmented by additional EU restrictions has led to an economic minefield of regulation. Bizarrely, private property no longer seems very private. What good is privately owning a business or a home if it’s management is dictated to you by the state?

Finally, what many Americans love to decry; Britain has the most hostile gun regulation in the world. The right to own guns has been severely curtailed. The rules on getting a firearm have very stringent since the 1997 handgun act. Due to a recent surge in knife crime in the capital, the mayor, Sadiq Khan, is banning knives and considering imposing yet more pernicious regulation on gun ownership. The idea of banning knives is something Americans find alien if also a little comical, in Britain the general populace barely bat an eye at the idea.

This article was intended to be a balanced piece to debunk the claims of totalitarianism in Britain, but the overwhelming amount of evidence found was against this premise. The more was discovered about the modern legal system, the more demoralizing the situation seemed to become. As you will see from the points discussed above, Britain is far from the bastion of freedom it once was. It has strayed from beliefs in small government and inalienable rights. There is now a socialist mindset which has permeated into British society. A mindset which will only bring more authoritarianism.

This article has only tackled the major talking points and there is far more to say. The government is continuing to snowball in size, pressure groups seem to see the government as the only tool for influence and the corporate elite are continuing to pump out regulation. The situation will deteriorate before it gets better.


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The EU is Flawed, but Not How I Previously Believed

By Owen Heimsoth | United States

Over the past several months, my beliefs on foreign policy have drastically changed. In fact, I wrote this article critiquing a proposed United Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I am still opposed to this idea, but for different reasons.

My opinion on the European Union and general foreign policy has basically taken a one-hundred-eighty-degree turn. I have become sharply more internationalist and pro-globalism. This has been caused by a careful mixture of more research on global affairs, and also life experience.

Quite simply, I made several straw-man arguments in this anti-EU article.

First up was an argument about a potential cultural collision.

Each country in the EU has its own culture. Obviously, some of the better run governments are run in homogeneous countries. In this situation, there are twenty-three different cultures and histories that are to be mashed together. This would become a melting pot bigger than the United States. This doesn’t even include the cultures of different regions of a country.

First off, there is no statistical proof that homogeneous governments are so-called “better off.” In fact, the USA is the melting pot of the world, yet has the highest GDP out there. Culture mixing exposes others to new ideas and teaches those to be more accepting of others. Yes, there may be some cultural clash, but Europeans are also raised having more multiculturalism than Americans like myself.

Next up, I argued that language would become an issue. This ignores the fact that most Europeans, especially those in the West, speak two or more languages.

My last major argument was about religion and the three countries in the EU that have a state-endorsed religion.

Religion would also come into play. There are three countries in the EU that have a recognized state religion-The UK, Denmark, and Greece. There are also multiple countries in the EU that favor a religion but doesn’t list it as official. In the formation of the “United States of Europe,” religions would clash and states would likely leave because of this. State secularism would have to be adopted and many countries would be opposed to this.

This is ignoring the fact that people are increasingly staying away from religion. Actually, being non-religious is the second most popular affiliation in both the UK and in Denmark. This lack of religion is becoming more popular among young citizens.

To finish my article, I argued about 2 failures of the EU. I noted EU-imposed austerity measures as a problem causing the debt crisis, but this is just factually incorrect and simply not the cause of the crisis.

The EU, of course, is not without fault. In fact, there are a number of key issues with it. That being said, straw-man arguments against the union are very common. Despite clear flaws, all government deserve a proper and fair evaluation. By doing so, we can begin to focus on the problems that do exist and further liberty worldwide.


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What does California’s Success Say About the Free Market?

By Clint Sharp | United States

According to new federal data released Friday by the U.S Department of Commerce, the state of California is now the fifth largest economy in the world. With a GDP of $2.747 trillion, they surpassed the United Kingdom’s GDP, which is $2.625 trillion. What is even more outstanding is the massive population difference between the two, with the Golden State only having a population of 40 million to the UK’s 66 million. So how did a single state become fifth among a list of much larger countries? Two words: free market.

Although many see California as a sort of haven for liberal thinkers and progressive ideals (i.e UC Berkley), the economy of the state tells a much different story. California has seen the development of some of the most profitable and innovative companies and products the the world has ever seen. Among these are Apple, Intel, Chevron, Disney, Tesla, and Wells Fargo. These grand corporations and businesses were founded by entrepreneurial individuals and grown by the consumers to become some of the most recognizable brands in the world. They are surely the main constituents of California’s economic success.

The U.K on the other hand, has fallen from the economic graces. The productivity of the U.K, or the output the UK workforce per hour of work, has dropped drastically. This results in wage cuts, income cuts, and severely limiting the growth of the nation. Although the economy has shifted backwards, the foremost priority of the nation is to increase the number of social programs and the amount of public spending using money that the country simply doesn’t have, creating an ever-deepening deficit in their economy.

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So what has caused the staunch dichotomy between these two economies? The simple answer is the free market. Now boasting its status as one of the most liberal minded countries in the world, the U.K has shifted itself into an increasingly socialized economy where social programs and “equality” are the primary focus. In fact, during the most recent general elections held in the U.K, the “Conservative” party, led by Theresa May,  vowed to return to what they considered to be “true conservative economics”. However, May stated,  “We do not believe in untrammeled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism.” (read the full manifesto here). It is this rejection of laissez faire, free market capitalism that has cause them to forfeit their previous spot on the list and be replaced with the state of California.

Although California still rests under the mixed economy umbrella of the United States, it still remains one of the more free economies in the world and its future only looks brighter. Not only is California the top agricultural state in the country, but they are also the starting grounds for the legal cannabis industry in the U.S; a multi-billion dollar industry that has nowhere to go but up in the next few years. This, and its innumerable number of industries, businesses, and individual opportunities is what has made California’s economy soar above that of nations of greater size and will continue to carry them up the GDP chart.

The success of California over Britain proves one thing: the freer the market, the better the economy. The free market is the most tried and true way to economic growth. When the market is free, the people have the power to spend their money the way they want to and look out for themselves, preventing others from having to provide for them. It is this idea of economic freedom and individualism that the greatest innovations are birthed, the best standards of living are created, and the overall happiness of the people are improved. It would be wise for any nation to employ deregulation tactics and privatize everything in order to see mass growth, but until that happens, the parasitic ideal of collectivism will remain present in the minds of the people and governments everywhere.


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