Michael Sandel: “The energy of the Brexiteers and Trump is born of the failure of elites”

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Jason Cowley: Shall we begin with Brexit? It’s very close here at the moment: the Remain side had big leads in the polls but it’s narrowed considerably since the conversation moved on to immigration, porous borders and freedom of movement of migrant workers within the EU. What forces are driving the desire for Brexit?

Michael Sandel: As an outside observer, I don’t feel it’s for me to offer a personal view about how Britain should vote. I think there are really two questions. One is whether Brexit would be good for Europe and the other is the question of whether it would be good for Britain. It seems to me that for Britain to remain in the EU would be a good thing for Europe, but whether it’s a good thing for Britain is something that’s for British voters to decide.

A big part of the debate has been about economics – jobs and trade and prosperity – but my hunch is that voters will decide less on economics than on culture and ­questions of identity and belonging.

JC Superficially, the United Kingdom seems a becalmed society, but we’re experiencing eruptions. We had the Scottish referendum in 2014, and we almost saw the break-up of the British state. Now we’re having a referendum on whether we should continue to be a member of the European Union. Why are there so many unsettled questions? Why are the people of the United Kingdom so restive?

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Smriti Irani would’ve justified jailing Tagore for his nationalism: Ashis Nandy

tagore- patriotism.jpgPolitical psychologist Ashis Nandy believes that the main reason for the BJP to appoint unqualified people to important institutional posts is because the party lacks intellectuals and competent people within its ranks. At the same time, the BJP does not trust outsiders to take on these responsibilities. In a conversation with Monobina Gupta, Nandy explains why he does not believe that India is moving towards fascism, and how the government is ill-equipped to deal with the pressures and contradictions of an expanding, new middle class.

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I want my country back (BREXIT)

This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise. David Cameron’s big gamble – the future of Britain against his personal political ambitions – has backfired so badly that we’ve blasted clean out of the EU. By the time I’d put the kettle on, the stock markets were in free fall, Scotland was debating a new independence referendum, Sinn Fein was making secession noises, and the prime minister had resigned.

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on. Not on a day when we’re being congratulated by Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and nobody else. Well done, turkeys. Santa’s on his way.

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A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

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What Bill Cunningham taught us about ethical journalism

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Bill Cunningham, the modern era’s original street style photographer, died Saturday in New York. His passing marked the end of an extraordinary career, during which Cunningham, 87, spent almost 40 years chronicling the world’s ever-changing fashion trends and shifting social mores for the New York Times.

His death also means that fashion reporting — and the wider world of journalism — has been deflated, diluted, weakened. That is the more profound sadness.

In his wake, there are countless new-generation photographers who prowl the sidewalks looking to capture some rare bird flitting along Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, where Cunningham often waited with his camera in hand. Street style lives on Instagram. It has been enshrined in books, exhibitions, films. And so too was Cunningham’s work. But Cunningham was admired and beloved within the fashion world and beyond not merely because of his skill at transforming style photography into cultural anthropology, but because of the integrity, precision and journalistic fervor with which he did it.

In an industry in which it is sometimes hard to tell what is truth and what is a paid promotion, Cunningham was obsessive in his philosophy of refusal. For decades he worked independently and only grudgingly joined the Times staff — mostly for the health insurance. At a time when fashion influencers regularly receive free airfare, free clothes, free hotels, Cunningham was a journalistic ascetic. He valued his freedom more than anything else….

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Loss of Cells in Brain’s Memory Center Linked to Schizophrenia

NEW YORK, January 6, 2016—Scientists at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), and theUniversité Paris Descartes have found that deficits in social memory — the inability to recognize familiar faces and a feature of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia — may be due to a decrease in the number of a particular class of brain cells, called inhibitory neurons, in a little-explored region within the brain’s memory center.

The findings, which were reported today in the journal Neuron, explain some of the underlying mechanisms that lead to the more difficult-to-treat symptoms of schizophrenia, including social withdrawal, reduced motivation and decreased emotional capacity.

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Review: In ‘The Violet Hour,’ Great Writers Facing the Inevitable

In a 2004 television interview, Bill Moyers told his guest, Maurice Sendak, that he’d cheated death, thanks to his sublime body of work. “Most of us will live only as long as our grandchildren remember us,” Mr. Moyers said. “But you will never die.”

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