The right to roam

“In Sweden, they call it allemansrätt,” says Ken Ilgunas. In Finland, it’s jokamiehenoikeus; in Scotland, “the right to roam”. In these countries, you’re free to walk almost anywhere you want. Not so in America. In rural areas of the US you see “no trespassing” signs everywhere. It wasn’t always thus. When the US began, everyone …

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Young teenage girls and unhappiness, No. 2

I recently posted a piece on working mothers and unhappy children. Here are some further facts, published by The Guardian: A study of data from 674 GP practices across the UK has found that instances of girls aged 13-16 self-harming rose 68% in just three years. The figures, which chime with separate NHS data, also …

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Lexit: further update on Brexit

Only by leaving the EU will Britain be free to become a “social democratic nirvana”. So claim prominent left-wing advocates of “Lexit”. They argue that EU laws stand in the way of us reforming our economy along more Corbynist, that is, very left-wing, lines. But you only have to look at Europe to see this is …

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Is it really worth policing hate diatribes on the internet?

The UK Crown Prosecution Service announced recently that online hate crimes are to be treated just as seriously as crimes committed face-to-face. It’s a crazy idea, says Clare Foges in The Times. For an offence to be classed as a hate crime, it is necessary only that the victim or someone else perceives it as …

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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Here are some thoughts, called “The Decent Life” from the philosopher Emperor, whose beliefs were Epicurean: Honour and revere the gods*, treat human beings as they deserve, be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Remember, nothing belongs to you but your flesh and blood – nothing else is under your control. 5.33 Make sure …

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Bernard Levin: On Quoting Shakespeare:

The following is not about modern life or politics, or even Epicureanism. But read it and you will wonder at the genius of Shakespeare all over again: “If you cannot understand my argument, and declare “It’s Greek to me”, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are …

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Death by medical error

The statistics on deaths caused by medical error in the United States are very troublesome: Heart disease: 614,348 Cancer: 591,699 Medical error: 251,454 Respiratory disease: 147,101 Accidents: 136,053 Strokes: 133,103 Alzheimers: 93,541 Flu/pneumonia: 55,227 Kidney disease: 48,146 Suicide: 42,773 (Figures from John Hopkins University, National Center for Health Statistics amd BMJ, published in the Washington …

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