These essays


These short essays are my replacement for Twitter, where I now rarely write anything but replies. Their dates are approximate. Sometimes I edit them.

People very often use social media, it seems to me, to relieve the pressure of their strong opinions. Pressurised opinions tend to come out wildly, however, meaning that what relieves the pressure for you may only increase what other people feel. This creates a cycle of clumsy retaliation that makes it difficult to be fair to anyone, or to their ideas.

It might seem strange that people would join such an unpleasant cycle, and in such numbers, but of course it is pleasant to make your enemies suffer, once you have some, and pleasant too to feel the support of your own side. Football fans know this pleasure well, but they do not hate each other personally. They hate through the safe proxy of their teams. Now and again, during minutes of silence, they even suspend hostilities and admit that the whole thing is makebelieve.

Our opinions are not a proxy, though. Few things are more personal. Nor is the battle of ideas a game. It shapes the world. This page, therefore, is a place where I will try to express my opinions clearly, after time to consider them. I intend it to be a permanent record of what I think, which is why I’ll edit or delete the essays when my opinions change. If you find any of them interesting then I’m delighted, but the main purpose is to keep me from publicly depressurising in other ways.