Angus Kennedy: writer

Angus Kennedy is convenor of the Institute of Ideas’ educational initiative The Academy. He chairs the Institute’s Economy Forum and helps organise its discussions. He is a Member of the European Cultural Parliament, ECP, and is the author of Being Cultured: in defence of discrimination.

September 2011

La mort de l’Europe

Marquand reduces democracy to being a way of adjudicating between competing claims of individuals who just won’t get along, much like a marriage guidance counsellor - or a judge. It means ‘accepting difference, rejoicing in difference, and negotiating difference’. Marquand stresses the complexity of modern life and proposes democracy as a tool to manage competing identities and differences.

May 2011

The economics of don’t meddle and muddle through

Not making decisions, not having a long-term strategy, ditching theory and rationality: all seem to be virtues for today’s economists. Economics post-crash seems like a codification of messy pragmatism: to be anti-theory now in principle. Leaving us, of course, with things just the way they are.

July 2010

Goods are good

The implication of Ferraris is that the incessant focus on limits of all kinds today is about the idea of, the necessity for, limits per se rather than specific limits themselves. Any attempt to argue that such and such a particular limit – the ‘tyranny of oil’ – can be overcome – with biofuels - will be countered almost immediately with another limit – a claimed shortage of land.

May 2010

Unscientific voters?

It is striking and informative that there has been such concern over just how many scientists there are in Parliament. There has been precisely zero concern as to how many MPs have backgrounds in Fine Art or English or even, and perhaps more to the point, how many economists there are, let alone people who have much, if any, experience of the real world outside the Westminster Village full stop.

April 2010

Huggable, cuddly voters

Yet a model of change simply for the sake of it, and vague betterment to infinity and beyond, speaks more to a profound loss of any sense of what the good looks like.

February 2010

Equality is more than less inequality

You do not have to believe that private schools are right and good to be opposed to calls for the state to ban them. That is, to dismantle private institutions and remove their freedom to choose which pupils to take. This is to attack fundamental freedoms (of association, or not to associate) which are based on the ability to discriminate: we will only take children who are Catholic or Muslim; or wealthy; or good at rugby; or, indeed, on their merit.

July 2009

Amazing words

Adam Foulds’ new novel recounts the life, loves and madness of John Clare, poster-boy poet of romantic environmentalists and it-once-was Englanders. Can we bracket him so easily and read him as nothing more than a lament for a natural world destroyed in front of his eyes? Or does his life and poetry tell us something more important about civilisation than it does about nature?

March 2009

Desiring ends

‘A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference.’ Karl Marx, Capital, Vol I, Chapter 1.

January 2009

Feeling solidarity

‘Soon we shall breathe our last. Meanwhile, while we live, while we are among human beings, let us cultivate our humanity’, Seneca, De ira

December 2008

Dead Hands

‘the thing with punk was that it was ‘working- class’ music. But in fact it wasn’t. The Sex Pistols were on Virgin for Christ’s sake - they were the enemy as far as me and my friends were concerned’ (Mark E Smith sez).

October 2008

Down with cant: up with rhetoric!

The language of contemporary politics is packed full of jargon. It stands in for real political discourse and debate but is no substitute. In its place we need to rehabilitate rhetoric: language designed to convince others of the rightness of our propositions.

Truth Story

In June 2005, Lee Siegel writes, Juan Ponce de Leon, legendary discoverer of Florida, inventor of rum, popcorn and cigars, 540 year-old beneficiary of the Fountain of Youth, commissioned, to ghost-write his autobiography, Professor of Indian Religions at the University of Hawaii, Lee Siegel.


Won’t read, can’t read, don’t read?

We need to be less concerned about when is the right age for children to start reading, and how, and much more worried about what counts as being great literature, in having real standards that children can aim at.

August 2008

Being Frank

Mark E Smith is yet to become Self-Revealing Talkative Man. Just who thinks he should?

July 2008

A familiar language?

Humanity (insofar as it is here represented by the Dutch bourgeoisie of course) is shown in black and white, precisely because it has set itself apart from the imaginary and the natural world: it has created its own language for representing itself.

May 2008

Dis me please

Just as the government’s Respect Agenda was only lip-service to being nice to each other and really about reporting each other’s bad behaviour to reward it with ASBOs, so he may talk big about treating each other as autonomous human beings, but really he is full of contempt for the wrong kind of people.

April 2008

Reading public critical

Yes, these essays are sometimes difficult and sometimes the subject matter may be unfamiliar, so all the more reason to take up the challenge and learn something new from a real authority.

February 2008

Say no to counterknowledge

It is not that people are ignorant and lack discernment; nor are they beguiled by the power of the internet; rather there is an attraction, sometimes cynical, sometimes desperate, but an attraction nonetheless to dogmatic points of view at a time when the power of human reason and our ability to make history are both seen as discredited.

Culture Wars was included in creativetourists’ Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs 2009.