Simon Cottee

Academic and Author

Sex and Shame: What Incels and Jihadists Have in Common

As an instrument for delivering publicity, terrorism clearly works. Or at least it did last week, when the hitherto obscure term “incel” went viral after Alek Minassian drove a truck into a crowd of pedestrians in downtown Toronto. Mr. Minassian, just before carrying out his attack, wrote a post on Facebook in which he proclaimed the arrival of an “incel rebellion.” Standing for “involuntarily celibate,” the term is used as a badge of honor among a fringe online subculture of misogynists who say they hate women for depriving them of sex. So now we know.

Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance

Despite being a brute and massive fact of human experience, evil is often denatured within liberal-leftist discourse: it is redescribed, recalibrated, recategorised. People do unspeakably terrible things all the time: no liberal-leftist will deny that. But there is a general reluctance on the liberal-left to name these things, still less the persons who do them, as evil.

The Fall-Out: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence

To speak very generally, there are two kinds of left apostate: there are those who break with the left in order to move elsewhere (usually to the right, though not
always) and there are those who repudiate certain beliefs or modes of thinking within the left in order to strengthen other competing traditions within the left, which they see as more authentic and valuable.

Sir Leon’s shadow

Sir Leon Radzinowicz was one of the last great exemplars of modern criminology. Yet he remains, 32 years since his retirement from the Wolfson chair of Criminology at Cambridge, an almost unrecognizably distant figure, largely unexamined, if not completely eclipsed, in the existing histories of the discipline. This, partly, is because many of the questions which Radzinowicz himself confronted are quite different from those which exercise criminologists today. But it is also, more decisively, because Radzinowicz’s status as a thinker has never quite recovered from the critical assault to which his radical antagonists subjected it. My aim in what follows will be to re-examine the validity of that assault and to clarify the significance, if any, of Radzinowicz’s ‘pragmatic position’ for contemporary criminological thought.

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