Simon Cottee

Academic and Author

The Islamic State’s Shock-and-Bore Terrorism

“It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty”, wrote the novelist Martin Amis. “That was the defining moment.” He was referring to United Airlines Flight 175: the second plane that smashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. “That second plane looked eagerly alive, and galvanised with malice, and wholly alien,” Amis ruminated, adding:. “For those thousands in the south tower, the second plane meant the end of everything. For us, its glint was the worldflash of a coming future.”

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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