a blog about philosophy in public affairs

Month: September 2019

Compulsory voting and same-sex marriage referendums

Electoral turnout is declining. In the past three decades, the average turnout for legislative elections has registered a sharp drop, of about 10% at the global level, a drop which spans across all continents and among both established and emerging democracies. If we find this trend to be concerning, there is one fairly simple mechanism that we could employ in order to reverse it: compulsory voting. In this post I argue that while it might be attractive at first sight, compulsory voting is, however, sometimes inimical to justice, drawing on the recent cases of same-sex marriage referendums held in several Eastern European countries.

In Defence of a Second Referendum

The UK has been in the grip of a political crisis since 24 June, 2016 when the people voted to leave the European Union, ending an uneasy relationship lasting 43 years. PM David Cameron resigned the following morning, citing the need for new leadership to lead the country out of the EU. Since then, another PM, Theresa May, has resigned and her successor, current PM Boris Johnson, is nowhere nearer to solving the Brexit question than his predecessors. As the UK’s date of departure from the EU approaches, the sense of a political deadlock is palpable. In this post, I argue for the need to hold a second referendum on democratic grounds.

What should I do about climate change and other global environmental problems?

In this post, Christian Baatz, Laura García-Portela and Lieske Voget-Kleschin present the special issue on questions related to individual environmental responsibility they recently published in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics (JAGE).

Is it enough to lobby for climate change politics? Or do I need to limit my personal greenhouse gas emissions? While these questions seem like a non-starter for environmentally aware people, they are actually at the core of a broad ethical debate. The special issue tackles what individuals should do, when moral requests become overly demanding and if we need new ethical theory to adequately address these issues.

People versus Parliament: an interpretation

Motto: Would it not be easier

In that case for the government

To dissolve the people

 And elect another? 

(from ‘The Solution’ by Bertolt Brecht)

The UK Parliament has been prorogued from the 9th of September to the 14th of October 2019 – days before the UK’s scheduled exit from the European Union. On its final day before suspension, the Parliament acknowledged Royal Assent on the Benn Bill (which effectively turned an act blocking No Deal into law), made a formal request to the Government to acknowledge obeying the rule of law regarding Brexit, and passed a binding motion for the Government to disclose private communications concerning its decision to prorogue Parliament and its No Deal plans.

Justice Everywhere is back!

After a brief Summer break, Justice Everywhere is back for the 2019-20 session! We are really excited to be back, especially with so many justice and ethical issues to discuss at the moment, and we look forward to debating them with you.

We are welcoming back several authors who have been writing for Justice Everywhere for some time now, and we also have the pleasure of welcoming some new writers to the team. Together, we’re a diverse bunch working on a huge range of issues in moral and political philosophy, as well as some whose focus is in social policy and political economy. For more details, please see our List of Authors page.

We are also pleased to announce that Justice Everywhere will collaborate with the Journal of Applied Philosophy, one of the top journals in the field, covering a broad spectrum of issues in applied philosophy. Authors of articles on issues of justice and public affairs will give us an insight in their research published in the journal. In addition, we will host a number of guest posts written by experts to broaden our scope even further

We take inspiration from an idea voiced by Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1963, he was incarcerated for participating in protests against the treatment of black people in Birmingham, Alabama. During his time in jail, he wrote the famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, in which he notes that:


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


With this, King acknowledges that communities and people are all interrelated; if one person suffers from an injustice, we are all affected.

Inspired by this thought, Justice Everywhere explores philosophy in public affairs, and in particular issues of justice and injustice, the ethical and the unethical, and the moral and the immoral in all areas of public, political, social, economic, and personal life. Constructive debate of these issues can help clarify their nature, and how to address them.

Accordingly, our aim is to provide a public forum for the exchange of ideas regarding what justice and morality ask of us. We highly value active engagement with a wide audience on the ethical dimensions of contemporary issues.

So please follow us, read and share the posts on social media, and feel free to comment on posts (using the comment box at the bottom of each post). If you have a suggestion for a topic or would like to contribute a guest post on a topical subject in political philosophy (broadly construed), please feel free to get in touch with us at justice.everywhere.blog@gmail.com.

We very much look forward to this new season, and we hope you do too!

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