Psychology

While I was in the United States, I received an urgent call from [assistant U.S. attorney David] Kelley. “Ali, you need to get to Yemen right away,” he said. “We’ve finally signed the agreement with the Yemenis allowing us to interrogate [Jamal al-] Badawi, but there’s no one who can interrogate him.” “What about Bob […]

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An interrogation is a mind game in which you have to use your wits and knowledge of the detainee to convince or steer him to cooperate, and essential to this is to show that you are in control. If a suspect thinks that you lack knowledge of what he’s talking about or sees that you […]

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As Labib al-Nahhas, a senior and moderate voice within the Syrian Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham, put it: ‘Ths Islamic State’s extremist ideology can be defeated only through a home-grown Sunni alternative — with the term “moderate” defined not by CIA handlers but by Syrians themselves. Moderate imams — whether in the community or visiting prisons […]

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Sadly, many Muslims would subscribe to this perspective [of Islam in conflict with the rest of the world] rather than acknowledge the crisis within Islam. They think the conflicts ravaging their lands stem from a Western conspiracy to steal their natural resources. So perfidious is that conspiracy that many Muslims even blame terror attacks in […]

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Despite being looked down upon for it by more sophisticated philosophers, I see a lot of value in the utilitarian idea that the right course of action can often be discerned by considering what will produce the greatest good and the least harm among the most people. It’s not a philosophy that answers all ethical […]

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The popular aphorism ‘charity begins at home’ brings both sets of beliefs to the fore in a lucid way. Taken together, these beliefs work to diminish empathy on the part of the population by stressing the existence of deep and non-contingent differences between wealthy citizens and those living in other parts of the world. They […]

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This Canadian news article about political opposition to carbon taxes does a good job of summarizing the barriers to stronger greenhouse gas mitigation policy that people like Doug McAdam and Stephen Gardiner have articulated: “Certainly there are abundant grounds to doubt the political wisdom of the Liberal plan. A tax, or anything that resembles it, […]

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In an ideal world, politicians would rely on high quality sources of information to determine what they should consider to be true factually about the world. They could then apply their political philosophies and ideologies to the question of what public policy ought to exist. It’s not only conservatives who invert or pervert this process, […]

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There’s some hope perhaps that experiences like extreme weather events and wildfires will boost the salience of climate change in the population and shift atittudes toward more robust controls on carbon emissions. Anecdotally: In North Carolina, hurricanes did what scientists could not: Convince Republicans that climate change is real

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There’s another dire warning from the IPCC: Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’ There seems little reason to hope that people will react differently to this one than to the 1990, 1996, 2001, 2007, and 2014 reports. Our collective future is a massive ethical blindspot. People who wouldn’t think about missing a […]

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