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Freddie Sayers from online magazine UnHerd seeks out top scientists, writers, politicians and thinkers for in-depth interviews to try and help us work out what’s really going on. What started as an inquiry into the pandemic has broadened into a fascinating look at free speech, science, meaning and the ideas shaping our world. Due to popular demand here is a podcast version of our YouTube — available to watch, for free here or by searching ‘LockdownTV’. Enjoy! And don't forget to rate, like a ...
 
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Fighting — or even participating in — a culture war is a dangerous business. It is especially so when that war is being fought behind enemy lines. So when Bari Weiss was hired by The New York Times as an opinion editor after Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016, it was a risky move. A self-described classical liberal, Weiss was hired to bring mo…
 
Despite its humble-sounding name, ‘Nudge’ may well be the most significant economic book of the the past thirty years. It has informed the thinking and policymaking of governments around the world, from David Cameron’s special ‘nudge unit’ in No. 10 to the WHO’s recently formed behavioural insight team, focusing on vaccines and masks. Devised by No…
 
Professor Jay Bhattacharya is one of the famous voices to have emerged out of the pandemic. A vocal critic of lockdowns, his name became synonymous with the controversial Great Barrington Declaration, which called for an “alternative approach to the pandemic” that would entail no lockdowns. Along with co-signatories Sunetra Gupta and Martin Kulldfo…
 
Clarissa Ward is the Chief International Correspondent at CNN – used to reporting from the front lines of conflict zones and global events. But in the past few days she found herself, more unusually, at the centre of a culture war. In a clip from one of her broadcasts, some Taliban fighters on a Kabul street were chanting ‘Death to America’ but she…
 
David Shor is not afraid to say the unsayable. As a Democrat party strategist, this trait has at times got him into trouble; last year, he was fired from his job at a progressive think tank for tweeting out a study that showed that nonviolent demonstrations were more effective than riots at pushing voter behaviour in a Leftward direction in 1968. B…
 
Do we currently enjoy free speech in the arts? In recent years the worlds of publishing, fine art, and music, have been engulfed in controversies over speech and manners. Several high-profile artists have been cancelled — removed from their positions for failing to go along with prevailing political orthodoxies. At a live UnHerd members event this …
 
Few people can claim to have as close access to “Trumpworld” — the circle of advisors around ex-President Trump — as Jason Miller. In fact, he spoke to Trump himself just yesterday. Originally the chief campaign spokesman for the 2016 campaign, Miller was drafted back for the final months of the re-election campaign, in June 2020. He co-presented a…
 
Chances are, if you’ve ever been on the internet, you’ve visited Wikipedia. It is the world’s fifth largest website, pulling in an estimated 6.1 billion followers per month and serves as a cheat sheet for almost any topic in the world. So great is the online encyclopaedia’s influence is so great that it is the biggest and “most read reference work …
 
The concept of scientism, the quasi-religious belief in science and scientists, has risen in prominence over the past year. It has been a theme in many UnHerd interviews, ranging from Matthew Crawford, who detailed the ways in which science has evolved from a mode of inquiry into a source of authority, to Richard Dawkins, who dismissed scientism as…
 
SPI-M (the “Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling) is the government committee in charge of producing forecasts for the future direction of the pandemic in different circumstances. It was their report in early June, combining mathematical models from Imperial, Warwick and LSHTM, than persuaded Boris Johnson to delay the planned re-openin…
 
Is Britain a racist country? This is a question that sharply divides most Brits, but for one Government minister, the answer is an emphatic ‘no’. In an interview with UnHerd’s LockdownTV, Kemi Badenoch, exchequer secretary for the treasury and an Equalities Minister, tells Freddie Sayers that Britain is the “best place in the world to be black” and…
 
It is difficult to capture just how transformative an impact lockdown has had on us as individuals and as a society. For 15 months, we have been unable to gather in large groups, walk into a shop without a mask or even go to your local pub without having to scan a code from your phone. On a societal level, it is the first time in living memory that…
 
It all started with an Instagram post. Over the weekend, the Royal Academy thanked those “for bringing an item in the RA shop by an artist [Jess de Wahls] expressing transphobic views to our attention.” The item in question? A collection of floral embroidered patches that can be attached to clothing. Her crime? Writing a blog in 2019 in which she s…
 
We were really delighted that Richard Dawkins agreed to come on LockdownTV to discuss “Scientism” and his new anthology of writing about science literature, Books do furnish a Life. It turns out that Mr Dawkins’ view of “Scientism” is that it is a “dirty word used by people who are critical of scientists” — so that was a relatively brief part of th…
 
Professor Susan Michie, a behavioural psychologist who sits on the all-important Sage committee, made headlines last week by appearing to suggest that social distancing and wearing facemasks should remain in place “forever”. The Professor of Health Psychology has been an outspoken advocate of strict lockdown measures, both serving on Sage’s Scienti…
 
The pandemic has thrown traditional ideas about politics upside down. In a sense, it has been the ultimate triumph of the technocrats, with phrases like “following the science” and “trusting the experts” becoming commonplace; but notions like shutting national borders and moving governments onto a 'war footing' are more typically associated with th…
 
When Maya Forstater first started expressing “gender critical” views in late 2018 (ie that biological sex is real and important), she was a researcher at a progressive think tank called the Centre for Global Development. Her views caught the attention of the bosses in Washington DC — and one dismissal, one tribunal verdict and an appeal judgement l…
 
When 49.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the Harry and Meghan interview on Oprah, the drama that unfolded left many victims — not all famous or royal — in their wake. One such casualty was Ian Murray, the head of the Society of Editors, who came out to defend the British press against the claim made by the Duke of Sussex that the industry was ra…
 
Any decent list of the most influential living philosophers will include Peter Singer. For nearly 50 years, the Australian ethicist has been at the forefront of progressive politics — his ideas about animal rights and effective altruism have shaped those debates ever since the 80s and his brand of utilitarian progressive thought continues to domina…
 
Few books have had as great an impact on western society in the 21st century as Ibram X. Kendi’s ‘How to be an Antiracist‘. Published in 2019, the book argued that it was not enough to be neutral on racism: you had to be actively fighting it, otherwise you were on the side of the racists. Moderation meant complicity and silence equalled violence. A…
 
The so-called lab-leak hypothesis has been gaining more and more traction in recent months. Once dismissed as a crankish fringe theory, it has slowly been entering into mainstream scientific discussion ever since. Just this week, America’s CDC Director said that it was ‘possible’ that Covid could have leaked from a lab as ‘significant circumstantia…
 
Last week, tech giant Apple made headlines for the summary dismissal of one of its employees. Following a petition signed by over 2,000 Apple employees, the company decided to fire Antonio García Martínez, a senior ads engineer who had only just started, over comments he made in his 2016 book Chaos Monkeys. According to the petitioners, García Mart…
 
As we approached the five year anniversary of the UK’s momentous vote to leave the European Union, UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers was joined by Yanis Varoufakis and Douglas Murray to assess whether the EU has done enough to deserve to survive. For more read The Post. Our thanks to both Yanis and Douglas for a fascinating discussion. You can sign up HERE t…
 
As the country’s ‘model-minority’, Asian-Americans have experienced different forms of discrimination compared to other ethnic groups, but the recent spate of Asian-American violence and rise in anti-China rhetoric has thrown this tension into sharper focus. There is perhaps no public intellectual better equipped to give an insight into these issue…
 
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