David Conway

David Conway is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Westminster-based social policy think-tank Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society.

Donald Trump and the Future of the International Liberal Order

Since Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency in November, his foreign policy pronouncements have received considerable scrutiny from those anxious to elicit from them how potentially detrimental his presidency is liable to be to the so-called liberal international order. By this expression is meant that web of alliances and international arrangements and organizations that the United States has been instrumental in helping to create and support since 1945 to promote global peace and prosperity. Most notable among the elements of this global order are such bodies as the United Nations, NATO and the European Union, as well as that medley…

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Addicted to Soros Money

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There are several ways of understanding how people can become addicted to drugs. It has been described as a brain disease, as a developmental learning disorder, or simply as a bad habit. When construed as a habit, addiction is always understood to be a condition from which addicts could free themselves by an always possible, if seldom made, sustained effort of will.

Addiction as a brain disease is the view most widely shared by healthcare professionals today. What makes drugs addictive, says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is that they “increase dopamine in brain reward regions.” They hijack the reward-motivation conditioning in the brain, according to recent studies. With many diseases, we don’t put the responsibility for illness on the sufferer, and we should not for drug addiction either, Volkow argues.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are psychologists who believe addicts can and do make rational decisions, and can choose to stop taking drugs. One is Gene Heyman of Boston College, who has written that most addicts “quit using illegal drugs by about age 30” and do so “without professional help.” Dr. Heyman listed “the correlates of quitting” as “legal concerns, economic pressures, and the desire for respect, particularly from family members,” among other factors.

A major proponent of the view that drug addiction is a developmental-learning disorder—which falls somewhere between the aforementioned stances—is a former cocaine addict, the neuroscientist and professor of developmental psychology, Marc Lewis, who emphasizes what he calls “neuroplasticity,” and “the brain’s capacity to change.” This last matches the approach taken by journalist Maia Szalavitz in her new book Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction.

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Apologia for Islamism

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Ever since it underwent decolonization at the end of World War II, the Middle East has proved notoriously volatile politically speaking. Until the attacks of September 11, 2001, the West remained largely unaffected by the convulsions by which at regular intervals one or other of its constituent countries has been periodically shaken since gaining independence. It is against the backdrop of the present chaotic state of so much of the Middle East that Shadi Hamid, a Muslim American of self-proclaimed liberal and democratic proclivities, has written Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle over Islam Is Reshaping the World. He seeks to explain…

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A Quangocrat Offers His Plan

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Trevor Phillips had the following purposes in mind in writing Race and Faith: The Deafening Silence: to identify which cultural practices and attitudes of which of Britain’s minorities are especially detrimental to the body politic, and why; and then to propose, under what he calls “active integration,” a raft of new policies that he believes could encourage Britain’s minorities to discard the attitudes and practices that are problematic. Born in Islington to working class immigrants from British Guiana shortly after their arrival in London, Phillips is a journalist and “quangocrat” (our word for public servants toiling in Britain’s non-governmental organizations) who…

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Brexit Costs Versus Brexit Benefits

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Would Britain gain or lose by leaving the European Union? Is it possible the consequences would be neutral, with the costs and benefits of Brexit cancelling each other out?

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Dave’s Dodgy Deal

Prime Minister David Cameron holds a Q&A session with students at University Campus Suffolk ahead of the EU referendum.  (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/Getty Images)

On Saturday, after what seemed like interminable haggling in Brussels with his European Union counterparts, followed by a specially convened meeting of his cabinet, David Cameron went to the steps of 10 Downing Street and told Britons that a referendum would be put to them in June on whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU.

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The Way of Secrecy

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Within weeks of Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, Pope Pius XII received a request from a group of senior German military officers to join them in a conspiracy to remove the Führer from power and then swiftly end hostilities after staging a coup. The officers let Pius know, however, that they were only prepared to act after first gaining assurances from the Allies that, were they to do so, they and Germany would receive fair treatment in any ensuing peace treaty, unlike how, in their estimation, Germany had been treated at the end of World War One. This is…

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Making Peace among Brothers

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At the start of Not In God’s Name, Jonathan Sacks writes: “Religiously motivated violence must be fought religiously as well as militarily,” and he adds that “this will be one of the defining battles of the twenty-first century.” Few would seem better qualified to rally the support of decent people against religiously motivated extremists. After gaining a double-first in philosophy at Cambridge (under the supervision of Roger Scruton) and a doctorate in ethics, Sacks went on to become an orthodox rabbi, and later served for two decades as Britain’s Chief Rabbi. He did so with such distinction that he was awarded…

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Rain Man as Fall Guy

Recently the trial began in a London court of Thomas Hayes, the first banker, to face criminal charges in connection with the rigging of the London-based international inter-bank lending rate known as LIBOR. This was an apparently quite widespread malpractice within the banking sector for several years both before and after the global financial crisis of 2008. Already several major banks have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for employees of theirs having been deemed complicit in it. Until last week’s trial opened, no one had faced criminal charges for complicity in this malpractice.   

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Why Did They Kill?

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Almost nightly, our TV screens berate us with images of atrocities in far-flung places perpetrated by the likes of ISIS and Boko Haram. Watching them, it is chastening to reflect that, less than three quarters of a century ago, savagery on an even far larger scale and a more organized basis was rampant throughout Europe, committed at the behest of the democratically elected government of one of that continent’s most civilized and cultured nations. What drove the land of Schiller, Kant, and Mozart to descend to such depths of depravity forms the subject of Dan McMillan’s informative and thought-provoking How Could…

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