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 which he joined in 2004 and where he worked full-time as a senior research fellow for five years, after leaving academia following a thirty year career teaching Philosophy at various British universities. Professor Conway's numerous publications include A Farewell to Marx; Classical Liberalism: The Unvanquished Ideal; Free Market Feminism; The Rediscovery of Wisdom; In Defence of the Realm; A Nation of Immigrants? A Brief Demographic History of Britain; and Liberal Education and the National Curriculum.

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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Assessing Religious Terror

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Since 9/11 numerous books have been written about religiously motivated terror. Many have been vitiated by the excessive keenness of their authors to play down the role of Islam in motivating it or else to exaggerate that of other religions in instigating it. One such author is Mark Juergensmeyer. Widely heralded as an authority on "Christian terrorism", Juergensmeyer has described Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as a Christian terrorist, without any evidence religion entered into his motives for carrying out the bombing. He has similarly denied that the Muslim faith of the Tsarnev brothers inspired them to carry out the Boston…

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The Yanks Made Us Do It

The central question addressed by Samuel Gregg in his timely ruminations about the Anglosphere is how ready and willing its member nations are to “collectively shape the global order” through collaboration beyond that in which they already engage. His chief contention is that, while the nations of the Anglosphere jointly possess the necessary economic, demographic, and military means to be much more assertive globally, certain key political leaders lack the will to turn it into a more assertive player. Of these reluctant leaders, one is said to be President Obama. “Of all postwar American presidents,” Gregg writes, “Obama seems the least…

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Snubbing the Anglosphere

Samuel Gregg rightly concludes that the political cooperation required for the nations of “the Anglosphere” to act as an effective international bloc rests upon choices by leaders. Cultural ties and longstanding security relationships open possibilities, but pursuing them requires conscious decision. To elaborate on Gregg’s analysis, one would have to consider what presuppositions and concerns…

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Crisis of Identity: Here, There, and in the Canuckosphere

Samuel Gregg’s thoughtful Liberty Forum essay on the prospects for a functional “Anglosphere” leaves me perplexed. He is no Pollyanna on the matter, but to my mind he underestimates some monumental intellectual and practical difficulties confronting statesmen who would try to move the English-speaking peoples from ad hoc cooperation in various areas, animated by real…

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The Meteoric Rise of ISIS

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The last page of this brief but powerful book displays a portrait of its author, Patrick Cockburn. His world-weary demeanor speaks volumes about the gravity of the subject—the unexpectedly sudden, meteoric rise in Syria and Iraq of sundry Islamist terror groups, of which the most brutal went until recently by the acronym of ISIS. The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria even more recently contracted its name to Islamic State so as to indicate that it has now become a global caliphate to which all Muslims should give their fealty. Cockburn, the Baghdad-based Middle East correspondent of the British newspaper…

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A Separate Peace


Israel’s military operation in Gaza earlier this year, Protective Edge, and the Jerusalem synagogue massacre this week lend great salience to the issue debated in this book by two emeritus professors of religion. One, an American–born rabbi, Dan Cohn-Sherbok, argues for the moral and legal legitimacy of the creation in 1948 of Israel as a Jewish state, as well as the current need for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. His co-author, Mary Grey, is a Christian feminist liberation theologian who considers Israel’s creation both morally illegitimate as well as ill-advised. In her view, Israel was grounded upon…

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A Vindication of Commercial Society


In the Wealth of Nations Adam Smith outlines a commercial society: When the division of labour has been once thoroughly established, it is but a very small part of a man's wants which the produce of his own labour can supply. He supplies the far greater part of them by exchanging… the produce of his own labour… for such parts of the produce of other men's labour as he has occasion for. Every man thus lives by exchanging, or becomes in some measure a merchant, and the society itself grows to be what is properly a commercial society. The last sentence of the…

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