Friday, April 22, 2016

Thoughts on the article: "George Soros on ending the war on drugs"

George Soros on ending the war on drugs

"It is a sad irony that aggressive drug policing and harsh drug laws are often justified by policy-makers on public health and security grounds. Basic economic theory tells us that the criminalisation of mood-altering drugs, combined with overemphasis on supply control strategies, dramatically increases the price of these drugs without significantly reducing production or consumption.

I have never understood the rationale for the criminalisation of drugs...amounts to unnecessary and overbearing state intervention/control. I understand even less how alcohol and cigarettes are legal but other things are not.

From the point of view of 
philosophy of law, it is even less easy to grasp how such laws can be justified. But I suppose laws need not be justified - they are often merely a reflection of the balance of power in a given society.

Thoughts on the article "Sister Outsider" on Nigerian feminism

Sister Outsider

Yemisi Aribisala rails against the new fundamentalism cresting the wave of global feminism sweeping Nigeria. She challenges the gender imperialism implicit in its aspiration to uniform ideas of celebrity, power, erudition and beauty.

I have, for a while, sensed the danger that in a globalised world, a few simplistically-articulated norms will be imposed on a wide array of people via the mass media. And that this can be so powerful that it colours what one can observe in one's own local environment. 

Yemisi Aribisala's piece attempts to re-localise the phenomenon of feminism...which is something that appeals to me. That is, bring the discussion back from the meaningless height at which the likes of Adichie jump on the bandwagon...down to a far more appropriate altitude for a topic that is, after all, cultural in nature!

The truth is that the drivers of the popular feminism movement (Europeans) have a specific historical backdrop that they are trying to redress e.g. in a relatively recent England, a man's wife was effectively his property and huge restrictions existed on aspects of life that women could engage in. In Yorubaland, I see not a discriminatory historical backdrop but one of gender roles (I recognise the types of Yoruba women mentioned in the article). One would be hard-pressed to find evidence of widespread or institutionalised gender discrimination amongst the Yoruba or ancient Egyptians for example.

In short, the article is a phenomenal piece - a logically yet passionately argued position oozing with freedom.  An eminently fuckable piece.  Recommended reading!

Africa’s numerous languages are dying!

An article on the tragic demise of Africa's languages as we continue to speak foreign ones!  Here's an extract. Click the link at the end to go to the full article.

"Today, some languages have become more prominent than the others due to the population and spread of people speaking them. Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Manadarin (in no particular order) are the world’s most popular languages. But there are thousands of other languages spoken in some places that bring up interesting statistics.
According to Ethnologue, there are 2, 138 living languages spoken by Africa’s over 1 billion population. Nigeria leads in the number of languages spoken per country with 526 languages. However, the more prominent languages in Nigeria are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and pidgin in addition to English which is the country’s official language. Some of the remaining over 500 languages are dying as more indigenous speakers move to urban areas and fail to teach their children their native tongue.  If the 526 languages were evenly spoken, Nigeria would have 342,205 speakers per language (assuming the country’s population is 180 million).
Nigeria is followed by Cameroon with 281 languages spoken among its 22.5 million people. If the languages were evenly spoken throughout the country, 80,194 people would speak each language.
The beauty of diversity of cultures and languages has fascinated the world for ages, but several languages are now going into extinction. As lessaccent rightly puts it; languages are not immortal. They need about 100,000 speakers at any given time to stay alive. But as long as people feel embarrassed for speaking a particular language, the number of speakers of such language will continue to reduce."

Africa's 2,138 languages are dying, but why should we care?

Talk about Babel and language comes to mind. The word which means confusion was actually a city founded by a warrior, Nimrod in ancient Babylonia, according to biblical, Sumerian and Assyrian records.

Of procrastination and the killing of dreams

Procrastination, they say, is the thief of time!

This TED talk by Tim Urban really hits the nail on the head about the debilitating condition that procrastination can be, especially when dealing with something that does not by definition have a deadline.

For many of us, an impending deadline is the catalyst for action and we tend to be able to summon the strength to act...just in time!

But what of hopes and dreams that we never actualize because we have no one chasing us with a deadline?  Tim Urban's hilarious take on the topic is highly recommended.