Where the rule of law weakens, freedom wanes

Freedom and democracy are not stand-alone structures. For stability, they require institutional infrastructure, in particular, the rule of law and tolerance

Where the rule of law weakens, freedom wanesFor the first time in decades, basic human freedom is under attack globally. Journalists and opposition leaders are killed in Russia. China’s Communist Party stifles dissent on the mainland while threatening the rule of law in Hong Kong. Tens of thousands are arrested in Turkey on dubious grounds after a failed coup. Venezuela descends into…

When an intellectual cozies up to dictators

Is it feasible to separate political views and private behaviour from artistic merit? George Bernard Shaw is a perfect case study

When an intellectual cozies up to dictatorsTo most Canadians, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) may be a quaint figure whose primary distinction is having a popular southern Ontario theatre festival named after him. However, he was a big wheel during the first half of the 20th century. A self-described “downstart,” Shaw was born into an impecunious Protestant Ascendancy family in Dublin, Ireland. Leaving…

The moral roadblock at the end of ethical shortcuts

The world is full of stories of people who have done the impossible, and it always begins with a goal. But is it a worthy goal and are the methods ethical?

The moral roadblock at the end of ethical shortcuts“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal,” author and radio personality Earl Nightingale tells us. The truth is that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. We really can achieve what we visualize and believe. The world is full of stories of people and groups who have done the impossible, and it…

Lithuania a country caught between two worlds

A letter from Lithuania: Its history is one of struggle and compromise. Now it's looking to the future and its options with caution

Lithuania a country caught between two worldsVilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is a charmingly historic European city that tells a chilling tale of sorrow. Our hotel, directly across from Lukiškės Square (formally Lenin Square and, yes, the statue is gone), stands opposite the Genocido aukų muziejus, a museum dedicated to preserving the memory of the many victims of Soviet cruelty. This…

The day I was mistaken for Robert Mugabe

My first instinct was to reverse rapidly out of the courtyard and melt away into the busy streets. But when was I going to get another shot at these guys?

The day I was mistaken for Robert MugabeIt happened just after I arrived in London to establish a United Kingdom branch office many years ago. The seeds were probably sown the day I hired my secretary Elise. Elise had been secretary to former U.K. prime minister Harold Wilson when he was at the British government’s Board of Trade. And she was a…

Was Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe always a thug?

It’s hard to know for sure, but one can safely say that, once ensconced in power, thuggery came easily to him

Was Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe always a thug?Some years ago, I was having lunch with my favourite aunt when she brought up the topic of Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe’s evolving storyline was troubling her. The Catholic charity she was involved with had adopted Zimbabwe as one its projects and Mugabe had been seen as a good guy. You could even say he was…

How to avoid tyrants claiming the highest government offices

The NDP's 'confidence and supply agreement' with the Green Party in B.C. shows us how we can avoid a Trump triumph in Canada

How to avoid tyrants claiming the highest government officesThe election of Donald Trump and the political circus that has resulted has many scratching their heads. What real impact will the Trump government have on the United States? Could a Trump be elected in Canada? If so, what impact would that have? Due to the design of the American government, Trump will likely achieve…

Mystery still swirls around Hitler’s death 72 years later

Barring the release of some smoking gun document buried in intelligence archives, the question of whether Hitler died in his bunker will probably never be settled

Mystery still swirls around Hitler’s death 72 years laterThe Second World War ended 72 years ago. Historians have produced a voluminous history chronicling its course. Yet almost three-quarters of a century later, there are still many unanswered questions about the war, and there is considerable material about wartime military and intelligence operations that, inexplicably, remains classified. Not surprisingly, those unanswered questions have given…