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Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, Photo: Alexandros Michailidis

Dictators are born out of crises. Consolidation of power, political influence, and trust are made simpler for leaders in countries that believe they are facing a threat. But we must be wary; the COVID-19 pandemic we presently face has provided would-be dictators and authoritarians with their opportunity to seize power over a frightened populace.

For many nations, the expansion of governmental power will come at little long term cost. Functioning democracies will more than likely continue to operate once the crisis ends, and premiers will scale their intervention back to pre-crisis levels. …


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Photo: Lightspring

Pandemics transcend normal life.

They demand that societies drop many of their concerns — activism, politics, and conflict — in order to prevent a potentially deadly contagion from affecting the lives of the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, many of those demands are only met in an ideal world. Instead, we are currently in a tailspin towards a culture war over COVID-19, engaging in sectarian games that will hamper our ability to solve this crisis.

While we have demonstrated how much we are willing to sacrifice to save lives, we have also shown how petty we truly are. We have somehow managed…


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Those were the rhetorical choices given by Patrick Henry nearly 250 years ago in a church in Richmond, Virginia. Henry, then calling for action against the British Empire, chose liberty. Last week, a pastor and state representative in Idaho believed he was making a similar choice, willfully disregarding a stay-at-home order put into effect days earlier, asserting “It’s a test.” While millions of Americans are doing their part and attempting to stop the spread of COVID-19, a concerning number of would-be patriots are conflating their liberty with public health, and to dangerous effect.

A recent New York Times article details…


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Critics of the Harvard University psychologist and optimistic data-phile are likely feeling a sense of vindication amid the COVID-19 crisis. Pinker, who is known for looking at the silver linings in a world that is seemingly falling apart due to violence, division, and climate change, uses historical trends in data to suggests that our fears are misplaced. In fact, he believes we live in the most peaceful, healthy and interconnected era of human existence. As his book Enlightenment Now suggests, all our fear is better replaced by optimism for what the future may hold.

With a pandemic raging through much…


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Maybe anecdotes aren’t useful when talking about politics, but if there is one thing about a Joe Biden candidacy that I hear people worry about, it is his mental acuity and ability to debate. I rarely hear, or even read many criticisms of Biden’s ability to be a leader, but in a hypothetical matchup against President Donald J. Trump, Biden gets people worried.

The former Vice President was granted the divine right of the Democratic nomination before he formally entered the 2020 race. However, once he was stacked up against the other candidates on a debate stage, particularly candidates more…

Andrew Hassanali

Writer on politics and culture—Editorial Intern at Parlia—University of Edinburgh Postgraduate International Relations

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