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The West must rearm to contain China and Russia

On Wednesday the 22 March Xi Jinping ended a 3 day state visit to the Kremlin, whose ostensible purpose was to discuss how to achieve peace in Ukraine with President Vladimir Putin. However, this summit has a second, much more important purpose – to reaffirm the Sino-Russian alliance against the West. This video looks at why, and how, the West should contain this sinister alliance, and the wider ‘Axis of Authoritarianism’.

Russia and China are growingly increasingly close and assertive.

The West faces a massive geopolitical challenge to its support for the ideals of global peace, democracy and development from a loose coalition of authoritarian states led by China and Russia. This coalition is growing increasingly cohesive and assertive which means the West must at all costs stand together, affirm the moral rightness of its cause and contain the rising threat. To clarify, the ‘West’ in the opinion of this channel, is made up principally of the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Israel, Japan and Taiwan (and South Korea!) being part of the ‘Wider West.’ 

Let us first deal with the membership of this so-called ‘Axis of Authoritarianism.’ First its de facto leader, China with 1.5 billion people, 19% of global GDP and a 2 million strong military. Secondly, Russia with 146 million people, 12% of global oil production and a 1.15 million strong military, albeit poorly led and equipped. Thirdly, Iran with 82 million people, 14% of global gas reserves and an 870,000 man military. This is the core alliance. The wider alliance is more fragmentary but is steadily strengthening its ties as the world moves more and more into 2 blocs that mirror the Cold War – Free and Authoritarian. It consists of Kim Jong Un’s North Korea, Maduro’s Venezuela, Assad’s Syria, Lukashenko’s Belarus, El Sisi’s Egypt and Min Aung Hlaing’s Myanmar. These dictators do not possess a shared ideology like communism, fascism or Islamism but are solely interested in holding power and fear being brought to account for their crimes. 

The deepening China-Russia alliance signaled by Xi’s visit, and his inviting Putin to come to China should cause extreme concern to everyone. Here are a few cursory facts to show the nature of these regimes. China has imprisoned 1 million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps since 2017 for no crime other than being different. Chinese opioids wreak havoc on the USA & Europe, so much so that the leading cause of death in Americans aged 18-45 is opioid (mainly fentanyl) overdoses. China’s Belt and Road initiative massively indebts Asian countries like Sri Lanka, which had to agree to a 99 year port lease in 2017. Russia of course illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and in 2022 launched an imperialist war to conquer Ukraine which has killed over 8000 civilians. Russia saw 6.6 trillion rubles lost to corruption in 2021, as it is a kleptocracy that steals from its own people. And Russia poisons exiled dissidents with nerve agents. The internal oppression and external aggression of these regimes is clear to see, and so it is our moral duty to stand up against them, as well as essential to the survival of the rules-based international order.

Currently the USA is the only Western military prepared for a potential confrontation. Every other Western military lacks the manpower, equipment, ammo and funds for more than a few weeks fighting. In order to create a sizeable deterrent and prevent confrontation, rearmament is needed. British historian Mark Felton lays out the shocking decline of the UK armed forces in particular since the Cold War in his video ‘Britain’s Shrinking Military.’ The Defence budget has shrunk from 4.1% in 1991 to 2.5% today. The army in 1991 had 153,000 soldiers and 1200 tanks to only 86,000 and 223 respectively today. The Royal Navy, traditionally our strongest arm, declined from 63,000 personnel in 1991 to 30,000 today, and from 51 destroyer and frigates and 29 subs to 18 and 10 respectively. Finally the RAF went from 90,000 personnel and 850 fighter jets to 33,000 and 115 respectively. This decline must be speedily reversed, and the £11 billion extra for defence promised over 5 years in the Conservative government’s Spring Budget is a start, but much more needs to be invested, and much faster.

Why the focus on expensive arms one might ask? Why not merely international outreach and ‘soft power’? Because the truth is the Axis of Authoritarianism understands only one language: force. Behind the protestations of respect for peace and democracy, lies a ruthless, realpolitik might-makes-right view of power. On the 4th February last year Putin staged a state visit to Beijing, where a joint statement was made calling for States to “respect the rights of peoples to independently determine the development paths of their countries” among other things. A mere 3 weeks later on the 24th February he ignored this and launched a brutal invasion of Ukraine. China tacitly condoned it. On the 24th February this year China’s ‘Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’ was published declaring “The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld.” Except of course China routinely trespasses in Vietnamese and Philippine waters and threatens to invade the independent country Taiwan. Just on Wednesday (22 March) Xi and Putin calling Russia and China the ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination’ (meaning alliance) published a joint statement stating ‘the United Nations Charter must be observed and international law must be respected.’ This statement is likely as sincere as the previous two. The point is China and Russia tell lie after lie because they have no real respect for truthful diplomacy and compromise, only for raw balance of power. And it is time to rebalance the scales.  

In conclusion, the ‘Axis of Authoritarianism’ whose senior partners are China then Russia, must urgently be be contained by Western rearmament because its increasing cohesiveness and assertiveness pose a threat to peace and democracy, and existing soft power methods are ineffective in the face of a duplicitous realpolitik whose only aim is power.

The coming recession

This channel predicts there will be a recession by the end of 2023. This is a short piece covering bank collapses, the UK budget and economic theories. 

3 major banks have recently collapsed, drawing parallels with 2008. Silvergate Bank, on the 8th March. Silicon Valley Bank on the 10th. And Signature Bank on the 12th. The US, UK and EU regulators state these banks were special cases, unlikely to be repeated, but this is what they would say, as after all their role is to reassure and stabilize. The fact is more banks and companies are likely to collapse in the coming months. Credit Suisse today alone, Wednesday 15th March, has lost a massive 20% of its stock- value and looks very unstable, with Saudi backers refusing to invest any more capital. These collapses, I predict, will snowball into a financial crisis albeit less severe than that of 2008.

The UK Conservative Chancellor the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt released his Spring Budget today which was generally sensible and should be praised for its moderation. However it is simply outside the power of any one government to stop the boom and bust cycle of capitalism. It points out government success in combating inflation, with only 2.9% predicted by the OBR by December. It also keeps the Energy Price Guarantee at £2500 till June, saving hard-working British families millions, sets up Great British Nuclear, keeps the freeze on fuel duty, and granting a package of measures designed to get long-term sick, universal credit claimants, older workers and parents with children under 3 back to work. Time will tell how effective it is.

The main reason I believe a recession will happen this year is because of critically low consumer confidence and overleveraged businesses. The British economist John Maynard Keynes explained that the business cycle of peaks and troughs was largely down to people’s ‘animal spirits’ and right now those spirits have much to be bleak about. Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, China and the trigger for a crisis of confidence could well be Silicon Valley Bank. Furthermore, the US economist Hyman Minsky, popular since the financial crisis, stated that after crashes capitalism starts cautious, but then as time passes it becomes more daring, and eventually reckless and engages in speculation which results in another crash. The process is driven by complacency mixed with greed. The speculation is crypto and the crash should be soon. 

Now I would like to say that my prediction, like all economic predictions, should be treated with caution. Other than the commonsense idea that economics deals with people, and people are inherently unpredictable, there are weightier intellectual arguments. Nicholas Taleb argues that the events that really shape our world are Black Swans, unforeseeable, catastrophic happenings that are then retrospectively written about. And US economist John Muth with his theory of Rational Expectations says people’s expectations about the future determines whether, say, the price of a product will rise, or whether the whole economy will remain healthy. Maybe people will continue to be optimistic despite the overleveraged, financialised nature of our current economy. In which case a recession may not happen for some years. 

One thing is for sure, caution in all things is an essential conservative trait that people and governments would do well to adopt.

The UN High Seas Treaty will help save our oceans

On the 4th March 2023, late at night, weary delegates from 193 UN member states gathered in New York rejoiced. They had just agreed a landmark deal to protect 30% of international waters by 2030. This would be through Marine Protected Areas. This video looks at how the High Seas Treaty, which must now be ratified, will be instrumental in saving our planet’s biodiversity, how economics explains its necessity and why conservatism is a force for good. 

Our ocean’s marine life has been greatly affected by human activity. Overfishing drives species to the brink. Deep sea mining destroys their habitats. Cargo ship traffic kills many large marine animals. An incredible 10% of marine plants and animals are at risk of extinction. And things are getting worse, not better. The international community has recognised this is unsustainable for decades, yet conservation efforts have mostly failed. The UN formed an ad hoc working group on ocean biodiversity in 2004 but Resolution 69/292 which called for a legally-binding oceans treaty was only passed in 2015. By 2020 only 1.2% of international waters were in Marine Protected Areas. COP15, held in Montreal in December 2022 was a breakthrough since 196 nations agreed to protect 30% of the planet’s surface by 2030 (currently only 17% of land and 8% of marine areas are protected.) The UN High Seas Treaty reaffirms the oceans aspect of COP15, as well as organizing marine genetic research and requiring environmental assessments for deep sea activities. 

The UK Conservative government is a leading supporter of the Treaty, and should be praised for its dedication to making it more stringent. The UK also supports developing countries to carry out marine science through the £500 million Blue Planet Fund and we are the chair of the Global Ocean Alliance, which has 73 member states. In comparison with countries like China and the USA, we are significantly more active on saving the oceans. The UK should continue to be a champion of ocean health and not listen to naysayers like Nigel Farage. 

We will now turn to the economics of this. Conservation efforts are often painted as somehow being anti-capitalist or anti-free-market when, properly understood through economics, they in fact are essential for the long term survival of the free market. The Theory of Externalities was developed by the celebrated British economist Arthur Cecil Pigou (1877-1959) in his 1920 book The Economics of Welfare. He explained an externality is where a third party is affected by a transaction, an act of buying and selling. This can be negative or positive. Crucially, the interests of the parties to the transaction may be served by it, but the interests of society as a whole suffer from it. This has a direct bearing on protecting our environment, since it is often profitable to exploit and degrade it for private gain, but public loss. The failure of marine conservation is therefore a market failure, which needs strong governmental and intergovernmental action to remediate. For example, a positive externality is fishing invasive species and selling them to consumers as this allows native ecosystems to recover, benefitting other fishermen. On the other hand, a negative externality would be a steelworks, which produces thousands of tonnes of CO2, selling to manufacturers. This CO2 traps solar radiation, creating a greenhouse effect that overheats lakes and rivers, causing mass fish-die offs, harming fishermen’s livelihoods, food availability and the biodiversity that all humans wish to keep. The steelworks operations, as they are, are a big net negative to humanity, especially when all the other runaway effects of climate change are considered like melting ice caps. Pigou suggested taxing negative externalities and subsidizing positive ones to have a long term efficient economy. 

William Nordhaus (b. 1941) an American economist, deals directly with climate-change externalities in his 2018 paper Climate change: The Ultimate Challenge for Economics. Nordhaus explains the concept of free-riding as a massive obstacle to lowering emissions. He states this is where there are:  

Nationalist or non-cooperative policies that seek to maximize the interests of a single country at the expense of other countries. 

He illustrates this with an example 

Suppose that when country A spends $100 on abatement, global damages decline by $200. However, country A might get only $20 of the benefits, so it would tend to decline the responsibility. 

His solution is to adopt carbon taxes in all countries, as a form of Pigovian tax, since this will disincentivise emissions-heavy activities, and correct the externality. 

Conservatism too is often wrongly portrayed nowadays as weak on wildlife conservation. It is true, American and Australian conservatives like Donald Trump and Scott Morrison performed badly on this, and the climate in general. But European and UK conservatives are generally better. This is because we recognise conservation must be at the heart of any conservatism. Conservatism at its very core aims to conserve the best parts of our country, which includes our diverse natural wildlife. This applies as much to marine fauna, like the swift salmon of the river Tay, as to larger, more relatable mammals like the majestic deers of Richmond Park. 

Conservation is also about taking a long term view of prosperity, rather than a selfish, short term one. Again this chimes with the conservative ideal of maintaining our systems rather than the leftist penchant for launching grand plans which invariably have disastrous side-effects. Again UK conservatives naturally do, and should, view the nation and its resources as a plant to be gently nurtured, and not a machine to be worked until it breaks. Margaret Thatcher in 1988 summed up this point succinctly “

“It’s we Conservatives who are not merely friends of the Earth – we are its guardians and trustees for generations to come. The core of Tory philosophy and for the case for protecting the environment are the same. No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy – with a full repairing lease.”  

Today the tradition of green conservatism continues with such groups as Bright Blue and publications like ‘Green conservatism: protecting the environment through open markets’.  Prominent Conservatives like peer Lord Howard of Lympne support it, not to mention Rishi Sunak (who sensibly abandoned fracking). Let us hope the movement grows still further. 

In conclusion, the UN High Seas Treaty will help save our ocean’s biodiversity through its 30 by 30 legally binding pledge which curbs the negative Pigovian externalities of overfishing, deep sea mining and cargo ship collisions by establishing Marine Protected Areas. The fact that the Treaty was championed by the UK Conservative government also reflects the importance that conservatism here places on conservation. This is because protecting and nurturing the best parts of our nation has always been a priority, which has given rise to a more formal environmentalism since Margaret Thatcher. Furthermore, Nordhaus points out that the market failure of human overexploitation of the oceans and climate change in general is compounded by free-riding which is a failure of individual governments, necessitating strong international agreements, like the High Seas Treaty, between as many nations as possible. Only thus, can our youth and those yet unborn continue to enjoy the benefits of the global, prosperous order we have created.

Nicola Sturgeon’s exit will give the UK some peace

On Wednesday 15th February journalists gathered in Bute House for a surprise press conference. After a tense wait, a seemingly calm Nicola Sturgeon appeared and dropped a bombshell. She would resign as First Minister and leader of the SNP. She assured TV cameras this was not a response to short term pressures but because she felt she could no longer give Scotland ‘the energy of leadership that it needs’ and blamed the ‘fixed opinions people increasingly have about [her]’ being ‘barriers to reasoned debate.’ But was she being truthful? And what does this mean for the UK?

Nicola Sturgeon – soon to be former First Minister

There are 2 broad underlying causes of the atmosphere of bitterness that led to Sturgeon’s resignation. Firstly, the dire record of her SNP government on domestic policy, especially drug deaths, education and healthcare. Secondly, her failure to secure independence since taking office in 2014. 

However there certainly were ‘short term pressures’ that led to her ousting, however much she denies it. The first trigger was November’s Supreme Court ruling against a unilateral second referendum, which would have dragged Scotland further into the well of bitterness and division as well as being against the law. The second trigger was the poorly planned Gender Bill which will now be covered in depth. 

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was first mooted in 2017 by the SNP-led Scottish government, which felt the need to be seen as supportive of trans activism. Immediately after its draft provisions became clear in 2019 the SNP was warned it would conflict with UK-wide legislation and reserved powers, create massive problems in single sex spaces and allow vulnerable children to undergo impulsive gender changes. Sturgeon ignored these concerns. On the 22nd December 2022 an obedient Scottish Parliament passed the Gender  Bill. In order to become law it had to be given Royal Assent. However, the UK government quite rightly announced its decision to block this under the Scotland Act 1998 (Section 35) on the 17th January 2023 as incompatible with the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The SNP had in effect tried to stage a power grab, and been stopped. 

There were 3 main changes the Bill made. Firstly, it lowered to 16 the age a Gender Recognition Certificate could be obtained (this legally recognises one’s new gender and allows changing one’s birth certificate.) Secondly, it removed the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Thirdly, it removed the requirement for an applicant to live in their acquired gender for 2 years, lowering this to 3 months (or 6 months under 18) with no evidence required. 

The recklessness and irresponsibility of these measures was undoubtable. For one, allowing children who have just turned 16 to transition to a new gender is potentially harmful, as a hasty transition may cause later regret and shame, affecting mental health. It is far better to wait until at least 18 since by then the process of puberty, with all its unpleasantness in getting used to a new body, will be sure to have ended. Then the boy or girl will be able to make a more informed decision, although ideally any transition will wait until around age 25 when the brain is fully formed. The medical side of this is even more worrying. There appears to be a runaway effect where pushing children who express even the slightest doubt about their gender to identify as trans leads them first to behavioural and social changes, and then to irreversible medical choices. The Tavistock Clinic scandal was a horrifying example of this, where gender-confused children were prescribed puberty blockers supposedly to ‘give them time to think’ but EVERY SINGLE ONE of them went on to transition. These puberty blockers lowered bone density, resulting in fractures. Some were propelled onto hysterectomies, mastectomies and vaginoplasties, which risk infection and the resulting organs are often primitive. Even worse, 60% of boys and 80% of girls were gay or bisexual, leading to accusations of ‘gay conversion therapy’ of children simply temporarily uncomfortable with their sexuality. There is a balance to be struck between trans and LGB rights here, which the Scottish nationalists are failing at. 

A mere 3 month reflection period for those over 18 is also bad, as it similarly allows hasty, reckless and impulsive choices that the adult may come to regret. Trans activists may be right that the 2 year requirement in the nearly 2 decade old GRA 2004 may be too onerous. Perhaps 1 year would be better. But allowing someone to dress up in a new gender every season is surely absurd. Combined with “Self-identification” i.e the removal of the need for any medical evidence whatsoever to support an application, and the substitution of an uninformed bureaucrat Registrar General for skilled Medical Panels and the whole process becomes dangerously casual. Having the proper amount of time to think and proper safeguarding is essential.

Nicola Sturgeon, in an incredibly hypocritical moment, accused the UK government of “using trans people … as a political weapon” in January. She pretended to be surprised by the Bill being blocked when she had been warned for 4 years. She cynically went ahead with something she knew would raise the hopes of trans activists but had no chance of success – all the while planning to blame the Conservatives for its inevitable failure. Sturgeon was likely more interested in using it to advance the cause of independence by forcing a confrontation with Westminster, than to help advance trans activism. 

This confrontation, which could have been avoided by the SNP, happened because the UK government considered the Scottish Parliament to have neither the moral right, nor the legal right to legislate on this issue. We have dealt with the moral aspect, let us turn to the law. 

The Scotland Act 1998 determines how devolved government in Scotland works. Some powers are reserved to the UK Parliament , others are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. One reserved power is ‘equal opportunities’. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 are the 2 main sources of law affecting transgender people. Both acts were passed by the UK Parliament, which is the highest constitutional authority and cannot be overruled by other bodies. However, Holyrood tried to entirely change the law on changing one’s sex in Scotland, which of course would have a massive impact on the rest of the UK as people constantly move from North to South. Therefore, the government rightly blocked it for attempting to create “2 parallel and very different regimes for issuing and interpreting GRCs within the UK.” Lastly, a laughable argument has been put forward by the Bill’s supporters like Stonewall. This says the Bill is legal as its own wording states “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Act modifies the Equality Act 2010”. Which is the equivalent of a kid sticking a note on an empty cookie jar saying “I didn’t do it.”

There is also the issue of legitimacy. Under what authority does the Scottish Parliament attempt to change the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, when none of its MSPs represent anyone there? Effectively this Bill’s attempted hammering-through by Sturgeon’s SNP was an exercise in power without accountability, for which they have paid dearly in public opinion. 

Currently the UK accepts gender certificates from a list of vetted countries. The Bill’s Section 8N opens the floodgates and says ALL foreign countries’ gender certificates, even those with inadequate safeguards and worrying surgical practices, should be recognised. Such rashness can only end badly. 

To be fair, the Bill does retain some safeguards. Section 6B states the Scottish police can apply for a sexual harm prevention order to prevent a particular person obtaining a GRC. This would mean for example a male rapist with a penis who makes a suspicious application to change gender, and thus enter a women’s prison, could be blocked. And Section 14 provides that the offense of making a false application can incur a fine or up to 12 months in prison. 

However, these few safeguards pale into comparison with the dangers. One not yet mentioned is the prospective effect on single sex spaces. Transgender women, even if they retain male features, cannot be legally excluded from these spaces. The removal of most rules and the consequent likely surge in trans women in women only clubs and sports teams could easily, as the Conservative government’s Statement of Reasons points out, make women using these spaces ‘uncomfortable, or even traumatized’. And they make the strong point that the Bill would be ‘in effect disincentivizing such provision’ of single sex spaces, which many women value for their tranquility and safety. Single sex girls schools would similarly be adversely affected, with the added potential for dorm room incidents if they are boarding. And just as Sturgeon would have UK wide women’s health clubs accept more lax Scottish GRCs, or be forced to split into Scottish and non-Scottish branches, so too would she try to unilaterally change UK wide tax, benefit and pension systems. The UK government points out: “Existing IT infrastructure only allows one legal sex on any record and cannot change the marker for 16-17 year olds. Those responsible for these systems consider that it may be unmanageable, even with considerable time and expense, to build system capability to manage a dual identity for the same individual if someone’s legal sex could be different in Scots law and the law for England and Wales.” 

In the end it was the case of Isla Bryson that doomed Sturgeon. On the 24th January, Isla Bryson, a 31 yr old transgender woman was found guilty of 2 rapes, done while she was still a man named Adam Graham in 2016 and 2019. She was very controversially immediately imprisoned in the all female Corton Vale prison in Scotland, sparking a massive backlash. Given as she had had no surgery, and her motivation for transitioning so late seemed dishonest, this was unsurprising. Sturgeon, under huge pressure, refused to say whether the trans rapist was a man or a woman, making herself look ridiculous and showing she did not really believe her own supporters’ premise that anyone who claimed to be a woman was therefore a woman. She did send Bryson to a male prison, but the damage was done, her premiership was mortally wounded and she could only go on for so long before she had to face that fact. That it was discovered another trans criminal, this time a stalker named Tiffany Scot with a Lifetime Restriction Order, was going to be sent to a female prison merely added fuel to the fire. Sturgeon stepped in to stop it, but the agonising spectacle of her U turn had shattered her authority. 

Sturgeon and Alex Salmond were the 2 stand-out Scottish politicians of the last 2 decades. Few, if any, can hope to match their popularity in the short term. Hopefuls like Humza Yousef, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan lack name recognition and the same steel-edged charisma as Sturgeon. Hopefully, now she has gone, the Scottish people will be able to take stock once more and realise the failure of the SNP government to deliver at home. Certainly some seats will swing back to Labour, which is the lesser of 2 evils. Above all, the misguided cause of secession, or so called ‘independence’ has been dealt a blow. The SNP is rowing back on her plan to treat the next General Election as a de facto referendum. Party infighting and inertia look likely after 16 years in government with little to show for it. This can only be good news for supporters of a strong United Kingdom, which Scotland has both benefited from and contributed to for 316 years, and which it would be a great shame to see go in the face of petty nationalism. 

In summary, the real reason for Nicola Sturgeon’s exit was primarily the reckless, harmful Gender Bill which was both immoral and illegal. Its immorality came from how it would allow people, even 16 year old children, to apply (with absolutely no medical evidence) for hasty transitions they might regret, endanger single sex spaces like health clubs, schools and prisons, and accept GRCs from poorly regulated countries. This was compounded by the fact Sturgeon knew it would be blocked but duplicitously pretended not to in order to use it as a political weapon. Its illegality came from the attempt to legislate on the reserved matters of equal opportunities, fiscal policy and social security by modifying the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 passed by sovereign Parliament, and so it was quite rightly blocked by the UK government under the powers given to it by the Scotland Act 1998. The debacle was entirely caused by Sturgeon’s opportunistic power grab and desire to wreck the UK by any means possible, and for that reason she had to resign, helped by a scandal about a trans rapist. Hopefully now this polarizing influence in Scottish politics is gone, the people of Scotland can hope for a return to a more civil and peaceful politics. One thing is for sure, they deserve better than what government in Holyrood has been able to give them.

Space will save us from war

On the 9th January VirginOrbit’s first rocket launched from UK soil, carrying 9 mini-satellites, fell right back down to Earth. But this ignominious failure should not shake our faith in space exploration, for it may hold the key to a peaceful future, and avoiding calamity.

Humanity since the dawn of civilization has experienced the scourge of war. Now war threatens to destroy humanity entirely unless we can change – this video explains how space exploration will help us do just that. 

Only 268 out of the last 3400 years have been free of war. So any observer would be justified in predicting humanity will always have wars. The thing is modern wars are increasingly destructive, so much so that we cannot afford to have them anymore. Primarily this is because of the risk of the extinction of the human race, which has never been higher. 9 countries and counting have nuclear weapons, including sworn enemies and so it is almost a certainty that within the next 2 centuries nuclear weapons WILL be used at some point, possibly wiping out all life on earth. The mere stockpiling of them begs for them to be used. Secondly, even if a global conflict did not turn nuclear, it would put humanity back hundreds of years, maybe millenia. For those who doubt this, imagine every town looking like Bakhmut. Our cultural heritage, including art, literature and history would be pulverized, and our scientific knowledge would be erased too. 

However there is a way the risk of future wars can be minimised, perhaps even negated – direct our energies to the stars. 

The vastness of space can absorb humanity’s energies. Billions of galaxies and trillions of solar systems exist outside of Earth, with incredible distances separating them. This channel submits that the number one cause of war is humans’ proximity to each other. When people are packed together conflicts are bound to break out over scarce resources and because of our natural desire for space. Where people are spread out, peace is more natural because rival groups are less likely to meet and fight each other, and in the expanse of space, where travelling between planets might take hundreds of years, peace should be even more natural. Additionally, spending time in nature has been shown to relieve stress, so space colonisation will even improve individuals’ temperaments, making them friendlier, more caring and more neighbourly –  further reducing the risk of conflict. 

Some might say at this point that war is part of human nature, it will always happen. They point to recent history which is full of wars. However, Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli professor, in his book Sapiens points out that before agriculture there were no wars to speak of. Hunter-gatherers did not engage in the organised mass bloodletting we call war. However, after wheat, potatoes and rice started being cultivated then more people could be fed so there was increasing population density which combined with limited resources, led to war (among other reasons.) The point here is not say let’s return to primitive hunter-gathering. The point is there exists a precedent for a world without war, and we know space can solve 2 of the key ingredients that cause war – high population density and finite resources – by spreading humanity out in a practically infinite universe.

Finally an argument for urgency comes from the Lebanese-American writer Nicolas Taleb. He popularised the idea of Black Swans which are sudden, unforeseen catastrophic events which change everything. He argues convincingly in the book Antifragile that due to our modern society’s complexity, we have never been more vulnerable to Black Swans. Hence, there is no time to lose and every effort and cost should be invested in securing a Plan B.

In conclusion, in order to avoid a civilisation-ending global conflict, and to survive if one does happen, humanity must invest all its energies in space exploration because this will decrease population density and unlock unlimited resources, so that there will not be the chance, nor the inclination, to wage war. We are rightly proud of our accomplishments, like the Agricultural, Industrial and Information Revolutions but this should not cause complacency – the world is on a knife-edge and only Space can save it. 

P.S. As a side note British conservatism values tradition and continuity highly since it produces the best institutions. Therefore the prospect of a millennium (since 1066) of constitutional finetuning being erased, and the clock reset is odious to conservatives here. The delicate rose of the British constitution blooms the most beautifully, let’s not let it be trampled on.

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