The Finnish Question

By Isadore H.

Finland has long been an icon for neutrality within Europe, alongside Switzerland. It wouldn’t be uncommon to hear of the ‘Finlandization’ of countries; a push for certain states to be more neutral on the European stage. For example, people called for the ‘Finlandization’ of Ukraine in the period leading up to the outbreak of war, so as to halt any potential for armed conflict breaking out. Finland maintained stable relations with both the West and the USSR throughout the entire Cold War, relying on economic interaction with the Soviets and close military ties with NATO (Finnish involvement in Afghanistan being one example). To many a Soviet leader, Finland was seen as a potential buffer state for the more NATO-aligned Sweden: certainly, this was the view taken by Stalin and other important policy makers of his time. In fact, this position was so set within the Finnish geopolitical psyche that the lack of NATO involvement was maintained after 1991, with no clear Western alignment in any capacity.

This disinterest was mirrored by the Finnish people; approval rates for NATO membership were as low as 20% before the Ukrainian war. So, the dramatic change in Finnish policy should come as a shock to all and also a sign of weakening Russian geopolitical significance. If Russia still held the projection abilities it once did, a Finnish application to NATO would be met with intense Russian posturing. The mere fact that the former icon of neutrality is able to go about the processes of applying to NATO without any aggressive Russian counteraction should be of significance.

Finnish admission to NATO impacts Russia more than any other country. The most obvious threat to Russia from Finland is the immense pressure that will be placed on Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula. Murmansk is a city of great strategic significance to Russia; within its peripheries in Kola, it holds arguably the greatest concentration of nuclear warheads in the world, as well as the entire Russian strategic bombing air fleet containing modern bombers such as the TU160 ‘Blackjack’. Air bases are located methodically within the Kola Peninsula. The Northern Fleet is positioned in the important Severomorsk naval base and cosmodromes like Plesetsk hold much of the Russian ICBM capacity. The strategic importance of this area to Russia is thus obvious, yet the area is connected to the rest of the country by one road and an adjacent railway. The ‘Murmansk Corridor’ runs for an astounding 700km before splitting.

Finnish entry to NATO would therefore be a Russian nightmare, becoming a narrow avenue that could be cut exceedingly easily. NATO troops could smash through the corridor, immediately isolating an area of paramount importance to Russian long-range bombing capabilities. Such a strike could be carried out by a dozen specialised troops with no warning. Consequently, if Finland was to join NATO, Russia would be placed into a difficult position, and would be forced to diversify the corridor and maintain a constant military presence. This would create further economic stress on a Russian state that is already hurting from the sanctions placed on it during the Ukrainian War; such an economic exertion could likely cripple Russia.

Finland maintains an army that meets NATO’s guidelines; it has mandatory service, with a potential troop pool of some 280,000 regulars and 900,000 reservists, as well as 800 armoured vehicles (partly made up of the modern Leopard 2A6) and 107 aircraft. This army is a palpable threat to Russian security and would require strong countermeasures from Russian policymakers to ensure that the country is safe from threats that might emerge from Finland. Finland also provides an optimal position for missile sites that could hit key targets in Russia: St Petersburg, Murmansk, and Moscow to name but a few. Finnish membership thus represents a physical threat to Russia that cannot be ignored, and it gifts NATO the ability to undermine Russia’s long-range capability as well as weakening its North Fleet. Economic stresses imposed by this new danger could also have political repercussions deep within Russia: an already disgruntled public, fatigued from a war with Ukraine, could be further burdened by an increase in Russian defence spending, money that would have to be diverted from other sectors. This could potentially lead to the ‘oligarchs’ taking the fate of the Russian people out of the hands of Putin, but this would certainly be an extreme scenario. The Finnish push for NATO membership symbolises the weakening Russian grip on Eastern Europe whilst having the potential to completely undermine any Russian threat to Europe entirely. However, it may not happen at all, as tensions with Turkey may prove too damaging, due to the Finnish funding of the PKK (a militant Kurdish nationalist group). Multiple vetoes could yet break the Finnish campaign for accession. And yet, the tactical significance of Finland cannot be overlooked by NATO, so it would not be surprising to see Finnish membership in late 2022.

Why you should Waste your Vote

By Wilkie D.

A protest vote is a vote cast in an election to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the political system – for example in the UK, First Past the Post – or over a specific issue like the environment or the European Union. This is a key part of the democratic process as a protest vote can demonstrate the public’s dissatisfaction using their democratic power. So, what is there in the current UK system to protest, and how can someone voice their concerns using their vote depending on what they want to protest?

In the past few years, there have been various different forms of protest voting. For example, voting for UKIP prior to the EU referendum could be considered a protest vote against membership of the EU. UKIP received 12.6% of the vote in the 2015 general election. Despite winning only one seat, these votes still had an impact on Conservative policy, having led them to pledge to hold an EU referendum in their 2015 manifesto. This was because the Conservatives feared losing seats to UKIP in the general election. Although UKIP were not a realistic candidate to win the election, they effectively acted as a pressure group on the Conservative Party, and so voting for UKIP during this period could be viewed as an effective protest.

Protest voting is important within the political system as it informs political parties of the importance of issues to the electorate, such as the environment. A way of voicing discontent with current political action (or inaction) on the environment is voting for the Green Party. Even though the Green Party has a very low chance of actually being in government – with its vote share peaking at 3.8% in 2015 and decreasing to just 1.6% in 2017 – the party could instead define its success as influencing the environmental policies of others, in a similar way to UKIP’s effect on the Conservative Party. The reduction in the Green Party’s vote share in 2017 was, in part, caused by the Conservative and Labour Parties adopting the goal of becoming carbon neutral (by 2050 and 2030 respectively) in their 2017 manifestos. This suggests a greater satisfaction with the environmental policies of the major parties, but in a way proves the effectiveness of the Green Party protest vote.

Another form of protest voting is against the way that the UK democratic system operates. For example, a major issue with our current politics is the inequitable electoral system of First Past the Post. FPTP doesn’t produce a Parliament that is representative. For example, in the 1983 election, the Liberal-SDP Alliance won 7.7 million votes – 25.4% of the total vote – but despite this only won 23 seats as they had a spread of voters across many different constituencies as opposed to concentrated support in specific areas. This means that effectively about 20% of the electorate were completely unrepresented in Parliament, which is deeply undemocratic. Likewise in Scotland, in 2015 the SNP won almost exactly half of the Scottish popular vote, but won 56 of the 59 available Scottish seats. This means that nearly half of the Scottish people went unrepresented in Westminster. Both these examples show how FPTP rewards a concentration of votes as opposed to general countrywide popularity, meaning that Parliament is not actually representative of the views of the country.

So, how is it possible to use your vote to protest against FPTP? The way to resolve the issues surrounding First Past the Post is to change the voting system to a fairer and more representative one such as the Additional Member System or Single Transferable Vote. The most effective way to do this using your vote is to vote for a minor party. Whilst they won’t win the seats that they contest, this is exactly the point. If minor parties receive too large a share of the votes without being represented in Parliament, it reduces the authority that a government has to rule based on a democratic mandate. In order to resolve this lack of mandate and increase their authority, governments and parliaments may eventually be forced to introduce voting reform. Thereby, the issues surrounding first past the post can ultimately be eliminated using your vote, again showing the value and the power of protest voting.

The History of the Russia-Ukraine War

By James T.

Ukraine means ‘borderland’. This name has particular relevance in the nature of the long-standing conflict in Ukraine. One need only look at history, and the conflict that has been going on in and around the country to realise that what is occurring today has its roots deep in the last two centuries. It is without a doubt that Putin’s motivation for invading Ukraine is part of a historic battle between Russia and the West. In this article I will detail the progression of this conflict, and its links to the geo-political issues of today.

The story of Russia and Ukraine begins a long time ago, but not in a galaxy far, far away. The first Crimean war lasted from 1853 to 1856 and was fought between European (namely British and French) and Russian forces. Europe was concerned that as the Ottoman Empire faded, Russia’s power would expand. The war was hard fought with over 500,000 casualties and did little to settle European tensions as the First World War broke out sixty years later.

The communist revolution in Russia occurred towards the end of the First World War and resulted in an attempt form a stateless anarchist society in parts of Ukraine during the Russian Revolution of 1917–1923. However, between 1917 and 1921, Ukraine was subject to many wars amongst competing forces from Poland, the USSR and internal Ukrainian nationalists, which led to over 1.5 million casualties. Eventually, Ukraine joined the USSR and this meant even more trouble when Stalin came into power in 1922. Ten million Ukrainians starved by 1933 as a direct result of the agricultural policies introduced by Stalin’s regime. An indigenous people of Crimea known as Tatars were deported by Stalin and replaced with ethnic Russians, and he also housed many Russians in the Eastern regions of Ukraine. Stalin came and went, with drastic consequences, and was replaced by Krushchev who assigned the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine in 1954, since it was difficult to supply as it was not linked to Russia by land.

In 1991, Ukraine declared independence following a referendum after almost 70 years under Moscow’s control. Early signs of conflict were rooted in Ukraine from the start between pro-Europeans in the west of the country and pro-Russians in the east. 2004 saw an election with the Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych gaining power over Viktor Yushchenko who led the opposition, which resulted in Yushchenko staging huge street protests that became known as the ‘Orange Revolution’ due to the colour they wore. These protests resulted in Yushchenko being elected as President; however, he was underqualified in managing Ukraine’s economy and suffered at the hands of Russia for being pro-Europe. This led to Russia cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006. Eventually, another election was held in which Yanukovych was reinstated as head of state. He immediately exited agreements with Europe and announced greater ties with Russia, provoking further huge protests in Kyiv’s Independence Square and fatal clashes between the authorities and demonstrators. Yanukovych left office the following day and a temporary government was installed with a mandate to hold another set of elections. It was at this stage that Putin intervened to prevent, once again, Ukraine from becoming too ‘friendly’ with the West.

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, and was developed with huge infrastructure projects worth many billions a year. In 2019 alone, Russia pumped over $2.3 billion into Crimean power generation facilities, increased its military presence, and completed a bridge linking Crimea to Russia. The annexation of Crimea created a huge surge in popularity for Putin, adding over 20% to his poll ratings in Russia, independently sourced and verified by the Levada Centre. This gave Putin the public image of being Russia’s champion against the hostile West.

This invasion set the tone for pro-Russian movements in Ukraine and its two Eastern regions. Donetsk and Lugansk were declared ‘people’s republics’. Moscow chose to support these regions through supplies and funding, which was condemned by the West and sanctions were imposed upon Russia, albeit to negligible effect. Russia aggressions also caused international civilian casualties when a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane was shot down mistakenly by rebel forces in the Eastern regions, resulting in the deaths of all 298 passengers. Independent investigators found that the incident involved missiles originally supplied by Russian military. This created further international tension between the West and Russia, especially after Russia publicly denied the attack – which would become a common theme over subsequent years.

2019 marks the year that former comedian Volodymyr Zelensky was elected as Ukrainian president and, in January of 2021, he appealed to US President Joe Biden to allow Ukraine to join NATO, which was the last thing Putin wanted to hear. Since then, a build-up of troops and further military and political tension have occurred, leading to the events ongoing today. For Putin, the escalation of the conflict during its earliest stages was greeted with rising popularity in opinions polls, a stark similarity to the Annexation of Crimea, and so thus Russia’s invasion of Ukraine looks likely to be an extension of the previous conflict in the region, yet on a larger scale than ever seen before. However, Ukraine’s military and political response has been vigorous, which could yet upset the narrative of history.

The Alt-Right Pipeline: A Silent Killer

By Mokareoluwa A.

At a Tops Friendly Market store on a quiet Saturday morning in Buffalo, New York, on the 14th of May 2022, the world once again saw a repugnant, destructive display of the lethality that so often and so harrowingly accompanies alt-right ideology. Black people were targeted, hunted, and mowed down in a racially motivated attack — ten were left dead.

The mistake of thinking that this kind of act of cruelty is unfounded must not be made; the Buffalo shooter live-streamed his entire racist rampage on the internet, as well as leaving a ‘manifesto’ riddled with racist, antisemitic, and extremist drivel. Payton Gendron, the gunman, is an example of yet another person radicalised online — yet another whose perception of the world was warped by the Alt-Right Pipeline, with devastating effects. Any attempt to curb the thorny, weed-like growth of the alt-right must, then, involve an attempt to understand the spreading phenomenon of online radicalization.

The term ‘Alt-Right Pipeline’ denotes a process in which an individual’s beliefs are incrementally changed through consistent exposure to, and immersion in, various extremist media and discourse on the internet, culminating in a complete ideological shift towards those worldviews, and potentially real-life acts of terror. (This is not to say that all extremist media is alt-right, but the term is used in specific reference to the alt-right alone.) It might begin with introduction to certain ‘conservative’ principles, but it does not end there. As many people know, the nature of sites such as YouTube is such that users are recommended videos related to that which they have just watched, over and over again; regardless of the near infinite inventory YouTube boasts, users’ pages are algorithmically personalized and geared towards the content they consume. They are thus steered towards specific content, and in some cases potentially extremist content.

This shift is a symptom of the basic human desire to explore interests and uncover ‘truths’ more and more. The effect of this is that viewers are progressively led “down a rabbit hole of extremism” (Zeynep Tufecki, 2018), their thought and worldview almost completely reshaped by the pervasive nature of online media. Echo chambers are created as such discourse leaves YouTube and finds reinforcement on such sites as Reddit and Discord – users are inundated and inundate their peers with such extremism until it becomes normal and the old normal is rejected.

The Pipeline is such that jokes and memes lead to the normalization of their toxic subject matter — the more you see and the more is shared, hiding under thinly-veiled irony, the less outrageous they become. Once they become normal, the user acclimatizes to certain levels of extremism until they effectively grow numb to a degree of hatred, pushing deeper into thought more dangerous and deadly than they had previously experienced. As this process carries on, users move into a mental state in which they are able to dehumanize anyone who does not share sympathy for their rhetoric — whether this be Black people, Jewish people, feminists, Marxists and more — and think of them or vocally demean them as lesser beings, undeserving of rights or personhood. To them, only the ‘red-pilled’ are human.

We have seen such individuals carry out many acts of violence in recent times — the Christchurch Mosque shootings, the 2018 massacre of Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh Synagogue, and others. However, there is no officially recognized term that can be designated to individuals who participate in such incendiary discourse and online behaviour before engaging in physical acts of violence. The people carrying out these attacks belong to no recognized groups, and are individuals operating independently, picking and killing their own targets. Thus, it can appear as though these people are slipping out of the woodwork with no prior signs and committing unspeakable acts of terror. However, this perception is flawed; they have always been there, lurking along the darkly bordered lines of social media, perverted by those who have come before them. Nurtured and festering within the toxic environments of far-right Internet groups, one might consider it inevitable that such people would realise their hatred in the form of raising guns and swords against those whom they have been conditioned to hate. The depths of the Internet are manufacturing monsters, and they are closer to the surface than we might all like to believe — the tendrils sweeping about the mouth of the pipeline are affecting us all, who may fail to look twice at slurs pushed across our touchscreens or memes shared at the expense of certain already-marginalised groups.

If these acts of violence that threaten our very way of life are to be stopped, and if the perennial loss of life is to meet an end, work must be done to disrupt the conspiracies of these volatile individuals and stop people from being drawn into the pipeline altogether.

The Great Replacement

By Tod M.

The Great Replacement theory has once again been catapulted into the public consciousness by the tragic massacre in Buffalo at the end of May. The shooter joined a growing list of far-right terrorists who have cited versions of the conspiracy theory as a motivation for their crimes – a list that includes the perpetrators of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre in 2018, the Christchurch mosque shooting in 2019, and the El Paso Walmart mass shooting in 2019. But what does the theory entail? Where does it originate? And why does it inspire such violence and hatred in the most extreme of its believers.

To start with, an explanation of the Great Replacement theory: the idea is poorly defined in its popular use, in part because it isn’t particularly specific. It draws heavily on conspiratorial themes from across far-right spaces, with a particular focus on so-called ‘White Genocide’. The crux of the theory is that non-white immigration is being encouraged, and non-white people already living in Western countries are being encouraged to reproduce at a higher rate in order to actively dilute the ethnic makeup of these countries. There is also a suggestion that a group of elites is deliberately driving this, who are then vilified alongside ethnic minorities as a threat to the nation. The conspiracy theory has a wide range of varieties. The most extreme are openly white-supremacist, and are notable for their murderous followers. They often view this perceived ‘cultural genocide’ as an existential threat to their nation, and one that must be fought against. The less overt, particularly in the US, tend to take a more political angle, with politicians like Republican senate candidate JD Vance claiming that the Democrats ‘have decided that they can’t win reelection in 2022 unless they bring a large number of new voters to replace the voters that are already here’.

So where does this idea come from? The term was coined by French writer Renaud Camus in his 2011 book Le Grand Remplacement. Camus said that the term needed no definition, but that it referred to the supposed phenomenon of the native French population being demographically replaced by immigrants from former French colonies in Africa and the Middle East. He describes this as ‘peopling immigration’ – calling it ‘genocide by substitution’. This is a revealing description, as it links it very clearly to the broader idea of ‘white genocide’. Camus also credits some of the ideas as originating in Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech about his horrific vision of future race relations. Camus very clearly envisages it as Islamic immigration that is the biggest threat to Western culture, a notable difference compared with the American versions in which Latinos or African-Americans are largely blamed. The theory also has very little basis in the real world – many of the statistics used by Camus were actually wrong, over-exaggerated, or extrapolated to the point of baring no resemblance to any actual possible future scenarios. American claims, such as the assertion that the US will no longer be majority white by 2042, have also been questioned. That one, for example stems not from any change in US demographic trends, but a change in who was classified as white in the 2008 census. It has gained popularity, particularly in its native France and in the US, despite this. It presents a slightly less obviously racist outlook than theories about ‘white genocide’, which are amongst other things openly anti-semitic, and has proved malleable as it doesn’t require any particular group to be blamed. This has allowed it to incorporate the predominant local prejudices of any area in which it establishes itself and thus to grow. These range from Republican vilification of Latino immigration to Indian persecution of Indian Muslims – taking the idea a long way from its anti-Arab and anti-African origins. Hence, since its establishment by Renaud Camus, the idea has proven capable of adapting and spreading, gaining traction around the world and amongst politicians who seek a reason to demonise minorities.

Finally, why is it capable of inspiring such violence in its most extreme (and insane) followers? It is, of course, difficult properly to understand what could drive anyone to commit such horrific crimes. But the Great Replacement theory has clearly played a role for three main reasons. The first is that, as previously mentioned, the theory is white supremacist. It views non-white immigration as a threat to majority-white countries – a view that can only be sustained by the belief that non-white people are, in some way, ‘lesser’. This means that those attracted to the theory are already amenable to white supremacy, and as a result often more comfortable with political violence and extremism. The second idea is that Western civilisation is under attack from outsiders. For those who buy into the combination of pseudoscience and white supremacy, this is a powerful idea, and often does inspire them to ‘defend’ the ethnic makeup of Western countries. Normally this takes the form of racially biased immigration policies and isolationism. But the third reason is that, in its most extreme forms, it presents vaguely defined ‘elites’ as completely in control – an insurmountable enemy. With the blame placed on these elites rather than just political groups, such as the Democrats or the EU, there develops a sense of dogmatic hopelessness in the most extreme spaces about the threat of a Great Replacement. The closest equivalent to this is the ‘black pill’ idea found in incel communities, another group notable for turning out a startling number of mass murderers. This toxic combination of a following already more amenable to extremist violence, an imaginary threat to be fought against, and a sense of hopelessness on a political level, leads a few to decide that if victory is impossible, then they should instead go out in a blaze of horrifying violence. The ideas of the Great Replacement have been slowly moving towards the mainstream over the past decade, particularly in Orban’s Hungary, the American right, and in its native France. With its roots in Islamophobia and pseudoscience, the theory has evolved into a variety of forms, ranging from the seemingly more palatable to the obviously repellant. But it is worth remembering that at its core is white supremacy, and that it is the same ideas, just taken to extremes, that have now driven some of the most horrific attacks on Western societies of the last few years.

Storegga – The 8000-year-old wave that shapes British politics

By Oliver A.

Britain has not always been an island. For most of human history the area now known as Great Britain was attached to Europe as a peninsular. 8000 years ago, a tsunami, called Storegga, broke the land-link between England and France. Megan Lane in a BBC article titled ‘The moment Britain became an island’ poses the question: ‘Did that wave help shape the national character?’ With reference to the political character of Britain, my answer would be a definite yes. From the Commonwealth and Euroscepticism to the special relationship with the USA, the geographical fact of us not being joined onto mainland Europe continues to mould the British political landscape to this day.

The Commonwealth of Nations is made up of 54 member states, almost all of which are former British colonies. Being an island, Britain was forced to invest heavily into its navy, with one example being the Naval Defence Act 1889, which required the Royal Navy to maintain a number of battleships equal or greater than the next two biggest navies combined. The political backing of the Royal Navy has always been immense, and this powerful navy led to the largest empire in history. How does this affect Britain’s modern-day politics? It fed euroscepticism.

It seems all political discussion over the last few years has been about Brexit: the British people’s means of rejecting the EU altogether. The fact the UK had strong economic ties with both present and former colonies via the Commonwealth provided it another economic union, which at the time was deemed a safer bet the European Economic Community. Hence they didn’t join the EEC at its formation, but instead tried joining in in 1963 and then again in 1967. Both attempts were vetoed by Charles De Gaulle, the President of France from 1959-1969, on the grounds another member might have upset the balance that had been found within the union.

This meant when Britain did eventually join the EU on the 1st of January 1973, there was and always has been an image its being the awkward customer, never quite fitting in. This has been a recurring pattern, perhaps best summed up by the fact Britain lost 128% more votes in the EU Council of Ministers than the second most ‘voted-against’ nations, Germany and Austria, between 2009 and 2015. The UK also arguably did not see the benefits of the EU to quite the same extent as mainland countries, a point Margaret Thatcher made when she demanded a £730 million rebate on grounds of ‘value of money’ back in 1984.

When we remember that the 2016 referendum only needed 2% of people to vote the other way to have a different outcome, all the anti-European conversation brought about by Britain being an island has probably made a difference, and arguably shaped the county’s political landscape over the last few years. Of course, there were other reasons apart from geography that contributed to Brexit, but given how close the referendum was, any point of influence could have made the decisive difference.

Britain’s island form, and detachment from the rest of Europe has also partly helped create a ‘special relationship’ with America, which according to the US embassy website has culminated in ‘The United States ha[ving] no closer ally than the United Kingdom.’ The ‘Special Relationship’ – a term first employed by Churchill in 1944 – was formed as a part of the joint effort between the USA and the UK against Nazi Germany in World War 2. One of the key reasons Britain was still in the war at that point was because the English Channel stood between it and Hitler. Since then, the political closeness between the UK and US has been apparent, best shown during the time of the ‘political soulmates’ Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Today, this closeness can still be seen in politics with the example of joint military commitment to Afghanistan over the last two decades.

From Brexit to Britain’s favourable relationship with the world’s largest economy, the fact it is an island has almost certainly contributed to the current shape of its political landscape.

‘There is insufficient agreement within feminism for it to be described as a single political ideology’. (LBP Winner 2022)

By Lyndon C.

It would be a mistake to try to describe feminism as a single political ideology, given the various branches of feminism that the term encapsulates, from intersectional to Marxist. Clearly evident from such diversified credos, feminism includes a spectrum of ideals (as all umbrella political ideologies do) that prioritise different aspects of women’s general empowerment; there is no unitary goal of feminism. However, not only is there little agreement, but often blatant contradiction between feminists themselves – these counteract suggestions of unity within the entire umbrella of feminism. Firstly, I will discuss clashes concerning centring the various subsections of women, followed by the disagreements surrounding feminist attitudes towards the capitalist status quo. I will then consider liberal feminism – although it is seen as “mainstream”, it conflicts with many other feminists’ views. I will lastly consider whether it is even necessary for feminism to be considered cohesive, and if this is detrimental to the whole movement.

While feminism seeks to promote women, who these women are, or aren’t, is disputed. In May 2018, radical feminist Germaine Greer spoke in Channel 4’s (disastrously executed) “Genderquake” debate against “man’s delusion that he is female”. Throughout the programme, Greer asserted that “lopping off your d**k and wearing a dress doesn’t make you a woman”. This cisgender gatekeeping of femininity is irreconcilable between the two sides – there is minimal middle ground between accepting transgender women as women and Greer’s vividly described permanence of assigned gender at birth. Some, such as Sheila Jeffreys, would go so far as to say that transgender women being active feminists is equivalent to men demonstrating authority over women in dictating what they are. In response to this, many label themselves as “transfeminists”, noting that trans women are so distanced from the patriarchy that it causes them the most suffering. For example, although trans women are often criticised for exaggerating female traits, they may do so to unambiguously express gender as a preventive measure against hate crimes or social alienation. For some, transgender women’s self-expression through clothing or surgery is a right that must be respected. However, this is often dismissed by those exonymically called “TERFs” (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) who argue that trans women, by performing “femininity” so strongly, reify the gender binary by undermining attempts to move away from the idea that men and women dress in certain ways.

Greer’s reputation as a pioneer of second-wave feminism brings with it ideological baggage – this era (circa. 1960s-1980s) is often criticised for neglecting non-white, non-cisgender, non-middle class women, sparking another inter-feminist conflict between those who led this movement and those who felt unnoticed. For example, second-wave American feminists welcomed the approval of the oral contraceptive pill , made available in 1961, enabling them to have careers uninterrupted by unexpected pregnancies. However, many differently marginalised women were not financially stable enough to take unpaid maternity leave, and thus had been working in blue-collar jobs outside the home for decades. Furthermore, although all women suffered from a collective lack of access to abortion, African-American women were further mistreated by compulsory sterilisation programmes, in the name of eugenics. According to a 1989 study, 31.6% of African-American women without a high school diploma were sterilised, compared to only 14.5% of their white counterparts. This evidence undermines second-wave feminism’s celebration of a “sisterhood”, the interconnection shared between all women. This idea of a universal female experience detracts from the phenomenological arguments within certain women’s experiences.

This “sisterhood” is the basis for another disagreement among feminists – the appropriateness of contemporary society for effecting feminism. On one side, the girl power of the “sisterhood”, once dominated by the Spice Girls, largely depends on the assumption that feminism’s goals could be achieved within the current status quo. At the turn of the 21st century, the Spice Girls were largely credited with the popularisation of the term girl power, encouraging ambition and assertion from young women (“you have got to reach on up, never lose control”). In a similar vein, Sheryl Sandberg argues that women should strive for positions of leadership within the current world of work to equal the voices of men already inhabiting (and misusing) such roles.

However, Marxist feminists would argue that this very system allows women to be exploited, and so it must be revolutionised for women to no longer be oppressed by class divisions. Alexandra Kollontai even opposed alliances between bourgeois and working-class women, as the latter’s exploitation by the former only tightened capitalism’s (and thus misogyny’s) grip. Furthermore, she argued that before any unification of women as a collective, the social barriers between them must first be removed entirely, fundamentally reshaping society’s perception of women. This sharply contrasts with those celebrating the “sisterhood”, where the collective oppression of women is a unifying factor in itself.

Additionally, further division is found firstly by more recent (third- and fourth-wave) feminists, accusing the “sisterhood” of ignoring non-Western women similarly to the second-wave’s concentration on white, middle-class women. Secondly, it has been recently criticised with the benefit of hindsight as an ideology founded upon the consumerist desires of the naive. The Spice Girls’ girl power is rooted in bands such as Bikini Kill, who pioneered the riot grrrl movement , an underground feminist punk movement, but had notably fewer meet-and-greets. Unlike Bikini Kill, whose songs never charted due to their independent release, the Spice Girls (and their aggressive marketing, spanning Walkers Crisps to Mr. Men) reign as the world’s bestselling girl group, although they promoted the same ideas only three years after Bikini Kill. Despite the “sisterhood’s” popularity from its conception in 90s rock until today, many dispute its message for being unrealistic, exclusive, and ingenuine.

In the face of all these disagreements, mainstream or liberal feminism arises as a potential answer. Martha Nussbaum derives arguments from Kantian ethics; sex and gender are morally irrelevant characteristics, and should be ignored in the context of treating lives equally as ends instead of a means. Thus, more women would work in STEM, while more men would provide for the family. Furthermore, mainstream feminism argues that equal treatment should be obtained through challenging opposition to legal rights for women, ultimately seeking women’s attainment of the same autonomous individuality long possessed by men. However, as has been elaborated throughout this essay, different variants bring different criticisms to mainstream feminism.

A response to this seemingly innocuous “mainstream” feminism is found once again within Marxism, with the revolutionary changes it demands of class hierarchy. Marxist feminists dispute (supposed) liberties within modern society; liberal feminists respect the choice of employment of women who make up 88% of UK sex workers , celebrating their autonomy in entering this industry. They argue that respecting their autonomy necessitates respecting their choice. However, Marxist feminists question whether these women are truly free, or if existing patriarchal capitalist structures shaped their “freedom”. In a country where gender pay gaps in STEM sectors reach as high as 40% , Marxists argue that women are not voluntarily choosing to enter sex work, but are forced to by an oppressive status quo.

Furthermore, some lesbian feminists decry mainstream feminism as homophobic for failing to include sexuality within its points of gender inquiry, leading to societal indifference towards women’s sexuality being defined by male sexual access to women’s bodies. Thus, Adrienne Rich questions the prevalence of the heterosexual model of the family and its inability to effectively challenge gender norms within the private sphere. Radical feminists, including Shulamith Firestone, object on similar grounds, stating that long-existing patriarchal societies assign cultural differences to genitalia and not character, rendering opposition to the status quo impossible. This patriarchy has produced pornography and the prevalence of rape culture – a means for the objectification and severe violation of women, left insufficiently challenged by mainstream feminism.

Additionally, mainstream feminism is accused of “white saviourism”; Postcolonial feminists, including Chandra Mohanty, oppose mainstream feminism for failing to accurately represent non-Western feminism, and thus failing to be emancipatory. Women in developing countries are often viewed with an occidental lens, existing simultaneously within Western women’s patriarchy alongside the realities of their native societies, also patriarchal. Homogenising language detracts from the distinct, but intertwined battles of global women. Thus, despite mainstream feminism being the branch most represented in Western media and scholarship, multiple disparate ideologies critique such a status for ignoring the position of all women.

These are clear arguments as to why feminism cannot convincingly be labelled a single political ideology. However, it is debatable whether doing so is even beneficial to feminist movements. One could argue that conflicts weaken each strand’s political campaigning power as they compete with other strands, potentially contradictorily. Effort spent asserting one branch as “the best” type of feminism can appear insensitive to other branches (especially in the context of transfeminism); people might achieve more with less effort by just collectively subscribing to “feminism”. Nonetheless, this is a simplified solution to a complex problem – the only overarching goal that people globally would be able to subscribe to is the general empowerment of women. The means by which this is achieved, who this is achieved for, and the extent to which they are achieved differ for all women; thus the assumption that everyone can just be “feminists” is largely Panglossian.

Having presented a panoply of inter-feminist conflicts, including who feminism is for, what the ideal context for achieving feminism’s goals is, and multiple issues concerning even the most prevalent form of feminism, I argue that there is substantial disagreement within the umbrella the movement encapsulates, and thus it should not be described as a single political ideology. It is this variation that produces groups such as the Combahee River Collective, a black feminist lesbian socialist organisation, declaring that “we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression”. With such a smorgasbord of characteristics to discriminate against, it is unsurprising that many disagree on which are the most important, or even whether some exist or not. However, despite all these dichotomies, the cherry on top is that some dismiss this debate entirely in favour of preserving feminist campaigning strategy as it only widens fractures among feminists, who, ultimately, all have the same goal.

“Are Supreme Court Justices just Politicians in Fancy Dress?” (LBP Runner-Up 2022)

By Andrew B.

The New York Times headline during the recent Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings was: Confirmation Hearings, Once Focused on Law, Are Now Mired in Politics. MSNBC headlined an article Clarence Thomas is a Politician criticising his posing with a Republican senate candidate at the Supreme Court . During an oral argument last December, Justice Sotomayor asked the question in the context of overturning Roe vs Wade, “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” While the Supreme Court has never been free from politics, never have so many questions been raised about whether the Justices are just politicians in robes rather than “the voice of reason, charged with . . . articulating and developing impersonal and durable principles.”

This essay will consider whether Justices cast their votes because of their personal political beliefs in furtherance of a political agenda, and thus essentially are just politicians in robes, instead of their critical role as a neutral final arbiter , as well as whether the Supreme Court has recently become more politically partisan. A Justice’s personal and political views matter because the Constitution is drafted in such a way that it is open to many interpretations. As Harvard Law Professor and leading constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe observed, “If simply reading the Constitution the right way were all the Justices needed to do, the only qualification would be literacy, and the only tool a dictionary.”

Many Supreme Court Justices have denied and dismissed claims of any political bias, stating that their interpretation of the law is what decides their vote, not their political beliefs. Last year, Justice Breyer argued that it is jurisprudential differences rather than political ones that account for judicial disagreements. Justice Barrett made many of the same arguments last September when she stated: “My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” and noted that “Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties.” Chief Justice Roberts in his confirmation hearings famously declared that the role of a Justice was like a baseball umpire, merely to call balls and strikes . This analogy asserts his neutrality in these affairs, where just like a sports referee, Justices have to remain neutral and make calls based on the rules and their interpretation of them rather than based on which team they favour.

Justices are, of course, appointed by the President–typically in their 50s. There are many examples of Justices engaging in political careers either before or during their time on the Supreme Court. William Howard Taft was President, before becoming a Supreme Court Justice. John Jay, the first Chief Justice, ran for governor of New York twice whilst keeping his Supreme Court seat, eventually being elected as governor on his second attempt in 1795. In 1916, Charles Evans Hughes left the Supreme Court to run for President, narrowly losing and became Secretary of State instead, returning to the Supreme Court as Chief Justice in 1930. Abe Fortas was regularly in the Oval Office with LBJ and wrote some of his speeches . Three current Justices: Barrett, Roberts and Kavanaugh worked with the legal team that helped George W. Bush secure the Presidency over Al Gore in 2000, in perhaps the most questionable election in modern American history. Each of these and their colleagues bring a lifetime of political beliefs and involvement to the Court. The key question is whether their personal beliefs and/or political agenda has not merely influenced but determined their votes.

However, it seems almost naïve to deny there is a political bias in the Supreme Court, at least today. In the past, one could argue that there was less absolute political bias in the Justices’ votes, such as in 1935, when Justice Brandeis voted against Roosevelt’s initial New Deal legislation, much to Roosevelt’s surprise. Brandeis voted to block it as he felt that Roosevelt went too far in taking away property rights using the power of the executive and legislature despite Brandeis personally agreeing with the objectives of the New Deal Legislation. But as Erwin Chemerinsky writes, “it is nonsense” that today’s rulings by conservative Justices are not about their personal and political beliefs. Voting according to personal or political beliefs is not a new phenomenon, as it was always likely, for example, that Brandeis and McReynolds, would be typically on opposite sides, even though both had been nominated by Woodrow Wilson. Since the Kavanaugh confirmation, however, for the first time it seems that a Justice appointed by a Republican President will almost unquestionably vote one way, whilst a Justice appointed by a Democratic President will vote the opposite way. Gone are the days of “swing justices” whose votes were not preordained, despite the current Justices’ attempts to claim an unbiased evaluation of every case without a predetermined judgment. Instead, the Court has become more divided and extreme on both sides. Currently, every single Justice on the Supreme Court who was nominated by a Democrat is liberal on the Martin-Quinn score, whilst the opposite is true for those nominated by a Republican. In fact, no Justice nominated by a Democrat has leant even slightly Conservative since Justice White left the Supreme Court in 1993, whilst only two Justices nominated by a Republican president, Stevens and Souter, both now retired, have leant to the left since the death of Thurgood Marshall, meaning that there have been no examples where a Justice has leant consistently to an opposing side than the one they were nominated by since 2010. This contrasts with the historic trend where nearly every year since 1938, there had always been a liberal leaning Republican and a conservative leaning Democrat on the Court. Justice Thomas proclaimed in his confirmation hearings, “that he would have no agenda on the bench” . Yet he has been one of the most predictable justices in the history of the Supreme Court, and as The Economist noted, “Justice Thomas’ jurisprudence appears to amplify his politics” . This transformation of the Court to be more predictable from a partisan politics perspective has altered the cases it has chosen to hear. Only after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and was replaced by the conservative Amy Coney Barrett, which resulted in the conservatives on the Supreme Court having a 6-3 majority, were certain conservative matters such as restricting abortions granted cert, as the predictable conservative majority gave these conservative Justices freedom to vote entirely politically, instead of having carefully to consider precedent and faithfully abiding by the constitution.

Voting by Justices to achieve a certain outcome from a political perspective has certainly been suspected on a number of occasions. Just after his second inauguration and after having had much of his New Deal legislation struck down by the Supreme Court, President Roosevelt accused the Court of acting not as a judicial body but as a policy making body and discussed his proposal to increase the size of the Court with the goal of having more liberal Justices who would support his New Deal. Twenty days later, the Court upheld the constitutionality of minimum wage legislation with Justice Owen Roberts having changed his vote from one in a similar case a few months earlier in a move that Abe Fortas referred to as “the switch in time that saved the nine.” Chief Justice Roberts must have been reflecting on the widely disparate strike zones used by umpires when he voted to uphold Obamacare using what has been called a “strained theory” which states that the mandate was valid under the taxing power with the purpose of “protect[ing] the Court’s public image.”

Despite the current Justices’ best attempts to appear neutral and apolitical, it is hard not to conclude that there is a political bias to their voting. The Supreme Court essentially has turned into a Republican vs Democratic Court, where decisions are not made because they are constitutionally correct but are motivated by their respective parties and political ideologies. To go back to Roberts’ baseball analogy, the modern Supreme Court is umpired by the players themselves rather than the traditional neutral referee that America needs in the current polarised state of politics. In response to the photo of Thomas with the Republican candidate, a Democratic Senator tweeted, “I think the court has crossed the rubicon.”


Illustration of Justices’ Political Ideology using Martin Quinn Scores  
Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker with Justice Clarence Thomas (right). 
Justice Fortas (right) with President Lyndon Johnson in the Cabinet Room 27 July 1968.  

“The US and China are on an inevitable path towards conflict.” (LBP Commended 2022)

By Stanley G.

“Let China sleep; when she wakes, she will shake the world.” — Napoleon, 1817

Predictions on the likelihood of conflict between the US and China must operate within the prism of relative decline; that is to say, the awareness of the likelihood of US decline relative to Chinese growth. This decline can typically be seen in strictly material terms: McDonald and Parent’s Twilight of the Titans refers to relative power and decline accordingly, that “a great power suffers a decline in relative power that decreases its ordinal rank among the great powers”. The threat of one hegemonic power, as the US is often described, losing position relative to an ascendant and challenging power can be argued to lead to a threat of conflict. Seeking either to maintain their position, the incumbent power, in this case the US, may seek to strike while they still maintain the upper hand. However, it is not the case that war is the only option: retrenchment is a viable, and indeed perhaps superior strategy compared to aggression.

The likelihood of US and Chinese conflict will largely depend on the extent of relative decline, the costs-benefit analysis of conflict to each nation, and indeed, the shared spheres of influence that the US and China might compete over. Here the analysis is mixed: ideas of ‘inevitability’ are largely ahistorical and deterministic, and indeed the history of great power transitions shows as many examples of ‘retrenchment’ as of conflict. Nonetheless, US attempts at bolstering its position in South-East Asia with the new AUKUS alliance, and its stalwart defence of Taiwanese and Japanese interests in the South China Seas do increase the probability of flashpoints and tensions between two superpowers.

Graham T. Allison’s The Thucydides Trap argued that that “major wars are typically initiated by dominant military powers that fear significant decline”. Similarly, Copeland argued “states in decline fear the future”. For Copeland, major conflicts such as the Peloponnesian Wars and the Punic Wars can be explained by fears over ascendant neighbouring states. A state might do this if they could judge the future rates of decline and hence initiate conflict before their position deteriorates further. The question, therefore, is the extent to which the US has reason to fear Chinese growth.

While the US has a larger GDP by approximately $6 trillion, it is growing at a much slower rate and is soon to be overtaken by China in what is known as the crossover period, predicted to happen in 2028. In a CEBR report it is predicted that China will grow by 5.7% annually until 2025 and 4.5% annually from 2026-2030, whereas the US economy is tipped to grow 1.9% annually 2022-2024 and then slow to 1.6% in the years following. This economic power is important: it signifies the ability to maintain a superior standing army, and prosecute wars at length — as well as the ability to invest in new military and economic technology. For the moment, however, the US has a much larger military budget of $766.58 billion (2020), compared to China’s $252.3 billion. Despite this stark difference, China’s budget is growing much faster. According to the SIPRI, China has increased its expenditure by almost 800% since 1992. Indeed, their 2022 budget has risen by 7.1% from 2021. In a forecast done by IMF, SIPRI and The Economist, China is set to overtake the US in military spending in 2035.

China’s growing economic strength is also translating itself geopolitically, forming the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to spread its influence. In short, this was an attempt to “develop an expanded, interdependent market for China’s economic and political power, and create the right conditions for China to build a high technology economy”. Many believe that the main motivation behind making the BRI is China’s rivalry with the US. This initiative is treated with suspicion by the US and its major allies as it has been characterized in terms such as ‘debt trap diplomacy’. An example of this is the Hambantota Port development in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government was unable to service the Chinese loans which funded the project, and therefore the port was handed to the Chinese on a lease in 2017. The port now provides the Chinese with a major new piece of infrastructure and a strategic base in the Indian ocean. This spreading of Chinese geo-political power into countries traditionally seen as within the US’s sphere of influence undoubtedly creates the chance for conflict in the future — and indeed, the crossover in GDP and military spending might signify that it is in the interests of the US to engage in conflict before it is no longer on their terms.

However, it is important to note the weaknesses of the arguments behind the Thucydides Trap. The examples cited to help their case are largely pre-modern. The eponymous example was the Peloponnesian Wars, with the latest example being Anglo-French rivalry up to the early 19th century. However, it is potentially likely that the costs of war have increased over time, while the benefits of war have decreased. War, as a negative sum game, destroys economic power. In a world in which economic potential is held in the form of knowledge and skills rather than raw materials, it is likely that there is less benefit in going to war with the aim of annexing territory. Moreover, war, especially total war, has far higher costs for the state and its population, while alliance systems such as NATO are able to help shift the burdens of hegemony onto allies. Hence, compared to war, it is no longer so perilous to retrench. While “preventative war may have made sense in ancient Greece … it does not today,” as now, “nothing is more expensive than war.”
In 2020, the US department of Defence estimated that China had an operation stockpile of warheads in the numbers of low 200’s. This number is small compared the US arsenal of an estimated 5,800 warheads but according the Arms Control Association, China is accelerating its development of warheads to 700 by 2027. This number is easily enough to decimate any country and is therefore quite possibly preventing the US and China from going into a large -cale conflict.

Indeed, this argument is outlined conceptually in McDonald and Parent’s Twilight of the Titans, which challenges the conventional wisdom laid down before them by Allison and Thucydides. It argues that intimidation, provocation and preventative war are not the only options in response to the loss of relative power and prestige. Instead, the US may be more prone to graceful decline and retrenchment. Over the past years, many academic foreign policy realists argued for the US’s strategic retrenchment: a strategy designed to cut a country’s international and military costs and their commitments. This is done by cutting defence spending and withdrawing from certain alliance obligations, reducing deployments overseas and international expenditures. Big powers in the highest ranks are slower to embrace retrenchment because they have larger reserves of power and are not used to negative feedback. However, great powers that have access to capable allies, by contrast, will find it easier to retrench as they can shift the burdens and worry less about power shifts.

Admittedly, however, this retrenchment relies on the US being ideologically willing to do so, and indeed its ‘going gracefully’. The chance of ‘graceful’ decline is likely to depend on whether an incumbent power sees a challenging power as a threat: the UK’s graceful decline relative to US hegemony largely stems from a belief that the US did not prove an existential threat to UK’s metropolitan interests. An understanding of the importance of ideological frameworks in the discussion of international relations can be seen in the UK’s foreign policy vis-a-vis India: up until WW2, the preservation of the Indian Raj dominated all discussion of British foreign and colonial policy, regardless of whether its preservation made sense in of itself. Hence, if the US is wedded ideologically and, crucially, in terms of national self-identity to US hegemony, then it will find it tricky to retrench, and may instead seek to preserve its position in the South China Seas.

A particular example of this is the new AUKUS alliance. AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, United Kingdom and the US, announced on the 15th September 2021 for the Indo-Pacific region. Under the pact, the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire nuclear powered submarines. It also includes cooperation on ‘cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional underseas capabilities’. While coming under criticism by the Chinese government for representing a ‘Cold War Mentality’, and indeed by the French for being cut out, it represented a response to fears of China as an increasingly aggressive superpower. More importantly, it committed the US, and its ally the UK, to further military commitments in a region that China sees as rightfully theirs, hence leading to further chances of war.

To conclude, political scientists should steer away from deterministic ideas such as ‘inevitability’. Little is truly inevitable, least of all conflict between two superpowers that have everything to avoid from conflict and little to gain, at a time when military tensions are not particularly high. Whether or not there is conflict, however, will depend on the rate of Chinese economic and hence military growth, the extent to which the Chinese government is willing and able to extend their geopolitical influence in countries that the US sees as rightfully part of its sphere of influence, and indeed, the extent to which the US government is willing and able to maintain hold over them. If conflict does arise, it may operate in the form of proxies, for instance through a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, where the US, while not intervening directly, may decide to simply support Taiwan through a lend-lease scheme, as in Ukraine. Thus, conflict is hardly inevitable, but it has the potential to be likely.

“The Problems With The US’s Supreme Court”

By Alex B.

The overturning of Roe v Wade on the 9th of May 2022 highlighted a major problem the US constitution has in protecting the rights of its citizens, a feature which it looked to guarantee in its codification 1789.

The key issue is the process of appointment for new Supreme court judges, which is as follows: the president nominates his favoured judge (with no set requirements for service as a justice) with a vote from the Senate following to scrutinise the presidential nominations. Yet, a pattern has emerged over the past decade: “Senate election results are very much in sync with states’ presidential votes” according to Pew Research Centre seen above.

This severely limits the likelihood of a rejection vote as Republican Senators are likely to vote for a Republican nomination and Democrats vote against it. Hence, the scrutinising function which the Senate exists for is rendered considerably less meaningful.

This was the case in 2017 when the Senate voted President Trump’s nomination, Niel Gorsuch 54-45 with all Republicans voting in favour plus three, somewhat rogue, Democrats also.

This was also the case in 2018 when the Senate voted Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nomination, 50-48 with all Republicans bar Lisa Murkowski voting in the president’s favour. *Do note Kavanaugh was sworn in despite allegations of sexual assault to Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, and Judy Munro-Leighton*

This was again the case in 2020 when the Senate Voted in favour of Amy Coney Barett 52-48 with Susan Collins the lone rebel.

Unsurprisingly, the three justices Donald Trump and the Republican majority Senate appointed were and are considered conservative…even by the American standard. Of the nine most powerful judges in America, a third were allowed to be appointed under potentially the most extreme president in history, in only the past five years.

The Roberts Court of 2016-2017 contained justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was crowned by the Washington Times as “liberal bully of the week”. And in a mere half decade the liberal wing of the Court has diminished in an unrepresentative manner.

If you were not surprised by appointment of conservative justices then you certainly will not be astonished to hear that all three of Trump’s nominees voted to overturn Roe v Wade, all of which concurred with ultra-conservative Samuel Alito’s submissions.

Overall, it is likely that without these justices then the court would not have ruled 5-4 to overturn the 1973 judgement, a scary moment of realisation of the rapid adjustment of the Supreme court demographic that the right circumstances can accomplish.

In my mind what is most concerning about the ruling is how a judiciary can rule in a way that is unrepresentative of popular opinion and be considered constitutionally legal. Pew Centre for Research considered opinion polls from 1995-2022, and concluded that currently, 61% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

Hence, the overturning ruling illustrates how dangerous the current model is in the US as it allows for the president, a visibly political figure, to influence what should be a politically independent judiciary. The result of this model is an outcome as significant as the current ruling where, regardless of your opinion on the debate, the Supreme court ruled with legal precedent against the will of almost two thirds of the country, in what is a terrifying reality for all.

Looing forwards, the conservative [Clarence] Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion to the ruling on Roe. “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Griswold v Connecticut established a married couple’s right to use contraception without government interference in 1965. The court ruled in the 2003 case of Lawrence v Texas that states could not criminalize sodomy, and Obergefell v Hodges established the right for same-sex couples to marry in 2015.

One can see, either the majority of opinion is wrong and hence meaningless to in the eyes of these nine conservative judges or constitutional rights are under threat. “It is one or the other” wrote the liberal judges. It is truly frightening that in 2022 these justices are able to be appointed partly because of their political views and then contradict the view of the people they look to protect, potentially to push their own agenda.

Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers, but it seems blatant that a clearer separation between president and the judiciary is a logical solution. A separate commission for example would remove the role of the president in the dealings and promptly sever the political ties to the role that seems to be at play. Nonetheless, a quick solution would benefit the majority of America’s people.

Regardless of your opinion, the problems have not and will not protect the rights of the citizens the judiciary is required to protect. I believe all of us need to look at the situation with intent sooner rather than later or otherwise the potential for similar situations in the future will continue.