The Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2013

Monday, 11 November 2013


EDIT: Another link added!

I love FODI. I have been every year, I think, for the past four (?) years. I try to encourage everyone to go because it’s completely fascinating and massages the brain, which for me is pretty sexy.

Dr Simon Longstaff AO, the Executive Director of the St James Ethics Centre, was one of the founders of FODI, and describes a “dangerous idea” as one that makes you feel uncomfortable and challenges you. That’s what I love about the festival. I like to go and listen to people who have a different perspective to me, who can make me reassess my position on something, and even if I walk out with the same opinion as I had before, I have seen things from another angle and can (hopefully) understand the other side. I think that’s how you really, truly understand an issue. If you can try to see and recognise the structure of an argument, the threads that pull it together, the foundation from which it comes – which is difficult when you don’t agree with it – you can grasp a topic in a three dimensional manner and often can understand your own argument better too.

I wanted to link to a couple of the events I attended, for anyone who is interested.

This first one, A Killer Can Be a Good Neighbour, was chaired by spunky Hamish MacDonald (always a treat), and the speaker was Erwin James. James is a convicted murderer and a journalist for the Guardian. He is also a very gracious, enlightened speaker.

Trust Rogue States was a controversial panel discussion including Mustafa Barghouthi, James Fallows, Leonid Petrov and Peter Hitchens. Hitchens was less offensive than I found him on the FODI Q&A special, but that wouldn’t be hard It was humbling to listen to such wise and accomplished speakers and I plan on watching this again to pick up on the things I missed the first time around!

The remaining two I saw – Life After Truth: The Death of Journalism and What It Means For Democracy, and In Defence of Flogging, have not been posted on Ideas At The House as yet, but if they are uploaded, I’ll post links.

Soak up the danger, and tell me what you think!

EDIT: 15th November 2013 
Here is the link to In Defence of Flogging. Peter Moskos argues for people convicted of some crimes being given the choice between prison and corporal punishment. Very interesting. Were you converted by the end?

Lara xxx

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