Should the US Pay Reparations for Slavery?

More than 150 years have passed since slavery came to end in the United States, yet its consequences still shape the country. Of the 38 Million Black Americans, the vast majority can trace its genetic roots to slaves shipped in from Africa; many of the economic, social and political inequalities that Black Americans face can be traced back this era. The United States was thus built and rose to wealth and power with the help of slavery.

Should the US government pay reparation for slavery? This controversial suggestion is under debate here.

While reparations might take many forms, this debate deals with a one time expenditure of money for Black Americans who are descendants of slavery. It is assumed that this payment is financed through common ways of government financing, i.e. reduced spending, tax increases, borrowing and not, for example, by levying taxes on companies that profited from slavery. Also, this one-time expenditure will settle any future charges and be final.

Compulsory Voting: Should Voting be Mandatory?

Within democracies throughout the world, attitudes towards politicians are rapidly changing. Recent elections have been disrupted by outsiders who speak to the frustration that many citizens feel towards their elected representatives.

The consequence of this is that voter turnout has been falling consistently in many places. But not all countries are facing this problem; in places such as Australia, Belgium, Singapore and much of South America, voting is compulsory and turnout is better.

Compulsory voting has always been controversial (it was even repealed in Netherlands in the 1970s). While those in favour argue that it is a citizen’s democratic duty to vote, others claim that it betrays the very essence of democracy while leading to bad democratic outcomes.

This debate centres on that key question: what do we and what should we expect of our citizens in our democracy? Would compulsory voting help to combat the rise of extreme parties around the world – is that even something we would want to do?

The Ethics of Eating Animals: Is Eating Meat Wrong?

The ethics of eating meat has been long debated by philosophers, activists, and religious leaders. Today, in the West at least, vegetarianism and veganism is on the rise as more people feel eating meat cannot be justified on ethical, religious, or environmental reasons. 

This debate is framed as one of a personal choice: is, for the average person, eating meat immoral on practical or principled grounds? While we recognise that ethics and morality are subjective, that does not mean that they are not debatable. Societal attitudes to many moral issues have changed dramatically over the past several centuries due to the kinds of discourse we seek to emulate and explore here. 

This is not a debate about banning meat, although it is logical to assume that not eating meat would (over time) help lead to the decline of farming and hunting animals as activities. We assume that for most people the choice to not eat meat is possible; that it isn’t a choice between abstention and starvation. We also assume that eating artificial meat, if it were to go mainstream, would be considered compatible with vegetarianism — that it is essentially a ‘fake meat’ similar to existing imitation products because it similarly does not require killing animals.