Brendan O'Neill is editor of spiked, the London-based online magazine described by the New York Times as "fond of puncturing all manner of ideological balloons". He is also a columnist for the Big Issue in London, a writer for the London Spectator, and a blogger for the Daily Telegraph. His journalism has been published widely on both sides of the Atlantic. The Daily Mail calls him "one of Britain's leading left-wing thinkers" while the Guardian says he is a "sub-Danny Dyer intellectual wind-up merchant". His satire on green living - Can I Recycle My Granny and 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas - was published by Hodder & Stoughton and described by the BBC as "a skidmark on the gusset of environmentalism".
Once upon a time, there was the American Dream, “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone,” as James Truslow Adams described it in his book The Epic of America (1931). Today we have the American Promise. Unveiled by Barack Obama in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, the Promise is about balancing freedom with responsibility, cutting taxes, installing a government that “helps” people rather than “hurts” them, and ending U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil. According to Obama, the very “essence” of the American Promise is this: “Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility.”
Since the start of 2008, a new international sport has emerged: Yellow Peril-mongering. International politicians, commentators and activists have competed to see who can issue the shrillest and most spine-tingling warning about the threat posed by the Chinese to the safety, security, and self-esteem of Western civilisation. Inexorably, the Beijing Olympics”which are now in full swing”have been turned into an all-purpose platform for moral posturing about China’s pollution levels, industrial arrogance, interference in Africa, lack of free speech, human rights record and general wickedness. In America and Europe, the Great and the Good, offended by China’s rise and its apparently bad habits, no longer talk about “the Olympics””they talk about the “Genocide Olympics,” the “Smog Olympics,” or the “Human Rights Olympics.”