Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Long reads
18 December 2008

Happy Christmas to all our readers . . .

By Aloysius McDowell

The year 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and the 150th year since The Origin of Species was first published. So now would seem a good time to recall the scientist’s world-view. He believed that “happiness decidedly prevails”, and, as ever, his opinion was based on unsentimental considerations.

“If all the individuals of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree, they would neglect to propagate their kind,” he wrote, “but we have no reason to believe that this has ever, or at least often occurred.” At the end of a year in which good news has been hard to find, we should take heart from the optimism of one of the world’s greatest thinkers.

It would be just a little presumptuous of us at the New Statesman to put ourselves on a par with Darwin; but our Christmas and New Year issue includes plenty of good cheer: on pages 35-46 we take a look at 30 of the best reasons to celebrate in 2009.

The range of topics is impressively varied – the new US administration, exciting developments in nanomedicine, the sporting thrills offered by the Ashes. We even have good news on the economy. So please join us in applauding human adaptability, innovation and and ingenuity.

Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy