In this week’s New Statesman, evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, author of the foreword to Richard Dawkins’s 1976 book The Selfish Gene, offers an essay on deceit and self-deception. From the absence of self-criticism that led to 9/11, to the psychology of faking orgasms and use of terms such as “collateral damage”, Trivers describes the biological reasons why we alter information — and how fooling ourselves allows us to convincingly lie to others.
Also this week, Rafael Behr finds the Prime Minister’s diplomacy over the financial crisis compromised by the latest campaign — led by members of own his party — for Britain to leave the EU. Behr writes that Cameron and Chancellor Osborne “can be responsible European statesmen . . . Or they can be heroes to their party. They cannot be both.” Sophie Elmhirst travels to Dublin to join Martin McGuinness on his presidential campaign trail and meets a man unable to escape his past, and, days after the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Mehdi Hasan reports on the 164 Palestinian children currently incarcerated in Israeli jails, asking: “If this isn’t apartheid, then what is?”
All this, plus Laurie Penny on Occupy Wall Street, comedian and actor Rob Brydon on “Twitter lunatics” and Michael McIntyre, Jude Rogers on Jarvis Cocker‘s lyrics, and American economist Jeffrey Sachs in conversation with Jonathan Derbyshire on his new book, The Price of Civilization.