Spiked (magazine)

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Spiked (also written as sp!ked) is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society from a humanist and libertarian viewpoint.

Editors and contributors

Spiked is edited by Brendan O'Neill,[1] following Mick Hume's departure in January 2007, and features regular contributions from James Heartfield, Michael Fitzpatrick, Patrick West, Rob Lyons, Nathalie Rothschild, Tim Black, Duleep Allirajah, Tom Slater, Joanna Williams, Barbara Hewson and Frank Furedi.


Spiked focuses on issues of freedom and state control, science and technology, culture, education and literature.

The magazine opposes all forms of censorship, by the state or otherwise. Its writers call for a repeal of libel,[2] hate speech[3] and incitement[4][5] laws, and of censorship on university campuses. They have criticised laws targeted at paedophiles as counterproductive to rehabilitation and conducive to mob violence[6] and regularly features relevant articles within their section on Child abuse panic [7]. Spiked also regularly critique risk society, political correctness, and environmentalism. As regards the latter, a particular Spiked target has been what they see as "exaggerated" and "hysterical" interpretations of the scientific consensus on global warming, and what they argue are double-standards advocated by more advanced Western nations for self-serving reasons.[8]

Spiked opposes all restrictions to immigration and freedom of movement, favoring entirely open international borders. It regards policies of multiculturalism as government-sanctioned cultural segregation masquerading as tolerance, which unhealthily overemphasis differences between people. Other notable positions of Spiked are their opposition to the post-September 11, 2001 attacks|9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and Western interference in developing nations in general.[9][10][11] It seeks to counter what it sees as a recent trend in Western foreign policy: humanitarian intervention.[12]

Some have said that Spiked's stance has more in common with libertarianism than with the mainstream left.[13]

Frank Furedi, interviewed in Spiked, responded that the stance of LM and Spiked springs from the tradition of the "anti-Stalinist left". He argued that the reason why many in the left tradition have difficulties in identifying these ideas with the left is that they completely misunderstand the humanist political position of being progressive in terms of human progress, science, rationality and freedom, and yet be completely anti-state:

...much of the left in the twentieth century tended to be influenced by Stalinist and Social-Democratic traditions, which means they could not imagine that you could be left-wing and anti-state...so they were confused by us. But that was their fault, not ours. It was a product of their own abandonment of liberty in favour of ideas about state control.[14]

Furedi listed Marxist activists, politicians and writers who he said had influenced LM and Spiked, including Roman Rosdolsky, Henryk Grossman, György Lukács, Paul Mattick, Christian Rakovsky, and Leon Trotsky.

Therapy Culture

A long-standing thread in the Spiked critique is what they identify as 'Therapy Culture' – a culture where the victim takes ascendancy and where rationality and logic is replaced by emotions and feelings.[15] For Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, the core issues here are about agency and political autonomy and he argues "we should stop surrendering our sovereignty to the 'therapeutic state'".

The medicalisation of personal problems may relieve the individual of moral responsibility, but at the cost of allowing the therapeutic state to control personal behaviour and psychic life.[16]


  1. Frequently asked questions. Spiked. Retrieved on 14 April 2007.
  2. Guldberg, Helene (6 July 2006). Don’t tinker with the libel laws – scrap them. Spiked. Retrieved on 14 April 2007.
  3. Appleton, Josie (11 April 2006). Sticks, stones and hate speech. Spiked. Retrieved on 14 April 2007.
  4. O’Neill, Brendan (28 March 2006). Free speech, with the edges taken off. Spiked. Retrieved on 14 April 2007.
  5. O’Neill, Brendan (13 October 2004). Can music incite murder?. Spiked. Retrieved on 14 April 2007.
  6. http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/4557/
  7. Spiked:Child abuse panic
  8. Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky. After the IPCC: A man-made morality tale. Spiked. Retrieved on 15 July 2006.
  9. Nadine Strossen, Faisal Devji, Jeffrey Rosen, Brendan O'Neill, Michael Baum and others. Life, liberty and politics after 9/11. Spiked. Retrieved on 15 July 2006.
  10. Hume, Mick. The age of PR imperialism. Spiked. Retrieved on 15 July 2006.
  11. Cunliffe, Philip. Exposing ‘Empire in denial’. Spiked. Retrieved on 15 July 2006.
  12. O'Neill and Brendan. What's worse than a Blairite? A Blair-basher. Spiked. Retrieved on 10 May 2007.
  13. For example, in a LobbyWatch interview, George Monbiot claimed of Spiked's predecessor, LM Magazine, that: "...it was very far from a Marxism journal – it was just about as far from a Marxist journal as you could possibly get."Monbiot, George. "Interview with George Monbiot", LobbyWatch. Retrieved on 14 August 2010. 
  14. O'Neill, Brendan. "'Humanising politics – that is my only agenda'", Spiked. Retrieved on 27 April 2007. 
  15. Furedi, Frank. "'History-as-Therapy'", Spiked. Retrieved on 5 March 2008. 
  16. Fitzpatrick, Michael. "'Get off the couch!'", Spiked. Retrieved on 29 March 2008. 

See also

External links