James Falk

The Shorthand Profile

Middle-aged Newtown hipster classical liberal. Hates claims to privilege masquerading as claims to equality, compassion or economic reform. Sees insider-outsider barriers as our most important political and social problem. Prefers to bust bullshit than be part of a political tribe. Argues hard without ill-feeling. Expects to be expelled from every group he joins.

Why St David’s Street?

In 1769, towards the end of his career, philosopher, economist and historian David Hume built a house in Edinburgh. Partial to younger company, he made friends with Nancy Orde, the daughter of Chief Baron Orde of the Scottish Exchequer. In a moment of good humour Ms Orde chalked “St. David’s Street” on the side of Hume’s house one evening. The name stuck. Check Hume’s biography here.

My choice reflects my respect for Mr Hume and for the Scottish Enlightenment in general; not so much for the specific intellectual positions he defended, as much as for the approach and character he exhibited in doing so. Humane, sceptical, suspicious of the hubris that emerges in all fields of human endeavour, prudentially rather than ideologically conservative, he is a model for a civilised approach to intellectual life.