OTHER RECENT POSTS

Tweaking Capitalism: On Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists

Tweaking Capitalism: On Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists

Most writers on utopia tend to take a ‘two cheers’ approach to the subject. Utopias are all well in theory, it is said, but attempts to put them into practice are bound to end in disaster. The political experiments of the twentieth century tell us all we need to know: utopias should be regarded, not as serious political interventions, but […]

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Political Correctness Gone Sad: On Trigger Warnings and the Appropriation of Trauma

Political Correctness Gone Sad: On Trigger Warnings and the Appropriation of Trauma

Good news for US exports this month. Australia, my adoptive country, has also adopted the trigger warning. Taking its lead from US campuses, Melbourne’s Monash University has obliged its academic staff to review their course materials with the aim of identifying content that may be “emotionally confronting” for students, and is set to attach fifteen advisory statements to subjects dealing […]

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Wolf-Whistle Politics and the Conservative ‘Case’ Against 18c

Wolf-Whistle Politics and the Conservative ‘Case’ Against 18c

If, like me, you’ve been following those who’ve been following the latest thrilling instalment of the free speech wars in the past few weeks you’ll have noticed a certain consensus forming among the Canberra commentariat. Applying its fingers to the nation’s pulse and studying the transcripts of her many summer barbecues (the barbecue being to public sentiment what the Olympic-size […]

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A Watermelon and Proud of It? On Richard Di Natale’s Press Club Speech

A Watermelon and Proud of It? On Richard Di Natale’s Press Club Speech

When Richard Di Natale became the leader of the Greens in 2015, he set about painting himself as a pragmatist, as someone in politics to Get Things Done. Perhaps sensing that the Greens are often viewed as unworldly, as political naïfs, he set out a new vision of the party as the voice of principled compromise. ‘I am not an […]

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‘Pro-this, pro-that, anti-this, anti-that’: Everything that’s wrong with progressive politics in one, self-defeating artwork

‘Pro-this, pro-that, anti-this, anti-that’: Everything that’s wrong with progressive politics in one, self-defeating artwork

“How we gonna make this shit okay to be a Nazi out here?” demands a guy in a red beanie, his bearded face filling half the shot. “That’s bullshit, bro, it’s not okay! He will not divide us!” He paces the street like a lion in a cage, circling back to the camera, angry. “He will not divide us!” he […]

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Cory Bernardi Exits, Stage Right

Cory Bernardi Exits, Stage Right

And so, with a swish of his senator’s robes, Cory Bernardi takes his leave of the Liberal Party, thus putting to rest months of speculation about whether he would stay or go. It feels like long past time, and only natural – he was always an awkward customer, what with his views on animal love and weakness for European blondes. But still, […]

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Solidarity and Its Discontents

Solidarity and Its Discontents

A blast from Hollywood’s golden past … In a dry valley in the Italian countryside, the remaining members of Spartacus’ slave army sit in chains, surrounded by their Roman captors. At the front of the group sits Spartacus himself (Kirk Douglas) and next to him Antoninus (Tony Curtis), a slave entertainer and Spartacus’ favourite. The victorious Roman general, Marcus Licinius […]

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Democracy Inaction: Two Major Parties, One Major Train Wreck

Democracy Inaction: Two Major Parties, One Major Train Wreck

Even by the standards of the Australian parliament, this year has been a dull affair, at least for those of us more interested in policy than in the politics of politics. The recent agonies over the backpacker tax were almost Talmudic in their hair-splitting tedium, while the faux debate on immigration sunk even further into absurdity, with Labor basing its […]

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Raise the Floor to Smash the Ceiling

Raise the Floor to Smash the Ceiling

There’s been a strong backlash in the last few days against the recent spate of articles suggesting that one of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost the election is that she relied too heavily on identity politics, ignoring the bigger economic picture in favour of an emphasis on diversity and rights. Two fairly representative pieces were by Laura Penny, writing in […]

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The Dialectics of Truthiness

The Dialectics of Truthiness

So, ‘post-truth’ has entered the lexicon. And not just via the boffins at the Oxford English Dictionary, who have made it their word of the year for 2016, but also via our own Prime Minister, who this week dismissed Bill Shorten’s attempts to elicit some answers about the Bell Group affair and Senator George Brandis’ role in it as ‘the […]

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