Progressive Letters to 'The Age' and 'The Herald-Sun' ; (November/December 2016) ; Everything from ‘Public Debt Shibboleths’ to Privatisation, Defending Democracy, The Right Protest, Education for Politically Literate and Active Citizenship, and more ; Please feel welcome to read and comment on the articles, share via Facebook and so on.
Is there a public debt crisis? Or is the Crisis one of Private Debt?
Herald-Sun letter calls for ‘Technocracy’ in place of Democracy
(Unpublished) Simon Hammond (Herald-Sun, 26/11) claims democracy is to blame for weak and indecisive government . Instead he suggests a kind of ‘government of experts’. (a technocracy) But the problem is not democracy ; it is particular practices such as poll and focus-group driven politics ; and ‘gotcha’ politics’ which neglect the substance of policy choices. Another problem is the major parties all aiming for ‘the centre ground’ ; not standing up for their beliefs. (‘Convergence politics’) That means weaker pluralism. That is, less choice. In fact we need a stronger democracy. A free multi-party system is meant to ensure scrutiny of public policy and social issues ; but often media neglect the substance ; and politicians respond by playing to shallow agendas. We need to transform our society ; which could be achieved partly through educational curricula for active and politically literate citizenship ; which is ideologically inclusive and encourages students to think about – and stand up for - their rights and interests.
Feminist Revolution must take account of class ; must be based on Mutual Respect and Empathy
We Must be unambiguous on the Right to Protest ; and stand against even more regressive User-Pays in Tertiary Education
(Unpublished) Greg Byrne (Herald-Sun, 10/12/16) refers to education about “gender, ethnicity and class” as “nonsense” that has nothing to do with finding jobs. But the Humanities and Social Sciences involve research and writing skills ; the construction of detailed arguments , and evaluating complex information. Also humanity ‘does not live by bread alone’. (ie: the labour market and work) A stronger democracy (based on understanding and participation) rests on citizens’ political literacy (understanding political ideologies, values, movements, processes) and on their powers of expression. The Humanities and Social Sciences drive us to ask fundamental questions about the human condition ; about ethics ; and thinking critically about democracy, economy and society. In a strong democracy we must be empowered to make informed choices as citizens – regardless of whether we perceive ourselves as being of “the Right” or “The Left”. That means imagining alternatives to current social and economic arrangements in pursuit of ‘The Good Society’. Here, assessing the balance of wealth, power and opportunity in society is a legitimate question.