A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.
Back again with another Monday Message Board.
Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link
As I’ve said a few times before, I’m not a big fan of scandals. With much of the country burned over the last season (not even last summer, it started in June) and coronavirus in the way, our supposed leaders could do better than argue about handouts for boatsheds. But the corruption is obvious, and someone has to pay. So, here’s my suggestion.
Morrison’s chief of staff, John Kunkel admits that he ran the entire show (given that he was in charge of Morrison’s office, this is highly plausible) and that Morrison knew nothing about it (doubtful, but impossible to disprove). Phil Gaetjens ( Kunkel’s predecessor, now Secretary of PM & C admits he screwed up the investigation. Both of them resign, and everyone goes about their business.
Result: the Opposition get their scalps, and can claim vindication. The government protects Morrison and loses a couple of obscure apparatchiks (admit it , you had to Google them just as I did). The Australian public gets the leaders it elected back on the job. They might not do a good job, but that’s our problem for voting them in.
Next week, as I’ve mentioned, I’ll take part in a debate/dialogue with Stephen Hicks, a North American philosopher, who has criticised postmodernism from a right/libertarian perspective. He’s on a tour of Australia, and was invited to Brisbane by Murray Hancock who’s setting up The Brisbane Dialogue which has the ambitious objective of promoting civil discussion across political divides. I ended up being dobbed in (is this an Australianism?) to present the other side, and chose the topic “Postmodernism is a rightwing philosophy”. Longterm readers of my blogging won’t be surprised: I was making this claim as far back as 2003. Thanks to Kellyanne Conway and “alternative facts”, I’ll have plenty of material to work with.
I plan to argue that in the absence of any objective correspondence to reality, it’s the truths favored by the rich and powerful that will win out, not those of the oppressed. Trumpism is the obvious illustration of this, but rightwing postmodernism on issues like climate change and creationism long predates his rise.
Still, I have a couple of problems. First, I’m not a philosopher, so I’m working with a pretty simple interpretation of postmodernism, roughly stated as “there are multiple truths, and no one is better than another” More precisely, as I encountered it, postmodernism involved a Two-Step of Terrific Triviality, putting forward statements that encouraged the simplistic interpretation most of the time, but, when challenged, retreating to into total obscurity, or else into something more nuanced and not very interesting like “there may be an actual truth of the matter, but we can never know it for sure” . But is there a better interpretation of postmodernism, one that is both interesting and comprehensible?
My second problem is whether constructive dialogue on a topic like this will prove to be possible. I think we’ll agree at least on not liking postmodernism, and probably on some of the intellectual history. I have no idea, though, what Hicks thinks about Trump and Trumpism, or for that matter about climate change and science in general. I’ll see how it plays out.