Opinion

Dying With Dignity Versus The Metastases Of Our Religious Heritage

Why do we let religion rule our lives, but in particular our deaths? Geoff Russell takes a look at the power of Churches to prevent people from making the most intimate of choices. Geoff Russell New Matilda The fingers that once skipped around the frets and strings of her guitar made hard work of rolling the little plastic wheel. But as it finally moved into place, the process began: drip, drip, drip. Clear sodium pentobarbital moved into the plastic intravenous ... Read More »

Economic hardship and nationalism are gutting climate action

What a difference three years makes. In December 2015, world leaders gathered in a historic display of species consciousness to sign the Paris climate accord to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Nathan Gardels The Washington Post Today, in December 2018, Paris is experiencing a winter of discontent, with a virtual uprising against a tax increase on fuel aimed at fulfilling France’s 2015 obligations. In a dramatic illustration of the battle between the present and the future, the mantra of ... Read More »

End the Innovation Obsession

Some of our best ideas are in the rearview mirror. TORONTO — A year ago I stepped into the Samcheong Park Library in Seoul, South Korea, and saw the future. David Sax The New York Times The simple building in a forested park had a nice selection of books, a cafe at its center and a small patio. Classical music played while patrons read, reclining on extra-deep window benches that had cushions to sit on and tables that slid over ... Read More »

A dying industry is displacing entire communities

KEYENBERG, Germany — Norbert Winzen remembers the winter they laid the cobblestones in the courtyard of his family’s farmhouse here in this small village. Peter Mellgard The Washington Post He was 12 years old, maybe 13. He and his brothers and sister scrubbed each and every one of the hundreds of heavy stones so their father could lay them in tidy rows. It was the kind of drudgery he despised as a kid but that he looks back on fondly ... Read More »

Voters are crying out for better government but have mixed views on how to achieve it

Support for democracy and trust in politicians is falling. We hear a lot about evidence-based policy as a way to stem this decline, but less about how that evidence should be generated. Authors: The Conversation One idea that may generate the type of evidence that will help make more informed decisions appears, paradoxically, fairly unpopular with the punters. Perhaps the problem is that not enough has been done to explain to the public what this idea – carefully testing new ... Read More »

It’s no wonder we no longer trust our institutions

I’ve been thinking about institutions a lot lately. About how if there is anything that characterises our current political moment of disillusionment, anger and a rampant, destructive cynicism, it is that we no longer… Waleed Aly The Canberra Times Try to name one; it’s more difficult than you’d think. Our trust in politics – even in democracy itself – is at an all time low. Whatever belief we once had in the idea that business, for all its self-interest, was ... Read More »

Hunger, violence and constant stress: The brutal truth of life as a child refugee

As a former child refugee, I feel very strongly for the children on Nauru. I know the sense of uncertainty and hopelessness that comes from being stuck in limbo — not knowing if or when you might get to live freely in a… Sayed Rabbani ABC I was just 9 years old when my family fled Afghanistan for the third time in 2001, when the war in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks on America began. I remember the first airstrike ... Read More »

Australians’ trust in politicians and democracy hits an all-time low: new research

Over the past four years, we have conducted a range of attitudinal surveys with the Social Research Institute at Ipsos on the relationship between trust in the political system and attitudes towards democracy in… Authors: The Conversation Our latest research, conducted in July 2018 (prior to the Liberal Party’s leadership spill), includes a quantitative survey of a representative sample of 20 focus groups and 1,021 Australians from a wide range of… We understood political trust in this survey as “keeping ... Read More »

Narcissists less likely to support democracy

New research suggests that people with a narcissistic self-view are more likely to demonstrate lower support for democracy. University of Kent EurekAlert! They are also more likely to feel that democracies are not good in maintaining order, or that it would be better if countries were run by strong leaders or the military. The research, which was co-led by psychologists at the University of Kent, suggests this is probably because narcissists tend to feel entitled and superior to others, which ... Read More »

The Agora Forum 2018 – The Future of Democracy

The Agora Forum 2018, organized by Agora Dialogue in cooperation with the Athens Development and Governance Institute (ADGI- INERPOST), was held on 1–3 December 2018. It brought together twenty participants from the government, private and educational sectors to discuss the very serious challenges faced by numerous democratic countries across the world and in particular in Europe. Adopting a process of moderated round-table dialogue, participants discussed a number of foundational texts, including extracts from Plato’s Republic, Rousseau’s The Social Contract and ... Read More »

Aim and method of the Agora Dialogue colloquium

Agora Dialogue is guided by the belief that everyone can exercise practical reason and acquire practical wisdom through communication with others. Dr Manolis Melissaris, Legal and Political Philosopher Agora Dialogue It therefore aspires to facilitate free discourse by providing an environment of co-operation. The colloquium brings together people from various backgrounds – academics, businesspeople, policy-makers, artists – who reflect together on the big questions that pertain to the social world. It cannot be emphasised enough that the colloquium is not ... Read More »

Our politicians are bickering on the edge of the Brexit abyss

Let the chronicles of this turbulent time record how the prime minister and the leader of the opposition agreed that Britain should leave the European Union, so they argued instead about which channel should host an argument between them. Rafael Behr The Guardian Theresa May wants to defend her Brexit deal on the BBC; Jeremy Corbyn prefers to attack it on ITV. It is the perfect culmination of British politics since the referendum: a confected row over a piece of theatre to ... Read More »

Protest is a school for democracy

Children are citizens, not mere citizens-to-be. They have political views that deserve an audience. Kei Nishiyama Brisbane Times “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament last week. His pronouncement was a reaction to a school students’ strike against government inaction on climate change all over the country. The young protestors had said: “We are school kids temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures from dangerous ... Read More »

Why I’m spending $100 million on ‘the pursuit of truth’

If I had any doubt that my investment in an institute to support “evidence-based journalism and the pursuit of truth” was a worthy ambition it has been swept away by the overwhelming positive response to the announcement. Judith Neilson Brisbane Times I expected journalists, and the media industry generally, to welcome the initiative. But more heartening has been the reaction of the wider community. People from around Australia, and the world, have inundated my office with messages of thanks and ... Read More »

The Pentagon Doesn’t Know Where Its Money Goes

The military finally submits to an audit, and the results are poor. The Editorial Board The New York Times After decades of ducking the legal requirement that it undergo a thorough financial audit, the Pentagon finally opened up its books to 1,200 outside accountants and analysts. The report was recentlycompleted, and here’s the good news: The Army Corps of Engineers (most of it, anyway) and the Military Retirement Fund passed the audit. The bad news: The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and most other ... Read More »

As Italy’s first black minister, I suffered vile racist abuse. But this poison damages us all

Respect for human rights is at the heart of the EU’s ethos. Together, we need to fight all forms of discrimination Cécile Kyenge The Guardian Racial discrimination is now “commonplace” across 12 European countries, and one in three people of African descent has experienced harassment in the past five years, a report this weekfound. This doesn’t surprise me. Since my election to the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 2013, I have constantly faced racist abuse. When I became Italy’s minister for ... Read More »