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Philosophy

Submitted by Melody Kemp on April 17, 2008 - 3:51pm.
Lest we forget
It seems our ex Prime Miniature is now a cult hero amongst born again Aryans. Readers of Webdiary may be interested to see some of the interchange. ADDED: It should be noted that there is no evidence that ex-Prime Minister Howard actually said any of these things attributed to him, and some are clearly extracted from other sources.
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Submitted by Lyndon Storey on March 17, 2008 - 6:53pm.
Recognizing our humanity
In ethics it is too often argued that humans are intrinsically evil and so the only firm foundation for morality is a higher force such as God. In international relations it is too often argued that humans are so in love with their religious, national, tribal and other secondary identities that there can never be a trans-human system of political justice. Both these positions involve denying respect for our human potential and deferring it; to a nominally higher force in the case of religion and ethics, and to a secondary identity in the case of international politics.
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Submitted by Craig Rowley on February 17, 2008 - 11:11pm.
What are you optimistic about?
This year one of my Christmas gifts was What Are You Optimistic About? It had me considering my own answer to the question, and thinking about what answers might be given by members of the Webdiary community.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on January 6, 2008 - 1:54pm.
Leftie? Yeah, right...
Why is it that in Greece and other European countries, being on the Left or supportive of the Left is not met with ridicule, disdain or horror? Why is it that PASOK leader George Papandreou can say at the end of his election speech: ‘I ask all Greeks of democratic persuasion to vote against the Right’? And why didn’t every newspaper in the country attack him or laugh at him for saying it? (Jeana Vithoulkas)
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on December 8, 2007 - 11:42am.
Webdiary: where to from here? David Curry's thoughts
"A few weeks ago my wife, frustrated at the amount of time I spend onWebdiary, said ‘They’re really your community, aren’t they?’  I hadn’treally thought about it in those terms before, but it’s true. Webdiarists are part of my community – my virtual community, anyway(although cyberspace and meatspace have become increasingly blurred asI meet various diarists face-to-face or over the phone)." David Curry
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on November 21, 2007 - 3:51pm.
Turn, turn, turn

"This is not a Tasmania I any longer recognise, this is Bjelke Petersens Queensland, and it is time we took our Tasmania back—back from the lies, from the intimidation, from the threats, from the character assassinations and blacklisting. Because its our Tasmania, not one company’s fiefdom. We have suffered for too many years them turning Tasmanian against Tasmanian, seeking to make us forget that what joins us is always greater than what divides us, that forest worker and conservationist, union man and greenie woman, southerner and northerner, Liberal and Labor and Green all share a great love for our island and for our people." Richard Flanagan, author
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Submitted by Evan Hadkins on November 11, 2007 - 7:41pm.
Evan's Walk against Warming
Sydney: According to the media 28,000.  A surprisingly good turn out because it seemed to be poorly publicised this year.  I heard about it through Facebook.
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Submitted by PF Journey on November 4, 2007 - 12:23pm.
PF Journey's tap dancing with Kevin
There is nothing to beat a morning walk in a beautiful and exotic place. I have seen John Howard walking, very often, by the beautiful Sydney Harbour from Kirribilli to Luna Park and to Lavendar Bay. I have seen him by sidewalk in front of the White House, the great Wall of China, the Forbidden City in Beijing, and get ambushed by the Chaser Boys by the Yarra River or the Howard Ladies who offerred him the Erection (sorry the Election) viagra. Yes, I wish I could walk a mile in his shoes. I still enjoy my walks very much but I have also discovered another way of keeping fit that is just as enjoyable, if not more enjoyable...
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on October 10, 2007 - 12:22pm.
Death politics
Hello. Here is the Australian Law Council's statement yesterday on the death penalty debate. The recent history of this issue is very interesting, as is its prominence now. I'll try to write something later. 
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on August 14, 2007 - 8:01pm.
Susan Kiefel, High Court judge
Susan Kiefel's appointment as a High Court judge is great for Australia, and one decision of Ruddock I not only applaud, but do so with gusto. Maybe after all his terrible deeds over the last decade he wants to leave something special in place as his career nears its end. I'm reminded of Paul Keating's appointment of Michael Kirby to the High Court just before he lost office. I met Justice Kiefel in the early 1980's in Brisbane, when she was a junior barrister and I was an articled clerk briefing her on a case. She told me then that Tony Fitzgerald had personally mentored her when she worked as a secretary in his chambers, convincing her that she talented enough to finish year 12 and take the bar exam.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on August 2, 2007 - 3:32pm.
Andrews' July end fools joke
"Never has there been a more prescient time for Australia, as one of the world’s most stable democracies, to protect and secure its future by redoubling its commitment to the traditions, values and institutions that have made this nation what it is today. These civic values are fundamental to the successful existence of a liberal democracy and we should never forget that they are principles to be cherished and protected." Kevin Andrews!
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on July 12, 2007 - 1:05pm.
Like this political ad - or not
Hello.  I've been off line for five days traveling with a friend from the South visiting her friends and mine and chilling out. Thank you, thank you to Fiona, Richard and David for keeping comments ticking along. I hope everyone is content at how Webdiary is traveling but if not, let me know in the comments box.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on June 28, 2007 - 6:03pm.
High Court judge Crennan on post modernism and the law
Through representative government and the placing of the laws and nominated liberties in the hands of independent judges, sovereignty in the sense of power over others became the opposite of absolute and arbitrary.  It became limited and predictable.  Personal liberty involved a freedom to act, including in relation to property, and a freedom to speak, in any way not prohibited by the law.  Criminal laws could only be prospective.  Equality meant everyone was equally bound and protected by the law, although it did not mean political equality.  The independence of the judiciary existed to protect the community from arbitrary command.
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Submitted by Peter Singer on February 27, 2007 - 12:46pm.
The Ethics of Life
From the end of February 2007, Webdiary will no longer be publishing articles sourced from Project Syndicate, including those from Peter Singer. Subsequent articles in Professor Singer's The Ethics of Life series can be accessed via the Project Syndicate site here.
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Submitted by Ralf Dahrendorf on February 27, 2007 - 12:33pm.
Against the Current
From the end of February 2007, Webdiary will no longer be publishing articles sourced from Project Syndicate, including those from Ralf Dahrendorf. Subsequent articles in Lord Dahrendorf's Against the Current series can be accessed via the Project Syndicate site here.
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Submitted by Joseph Nye on February 27, 2007 - 12:24pm.
Of Might and Right
From the end of February 2007, Webdiary will no longer be publishing articles sourced from Project Syndicate, including those from Joseph S Nye. Subsequent articles in Professor Nye's Of Might and Right series can be accessed via the Project Syndicate site here.
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Submitted by David Roffey on January 19, 2007 - 12:03pm.
Morality without a God
Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, says: "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down". On the face of it, a deeply unlikely ambition, and not one that is borne out by the quality of the writing. Along the way, however, it does raise some important questions about the nature of morality, and the relationship of morality to religion.
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Submitted by Peter Singer on January 16, 2007 - 7:40am.
The Right to Die
" Welby’s death raises two questions, which need to be distinguished. One is whether a person has a right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. The other is whether voluntary euthanasia is ethically defensible. ": Peter Singer
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Submitted by Peter Singer on November 11, 2006 - 7:06am.
Madonna and Child

"Adopting children from developing countries does not address the causes of poverty. Despite the high rate of HIV/AIDS infections, Malawi’s population, like that of many developing nations, is growing rapidly. It is projected to surpass 19 million by 2025. That will put more pressure on the country’s already limited stock of agricultural land. Educating young Malawians, especially girls, and making contraceptives widely available, would do much more to slow population growth than a few inter-country adoptions.": Peter Singer

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Submitted by Peter Singer on September 14, 2006 - 10:47pm.
The Mixed Blessing of Genetic Choice

"The most alarming implication of genetic selection is that only the rich will be able to afford it. The gap between rich and poor will become a chasm that mere equality of opportunity will be powerless to bridge. That is not a future that any of us should approve. But avoiding this outcome will not be easy, for it will require that selection for genetic enhancement is either available to no one or accessible to everyone. ": Peter Singer

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Submitted by Hamish Alcorn on August 10, 2006 - 12:34am.
Obituary Murray Bookchin

"Murray Bookchin, political philosopher and activist, died last Sunday aged 85." Obituary by Hamish Alcorn.

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Submitted by Peter Singer on August 7, 2006 - 7:21am.
Will the Polluters Pay for Climate Change?

"Americans tend to talk a lot about morality and justice. But most Americans still fail to realize that their country’s refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol, and their subsequent business–as-usual approach to greenhouse gas emissions, is a moral failing of the most serious kind. It is already having harmful consequences for others, and the greatest inequity is that it is the rich who are using most of the energy that leads to the emissions that cause climate change, while it is the poor who will bear most of the costs. ": Peter Singer

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Submitted by Roslyn Ross on July 17, 2006 - 7:56pm.
The Road to Happiness

"Happiness is something we all want but what is it exactly? The dictionary defines it as a 'state of wellbeing'. But is that something which any of us can have all of the time?": Roslyn Ross

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on July 17, 2006 - 7:39pm.
The Gnostic World Cup

"At the highest levels - the FIFA World Cup, Olympics, and Tour de France – sport can be boiled down to a duality of good and evil. It is a clash of material greed, weakness and corruption vs the spirit of fair play, heroics and pride. Nowhere is this more apparent than football with its universal appeal. A type of Gnostic dualism is at play as fate runs its course through the contest from the opening whistle to what can be the devastating last three seconds." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by Peter Singer on July 13, 2006 - 11:25am.
Happiness, Money, and Giving It Away

"Would you be happier if you were richer? Many people believe that they would be. But research conducted over many years suggests that greater wealth implies greater happiness only at quite low levels of income. ... Perhaps Warren Buffett spent less of his life in a positive mood than he would have if, at some point in the 1960’s, he had quit working, lived on his assets, and played a lot more bridge. But, in that case, he surely would not have experienced the satisfaction that he can now rightly feel.": Peter Singer

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Submitted by John Henry Calvinist on July 10, 2006 - 8:18pm.
Getting Beyond "Politics as Usual"

"The simplest thing any leading opposition figure with both real guts and sense could do is praise the "masses" for their civic spirit - but then, go on to explain exactly how the democratic process itself was designed to aggregate/sift personal experience, remind the audience that the mass media is controlled by the powerful, and is thus not necessarily a trustworthy guide to broader issues, then ask them to vote on personal experience, alone!": John Henry Calvinist

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Submitted by Craig Rowley on March 29, 2006 - 8:21pm.
Do we now live in an enlightened age?

"Back in the eighteenth century Kant had said no, but asserted that there were “clear indications that the way is now being opened for men to proceed freely in this direction [toward enlightenment] and that the obstacles to general enlightenment--to their release from their self-imposed immaturity - are gradually diminishing.” The standing obstacles may have been diminishing, but we are creatures handy at constructing new ones. In taking up Kant's call to "Sapere Aude!" (Dare to know!) you could think we would have done a better job with Socrates' suggestion that we heed that precept inscribed in gold letters over the portico of the temple at Delphi - gnothi seauton (know thyself)." Craig Rowley

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