Folau, Morrison are just wrong

Folay scores

Gifted Australian rugby player Israel Folau has been in the news quite controversially lately.

He claims to be a devout Christian, as justification for social media posts that seem, to me, to be more hate speech than religion.

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How neo-fascism reveals itself

Scott Morrison, prototype Australian neo-fascist, with Dutton looking on.

Ideologies always assume that one idea is sufficient to·explain everything in the development from the premise, and that no experience can teach anything because everything is comprehended in this consistent process of logical deduction. The danger in exchanging the necessary insecurity of philosophical thought for the total explanation of an ideology and its Weltanschauung, is not even so much the risk of falling for some usually vulgar, always uncritical assumption as of exchanging the freedom inherent in man’s capacity to think for the strait jacket of logic with which man can force himself almost as violently as he is forced by some outside power.

— Hannah Arendt, 1951, The Origins of Totalitarianism.

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‘As if’: Fiction and reductionism

Belatedly reading Thomas Nagel’s review of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s book, As If: Idealization and Ideals, in The New York Review of Books (5 April 2018, vol LXV, no 6, pp 36-38) was a double take moment.

In that review I recognised some of my own philosophical thinking since the later 1990s.  Until I have time to absorb both the work of Appiah and Hans Vaihinger, from whom Appiah draws some foundation for his concept of ‘idealization’, this is a preliminary comment.

Hans Vaihinger.

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A Prayer for the Dying (1987)

SSince early December I have been reading my way through Jack Higgins’s novels.  He had first used the character Martin Fallon in 1960 (Cry of the Hunter), reprising him in 1973 for the novel A Prayer for the Dying.

It’s a mournful story of an IRA soldier, haunted by the innocents he’s killed, trying to get out, but finding it hard to quarantine his particular skills from the bargains he must strike to escape.

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Ray Donovan (2013-2017)

Christmas excesses usually require some recuperation, and binge-watching back-to-back television episodes is a reliable pastime for the waking hours, while digesting too much food and sweating out too much booze in the heat of the season.

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Milne and Guthrie: toxic for the ABC

After weeks of reading about the Michelle Guthrie-Justin Milne battle for the soul of the ABC, I finally watched the 12 November Four Corners programme featuring interviews with both former senior ‘knobs’ at the public broadcaster.

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Morrison: man without conscience or soul

When the coup against Malcolm Turnbull was inevitable, some in the Liberal party room thought Scott Morrison was a better choice than hardline reactionary Peter Dutton.  They may have been wrong.

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Poor literacy: career stumbling block

A curious set of facts I came across as part of my recent studies makes it certain that any Australian looking for career advancement needs to be able to demonstrate a high degree of literacy.

Most people I know, even those with post-graduate degrees, tend to be dismissive of grammar and spelling as important, even in professional communication. But only some professionals get away with cavalier attitudes like that, and only if they are exceptionally brilliant in other areas. Most of us aren’t that fortunate.

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