My 2020 Reading List

30/12/2020

As this rather wretched and exhausting year comes to a close, I looked back at my list from 2019 and laughed sadly at my optimistic plans to read more in 2020. Perhaps I did when you count news, analysis, etc. online, but in terms of books it was disastrously minimal. However, the books I did read offered brilliant insights or just fascinating bits of knowledge. So, in no real order:

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Did Gough Whitlam Play Us or the US?

13/12/2020

It has been generally accepted that the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam in November 1975 was a “soft coup”. It was the culmination of various tensions between Whitlam and the United States, namely its intelligence communities (and, by extension, our own). One of the oft cited reasons was Whitlam’s purported opposition to the US’ bases within Australia, perhaps the most infamous of which is Pine Gap in Alice Springs. But did Australia’s arguably best Prime Minister actually oppose them as public perception believes?

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Governments Can’t Self-Regulate Surveillance

10/10/2020

Reading Sacha Molitorisz’s Net Privacy: How We Can Be Free in an Age of Surveillance, I have appreciated the background and philosophical backing for protecting privacy. In particular, the relational approach to privacy he describes I think is a brilliant way to expand the scope of what actually constitutes privacy as an individual and societal concern. However, there have been a few points that I do not agree with or wish were explored more; as young as it is, the role blockchain technology has and could play in ensuring net privacy is not even mentioned once. Instead, the chapter I am currently reading speaks of regulation and legislation, talking about the privacy of individuals and society but then falling back on the State or global institutions to uphold it – a tad problematic.

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The Contradiction of the Zero-Sum Game

03/09/2020

There is a contradiction in the way the proponents of capitalism approach the concept of the “zero-sum game”, the notion that wealth created or owned in one place must come at the expense of others. This conversation has taken many different forms, from the power of the British Empire on a global scale to national debates over the merits of immigration and welfare. But one on side of the debate, there appears to be a glaring inconsistency in their logic.

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Eroding Privacy During Coronavirus Pandemic

22/04/2020

We live in a world where the concept of privacy is all but a myth, a reality that people only a couple of decades ago would probably have been horrified of. As the Coronavirus lockdown shifts how the world operates, online solutions to numerous obstacles are charging to the forefront. Some of these changes are, however, questionable.

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Privacy for Sale

03/02/2020

Abigail Thorn, better known as Philosophy Tube on YouTube, released her latest video Data recently. Much of the content was stuff I was already aware of, and some I have written a bit about before, but there were a few parts that really stuck out – partly because, the very next day, what happened in the scene happened to me.

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My 2019 Reading List

31/12/2019

Admittedly, I thought I had read more books than the ones on this list, but alas it is much smaller than anticipated when I compiled it. I wasn’t expecting anything huge, and 16 books is still a reasonable feat, in my view, but I can’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment that I didn’t get through more. I would, however, suggest that finishing university and keeping up with news events and analysis probably makes up for that. Nevertheless, these are the books I read this past year, with a few thoughts looking back on them and links to piece that refer to them.

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Integrity Ensured

28/11/2019

This week, somehow more so than previous weeks, has been a disaster for the Coalition. The party has been rocked by scandals, seen continued fallout from their indifference and neglect regarding the bushfires, and one of the most troubling Bills they’ve introduced got thrown back in the Senate. They may have a majority in the House, but true integrity can’t be deregistered.

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Labor Is Not Above Criticism

26/10/2019

There is not a political party or personality that is above criticism. There will almost always be flaws and concerns that can be raised, always problematic positions and actions that should be challenged. You can be the strongest supporter of a party or person, but if you fail to acknowledge their failings then your support isn’t admirable, it is blind and narrow loyalty.

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Political Public Relations is A Form of Propaganda

13/10/2019

My political communications lecturer was at pains to differentiate between propaganda and political public relations, but even using the definitions provided to us and the reasoning for it, I’m not sold on it. It’s the only unit I’ve actually done on a political topic, and I am already starting to see how universities frame this kind of content to fit the mould that the mainstream media and academics slowly adjust to. It actually makes me interested in doing further study into it just to observe how a course on these issues is carried out.

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