Random Writings on Gender

26/08/2022

The following collection of miniature essays is partially random in that they are answers to short answer exam questions I wrote this week for university. Given the stunted word limit of 330 words, I thought I’d elaborate on some points, and add thoughts and content I couldn’t include in the assessment. The particular unit this was for is Gender and Global Politics, a political science unit from the perspective of those much derided, but incredibly useful and fascinating, gender studies. As a straight cis man, studying such topics and applying a feminist lens to global politics is insightful, in much the same way studying Indigenous politics last semester was as a white person.

Each section will start with the question, followed by the exam response then any additional points at the end with references.

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On Accepting the Consensus View of Science

19/07/2022

I had someone reach out to me recently under the pretext of asking a few questions about science and given they perceived me, from my online posts, to be intelligent. Putting aside the fact my scientific knowledge is more that of a keen hobbyist, it pretty quickly became clear the person in question wasn’t just asking questions they were confused about – they were on a personal crusade against what they believed was a conspiracy from the top, and they didn’t get how I, someone “against the grain” so to speak, could accept the lies we had apparently been fed. This is my rather rambling thoughts on the matter.

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What Are the Key Future Challenges Facing Australian Foreign Policy?

This is the second of two university pieces, this one responding to a question on what future challenges there are in the foreign policy space in Australia. I focussed on the climate crisis, an international issue that Australia could become a global leader in, not just for the obvious environmental reasons, but in support and solidarity with our geographic neighbours in Asia and the Pacific regions. Regional aid, climate refugees, and the urgent transition to a renewables revolution are some of the key challenges we are bound to face – and Australia is not ready.

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What Is the ‘National Interest’ When it Comes to Foreign Policy?

For a university assessment, we had 48 hours to write two ~1000 word essays responding to questions from a list of 12. This first piece was in response to a question asking what the term “national interest” meant with regards to foreign policy. It briefly outlines Australia’s history with Timor-Leste, concluding that national interest has more to do with with the political and commercial interests of Canberra. This is in contrast to the public interest, international human rights interests, and the interests of the Timorese people.

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Covid-19 Vaccine Conspiracy Campaigns on Twitter

Initially did not plan to post this, but given the high grade it received and the fact I’m posting other university essays here today, let’s go! This essay simply covers misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding Covid-19 and the vaccinations on Twitter, as well as some of the (failed) attempts at combatting it. We truly did unleash a virtual portal to hell with the internet and social media, and no one has figured out how to fix it.

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National Security and Press Freedom

This is the second of two short pieces written for my Communication Law and Ethics unit. They aren’t anything particularly special, with only 750 words to try explain some current issues in media law, whether the current laws are effective, and the prospects for reform. Still thought it worth sharing given the drought of content on this site recently. This one covers protections for journalists reporting on matters of “national security”, a rather vague phrase used to shield the government from public inquiry and embarrassment – or accountability for criminal activity.

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An Anarchist Perspective on the Role of the State in Indigenous Politics

This essay was written for my Indigenous Politics and Policy course in response to the following question:

Can contemporary settler states be reformed to serve Indigenous peoples, or is it necessary to explore political arrangements beyond the state?

I approached this from an anarchist perspective, suggesting that the white patriarchal nation-state, as described by Aileen Moreton-Robinson in The White Possessive, has limited potential for reform. Instead, Indigenous concerns, in my view, add another layer of reasoning for dismantling the current nation-state system. Reference list below.

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Border Protection as a Defence of White Sovereignty

This essay was written for for my Australian Foreign Policy unit in response to the following question:

How should we make sense of Australia’s approach to the arrival of asylum seekers by boat?

I suggest that we can only understand Australia’s refugee policies by viewing it as a defence of the white nation-state’s sovereignty. This attempt to legitimise white sovereignty over borders runs in tandem with the denial of Indigenous sovereignty, which is also perceived as a threat to the legitimacy of the white nation-state. In both cases, vulnerable groups are marginalised, demonised, and dehumanised by the policies of successive Australian governments. References are provided at the bottom.

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Conservatism As a Disposition and a Conservative Anarchism

28/01/2022

There is much debate about whether conservatism is a fully fledged ideology or merely disposition, a way of looking at the world that looks to the past to inform the present and carefully guide the future. This is the argument, always presented as a question in textbooks or other material on conservatism but is never answered, and it is adopted by conservatives themselves to justify or explain their positions on political, cultural and social arenas. I think there is merit to the disposition argument, but more often than not it is used as a shield against genuine criticism.

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2021 Reading List (Part 3)

This is part 3 of my 2021 reading list, following on from parts 1 and 2, and the final one reaching a total of thirty books for the year. Given that last year I only read twelve, I would call that quite an improvement, and I somehow doubt I’ll read quite as many in the coming year, fingers crossed. Part 1 was fairly good, part 2 was hit and miss, but the last ten books I read this year were all great reads that I’d recommend, for the most part. Enjoy!

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