SBS is no longer a diverse public sphere

Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is the nation’s multicultural public broadcaster, and as such, its core mandate is to “inform, educate and entertain all Australians, and in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society” (SBS Charter ). 

Like other public broadcasters, Britain's BBC and Australia's ABC for example, SBS was instituted as a public sphere, the function of which is to uphold liberal democratic values by providing a forum of free speech within which everyone can debate matters of collective importance, as equals, irrespective of their political views. In principle, the explicit multicultural mandate of SBS recognized that such equality had not historically been afforded to those with non-English speaking backgrounds, and attempted to rectify this lack of access to the public sphere by featuring non-white faces and voices. 
Yesterday, I read a couple of articles circulated by SBS on Facebook which seems to indicate that the custodians of the bro…

Health Crises, Factory Farming, and Corporate Welfare: Why Capitalism is not to Blame

Today I read a BBC article entitled “How Economics Killed the Antibiotic Dream” wherein the author characterizes the impending antibiotic crisis - fueled by factory farming practices - as an outcome of greed and free market capitalism.
This argument is subject to some of the same flaws as the one which advocates the introduction of taxes to curb the consumption of meat - and sugar for that matter - as a means to address a different health crisis: obesity.
The article points to increasing Western wealth as the source of the problem, arguing that as average household incomes increase, demand for meat increases, incentivizing farmers to increase their supply. Brutal factory farming techniques are the logical outcome of such demand as farmers rush to cash in on the potential profit and supply this demand. According to this narrative, this directly leads to the use of low dose antibiotics to curb the spread of disease among the animals, who are kept in extraordinarily unsanitary condition…

The Lack of Ethics in Cultural Policy Studies

Cultural Policy Studies emerged as a distinct subfield within Cultural Studies in the early 1990s, and is distinguished from its parent field by its focus on activism through policy. Adherents of cultural studies have traditionally aimed to illuminate how power is maintained by an elite few in the West through its examination of cultural practices and meanings. Cultural policy studies goes one step further and involves itself within the institutions that actively regulate the cultural industries such that the inequalities exposed through cultural studies scholarship might be eliminated.
The huge problem with this approach is that it is a blatant program of social engineering, and one which lacks any foundation of ethical principles to guide its practitioners. 
Insofar as the field is founded upon the philosophies of the French postmodern thinkers of the 1960s and 70s such as Michel Foucault, who deny the possibility of objective truth, cultural value (criteria of artistic excellence)…

UC-Berkeley rioters threaten democracy, and make Milo look like a genius

Only days ago, I had a conversation with a friend who stated that violence was a reasonable response to the ideas expressed by Milo Yiannopoulos. The violent protests that have since erupted at Berkley University to prevent Milo from giving his final talk on his extremely successful “Dangerous Faggot” tour, indicates that many others on the progressive left believe that this is a perfectly reasonable position. As elaborated in my previous post What’s so bad about Nazism?, it is my opinion that meeting ideas with violence is a fundamentally fascist tactic which creates the climate of fear and oppression that protestors claim to be fighting against.

There are three more points about Milo that need to be made in order to develop a bit more clarity about the issues at stake in the Berkeley riots.

1. The mainstream media and opponents of Milo consistently describe him as far right. This may well be true of many of the opinions that he is known for, however, the fundamental issue that he is…

Protest has become little more than a lifestyle choice

Only days after thousands of Australian’s gathered in solidarity with their female comrades in the US to protest the inauguration of Trump, throngs of people have returned to key city centers throughout the Australia to protest the celebration of nationhood on the anniversary of colonial conquest. 

While the rest of the nation fire’s up the bbq in their backyards, local parks, or at the beach, in honour of Australia Day, protesters stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their Indigenous country men and women, to remember the 26th of January as a day of invasion, as a day of loss, and a day of mourning. While this particular protest has become a decades old tradition, this year it comes after a string of protests that have led me to understand protest as a lifestyle choice more so than a meaningful strategy for political change.

There are three key factors that lead me to this conclusion (in addition to my discovery of the poster above). The first is the fact that the desired effect of prote…

What's so bad about Nazism?

What is it about Nazism that people find so abhorrent? What are those elements of Nazism that we recognize in the words and actions of the politically empowered that make us rise up and say “no more”?
Is it the harsh lesson of how quickly the forked tongue of a charismatic leader can whip up support to condemn a whole race of people to extermination? Is it the uncanny ability to identify the next despot, paving his or her road to political victory by spinning tales of unearned wealth and privilege accruing to an elite minority?

Both sides of the contemporary political spectrum increasingly invoke Hitler to raise the alarm about the imminent danger of the next fascistic regime. It is however, towards the left that I pitch this question, because the Hitler-Nazi-Fascist triad has largely been invoked by the left to foreground the re-emergent politicization of race, and valorization of racism. And while I certainly do not condone racism I believe that this focus is detrimental insofar as…

Personal reflections on the eve of the US Presidential Inauguration, an open letter to a lost friend

Dear Carolyn,
As Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th US president tomorrow I am reminded of what I have lost in the build up to the 2016 election. 
It is odd that we are no longer friends given that as an Australian I have no direct stake in the US politics. But you, as a recently naturalized citizen and ten-year resident of California, are directly affected.
I knew when you sent me that message that you were trying to find out if I needed to be cut like a cancer from your life. You asked for photos of family, for updates on work, on life more generally, and what I thought about the upcoming US election. My response to this last question was deliberately vague.
But in the end I didn’t keep secret my political leanings. As I daily witnessed a Facebook feed awash with pro-Hillary, pro-socialist propaganda, posted by you, posted by just about everyone one else I knew and worked with, it felt necessary to also start sharing the bits of news and information that I had come across, and…