Monday, August 31, 2015

Ideological Divides IV – Biology


This is the fourth instalment of the Ideological Divides series; click here to read the first instalment, here to read the second, and here to read the third.

Our biology as a shaping influence of political beliefs and behaviours might seem incongruous, and it is not something that has been contemplated for long. In the past, social forces, childhood environment/s and parental influence were considered primary reasons of whether we became liberal (progressive, left) or conservative. Nor it seems are our beliefs merely the result of rational responses to the world at large as a new body of evidence suggests there is more at play. While researchers have successfully found biological links to personality, mental disorders, alcoholism and even diabetes to name a few, political science as a field seemed too detached.

The connection began in 1986 with a study suggesting that genes affected our attitudes toward topics such as immigration, abortion and war. Using classical behavioural-genetics techniques, Nicholas Martin a geneticist at Queensland’s Institute of Medical Research used twins to show that genes made a significant difference in shaping social attitudes. Fast forward to early 2000’s and Martins work was re-analysed again using twins, this time in the U.S. by Hibbing and Alford of Rice University in Texas. In 2005, their findings were published and again demonstrating significant correlations to the 1986 studies. Others in the U.S. became interested with more studies at the University of California and Pennsylvania State University using twins from many other western nations confirming the findings.

The studies were never deemed definitive and critics are plenty, including Jeremy Freese of North-western University in Illinois, commenting that the studies show, “implausibly large” impacts from individual genes, adding that the research was published in political science journals rather than scientific journals therefore any likely deficiencies of the findings might have escaped proper scientific scrutiny.

The bottom line is that it may be too early or premature to outline conclusive arguments on the genetics of politics in the absence of further research however; personality does have a connection and a biological basis. Openness to change is the first of five (5) core traits that a person possesses in the Five Factor model of personality, the others being, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Many political psychologists agree that openness to change is more prevalent amongst members of the left or progressives who are more accepting of social change, they can tolerate more ambiguity and uncertainty than conservatives whom are more conscientious and attracted to order. Little wonder that members of the left are more likely to embrace changing the marriage act (same-sex marriage), favour immigration while conservatives focus on border protection, national security and a strong military.

I feel certain that future research will find evidence of a biological basis in politics and ideology but we may be decades away from a conclusive account detailing all factors in addition to, and including biology that determines our political thinking. In the interim, it pays to appreciate the complexity of the human being, to be civil and accepting of others views when engaging in any political debate about the issues because if anything, research is suggesting that our differences have an innate origin which ensures that we all experience the world and life differently.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The origin of Left, Centre, Right

The terms derive their origin from France, the French king Louis XVI (23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793) also known as Louis Capet, created a parliament (parler is the French word for, “to talk”).

Representatives from the peasantry and the aristocracy were present and elected to discuss the state's affairs. The peasantry sat to the left of the presiding officer and the aristocracy to the right - simple.

Louis XVI was King of France from 1774 until his deposition in 1792.

Image of the week - I

Via The Australian 
First word or thought that comes to mind?
For mine: TA you're energising your critics, not a good look at this point in time ...
All comments welcomed ...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ADS - Abbott Derangement Syndrome

Remember that tweet from journalist and the ABC's Insiders program regular, George Megalogenis, the one that sent twitter into a storm in May? For mine, it presents as a clear and definitive example of Abbott Derangement Syndrome.
It appears that members of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (the union and professional organisation that covers everyone in the media, entertainment, sports and arts industries) are the social group most susceptible to the condition. As borrowed from another victim from across the briny seas, I offer a hybrid definition and explanation of the condition: 
Abbott Derangement Syndrome (or ADS) is a loss of the capability for rational thought. This loss is often displayed over a period of hours, days or even months and years. Akin to an onset of paranoia in otherwise normal folk to the policies, the Prime Ministership and very existence of Tony Abbott. The sufferer, in all cases, blames Tony Abbott for just about anything that makes for news on the ABC or Fairfax sites and press, including but not limited to, all types of disasters, human and social maladies. Examples include, blaming Tony Abbott for controlling the minds of sportsmen like Adam Goodes and the spectators, believing that Tony Abbott is responsible for the rise of ISIS, The Lindt cafe seige and cyclone Yasi in 2011 - acute sufferers have even concluded a link to cyclone Mahina in 1899...ADS is also manifested in many sufferers by a determination to label Tony Abbott as the greatest single threat to Australia since John Howard. He is oft linked to the likes of George Pell, Rupert Murdoch and Margaret Thatcher ..  
For those of you happy to live with the condition and, perhaps as a way to further an agenda, I have devised a parody of one line news commentaries as fodder for bringing you together and energise your cause.

  • Tony Abbott urges pensioners to get back to work citing budget debt and deficit 
  • Tony Abbott calls on Australians to forget the human cost of detention centres and war
  • A spiritual faith group reports that Tony Abbott was “chosen by God” to lead Australia
  • Tony Abbott proposes lifting the retirement age to 84
  • Tony Abbott suggests that Australian society would be best served through the embracement of biblical marriages not same sex marriage
  • Tony Abbott overheard joking about climate change, children in detention, boat people, Indonesia, the absence of WMD’s in Iraq, gays and Guantanamo Bay torture techniques
  • Tony Abbott shortlists Dick Cheney to act as a foreign advisor for Operation Sovereign Borders
  • Tony Abbott hints at the ADF being the military wing of the LNP
  • Tony Abbott names the site of Australia’s first nuclear power station
  • Tony Abbott launches his new book, ‘THE NEW ANGLOSPHERE CENTURY”
  • Tony Abbott overheard saying, “where are the carriers” upon being questioned about China’s island building in South China sea
  • Tony Abbott reportedly sought Israel’s Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu's advice for taming the influence of the progressive left
  • Tony Abbott suggests that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was wrong to award Cate Blanchett the Oscar for Best Actress in 2014
  • Tony Abbott says he enjoyed American Sniper almost as much as he enjoyed Ben Hur
  • Tony Abbott says that the new human right is property rights
  • The CSIRO and SBS ought be privatised say Tony Abbott
  • Abbott Abbott Abbott

On a good note, George Megalogenis may, at last, have found a relationship between football crowds and Prime Ministers, a connection that has previously eluded psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and historians alike ...

But the good news is that there is hope for sufferers with new treatment options now coming online:
  • For mild cases, Aspro Clear taken morning and night has proved beneficial.
  • For moderate cases, Dispirin or Bex taken at bedtime has yielded positive results and 
  • For acute sufferers, all of the above, with the addition of one (1) Alka Seltzer when the paranoia first presents
  • Long time sufferers have also reported an improvement in their condition following the act of contrition (confession) and acceptance of Holy Communion at their local Catholic parishes...
If you are thinking of accusing me of failing to stay true to this blog's goal of providing, "intelligent and informed political discourse", I beg forgiveness however, I have added a new label specific to this post, humour ...  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ideological Divides III – Morals and Personality

This is the third instalment of the Ideological Divides series; click here to read the first instalment and here to read the second …

If we take a look at the different moral values of those of the left Vs the right, it ought to be no surprise that we often face deadlock over not merely politics per-se but economic policy measures resulting from them. Consider the statements below:

  • Of all virtues, compassion is the most significant
  • If we allow the lazy and/or unsuccessful to fail and suffer the consequences of their poor decisions and inactions, tough love will compel corrective action.

Leftists obviously endorse the compassion statement but it may surprise that so do conservatives, the real difference is a matter of degree as the latter endorse both statements equally though more mildly.

The term Karma is normally associated with spirituality and a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Taoism and yet, however inadvertently, it plays a role in the psychology of the archetypal conservative in terms of ones reaping the fruits (good and bad) of their actions. It is worth noting that karma is not a law of the universe or physical world, though traditionalists, aka the conservative classes, sometimes come off sounding as if they believe it is - such is their conviction.

This explains why they are lukewarm about assisting the unsuccessful - not to be confused with the less fortunate – via the welfare state, or unsuccessful nations (Greece) via loans, and companies via industry assistance and/or outright bailouts.

Political behaviour is strongly motivated by people's underlying psychological needs and through this deep motivator’s determine one's political preferences.  A University of Toronto study concluded that:
“… While everybody has the same motivational architecture, the relative strength of the underlying systems varies from one person to the next. If concerns for order and equality are relatively balanced, the individual is likely to be politically moderate or restrained, as either grows stronger than the other, political preferences move further to either left or right of the spectrum…”
The study also links values to biological and genetic heritage factors.
“This means you have to take a deeper view of political and morality in terms of where these motives are coming from as political preferences do not emerge from a simple rational consideration of the issues”
I believe that a basic understanding of why we differ can benefit the arbitrations of our parliaments and society in general through greater empathy.  

As I concluded in the first instalment of this series, all ideological divides assist a nation to flourish and the abovementioned study suggests this to be true.
“There are costs and benefits to each political profile and both appear critical to maintaining an effective balance in society”  
In the next instalment of this series, I will look deeper into how biology can exert an influence on political beliefs and behaviours ahead of the last posting that will ask the most pertinent of questions, progressives, leftists (Liberals) or Conservatives - who is right, what is truth?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ideological Divides II – Personality and Values


This post serves as an extension of my June 11, 2015 post, ideological divides.

These days we can make somewhat precise predictions about people's values in relation to politics through various unconnected things such as how they dress, where they live, the cars they own, how much orderliness there is in their lives and even, music and book preferences. Given that, our two main parties have well entrenched publically espoused values – through party platforms – they make for good targets for whatever political personality types.

Interestingly, our political parties have shaped their own values that in turn, influence peoples lifestyle elements by creating diverging facts resulting in different beliefs about history (stolen generation real or not?), science and notably economics. How you ask? By way of example, the previous Labor government’s school curriculum over- emphasises the themes, Environment, Colonialism, Social history, Anti-modernism, Class and Minority groups and Multiculturalism while under-emphasising, Religion, Western Civilisation, Political History, and Economic growth and Technology.  We also have no mention of the three pillars of Western Civilisation, instead replaced by what conservatives would refer to as, the three pillars of political correctness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia and Sustainability. Moreover, on the question of economic growth and technology one would think that the entrepreneurial spirit of the era would warrant a mention in the curriculum, but the word “entrepreneur” appears nowhere more exactly, when the curriculum refers to wealth it only refers to the distribution of wealth, never the creation of wealth.

Let us now look at the interpretation of economics in terms of beliefs and values as associated with ideology. A centre-right Liberal party supporter or politician would have very different views to an ALP or Greens advocate about some contemporary economic issues of the day. Will abolishing the minimum wage increase unemployment or decrease it? Will it stimulate the economy or depress it? How is it best to deal with economic recessions, via stimulus or austerity? What about tightening the eligibility criteria or completely cutting unemployment benefits (dole), will it propel individuals to find employment or set them up for the scrap heap?

Given the differing personality types and personal values of LNP, ALP and Greens supporters it is nigh impossible to obtain an accurate and impartial answer to questions about ideological righteousness associated with economic policies since all participants are both consciously and unconsciously seeking arguments answers and facts, that are consistent with their personal values. Individuals begin their personal deliberations about what is right/wrong or true and then seek out supporting evidence that in all cases is available. Hence, one can always find documented academic (even peer reviewed) documentation and opinion pieces arguing that removing the minimum wage will spur economic activity and increase employment just as one can find same for the opposing argument.

Asking what is truth or who is right becomes almost superfluous but not entirely so, for we should never stop asking … questioning. In terms of politics and ideology, human values, knowledge, convictions and even creeds are relative, elastic and ever so fluid …

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ideological Divides


Something struck me about the following lines that were on a flyer that landed in my letterbox some time ago:
“As a long standing member of the ALP, I appreciate the role councils play in providing quality services to the community”
One could also envision the words, “The Greens” in place of ALP, but could you envision LNP in place of ALP, I dare say no. The innocuous lines imply that only the ALP establishment, in addition to others to the left of it, and their members and representatives can recognise, appreciate and deliver quality services to the community- the latter being an integral word in the language and semantics of the left.

This conception is akin to an unwritten attribute of the progressive classes. Nonetheless, it belies the truth about the importance placed on community care by their ideological opposites. Fact is, those on the right also place importance on "community" they, like progressives and those of the left, have entirely similar moral foundations and act on their passions with the same vigour and conviction of righteousness however, they have different moral philosophies - defending, and recommending their concept/s of right and wrong conduct.

As a result of factors associated with the disciplines of Anthropology, Psychology and related cultural factors, individuals that engage in the political, either as active or passive participants, formulate passions from which they hypothesis, derive and construct partisan suppositions.

Accordingly, our (people's) political divides result in wide gaps of opinion about political parties, there policies and, party leaders alike.

However, what of the legitimacy of each, who is right, who is wrong?

As an appendage to the question I, being an active right leaning participant have come to accept as true, that the insights of all sides, the left and right, otherwise said, Liberals Conservatives, Progressives and even Libertarians, play a role for a nation to flourish. Not that this answers the legitimacy question I posed.

Once again, who is right, what is your view?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

You're no idiot, rather you're un-engaged ...



Did you know? The ancient Greeks had a word for a person not interested, or un-engaged in public affairs eg. Politics - Idiot...

As an adjunct, I'm of the opinion that the Greeks were harsh to label the un-engaged (in politics) as idiots. They are not idiots per-se, they are simply un-engaged, nothing more nothing less.

What dismays me however, is when I inadvertently stumble upon conversations with "unengaged" types (those that absorb only media headlines without questioning) and they espouse an understanding of whatever the political discourse, with arguments littered with inaccuracies and untruths.

Still, even then they are NOT idiots, rather they are once again, unengaged. The role of those like myself (the engaged) is to enhance understanding without bias or judgement.

I have no issue with those that disagree as long as there difference is based on accurate information. Sadly, the unengaged are most often victims of groupthink. They fail to question, "headlines". 

This is the challenge for the "engaged".

My advice to all, whatever they're existing convictions is to question... Never stop questioning....

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Accepting Political Differences

Today I was accused of being critical and judgemental of those whose ideology and politics are different to mine. The conversation was born of my previous post on this blog, ADS - Abbott Derangement Syndrome with the accuser lecturing me about my, “criticism” of George Megalogenis. Criticism I thought, really.

I can understand why I was lectured however my post was not meant to be critical of him of even those whom I may think suffer from the so-called syndrome I wrote about.

We are all different and sometimes it is our very differences that make the world we know, turn, for better or worse.

In my years, I have had many conversations with people from all walks about politics. In earlier days I was stubborn adopting an, I am right you are wrong approach. These days I actually listen to those who disagree in a genuine attempt to understand why they believe as they do. In dealing with people from all lifestyles and I have come to recognize that what affects how they think and where they stand on issues including politics, life and just as importantly, how I think, has much to do with particularized and individualistic life events, worldview, beliefs and emotions, measure of knowledge, cultural factors and background  and, so very much more …

In dealing with those who are my political opposites, I remind myself to let go of ego related emotions. This does not mean I acquiesce with ease, on the contrary, if I feel I must extend understanding, I attempt to achieve this while extending respect and utilizing diffusing language like.

  • “I appreciate what you are saying, how can we address this and gain both from the discussion, have you considered” 
  • “Were you aware that…”
  • “I don’t mean to lecture or suggest I am right, let me explain what I mean ..." 
  • “Do you think it would be better if …?”

By all means be authoritative, know your subject, provide quantifiable facts, but remember to listen, really listen! Active as opposed to passive listening is key to a successful exchange. Listening allows you to get inside the other person and I assure you, it is always appreciated, and while you may still come away with differences, all parties will be better for the exchange … Try it and watch what happens ...

This post may come across as a cop out of sorts, it is far from that. George Megalogenis has his own opinion/s and he promoted but one in his tweet last Saturday, nothing wrong with that. I feel certain that I would enjoy a discussion with him about why he feels the way he does on the matter he tweeted about and who knows, we might both come away having learned something.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Social Capital and Politics


Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister you either loved or loathed, even today this remains the case. By chance, I recently came across the image you see as part of this post and, as I looked at it more closely, I was drawn to the elastic concept that is, social capital.

There are many definitions of this notion however, in the context of this post I am drawn to that offered by Bourdieu and Wacquant (1992) defining it as, “ the sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual … by virtue of possessing a durable network of  … relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition”. I would add to this, social capital as a producer of civic engagement, a character conducive to consensus building and, elements of trust acting to enhance the formation of individual and organisational bonds.

When an individual enters public life, he/she brings with them a degree of social capital that has accrued through the quantity and quality of both public and personal interactions to date. Accordingly, it is not merely a case of, you have it or, you have not as continued engagement through the myriad of mediums available, (notably social media now becoming the new conversation challenging traditional ideas about marketing and brand management), allows one to build upon the capital throughout their unfolding career.

With this in mind and, in conjunction with the aforementioned definition, it is clear that Kevin Rudd had a healthy measure of social capital; the image alone tells us so. He was completely at ease in environs such as schools, hospitals, and crowds alike. Contrast this to a select few politicians of the day. With polls telling us that both Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten are not popular with voters it is reasonable to suggest that both lack the capital I refer to. So how do some other, notable federal politicians of the day measure up? Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull have a high measure, those that have an average measure could include, Sussan Ley, Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong, Chris Bowen, Joe Hockey (some would disagree), Barnaby Joyce and Bruce Billson. Those that lack it altogether could include, Christopher Pyne, Eric Abetz, and Scott Morrison (watch this space). I write, “Could” as this is only my opinion.

I am not implying that we view social capital as the definitive measure pertaining to success or otherwise in politics as from time to time, decisions made in the national interest must outweigh the quest for it. This is where Kevin Rudd abused it and failed, some would add, due to ego. Recall his quip, “My name is Kevin Rudd, I’m from Queensland, I’m here to help”, his outlandish use of semantics and colloquialisms and ideological flip-flopping – a Social Democrat in 2009, an Economic and Fiscal conservative in 2007 and Christian Socialist in 2006. He would try anything to win the hearts and minds of the urban crowd and for a while, it worked. Personally, I saw it a way of exploiting the zeitgeist and in time it caught up with him…

Does it take a special talent to cultivate a good measure of social capital? Is it innate? Can a politician farm it without undermining the national interest, in particular, economic interests of the nation? I believe it does take a special talent - a natural ability and aptitude to steer away from the need to engage in morally rich, idealistic political manoeuvrings without compromising one's popularity and through this, social capital.

What do you think?


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On matters RET

The two main parties have been squabbling over the Renewable Energy Target for what seems like forever but recently an agreement was in fact, reached.

After many months of genuine political argy bargy, the Abbott Government and Labor have finally reached an agreement that will pass the lower house and, with any luck the senate will do same.

The target is 33,000 gigawatt hours GWh equivalent to 21-22%. The Greens will argue that this is not enough to reduce CO2 emissions and protect jobs and investment however, they ought to concede, it is better than no pact at all. More pointedly, at around 21-22%, it is higher than the previous 20% figure and puts it amongst the highest in the world. Fact is, given The Greens once pushed for a target of 90% thus it's fair to suggest, they will never be pleased.

The clean energy sector now has some certainty and given the impassioned nature of the issue they to, ought to be pleased.

Personally, I believe it took more of an effort for the Abbott Government to settle on any target than the effort put in by the opposition Labor party to protect it since at the core, the Liberal party, as an establishment, is philosophically indifferent on the matter.

What is your view on this, and the RET in general? A superfluous exercise in terms of climate change or an vital element of the development of clean energy technologies including bioenergy, cogeneration, geothermal, hydro, solar, , marine energy and wind …

Further reading:

Clean Energy Council

Renewable energy sector welcomes bipartisan RET deal

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Unleashing the ALP

The following lines may provide more than a clue on how the ALP could dramatically improve its electoral stocks.

Does the party govern for the people or the unions? Hardly a superfluous question, more accurately, a perfectly legitimate query in light of some arresting facts as explained by Patrick Hannaford.
  • The party’s national platform contains over a 160 references to unions.
  • In the ALP national executive, over 70% of the 26 members are current or former union officials.
  • In parliament, over 40% of lower house MP’s and over 70% of ALP senators were former employees of the union movement.
This is startling considering that the number of workers in Australia who are trade union members in relation to their main job, is fewer than 20% of the workforce down from around 41% in 1990.

Moreover, only 12% of our nation's voting age population consist of trade union members.

Consider too, that over 50% of federal ALP parliamentarians were formerly part of union officialdom.

We now know how unions have managed to increase their clout in spite of falling union membership numbers and it's no surprise that Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government has recently provided union’s access to Government resources Inc. office space computers and phones. Nor any surprise that there is a perception that Victoria's Daniel Andrews is paying off the unions that actively campaigned for his election.

In light of how indebted Labor Governments are to unions (given the hefty sums of money provided for election campaigns), it is entirely reasonable to suggest that unions have become a franchise of Labor Governments.

This raises a further question, how much more effective and successful would the Australian Labor Party be, if it chose to be more representative and governed for the people? 

The first thing it ought to consider is to limit its bonds with the union movement, Bill Shorten should take the lead in this matter.  

Update:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Same Sex Marriage will soon pass Parliament

An article appearing in The Age recently confirms what has been suspected for some time. Only a handful of parliamentary votes now stand in the way of the reform, so it is not a matter of if, but when. The AMA says that several Labor MP’s have switched their position, now declaring support for same sex marriage as have, up to 13 unnamed Liberal and National party MP’s. As for Tony Abbott, neither he nor his party supports gay marriage and the ALP also remains opposed however, Mr Abbott has said all along, that the issue of a free vote would be a matter for the post-election party room. I recently heard one prominent gay crusader say on national radio that it is more likely that a second term Abbott Government would sooner legislate for same sex marriage than the Labor party would.
I have no issue with gays or same sex unions, I wish to shout that, but I remain opposed to same sex marriage, as I firmly believe that the “slippery slope” argument as it is known, (the one that social "reformers" and pro-gay activists are quick to scoff at) is compelling.

The argument suggests that when you remove the traditional idea of a marriage being between a man and a woman, in favour of a union between any two consenting adults, you invite more changes down the track and the main one that comes to mind is, Polygamy in all its three forms. Polygyny, wherein a man has multiple simultaneous wives, Polyandry, wherein a woman has multiple simultaneous husbands, or group marriage, wherein the family unit consists of multiple husbands and multiple wives. In other societies the precedents already exist as they do within the framework of Islam.

Moreover, it seems some are already using the slippery slope argument in protecting rights of Polygamists. We read recent reports of a prominent Green party official claiming that Sarah Hanson Young’s resolve that marriage between two consenting adults including gays (the key point), discriminates against others in gay community including Polyamorists. Only this month, the Greens Party leader in the U.K. Natalie Bennett said she is, 'open to discussing' three-way marriages and polygamy. Read it here

The path to same sex marriage on the premise that, any two consenting adults regardless of sex ought to be able to marry if they love one another is fine, but once the traditional marriage definition becomes undefined or vague, you invite more change hence, – the slippery slope. If homosexuals can marry, why can’t a man marry two or more woman if they love one another and all consent to it? A simple web search will reveal that courts around the globe are already dealing with this very issue.

I dismiss all other arguments against same sex marriage acknowledging that the world has changed. Furthermore, the religious approach will not wash in a society as ours, one that values the upholding of separation between church and state.

Same sex marriage will soon be legal, however let us not complain when the next logical step makes its mark on the social conscious, Polygamy in all its forms, for this too will be inevitable. In addition, if Polygamy does make inroads in western societies, women will suffer the most for it. You may wish to do some web research on that as well.

All the above amount to what is merely an opinion, and same sex activists can like me, point toward much web research suggesting that the slippery slope argument is fallacious. I would add, fair enough, though recall I wrote, “compelling” in my cause for concern in the third paragraph, I deliberately avoided absolute descriptors about the slippery slope case, thus permit me to repeat, a ‘compelling’ argument that demands parliamentary and community debate ahead of any reform.  Perhaps then, any new legislation permitting same sex marriage may incorporate, as far as is possible, built in safeguards - strict definitions- to restrict the path to expanded marital unions.

I am not holding my breath, nor should you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Stereotypical discrimination alive and well in political preselection processes...

Via The Age, the articles heading reads: Labor candidate for Melbourne admits 'I look like a Green'….
Is there something wrong here?
In an era where we claim to strive toward equal opportunity you would think that everyone is treated in ways irrespective of anything but their ability or capacity to undertake a role and not, according to their race, religion, sex, color, age, cultural background, appearance, marriage or civil partnership arrangements, national origin or physical attributes.
The piece continues:
"She's a former migrant, a human rights and employment lawyer, and she's gay. On paper, the new candidate for Melbourne sounds like a Green out of central casting. But Sophie Ismail is central to Labor's plans to wrestle its erstwhile federal seat back from Adam Bandt.
And the fact she makes Bandt, the sitting Greens MP, look like a white, middle-class male has not been lost on senior Labor Party figures – nor Ms Ismail herself.
"Adam Bandt looks like a Labor candidate and I look like a Greens candidate," she said."
That the author claims that Labor views Adam Bandt’s middle class casting and general looks, as a weakness, and the Labor’s candidates sexual orientation, appearance - that in this case would include hairstyle and fashion sense - is a plus, suggests that there may be an element of discrimination associated with stereotypes at play.

Furthermore, note they have mentioned race by using the term "white". It is tantamount to forms of workplace discrimination.

I feel certain that there must have been others striving for ALP preselection for the seat of Melbourne, if so, then it’s plausible to assume that they may have been discriminated against.

What can we draw from the article?

If you're seeking preselection and haven't got the sexual orientation, cultural background, appearance, marriage or civil partnership arrangement and physical attributes pertinent to the seat, you need not apply. 

Follow the link above to view the article, or click here ...

Feel free to comment ... 

Are you a writer, a budding novelist and admire the writings of Ayn Rand?

Pardon my going off topic on this post.

Can you espouse the ideas of, but not be definitively limited to, those of the late novelist?


In 2009 I completed Ch. 1 of what was to be an extended piece or novel entitled "David Larkin". Due to time constraints and life matters Ch 2. was not commenced. The writing remains online within this blog and is copyright however, I am willing to waive my rights for anyone that wishes to continue to build upon the 4100+ words already written and call it their own but with the following with the following caveats.
  1. That the aspirant adopt, as far as is reasonably practicable, a similar style/prose to mine. 
  2. That the writing benchmark set, be correspondingly upheld and/or commensurate with the existing work and
  3. That if you are fortunate and derive any income/revenue from the exercise then you can look forward to keeping 90% or more for yourself, otherwise said, a small sum for yours truly. 
It was my intention that the piece espouse the ideas of, but not be definitively limited to, those of the late novelist Ayn Rand.

Click here to view the work thus far ...