Community Highlights

We receive a lot of comments each day and it can be difficult to keep track of them, so it stands to reason you’ll miss some interesting stuff. That’s why we’re going to run “community highlights” posts every now and then. We’ll be sharing the best and brightest of what we see around the site. Taken part in or read a discussion you felt illuminating? See a post you think gets right to the heart of a topic? Email me and let me know.

Peter Whiteford recently wrote an article about Australia’s welfare state, its objectives and performance – and what reforms may mean for those things. A key part of the article are ideas around who pays for welfare and the “Robin Hood” approach to funding. Commenter Jay Wulf said the following to say about the “ultra-rich” and the welfare state:

On the other, they seem to be blissfully unwilling to recognise all the benefits that living in a civil society affords them. They do not have to have personal security guards, armoured cars, gated communities, karate-trained nannies. They can be sure if they choose to drive into the countryside, they can do so on a reasonably good road and not be kidnapped at gunpoint at a barricade of burning tires. They can run their trucks for the supply chain of their company, chewing up the public roadways, being certain that the government is going to repair the infrastructure for your company (or better yet, build more like this Coalition government is). They can hire highly educated servants for their businesses and they do not have to take out peasant insurance for when their workforce gets sicks. All sitting under an umbrella of a strong regional security treaty, so that hungry neighbour wont suddenly invade and steal their mines and investments. All the ‘useless’ and ‘expensive’ benefits that 1st world society brings them.

You can read the rest of his thoughts here (and add your own).

But it’s not all gloom. Columnist Steve Ellen asked what love was and what its limitations were – could someone fall in love with just a voice? Amanda Barnes had the following to say about the emotion:

I would say that love is not an absolute. It changes over time & place & circumstance. Love reacts & responds to the other & others. Then there are the different types of love. Passionate love, filial love, parental love, the love of friends. Which is transcendent? Does it matter? I would say not. We have the capacity to love many & love well. None is static or unresponsive to changed circumstance. I would say that love is elastic, bountiful, joyous & despotic. It dives in upon us unbidden & departs just as suddenly with as much quixotic indifference to self as when it arrived. It secures soul to soul & opens us to wounds eternal. It is THE most potent agent for change & yet also the most potent agent for intransigence. Love is above all else, transformative.

In the “discussions you may have missed” section, Simona John von Freyend, Christopher Grow and Paul Prociv had a comprehensive conversation about parasites and vector-borne diseases.

Meanwhile, Chad Swanson and Nicholas Clements pondered the differences between history and commemoration, and the ethical considerations required of both:

Personally, I think there is a difference between writing about history and deciding upon commemorations of history. One is basically seeking to understand the past and the other is being prescriptive about how we think of the past. If you want to be prescriptive about how we approach the past, I believe you need to consult the stakeholders who will be affected. If you just want to reveal what happened, then I don’t think there is that obligation.

Author Deb Verhoeven said the following on Twitter:

Nice comment thread starting in this: “Only at the movies? Home truths about cinema ticket pricing” @ConversationEDU

— deb verhoeven (@bestqualitycrab) April 29, 2014

Deb was pleased with the discussion unfurling on her story about cinema ticketing pricing – she and co-author Bronwyn Coate even got involved. Been to the movies lately? Head over to the article and share your experiences.

Other news

One of our authors, Clare Wright, has won The Stella Prize for her book ‘The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka’. Congratulations Clare!

Want to get a taste of her work? Check out her article on flashers, femmes and the other forgotten figures of the Eureka Stockade.

That’s all from last week. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see highlighted in the future.

Cory Zanoni, community manager

Support evidence-based journalism with a tax-deductible donation today.