And Justice From All

To mark International Women’s Day, Google+ invited me to share a photograph of a woman who inspires me: I chose Her Honour Judge Brown.

Her Honour Judge Brown in formal robes
Her Honour Judge Brown

Not because there is something specific about Her Honour that inspires me, but because I found a photograph of her before I found one of one of the another female judge that I’ve appeared before.

Because that’s what inspires me: that there are enough immense intellects who’ve dedicated themselves to justice and equity who also happen to be female that I’ve appeared before too many to pick one on achievements alone.

So, pure alphabetic order wins it.

Why Would You Care What I Say?

The continued existence of lawyers, speech-writers, poets, and sundry other professions confirms that how you say something can be as powerful as what you say. However, this talk provides evidence and a way to apply the technique without spending years in study and practice; and does so in an (appropriately enough) accessible and engaging fashion.

Of course, speaking in the language of the person you wish to reach agreement with is as old a technique as the bilingual secretary or guide. And, as with foreign languages, it’s an obvious thing to do in the abstract, but a very much harder thing to do when you suddenly encounter a new tribe. So, how does one speak political truth in the language of the other?

Perhaps a start lies in an opposite of the reason one wishes to stir others to action? If a measure would help the poor, then consider ways it would be good for the wealthy. If a policy would help the disadvantaged abroad, then consider ways it would benefit this country.

Or begin with the worst reason to do something one can think of. How does your truth strengthen the case of a group you dislike? Maybe you have an ally in an unexpected place. How does your idea weaken the case for something you want? Perhaps it’s better to spend money on the workers of this country than not spend it at all. Why does someone’s reason matter? It might not steal the benefit from the needy if a step is taken to bolster a nation’s reputation rather than out of selfless service.

Some of the ideas produced might seem actively unethical rather than merely poor, but – if we seek to language to influence the Other – considering reasons that definitely wouldn’t influence someone who thinks like we do is a good place to start.

Brexit Needn’t Mean Break’s It

With Theresa May’s rhetoric swinging ever further past Hard Brexit into Scoured-to-Bedrock Brexit, many people (UK citizens and long-term residents from other EU nations alike) are facing an increasingly unpleasant future. So, I’ve decided to devote this post to two petitions in favour of a stronger, fairer UK.

nullAs well as providing trade and investment opportunities, the Single Market is a powerful force for both health and safety protections, and worker’s rights.

Freedom of Movement provides the parallel benefit of allowing UK citizens access to jobs throughout Europe and UK employers access to EU workers where there aren’t sufficient skilled UK workers.

And doesn’t just apply directly: faced with a choice between remaining in their current job or keeping their family together, how many skilled UK workers will choose to follow their partners to other countries?

Even ignoring the moral arguments for enhancing rather than removing structures that recognise common humanity and social unity, a Brexit deal that deliberately throws away access to Europe for both good and workers is economically flawed.

Share and Share I Like

At the Sharing Depot, a storefront in Toronto, $50 a year buys tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of tools, camping supplies, furniture, games, toys, sports equipment, and much else. At least on a short-term basis: The owners of the space call it a “library of things,” and anyone who pays the annual membership fee can borrow anything in the Sharing Depot, whose aisles look a lot like those at a regular big-box store. The difference is that everything on the shelves can be checked out like a library book….

The Original Sharing Economy, The Atlantic, 3 Jan 2017

This sounds like an excellent scheme. We need more sharing libraries in the United Kingdom.

We need more sharing libraries in the United Kingdom.

People Are Complex, So Their Issues Are Too

An interesting argument that seeking gender equality, racial equality, &c. can ironically – if the underlying aim of human equality is lost – obscure the issues facing those in more than one disadvantaged group.

The same inefficiency of labels applies to privileged groups: a social structure that privileges men doesn’t mean all men are fine; just that they are much more likely to be, and will probably have an easier time becoming fine if they aren’t.

Of course, as racism, sexism, and such are at their core reducing a complex human to a single-trait Other, it isn’t really surprising that striving to see everyone as a complex gestalt of all their qualities is a strong counter.