The merits of honest work

A friend this week sent me a link to a TED talk by a very wise man. Michael Sandel is Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he teaches political philosophy. His TED talk focused on the increasing failure to recognise the worth of honest work. Here is a link to the talk:

https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_sandel_the_tyranny_of_merit?utm_content=2020-8-25&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=social&utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR1KdQTo6_jfAQTPHgoppNvesMegUudQD6ur728SsGmO1H-HLc2EmMIsJoI

It brought to mind a graduation address I gave at the Auckland University of Technology 15 years ago. It is on a similar theme, although not expressed with Sandel’s eloquence. Nonetheless, I thought I would dust it off and share it with you.

Here it is: 

Continue reading “The merits of honest work”

Trolling through the news media

On Sunday Health Minister Chris Hipkins issued a stern warning about spreading disinformation: “At a time we are fighting a pandemic, this sort of behaviour is designed to create panic … and is completely unacceptable.” 

He highlighted a dilemma in which New Zealand’s news media now find themselves. They have a duty to inform the public about what our politicians are saying even when, to draw on the cartoon above by my old friend Rod Emmerson, it is bullshit.

In the past week there have been a succession of comments by politicians on both sides of the soon-to-be dissolved House that both fit the definition of disinformation and have the potential to cause panic.

Continue reading “Trolling through the news media”

Parting shots at the messenger

Quite frankly, New Zealand politicians don’t know how lucky they are.

Last week several of them wasted part of their valedictory speeches lambasting the news media. All had been the authors of their own fall from the political pedestal. Yet they saw fit to paint themselves as victims of journalists – a profession they characterised as lacking in ethics, scruples and plain common decency.

New Zealand media are, in fact, more restrained than their counterparts in countries where tabloid press and tabloid television run roughshod over the personal lives of politicians and have done so for a very long time. Continue reading “Parting shots at the messenger”