Some moral seriousness from the kids

Putting the grown-ups to shame without the moral vanity the grown-ups tried so hard to teach her.

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28 Responses to Some moral seriousness from the kids

  1. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Which puts me in mind of this very interesting podcast. I thought it would end up at selection by lot, but it moved right along from that – but then the conclusion on what to do was an afterthought. The analysis was compelling.

    Democracy For Young People

  2. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Cross posted at Equality by Lot.
    Democracy For Young People is, in my opinion a very compelling analysis of the ills of our democracy. It’s a very simple idea – which is that electoral democracy massively underrepresents three classes of people whose influence on democracy the great anti-democrats of the ancient world (i.e. all the thinkers whose work has come down to us in any substantial form) were most hostile to. The young, the poorly educated and the poor.

    I thought the ‘solutions’ section would end up at selection by lot, but it moved right along from that to lowering the voting age (dramatically!). But then the conclusion on what to do was an afterthought, and not really the focus of the podcast. The analysis was compelling. It’s good points are that the ideas are very simple, clearly important. They’re also clearly right to some extent, though of course there could be very wide reasonable disagreement on that extent.

    So I recommend it.

  3. Annusara says:

    You must be the one with the evidence then hey?

  4. Pingback: Beat this for ignorance and moral vanity! | Catallaxy Files

  5. Articulate but brainwashed with no idea of engineering technology (note heat transfer and thermodynamics are engineering subject taught in high standard Universities including RMIT Uni. )

  6. Bunyip says:

    Our forebears had the right idea about kids: rather than enduring the adolescent righteousness of the youthfully ignorant hatred of coal, they sent them down the mines to dig up more of the stuff. Little Miss Smug would gain from the experience. So would the rest of us.

  7. yarpos says:

    just reflecting that with which she has been indoctrinated

    use of child props is becoming common

  8. Bruce says:

    The last Childen’s Crusades went well, too.

  9. paul frijters says:

    I had to cringe too at this quite overt marketing-gimmick. As soon as you ask yourself how she got to be on stage, you know what went on here.

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      Yes, fair enough but this is a propaganda soaked world. Everyone’s looking for an angle. A narrative etc. What I liked was that she spoke simply and without the cutesy moral vanity that I’m used to from such spokespeople. Normally a word from kids makes me puke. In this case she spoke directly and truthfully. Can’t fault her, even if I agree one can fault the process which makes her a spokesperson.

      Then again I don’t know how she was chosen (and I presume you don’t either), and given that I think her speech is well worth presenting to the world, I’m not sure how relevant that is.

      I once had to sit through an after dinner speech to a conference of a two day held on a major report into competition policy and they’d got in a speaker who was in her twenties who knew nothing about competition policy but gave us her stump speech the sub-text of which was what a groovy young leader she was. How we all needed to face the future. How we needed to embrace change. Change we could believe in. Etc. Etc. Etc.

      Split the room about 50:50. About half the room was saying how lovely it was that ‘young people’ were showing such leadership or whatever. The other 50 percent of us were crawling the walls with embarrassment. It was truly excruciating.

      • paul frijters says:

        I dont know all the ins and outs, of course, but you dont get to speak in a plenary UN session by accident. The microphones there are not just waiting for random passers-by.
        Her speech could come streight out of Holywood (I know Sweden is a small country… but if we all pull together we can make a big difference…puke puke). She looked as if she was 10, even though she was 15, methinks deliberate. Is this really the example you would want to hold up to the world? You want all young children to dream of being this glib and confected?

        On these kind of grand topics I am not into any kind of ‘authenticity’. I dont find it entertaining, merely annoying. Just send us a text message about the resources put towards a clear goal, and even then I am 95% convinced that I am listening to a ruse.

  10. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Fair enough.

    But the UN has ‘qualified’ anyone it puts on that stage in some way.

    And besides, everyone’s into propaganda these days. The UN is selling its message (with which I broadly agree and you think is misguided.) It should also do that in such a way that’s consistent with its status and dignity – or the status and dignity to which it aspires.

    That’s why a lot of the kids’ messages would be out for me – way to sentimentalised.

    It seems to me to be entirely legitimate in the context I have painted for the UN to seek someone to put the view of those who are inheriting the planet. She seems to do an admirable job to me.

    When she said “I know Sweden is a small country… but if we all pull together we can make a big difference”, I guess it’s like a pukey kids statement, but it’s pretty straightforward really. Right now the right in Australia say we should do nothing because we’re a small country. Australia should pull its weight and I’m happy for it to do some of that out of a sense of moral obligation and leadership, but ultimately the call is for us to do it as part of an international agreement. “If we all pull together” – can’t see the problem.

    How should she have put the point – with a bit of game theory on the blackboard?

  11. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Btw Paul, you’re right – her dad is an activist, an actor and her PR agent.

    Say no more!

    I guess I’m down to claiming that perhaps I just prefer Swedish PR for its <irony>’authenticity‘</irony> to the PR I’m used to back home ;)

    • paul frijters says:

      thx Nick :-)

      We indeed should just see this as a form of entertainment. I want my Hollywood entertainment to have fake explosions and tacky romance. Each their own!

  12. Moz of Yarramulla says:

    I’m not surprised to see Paul once again being fragile about the loss of privilege faced by rich old white men. Once again offended that people listen to a young woman. I’m not even sure whether “reading a script from an rich, old, white, man” makes it better or worse in his view.

    As Nick linked above, it’s the kids who are going to have to live with our legacy for longer so maybe we should give them a say in how we run the place. The evidence suggests they couldn’t do worse… the ROWM crowd seem to be the ones who gave us Trump and Brexit among other political disasters.

    Perhaps we should weight votes according to expected years of life remaining in an effort to counter the disproportionate voice of the old? That podcast does rather harp on about the feeble-minded elderly, but the point is sound. If we categorically refuse any kind of systematic capability check on old people, we’ve lost the only rationale for excluding young people and we’re left with tradition and prejudice.

    • Lawrence Ayres says:

      If they are to be our future then surely it is criminal to deprive them of the facts so they can make reasoned choices. An education system supported by a scientifically illiterate media is ensuring these kids are effectively ignorant. Where has the UN told this child that there has been little to no warming in the past 20 years or that polar bears are increasing in number? Was she ever told of the benefits of additional CO2 in the atmosphere or that crop production, far from diminishing, is making records every year? When kids are given ALL the information rather than the left wing version only then and only then can we assume they are ready to lead the world.

    • paul frijters says:

      you do infer the most curious things in other people’s remarks, Moz.

      This ten year old, sorry 15 year old, egged on by her rich white male parent, is reeling off a glib script (having used up a forest to fly there and then talking about her privilege!) and you fell for it. If someone then points out you’ve been marketed, you shout about race. Shame on you, Moz.

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      Take it easy on the racism Moz

      • Moz of Yarramulla says:

        I’m sorry that the race aspect offended you Nick, but I am confused as to why that was the marker that you picked up on.

        Paul, if you simply object to marketing of itself then why not focus on the far more negative uses to which that is put? Just in Australia we have everything from “torturing children is necessary” to “problem gambling is fun” to “over-eating is healthy” (etc).

        But if you think the reason I’m concerned about global warming is that I’m a victim of marketing then I’m sorry for you, just as I’m sorry for Lawrence and the other looneys who’ve popped in. As far as I’m concerned we’re in an emergency situation and anything that shifts the nihilists towards positive action is a good thing.

        • Nicholas Gruen says:

          I’m not sure how you got the idea that I was ‘offended’?

          Racism usually makes me angry, especially when it’s stupid and gratuitous as here. I asked you to tone it down.

          I wasn’t taking it personally, and if I had, it wouldn’t have been especially relevant.

          You do know that Paul has actually been traduced and treated with huge disrespect and stupidity – essentially chased out of the country – at great personal cost to himself – for helping to document, and to that extent tackle, racism in Australia I presume?

          • Moz of Yarramulla says:

            I don’t know that because Paul isn’t as famous to me as he is to you. My entire exposure to him is here where he’s less than brilliant. But from what I can see he’s at UQ, so now I’m wondering which country he was hounded out of and why.

            Is there somewhere I can see a potted history of the events around Paul being forced to leave Australia? I found a paywalled Murdoch link to a court case in Australia but nothing else that seems relevant.

          • Moz of Yarramulla says:

            Is this a fair summary of the events you’re talking about:

            To me what happened there seems grossly unreasonable towards Paul, definitely. But it doesn’t seem to be describing racism against Paul, more that the bus company and university didn’t like Paul documenting racism.

            If anything I’m wondering: Paul pointing out that race was a factor was apparently a good thing, me pointing out that it was a factor was apparently bad. To quote another famous Queenslander “please explain” :)

      • Moz of Yarramulla says:

        The more I think about this the more confused I get. How is a white person pointing out that white privilege exists racist? Since you can see it I’d really like your explanation. Sorry to impose but I’m really struggling.

        This just came up in my feed and reminded me:

  13. Nicholas Gruen says:


    You’ve got the story.

    Can I suggest that you try to stick as closely as you can to what is said?

    I didn’t say that anyone was treating Paul in a racist way – other than you. I said that he was traduced and hounded out of the country (an exaggeration on my part, in case you were confused by that) for documenting some implicitly racist behaviour – behaviour I expect which none of us would be that confident we wouldn’t display ourselves by the way I expect but that’s an aside also.

    Further if you’re really motivated by seeking to be de-mystified and trying to work out what the issue is, I also suggest that you try to meet the strengths of the other’s position, not respond tendentiously.

    Here’s what you said “I’m not surprised to see Paul once again being fragile about the loss of privilege faced by rich old white men. Once again offended that people listen to a young woman.”

    Your way of representing this comment is “How is a white person pointing out that white privilege exists racist?”

    It’s not racist for a white person to point out racism exists. But you did more than that in your comment. I’ll leave the rest of the figuring out to you.

    • Moz of Yarramulla says:

      When I asked you to explain it that was because I genuinely don’t understand how I’m being racist. The bit you imply is fair enough is almost the entirety
      of my race-based remarks, the rest being “reading a script”.

      Or is it the mere notion of ROWM that’s racist? Rather than, say, sexist or ageist? Or is this the “reverse racism” nonsense being taken seriously?

      Nick’s writing interests me, but it’s often at the edge of what I have context to understand. Stuff from Paul is completely beyond me, it just comes across as reflexive defense of privilege. I’m clearly not his target audience. Perhaps your context is economics, mine is feminist studies, and the two don’t mix (Marilyn Waring notwithstanding).

    • Moz of Yarramulla says:

      It did occur to me that you object to the ad homenim nature of my response, to which I can only say that the argument I was responding to was itself ad homenim. If we shouldn’t listen to a rich white young women because she’s a rich white young woman, then surely we shouldn’t listen to that objection when it comes from a rich white old man?

      But surely if that’s what you meant you would have said so. This stuff is hard, on the one hand I keep thinking “Doctor Nicolas Gruen is a respected academic who is well versed in intellectual debate, so surely he would say what he means” … but then he’s also human, and it’s the solstice holiday, and he’s probably not sitting there for half an hour at a time trying to make sense of a seemingly ridiculous allegation.

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