About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Russell has his say on the 2020 Summit

I just did a Drive Time radio interview with ABC Illawarra about the 2020 Summit - an opportunity that came to me out of left field this morning.

They wanted to talk about how I see it all as a science fiction scholar, so, putting that hat on, I talked a bit about how the concept of "the future" that we have is something that's quite new, historically. We now see societies as existing in time with a past - and with a future that will actually be different from the past and present (not just more of the same, or as coming to an end when a god winds up the show one day). I also managed to say a bit about how science fiction imagines futures that we don't want and seek to avert (mentioning Nineteen Eighty-Four and stories of nuclear holocaust), as well as futures that we might aspire to. But it also uses depictions of the future to comment on the present.

Asked about what idea I would like to see discussed at the summit, I said the question of whether we want to be a truly liberal society. Referring to the debates in Australian parliaments over therapeutic cloning, I said that politicians should not be voting on the basis of their religious beliefs but on the basis of individual freedom and people's welfare.

And there was actually quite a bit more.

I have no idea how all this came across in a quick interview ... but overall I guess I felt pretty good about this gig.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Russell, if only you'd grown a Wolverine beard, then you, like Hugh (noted scholar) Jackman would have got a gig at the summit. It's so obvious in hindsight.