The World is Not Enough started out with the independent journal Crikey in December 2012. At the time, I introduced it like this:
The basic idea of this blog I think of as “Understanding the world through understanding politics”. Its aim is to provide informed commentary and analysis on foreign politics: elections, parties, political ideas and the like. I’ll be trying to provide some of the background and historical context needed to understand the day’s headlines, as well as presenting stories from some places that don’t make the headlines but illustrate important points.
The underlying theme is that politics matters: not (just) the sweep of great historical forces, but the detail of how political systems translate people’s preferences into actual decision-making. Without some understanding of that, important aspects of how the world works will remain mysterious. While we would all be better off without politics, that doesn’t provide an excuse for ignoring it – ignoring the state doesn’t make it go away. And what happens in other countries matters here, partly because the world is so interconnected, but also because political behavior is fundamentally similar across time and space so that one country’s experience provides lessons for others.
I’ve been writing and talking and thinking about politics for most of the last 40 years. There’s still an awful lot I don’t know, but I want to share some of what I’ve learned with a wider public. More important, I’d like us to continue learning from one another – to carry on an ongoing conversation that in some small way will advance the search for truth and justice.
Now that the blog is facing the big world on its own I expect the content will be a bit more varied, with more about ideas and philosophical topics and maybe less of the newsy reporting on elections. But the general idea set out above is still valid. The blog records my attempts to understand the world, and since politics and philosophy are my areas of expertise (read about me here) that’s mostly what I write about.
Posts will sometimes be opinionated, but not (I hope) unfair or narrowly partisan. They will also be informed by an awareness of human fallibility, including my own; conclusions will often be tentative and will sometimes be wrong. But I will aim to be as rigorous as I can, and hope to produce something like a synthesis of big picture thinking and attention to detail.
I write from an Australian perspective, so often I’ll be trying to interpret things in ways that an Australian audience will understand. Our media are full of reports lifted straight from British or American sources that can be difficult to comprehend and in any case rarely do more than skim the surface. The internet provides a wealth of more detailed material, but its very richness can be a powerful deterrent to those coming to a topic for the first time. Over time, I hope this blog will help to serve as a guide.
The advantages of the blogging format, as I see it, are threefold:
(a) The opportunity for continuous feedback, allowing us to build up a community of readers who add to the available information and help to shape the direction of the blog.
(b) The freedom from some of the constraints of regular publication, as to timing, length and topicality; stories can be covered when they arise and followed up after they have faded from the daily news.
(c) The ability to experiment: to post material that sometimes amounts to “thinking out loud” or a work in progress rather than a neat and fully-formed package.
So visit, read, think, contribute. Be mindful of the comments policy, which is designed to promote sensible debate. Partisan ranting, trolling, abuse and unhelpful digressions will be deleted. But if you enjoy a good story and good discussion, we’ll try to make you welcome.