Untangling Judgement

When someone, particularly a politician, does something wrong, why is it that we sometimes judge their actions harshly, and sometimes leniently?  It seems to me that passing judgement implicitly involves considering questions like “is the action legal?”, “is the action socially acceptable?” and “is the action fair and morally justifiable?”  And then we overlay an…

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Being the best we can be

On International Women’s  Day I spoke on a panel with Dame Susan Devoy and Melissa Clark-Reynolds on the topic “being the best we can be” at a function hosted by Kapiti Chamber of Commerce and Kapiti Rotary .  Here is my speech: Ki ngā maunga, ngā awa, me ngā tāngata whenua hoki o te rohe…

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Philanthropy, philosophy and taxes

Where does philanthropy end and dirty self-promotion begin?  This was the question posed at the recent and fabulous Auckland Writer’s Festival to British philosopher Julian Baggini, economist and philanthropist Gareth Morgan and me by Radio NZ presenter Wallace Chapman. Here’s how we answered this question – plus a few other key points: Philanthropy ends when…

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Prangs and Privilege

The other day I witnessed a minor shopping-mall accident where someone reversed out of a car-park without looking and drove into the back of a passing car. The reversing car was a new 4WD; the car passing by was a beaten-up old sedan. The driver of the 4WD was Pākehā (white); the couple in the…

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Walk a mile…

I have never had to walk 10 kilometres then catch a train in order to work at a minimum wage job.   I haven’t gone hungry so I can feed my kids like Tina, nor have I been one of a family of eight in a cold, damp, two-bedroom flat like Helen.  Instead I have led…

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Musings on Homelessness

When Dave and I moved back on Aotearoa New Zealand in 1990 from the San Fransisco Bay area, one reason for returning was that we felt uncomfortable that the US was so wealthy yet had so many homeless people begging on the streets.  That sort of thing didn’t happen in NZ. That was then. This…

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