Informed dissent …

At a time when we can have a homelessness bill like this …

Full marks to the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Mark Butler, for keeping a straight face during his second reading speech. “This bill,” he told the house, “is aimed at increasing recognition and awareness of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

That is all there is to this spineless, sanctimonious statute — enlarged recognition and awareness raising. Its passing will be without consequence; homelessness will be as miserable an experience as it has always been, and the chances of finding a home will not have improved one jot. The act comes with no funding and no specific measures.

… it’s good to come across an article like this …

Awareness-raising campaigns impute to their advocates the values of intelligence, sensitivity, broadmindedness, sophistication and enlightenment. For that reason, the mission of raising awareness has become a key cultural resource for those who want to distinguish themselves from others. Awareness-raisers are invariably drawn towards inflating the behavioural and cultural distinctions between themselves and the rest of society; they are preoccupied with constructing a lifestyle that contrasts as sharply as possible to the lifestyles of their moral inferiors. What is really important about their lifestyles is not so much the values they exhort, but that they are different, in every detail, from the lives led by obese, junk-food eating, gas-guzzling, xenophobic and fundamentalist consumers of the tabloid press and junk culture.

I owe the very apt expression “informed dissent” to one of the commentators on the latter article. Thanks, mate.

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