Monday, 26 May 2014

A Lie Is Not An Opinion

Have you noticed that opinions and facts have become somewhat interchangeable in the world of the internet? No one can be wrong anymore because everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I disagree.

Vehemently.

A good car salesman can make you believe lies. This is why most people I know, when buying a car, will take along a friend who actually knows about cars to give them an alternative opinion. They want an expert in their corner. Someone who has a good deal of knowledge on the topic and can be relied upon to give a fair assessment.


Car salesmen make money by having people notice the parts of the cars they think will help sell the car to the person. I work in sales, and I do this all day. It's called features and benefits people - features and benefits.

If you want to sell me a car, here's what you want to do: point out the adjustable cup holders, the really nice leather interior seats and the low mileage. That's what I want to know about and that's what will sell me the car. But, if you want to sell me the car and I have my Pa with me, leather interior seats aren't going to cut it. You now have to go through the log book with my Pa, he's going to ask you how many owners the car has had, what kind of warranty the car comes with, he will want to test drive it a few times and listen to the engine, and oh, he won't agree with the price you are asking either.

Selling me a car just got a lot harder.

I call this the "rigorously tested" phase of the exercise.

After testing the facts with your chosen objective expert, you get to the part where you work out whether the car salesman's opinion that "This is a good car" is a lie or not. If Pa tells me the car is worth buying, I am going to think well of the salesman's opinion because I have done my research and now know that the salesman isn't the only one who thinks this is a good car. However, if Pa gives me a look that means "Don't touch it with a barge pole" I am not going to be very trusting of the salesman any more because he has not told me everything I needed to know. His opinion is a lie.

I'll get to the part where I explain why lies are not opinions either - very shortly.

Let's recap.

An opinion is someone's view on a topic.

I say your car is ugly, you say your car is beautiful, but we are both in agreement that it's the same car we are talking about.

Beautiful to someone I'm sure


You say this is a good car, I say this is a bad car and then we fight (read negotiate in business speak) about why, based on the information we both have.

The difference here is that I assume you know what I mean when I say I want a good car. I want one that won't break down, isn't overpriced, and also has cool cup holders. If I find out that you have covered up or mislead me to make me believe that the car is good when you know that it is actually bad, then you are no longer holding an opinion, you are telling a lie.

And a lie is a lie, not an opinion.

The reason I felt the need to explain this so plainly is because you need to understand something.

The article that I read after work today entitled:
Elliot Rodger, And The Dark Heart Of Men’s Rights Activism

made me rage inside. I couldn't quite put my finger on why I was so angry, but finally as I was driving home it struck me: our society had allowed a falacy, a lie, a twisted and warped view that is not consistent with reality to be legitimized as an opinion.

In case you don't have a social media connection, the worldwide Twitter reaction to the hate fuelled Santa Barbara killings in the US on Sunday is trending right now, and it's called #yesallwomen. If you want to keep reading, and you don't know what I'm talking about, please read the article above first, because this shit is important.

Let me make this clear.

Misogyny is indefensible. 
Allowing people to hold misogynistic viewpoints as valid opinions is also indefensible. 

Saying "This is a good car" when it obviously isn't, is a lie. I might get killed if I buy that car.
Similarly, saying "That guy had valid opinions" when he obviously didn't, is a lie. He killed seven people.

If you are a woman, you can stop reading now. I'm sure you get it. 


If you are a man, you need to think about the following very carefully.

If you aren't cringing, there is something wrong

The lie misogynists tell themselves, that women do not deserve the same respect as men, is not an opinion.

It is a lie.

Let's recap.

You say this is a good car "I do respect you, we are only making fun" and I say this is a bad car "This is not respect, it's not funny" and then we fight about why, based on the information we both have.

The difference here is that I assume you know what I mean when I say I want a good car respect. I want a car that won't break down respect in the office regardless of what I wear, a car that isn't over priced I want to sleep with whoever I want without being called a slut, and I also want cool cupholders to play sport and have thousands of people cheer me on regardless of my gender. If I find out that you have covered up or mislead me to make me believe that the car is good you do give women the same amount of respect as men, when you know that it is actually bad not the same, then you are no longer holding an opinion, you are telling a lie.

Not so funny, is it?

When you make it ok for your mates to talk about me like a piece of meat by laughing, when you only respect what I say because I am Mark's sister, when you use "Your Mum" jokes to insult another male, think about what you are doing.

Making it acceptable for people around you to do and say these things makes it harder for me to defend you when you say you aren't a misogynist. 

And I, for one, don't like being a liar.



Monday, 19 May 2014

Intellectually Challenged

Declaration: In the spirit of full disclosure, I must let you know that I was paid for my last post. I was challenged by a reader to include 5 unrelated words in the one post, partly explaining why Gina and myself hypothetically appeared on Q & A last week. The prize for including four words was was a bottle of wine - and bonus chocolate if I could get the last one. Ladies and gentlemen, my trophy.

The best kind of trophy - it was full when I received it 

Last time I wrote, I gave up the chance to wax lyrical about what kind of nasties could be in the Federal Budget in favour of asking you to consider changing your mind more often. Who could have predicted just how nasty this budget has turned out to be? Certainly not I. In that same post, I also promised that I would examine the budget from a Centrist point of view, since I now consider myself a Centrist and my brother challenged me to find something good in the budget (remember, this was before it was handed down).  Tonight my brother has finally provided me with his own workable definition of what a Government is essentially meant to do, so I write tonight to meet another challenge - albeit without the incentive of any sweet rewards for a job well done.

I asked Mark to write down what he considered the job of a Government so that I could tailor my budget breakdown to his own world view. After all, I know what I think the Government's reason for being is, but if we used my concept as a guide to judging how successfully the budget delivers what the Government is meant to do, there would be very little good to be found anywhere. 

This is what our Federal Government exists to do, according to my brother Mark:

A Government needs to safeguard the prosperity of all Australian citizens. They need to make decisions that will not simply make its constituents happy, but ensure the long-term growth of the economy and freedoms of its citizens.

He also asked me to do the following:

Search the most recent budget and current government policy and find one good new policy and one contentious but necessary cut in government spending.

The last thing he wrote was: 

We want facts

I'm not sure who "we" are, but I will do my best to stick to the facts, keeping in mind that lies and statistics are the currency I will be working with here, and that facts change all the time.

Right.

The night the budget was handed down, I tried to read the official paper itself - the one that senior economic journalists are locked in a room with for 3 hours before the speech itself is delivered. I tried in vain and failed miserably. I already have a full-time job, there was no way I could crunch the numbers myself and eat too. I then decided to move on to the ABC's website for their analysis and found this:



http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-13/budget-winners-and-losers/5433178

I have always regarded the ABC as fairly neutral in its bias, and a trusted source of quality information. From a graphic design point of view, the above graphic is a fantastic way of visually breaking down the policies presented by Joe Hockey. However, since my brother could argue that using this particular breakdown alone could be rather misleading, I needed to look further.

Where I should look for a non-biased breakdown is anyone's guess, but in order to increase my sample size, I found a few other budget breakdown from other media sources to compare the ABC's data to. Surprisingly, they seemed to say very similar things. The Sydney Morning Herald surmised the same winners and losers as the ABC, and although expecting the Daily Telegraph to analyse the budget properly is a bit too much to ask, they did manage to agree with everyone else that this budget is the worst received of any Federal Budget in the last 20 years. Without making it Labor's fault. Misprint, probably.

What I'm trying to say is, even though I have utterly failed to come to my own conclusions based on analysis of the raw data, I have definitely formed an informed opinion on the budget after collating a range of views and finding the same messages in each.

Mark has asked me to find one good new policy and one contentious but necessary cut.

Good, according to Mark's definition of what a Government should do, must be that the policy delivers long-term growth, ensures the freedoms of its citizens, or both. Any policy set down in this budget, in singularity, could be argued to do just that. Anything in singularity can be argued to be anything else, too, just as horses can be argued to be a type of chair so long as you aren't looking at the dining table. 

In my very humble opinion, the problem is that as a whole, the budget goes too far in cutting essential services and ultimately undermines the long term growth it hopes to deliver by doing so. 

For the record, and for the swift conclusion to my wilted effort to dissect the Federal budget, I have singled out the following as replies to the challenge:

Good new policy

Any efficiencies found in Defence costs will be reinvested back into Defence, unlike the majority of other Commonwealth departments, which are expected to return efficiencies.

I think this is a sensible policy, even if it means that the last few years of reducing spending was a waste of time. All the savings eked out over the last 6 years or so have probably amounted to a wing's worth of JSF, which they now get to keep, instead of handing back to the government to spend on something worthwhile. Good job Defence.

Contentious but necessary cut

The pension age being lifted is controversial but ultimately necessary as our population is already living much longer than we used to. By itself, this policy is not so bad, but in concert with every other cut that is being made, the prospect of waiting a few more years for financial help is very distressing for many older Australians.


There. Done.

No more challenges. 

I want my soapbox back.

Unless you are paying in chocolate, in which case I'm open to negotiations.

















Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Power of Changing Your Mind

When the facts change, I change my mind -- what do you do, sir?

John Maynard Keynes, economist and pragmatist.


Despite risking my credentials as a self-supposed political commentator, and the added tease of a Keynes quotation, this post is not going to be about the looming Federal Budget hand down tonight.
I am giving up whatever chance at economic clairvoyance I have in order to write about the power of changing your mind instead, because it's important. There will be many more times to dissect Abbott's ghastly budget in full, unfortunately, but right now, I want to talk about facts, not fiction.

The Half-Life of Facts, the book I was besotted with last week, gave me much reason for thought. Facts are not facts forever. In fact, they change and are made redundant all the time. If it was July 19, 1969, and you said that man had not landed on the moon, you would have been absolutely correct. If you had stated the same thing the very next day, you would have been absolutely wrong. There are people who still think that man has not landed on the moon, but they are known as conspiracy theorists, and Buzz Aldrin actually punched one once. Seems a little crazy to hold on to ideas that are patently untrue. So why do we not change our minds more often, especially when most of the facts and ideas we base our opinions on are probably out of date already?



I have some thoughts on this I'd like to share with you.

My Mum loves me just how I am. The best example I have of this is when it comes to my never-ending job hopping (I have had over 25 jobs already and I am 27. See the appendix at the end of this post if you don't believe me). Basically, for me, nearly every job starts out ok, but then the glitter wears off rather quickly and I am stuck with the stay or go conundrum. No points for guessing what happens next. My brother, on the other hand, finished a four year apprenticeship without once stopping to do something else, has been in love with the same person for the last 7 years and is definitely on track to own more spaces on the Brisbane Monopoly board of than I ever will (but Monopoly is evil anyway, who wants to win a game by sending their friends broke?).

My Mum works for herself, and she has a heap of clients that she travels to see that absolutely love her. They all know about me too, because, well, she's my Mum and I'm a good topic of conversation. If you asked my Mum what my brother is up to, more often than not you are going to get the same answer - house, job, good. Ask her what I'm doing and the answer usually starts with "Well..."

Clients often say to her, "Oh, I thought Nicole was doing x" and then Mum has to explain that x was at least three months ago and that things have changed since then. Changing my mind (and my job) so often is kind of scary, but I am a firm believer in being an active participant in life and not just going along with a plan you made a year ago just because you said you would. Many would say I am fickle, or uncommitted. I would say I'm in this life for the long haul and won't stop changing my situation until I am completely satisfied with it. It's working so far.

I am now going to explain how important it is to change your mind when situations change by way of a little fantasy I have - namely taking on Gina Rinehart one on one. I'm going to do this (hypothetically) twice, and you have to decide who you are going to back to win each time and why. Remember that the aim is to win here, to be correct. No prizes for second.

Ready?

Ok, Gina vs Nicole scenario number one.

Gina and Nicole are both on the panel of Q&A. Nicole is very indignant about everything that Gina has said so far, and it's reaching fever pitch. Tony (Jones, not Abbott) is trying in earnest to steer the conversation back to safer waters, when things get physical. Gina has just landed a drop of spittle of Nicole's shirt and she doesn't seem the least concerned that Nicole thinks it was done purposefully. She makes a demeaning comment about wiping it off and sucking it up, and that's when it turns ugly.

Ok freeze.

Let's say the cage fight bars come down and the studio lights go to spotlights. Who do you back to win? Nicole has a busted knee, and would usually be agile and light on her toes, but she can't even run right now. Gina is a big woman in a small cage. A body slam could end things.

Me, I'd probably back me up until the point that my knee gives way completely, then I know it's all over. Gina may just be the winner here.

Now for scenario number two.

Gina and Nicole are both single ladies looking for a good man. They both join online dating sites, having taken obligatory selfies showing their best angle. One is a 60 year old mining magnate who, assuming everyone is playing fair, would have to answer the body type question with obese. Facts people, these are facts. Nicole, on the other hand, is a 27 year old political commentator who answered the body question with "fit" because she joined before injuring her knee. In case you haven't seen a recent picture of Gina, or me, here you are:


Gina
Nicole
Assuming that a good man is not someone who is just after money, who would you back to have more luck attracting men online? With only very limited skills in data-mining, you could probably work out the odds yourself. I hope you backed me, I really do.

Being body slammed by Gina is not how I would want to end my time of Earth, but it's probably a pretty accurate ending to scenario one. As for online dating, if I didn't win that contest, eHarmony really need to take a long hard look at how they rate people! I mean, I'm bloody eHarmony approved! (Note to readers: I joined eHarmony because I was curious about their algorithm and how they can claim to match people so well. After answering all the questions, I got a little scared and deleted my account, but there you go).

Situations and their corresponding facts change rapidly. Change may be scary, but if you don't change your mind, you risk being incorrect. Whether you care that you are incorrect or not is up to you, but the fact would remain that you are still incorrect. Sticking to an opinion based on facts that are no longer true can be so much worse than losing face - wars have been lost because of it (a particularly good Black Adder Goes Forth episode comes to mind).

I say to those who are afraid of change - change is the constant. Take in more facts, update your facts regularly and then change your opinion accordingly. In the spirit of this post, I am accepting a challenge from my brother: to analyse the Federal Budget and find both negatives and positives from the position of a Centrist. What I find may change my mind about the Liberal National Party on certain issues; I may even agree with some measures.

I look forward to sharing the opinions I form based on new facts with you next week.




Appendix of Jobs

1. Pharmacy assistant
2. Kitchen hand
3. Fruit packer
4. High ropes instructor
5. Tomato picker
6. Zucchini Picker
7. Fruit Packer (again)
8. Sales assistant at a camera shop
9. Waitress
10. Bar maid at a pub
11.Waitress again
12. Waitress again - (10, 11 and 12 I had all at the same time!)
13. Santa Photographer
14. Fast food outlet manager at a stadium
15. School photographer
16. Working for myself as a photographer
17. Waitress (again)
18. Air Force Officer
19. School Photographer (again)
20. Waitress (again)
21. Media Business Owner
22. Part time bridal store assistant
23. Apple Business Specialist
24. Bridal Store Manager and designer in training
25. Large Retail Company Store Manager



Friday, 9 May 2014

Introducing the Demi-Gods

Dear reader, I am happy to report that this is my 13th post.

13.

Did you read the 3rd post at all? About how I'm terrible at completing things?

Well, I'm rather chuffed to have reached double digits.

The key to my self-proclaimed success is simple. I have realised that I really like thinking out loud, online. Not because anyone is necessarily listening, but because I am enjoying writing like no time before in my life. I even managed to score myself a paid gig for copywriting this week, because I told my friend his own attempt was rather, er, lame.

Pays to be honest perhaps.

Having sufficiently patted myself on the back, let me start the gutsy part of this post!




Joost Bakker.

Pronounced Yo-st, as in yo, stick around, I have discovered and quickly become devoted to this new demi-god in my life. Lately, life has all but overtly shoved a few new inspirational characters in my face for me to take notice of. Joost definitely has pride of place on my demi-god shelf right now.

Let me explain how he attained this status so quickly.

Last Wednesday I attended the Green Building Council of Australia's (or GBCA) Sustainable Interior Design pow-wow in Brisbane after deciding that wanting to go was really not the same as actually going, and that I should really get off my behind and go. The first person I was greeted by when I walked in to the Schiavello show room that balmy evening (looking my damnedest to look architechy/designer-y) was Trudy-Ann King (also a demi-god) who interviewed me for a job with GBCA last year in Sydney (I turned down a second interview - whhhhyyyyyyyyy?!?!). She is a demi-god because she is so damn real, so damn smart and tells it like it is, no matter who she's talking to. She's also bloody nice and pretty funny. I put her on the demi-god shelf as soon as I walked out of my interview last year.

After experiencing an almost physical reflux of guilt for not taking the second interview last year, I found a seat for the presentations and afterwards asked a question or two. *Tangent alert* I cannot help asking questions at any kind of presentation. Any kind. My hand is up before I know what is happening and, more often than not, I am picked out by the speaker. I have a whole post to write on how this has dramatically changed my life, but now is not the time.

After the presentations, it was social mixing time. Not being an architect, builder, interior designer, industry representative or even a proper student of any of these categories, I decided to play offensively rather than defensively. Basically, I have found that the best cover for not having a solidly plausible reason for being where you are is to always be trés interested in the first person you meet and go from there. Predictably, this worked a charm, and it lead me to demi-god number two for the day - Mark Thompson.

Mark and I had a very long and interesting conversation about almost everything I like. From urban veggie gardens to creating recycled cardboard furniture for pre-schoolers to paint (love!), he was one interesting guy. I must have had a few ideas that he liked too because we decided to connect outside the conference to see what we could work on together. I drove home high on ideas.

That weekend, I was headed to Melbourne for Clare Bowditch's Big Hearted Business (un)-Conference. Whilst I had a vague notion of what I would be doing at this conference in Northcote before I arrived, by the end of the first day I had decided that there was probably a bit too much yoga and not enough business for my liking.

There was one speaker that really did pique my interest though, and that was Joost and his no waste cafe story. There is no bin in Joost's Melbourne café Silo. The only waste is from food scraps, and they are composted at Joost's farm. For a while the cafe didn't serve soy milk because they couldn't work out a way to buy soy milk in bulk. Soy milk usually comes in Tetra packs and no soy milk companies wanted to supply them in 30L reusable milk jugs (can you imagine all those Melbourne hipsters' heads popping off in disbelief? I can).



To solve the problem, and to keep the hipsters happy, the crew at Silo eventually started making their own soy milk on the premises from raw ingredients. Joost kind of admitted that he is currently losing money on the business, but when you are sufficiently successful  from other work that you can spend money creating a never-been-done before no waste cafe project, I think monetary success is probably a moot point.

So I fell in love with Joost and returned home to sunny Queensland, thankful for all the energy savings we make simply because winter doesn't exist in Queensland.

Fast forward to Wednesday of this week, and I am catching up with Mark Thompson from the GBCA pow-wow at a classy establishment in Indooroopilly. I give a summary of the Melbourne conference which basically consisted of "Joost is awesome" to get things started, and then my head nearly popped off like a Melbourne hipster ordering coffee at pre-soy milk Silo.

Mark knows Joost. Really well.
They. Worked. Together. For a few years at Schiavello.
Mind = Blown.

Needless to say I am now saying yes to any involvement with Mark's projects I can possibly manage. He said I could help create and curate an exhibition of all the cardboard furniture in Paddington if I wanted to. I wept with joy on the inside. I visited the studio where the magic happens that afternoon and already wanted to live there, even if it is above a smash repairs shop.

This post has now meant that I need to go and update my list on post number three, as I have at least one more project to be getting on with. Cardboard furniture done right is really excellent, just in case you think I am completely bonkers.

See here done right at Mad Dance House on Adelaide Street in Brisbane.
Yes, there is a stray elbow in this photo.





















I am now going to leave you with the complete list of those I admire and a brief explanation why. My religion is sharing the good stuff, so please, help yourself to a dose of wonderful human beings.

The Who's Who of Nicole's Demi-God Shelf.

- Larissa Waters
  Green's Queensland Senator and amazing woman in general. Blogs occasionally on Mamamia.com  and tears it up on Q&A semi-regularly.

- Trudy-Ann King
   GBCA heavyweight and fierce businesswoman. Also hilarious and really real, you know?

- Joost Bakker
  Eco-designer and multitalented good looking nice guy. He's married :(

- Mark Thompson
   Phenomenally well connected eco-architect in Brisbane who has too many projects on the go - like   me!

- Nicole Cody
  Spiritual guru who also happens to be a bloody good writer. I love how she does what she does, whether I take as fact all her fairy stories doesn't really matter, I just love fairytales.



Monday, 5 May 2014

You sexy f*cking book you


You know when you meet someone and you just want to consume them whole?

Like - get in me.

Now.

That is the feeling I have for the book I am reading right now.

I want it in my brain and once it is in my brain entirely I know I will surely explode out of sheer ecstasy.

Kind of like sex done right.

By far this book is the best intellectual stimulation I have had in a long time. Every few pages - whoa - I need to reach for the nearest writing implement and underline a paragraph. I haven't done that since I was at university.

I'm so wrapped up in this book that I haven't even told you it's name.

The book is called "The Half Life of Facts" by Samuel Arbesman.

Now the last time I gushed over a book on my blog, I was only a chapter or two in and I had thought I had struck gold. Mere pages later I found myself wondering how things went so wrong so fast, and we parted ways long before I could even think about reviewing it for someone else.

This one is different my friends. There will be a review. It's a serious case of not-put-down-able.

The reason I come to have a love affair with a new non-fiction book is a good story in itself.

Let me tell you how we met.

Later.

Right now I need to get my eyeballs all over Chapter 7.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Where is the Centre?

Recently I joined an online dating site.

A special "Hi" to those of you who are joining us via that link :)

After dutifully filling out the profile so I could join in the fun, I found the optional Questions part of the site. Basically it's a tool that allows you to gauge other peoples opinions and beliefs before you get to the stage of having an all out blue at the bar with SurferGuy83 over abortion or religion. Not that I'm suggesting that either of those two subjects are great first date conversation starters, but you get the idea.

Within the millions of questions you can choose to answer about yourself, I found this one:
How would you describe your politics: Conservative/ Right-Wing, Liberal/Left-Wing, Centrist or Other.

Naturally I chose Liberal/Left-Wing, but it left me wondering, who is a Centrist in 2014, and what kind of views do Centrists have? Do they just pick exactly the same number of policies they like from each side, a kind of Political Pick and Mix? Surely if that's the case, then all the Centrists would be all at sea. It would be a rather individual position to hold too, because someone might really like black jelly beans and someone might hate them, but they could both be Centrists because the ratio of lollies in each of their lolly bags is still exactly 50 from the left and 50 from the right (for the potential dates in the audience, please note that I detest black jelly beans).

Black Jelly Beans - possibly the most detested foodstuff on the planet


Type Centrist Political in to Google and the US Centrist Party site is one of the top results.
Having been so focussed on the tennis match playing out between the Red and Blue parties in the US, I was surprised to learn that there is a Centrist Party in existence at all. Curious, I read further, and then I think I fell in love.

From What is a Centrist:

Centrists are independent thinkers. They gauge situations based on context and reason, consideration and probability. They are open minded and exercise conviction. Willing to fight for reason as opposed to ideology.
  1. Ideology limits the capacity of reasoning
  2. Centrist conviction is not limited by ideology
  3. Reasoning is based on pragmatic reality and circumstance.

*Swoon*

Of course I had to devour the whole site after such a wonderful introduction. After a few minutes, I found the next gem that helped me reason out the answer to the question I posed as the title of this post.

By now we know that real Centrists do not just pick and mix an equal amount of lollies from the red and blue teams. They actually have to reason out which lollies are the best and decide if they are really worth $19.99 a kilo. Not that easy. Also a lot more time consuming. Centrists don't get an easy rule to follow like the kids on the Right or Left. Those kids choose what their ideology says they can - kind of like your mum saying "Only pick the lollies that are less than $9.99 a kilo" or "No chocolate lollies, you will make a mess." Towing the political line is taught young y'all.

So let's say our smart little Centrist kid is, by this stage, all by herself at the Political Pick and Mix bar because the other kids chose their lollies in 5 minutes flat. Less choice equals easier decision making my friends, and easier decision making means more expedient satisfaction. Tell me politicians don't use this tactic on voters all the time and I will happily slap you.

So.

Centrist kid is in there, and she's been weighing up what to spend her $5 on. She's looked at all the prices per kilo, and worked out which ones represent the best value for money. She's also realised that gobstoppers are a bit pricey, but they last aaaaaaages and will be valuable trades later on because they don't melt (I was once a child, this reasoning really happens).

Good choice kid


Let's say that all the kids meet up afterwards and Righty and Lefty want to know what Centrist bought so they can trade. Centrist wasn't influenced by hard and fast rules, but as it turns out, Lefty also bought some gobstoppers while Righty is eating his like mad because he bought mostly cheap chocolate and it's going to melt - soon. Does this mean that gobstoppers were the best choice in this situation? Probably. Does is matter how the kids that bought gobstoppers came to that conclusion? You bet your left arm it does.

If being a Centralist means that you just consider facts when making decisions (and maybe not just facts presented by the two political voices we are so accustomed to hearing from), but use reason to decide on the right course of action, then let's make that policy viewpoint the centre. Yay, we've found it! The centre doesn't really mean much though if you have no other bearings, so let's continue.

If Lefty came to the same conclusion as Centrist because his mum told him not to pick chocolate, does that automatically mean that Centrist's conclusion is now a Left biased conclusion? Of course not. It means that there were two ways of reaching the same conclusion, one through reason and one through ideology.

Putting my far too drawn out analogy back in to grown up political speak, the point is that the Centre will usually be found by following the facts surrounding any given topic to their logical conclusion using reason. If that conclusion happens to be one that a Left or Right leaning party is already passionate about, that does not necessarily mean that the Centre has been influenced by anyone else, it just means that more people agree with the same outcome for different reasons. And just quietly, whoever can please the most people in politics usually wins.

What does this mean for Australian politics?



Well, on a lot of issues, policies that in the past have been seen as extremely Left leaning, such as renewable energy targets and environmental protection laws, are now looking far more Centrist. People who thought the Greens were a bunch of tree hugging hippies who wanted to turn Australia in to a National Park are now seeing merit in their ideas. Not just Left leaning people, but industry and business groups, communities and welfare groups. Turns out sustainability and renewably energy are pretty cost effective too. Who knew?

But wait, you say, no one has moved! I just proved that no party has moved from their ideology to become closer to the Centre, yet the Greens are now almost Centrist? What is going on?!

Ideology hasn't changed, dear readers, circumstances have. Facts that prove climate change is going to devastate our way of life without significant action have been available for a while now. Attitudes towards marriage and homosexuality have transformed dramatically in the last 20 years and family structures have changed.

Centrists are drawing conclusions from facts that are applicable in 2014. The Greens are drawing conclusions from beliefs they have held for years. While it might seem like a case of "I told you so" to some degree, the fact is (ha) that if the evidence weren't there to support the logic of their policies in 2014, their policies wouldn't be worth the paper they are written on.

Now that I have found the Centre of the Australian political ideology spectrum, I am going to have to change my online dating profile.

Excuse me.



Ps. Bonus points homework.
This is by far the best list of intentionally misused words in politics I have ever seen.
Read and refresh your understanding, or learn the true meaning or a term you've heard of but never fully understood. Oh gosh, these guys!! *swoon again*

http://uscentrist.org/platform/definitions