December 21, 2012

We're so ... not thinking


It's that time of the year:  endless friggin' lists. 

One such list worthy of a looky is the top 100 thinkers of 2012. 

No Australians are on the list.

No Australian politicians are on the list. 

Surprised, much?

No.  Me neither.
... testament to the notion that individuals and their ideas can truly change the world, a theme that resonates in ways large and small throughout this year's list, from digital-age visionaries like Sebastian Thrun (whose robot cars may just make him the Henry Ford of a new era) to rare political leaders like Malawian President Joyce Banda, who is imagining a new Africa freed from toxic corruption. Still, many others on this year's list are there not necessarily for reinventing the world but for waging its ever-more complicated intellectual battles -- think Paul Ryan budget austerity versus Paul Krugman stimulus. If you want to shape the global conversation, you have to be a part of it. 

Indeed, if there's one theme to this year's list, it's all about the perils and possibilities of free speech in this globalized age. As Columbia University President Lee Bollinger notes in a powerful essay, "Today, we quickly experience how censorship anywhere becomes censorship everywhere." 
That would be the censorship our federal government continues to try to impose on our patch of brown land.  Censorship of anything they don't like people thinking or saying.  Our academics largely side with the Gillard government, not even having a giggle at themselves along the way at the irony of academics arguing in support of censoring the riff-raff. 

That's why no Australians are on the list of top 100 thinker of 2012.

Top 100 thinkers of 2012

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