Government House in Sydney and the halls of debate

The new Government House in Sydney is not an architecturally pleasing construction. It is a mock castle of romantic Gothic construction by English architect Edward Blore. I wonder if they were disappointed when it was built? It supposedly had a big impact. At the time it was probably the most significant building in the colony.

It brings to mind the idea that one of the features of a democracy is the debate of ideas by it’s citizens. I wonder if this has been replaced, here in NSW, by a desire to be seen as being on a particular side by the repetition of a particular view or position as distributed by various media outlets. The latest distribution system is the Internet and the denigration of opposing views as being unreliable or unsavoury it no different nor correct or incorrect that the same views put forward when the printing press was invented and when the sudden ability of people to start printing their pamphlets was seen as a threat to those who were able to control knowledge because it had to be handwritten. Hopefully as a society we are older and wiser. Sometimes I wonder…

I was listening to a radio show recently on a 2SER, which was discussing how, 100 years or so ago, the news papers were dominated by small and partisan papers. You could guarantee to only have to read the views you personally want to subscribe to, by buying the appropriate paper. With mass production, papers became fewer, because of cost, and hence needed to appeal to a wider audience. However, you can still say that there is a general bias in individual papers, covering different audiences. Perhaps with the internet, we are now moving back to a world where groups can put up sites again which allow a much wider points of view, but where the coverage of each site is much narrower in focus.

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