29 April 2007

An introductory post

As I have just established this blog, I feel it would be fitting to introduce myself. I have thoroughly no idea if anything will come of what I write here as I know nobody who uses this site, but I felt my previous online journal had worked itself into a corner where some posts just didn't fit. In other words, this is an experiment at finding a new outlet for me. I seriously considered adopting an assumed identity to divorce myself from what has gone before, but figuring that it makes little difference, I'm not going to put the effort into doing that.

My name is André, better known to many as Axver. I am currently an undergraduate university student in Melbourne, Australia. I study history and political science, with particular interest in the following fields:

  • The political landscape of Europe from the Reformation to the Enlightenment and the means in which theology and philosophy were employed to shape this landscape.
  • International Relations theory, the viability of pacifism, and current foreign policy; the role of socio-cultural history in the development and application of theory and policy.
  • Social democracy and Keynesianism.
  • New Zealand history, specifically the role of the railways in the settlement of the country in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and the continuing relevance and importance of railways in this era of global warming.

I find it too simplistic to place broad labels such as "liberal" on myself, especially as I am aware that in the country of my birth, my stance on economics would have been considered conservative when I was born but would be considered extremely to the left in the present-day USA. So, to place myself on the political spectrum, I feel it is necessary to do more than just take a label. I am a firm believer in social justice; poverty is the defining crisis of our time and I am disgusted by the apathy with which this issue is typically greeted. I believe in big government run for the people, by the people; services such as telecommunications and the railway should be run by the government for the benefit of the people, though with all openings for private competitors to capitalise on the market should the government fail to provide sufficiently good service. Socially, I tend to lean towards the "no harm" principle of J. S. Mill expressed in On Liberty, though this is not always true and the nuances of my perspective will become apparent if I post frequently on social matters.

On a lighter note, I am very passionate about a number of interests. I have a voracious appetite for literature and music. I used to find great pleasure in works of fiction, but today, I find greater enjoyment in non-fiction on historical and political topics. Music plays a major role in my daily life, and my tastes emphasise the ability of the musician - whether it is in the skill with which they play their instrument or the end result of their compositions. Accordingly, I have a strong appreciation for atmospheric, art, and progressive rock, and at the heavier end of the spectrum, I enjoy various types of metal - primarily death, doom, some black, and whatever you'd call Agalloch's post-black-folk-atmospheric metal amalgam. I am an avid follower of sport, especially rugby union and cricket, and am disappointed but hardly surprised in the inability of the New Zealand Black Caps to fail to advance beyond the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup yet again. And finally, I am a very avid fan of railways and tramways, with an especially strong interest in New Zealand's railway network, followed at a distance by Australia.

Have a good one, folks.

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