Articles by Nicola Wright

Alex Jones and the new social media censorship

In the wake of Alex Jones’ banning from Facebook, YouTube and Apple the outrage has been palpable. And that is understandable. There is no doubt that there is a bias on these social media platforms against what is often described as ‘far right’ viewpoints. Anything slightly right of centre is described as ‘far right’ these days, so it’s no wonder that people on the right are concerned when they see another instance of voices being silenced on three of the big social media platforms.

The problem with being outraged about these acts of private censorship is that the natural inclination is to look to government to do something about it. It’s all too tempting to look to any easy fix when an injustice is perceived and, in this case, the easy fix would be for government to step in and somehow insist that social media platforms quit censoring views that … Read the rest


No freedom to choose

I once watched a speech on the nanny state by Brendan O’Neill who said that he didn’t like the term nanny state, for two reasons. One of them was because he thought the term much too cutesy and benign to describe the insidious authoritarian nature of attempts to control how people live their lives. The other reason was because as a child his grandmother was called ‘nanny’ as was mine. His nanny drank stout for breakfast and smoked like a chimney, likewise my own nanny loved sweet treats, didn’t partake in the kind of exercise that is recommended these days and didn’t like eating salad.  The lifestyles of our nannies were the antithesis of how the nanny state would like to see us behave.

But for those who didn’t call their grandmothers ‘nanny’ while growing up, the term points to something rather more sinister: the nanny of the nursery, the Read the rest


Book review: Kingdom of the Wicked

Kingdom of the Wicked is a story with a trial at its centre. Yeshua ben Yusuf and his associate Yehuda Iscariot are in custody for causing a riot at the Temple resulting in deaths. The place is Jerusalem and the time is 31AD. But this isn’t the story you’re thinking of, at least not quite. Because Helen Dale has recreated the ancient Roman Empire – it has undergone an industrial revolution – and it is dragging the ancient, monotheistic Judaean culture along with it.

Much is familiar about this new industrialised Roman society – we can recognise the militarism, the paganism, the tiered society of citizens and non-citizens, and the rule of law that we know to be true of the historical Roman Empire.  What’s new is the modern medicine, tanks, flying machines and abortion clinics. In this respect the new industrialised Roman Empire of Kingdom of the Wicked bears Read the rest


Why capitalism trumps socialism

Sadly, the argument that capitalism is superior to socialism is one that has to be repeatedly made. Despite the evidence of history, socialism is still touted as a viable economic system by idealists and the naive.

Socialists probably have good intentions. They want to make the world a better place. They see inequalities and injustice and seek to alleviate these things using the most straightforward path possible. According to socialists, society needs to be reformed, people need to change, the rich need to share their wealth, things need to be made more fair. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and measures designed to make the world a fairer place, often have the opposite effect.

Socialism requires that everyone must agree to operate within it, or be forced to. Administering collective ownership of the means of production, requires administrators. People who must make decisions on the behalf Read the rest


No, we don’t need a law for that

Inevitably, when advocating for freedom of any kind, one is accused of being a champion of certain lifestyle choices or political attitudes. If you fight to protect freedom of speech for example, it is assumed that this means you’re a bigot or racist, because you believe that it’s more beneficial for society that bigots and racists are free to speak their minds without sanction by the state.

I suppose it’s easy to make such an assumption. On the face of it, it may seem that freedom of speech allows for the freedom of expression of all sorts of abominable opinions. After-all when people advocate for a cause, it means they are after a particular outcome and it often means minimising or suppressing opposing points of view.

But with freedom it’s different. Being for freedom means that you desire for individuals the freedom to think things or do things that you Read the rest


What’s to be gained by an Australian republic?

On New Year’s Day, the Prime Minister was goaded into commenting on the prospect of opening up the debate on an Australian republic following an attack on his republican credentials by former PM Paul Keating. Despite acknowledging there is ‘little appetite’ for such a move, he then went on to expound on what methods he’d like to use if we were to debate the issue again. Coupled with Bill Shorten’s election promise of July last year to appoint a minister to advance a republic debate should Labor win office, it is likely that the debate will be revived sometime in the near future.

Yet what is there to be gained by such a change? Some would say that the greatest benefit is that we would have an Australian occupying our highest office – a ‘mate for a head of state’. And yet we already have one. The governors-general, the Queen’s … Read the rest


Freedom to discriminate

Now that the country has been surveyed on the question of same-sex marriage, it’s time to turn our attention to the details of the same-sex marriage bill that is before parliament. Religious freedom to dissociate from same-sex weddings will be at the forefront of the minds of many Christians and Muslims who do not support same-sex marriage. Before and during the postal survey, assurances were given, by the Prime Minister no less, that ‘religious freedom…will be protected in any bill that comes before this parliament.’

The Constitution of Australia makes provision for limited religious freedoms protections in s116 which states that ‘The Commonwealth shall not make any law… prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.’ However, this has been narrowly interpreted in the past to apply only to laws, the express purpose of which is to prohibit the free exercise of religion, not as an unforeseen consequence of anti-discrimination laws. … Read the rest


Everyman’s home is not his castle

We all know that with any land we ‘own’, there are rules and regulations over exactly what we can do with it. Some of these rules make sense such as a ban on burning off during the summer months; while others seem less useful and border on the pedantic. For instance, in my own suburb, we cannot fence in our front yards with walls any higher than 1.2m. The purpose, one assumes, is to ensure our streets maintain a certain look, to the benefit of all the residents.

If you think the rules and regulations governing how people make use of their own property is restricted to the cities and surrounding suburbs, think again. A WA man living on his own patch of paradise in the outback, has accumulated almost $5000 in court costs and fines for ‘camping’ on his own property in the middle of nowhere.

Roland Gopel, an Read the rest


Campaigning for cancer

If you were told that the Cancer Council along with the Australian Medical Association were campaigning for more cancer, you would want to know what the hell is going on. And yet judging by their stance on e-cigarettes, it would seem that is precisely what they are doing.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Use and Marketing of Electronic Cigarettes and Personal Vaporisers in Australia currently being held by the Standing Committee on Health Aged Care and Sport heard testimony last week from Dr John Bartone from the AMA. His stance and that of the AMA is that because we don’t know for sure that inhaling nicotine with vaporisers is 100% safe in the long run, then we should keep prohibition in place until exhaustive long-term studies have been done.

This might sound reasonable on the surface. After all how could the AMA endorse the use of a product that could Read the rest