Culture

Was Jesus Christ a communist?

This article is an adaption based on a talk given by James at LibertyFest Brisbane 2018. 

Definitions are important. A quick dictionary definition of communism tells us that it’s a theory or system of social organisation in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs. We’ve all heard that before.

It’s not a bad idea in theory, but of course, we know that in practice every manifestation of communism in the world has ended in a bloodbath. So I’m dubious that Jesus was a communist. He might have agreed in theory with the idea, but in practice we see that communism does not live up to its altruistic ideals.

The devil is always in the detail, and the words “system of social organisation,” are the danger. With any system of social organisation, the essential question is: can I Read the rest


The rise of minority fundamentalism

This article is an adaption based on a talk given by Senator Stoker at LibertyFest Brisbane 2018. 

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak at the LibertyFest conference today.  A festival to celebrate liberty is the type of event under threat these days.  It’s worth reflecting that the first casualty of liberty is the right to free speech.

Ronald Reagan, whom despite his big-government tendencies, I rather admire, had a succinct and simple way of expressing himself.

He said “Freedom (or liberty) is the right to question and change the established way of doing things.  It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace.  It is the understanding that allows us to recognise shortcomings and seek solutions.”

The phrase “marketplace” is often used in its commercial sense. But I like to think of it in terms of the marketplace of ideas.  At the recent Brisbane launch of his book, the Art … Read the rest


Offence and the guilt game

This article is based on a talk given by Anthony at LibertyFest Brisbane Conference 2018.

Let me state up front what this presentation is about: trying to make others feel guilty so as to silence them because we don’t like what they are saying comes a dear cost! In recent times attempts have been made to make the public (largely the white public) feel guilty because our national anthem is supposedly racist and that a caricature of a Black American tennis legend is allegedly racist. And at the time of writing this article, Australia Day is only a few short months away so we can expect more attempts to make (white) Australians feel guilty. Humans have been trying to make other humans feel guilty since the dawn of time with claims like “I’m offended,” “How could you?” and of course the classic: “That’s racist!” And here I am going to … Read the rest


Overcoming the ‘red tape’ of character – identity politics

Despite the ascendance of free markets, capitalism and so-called ‘free trade’, economic libertarians are still not short of ammo when it comes to the role of government in economic affairs.

In the early 1900s, for example, over two years, it took just 358 pages of legislation to federate the country. Today, however, Canberra generates around 6,500 pages a year. In Victoria, Stonnington Council requires a 25-page long form to hold a street party. There are 24,000 different types of licenses administered by our three levels of government. And in Queensland, at a time when the State Labor Government claims to be for ‘open for business’, the Adani Carmichael coal mine project has spent seven years in the approvals process, fighting more than 10 legal challenges and sitting patiently with a 22,000-page environmental impact statement.

Aside from the lousy ‘soft power’ message this last example sends to our Asian neighbours, it’s … Read the rest


Why staying safe isn’t victim blaming

Recently University of NSW emailed their staff and students reminding them about personal safety. To me that demonstrates a caring employer. But not everyone saw it that way. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald, stated that the “email has received backlash from students for placing the onus on victims of sexual assault and harassment to stay safe.” Perhaps they were expecting the staff to place posters around campus stating: “Please don’t sexually Assault anyone”? A casual staff member of the university was quoted as saying the email read like a “rape myth bingo card.” Of course, as does so often happen, there were accusations of ‘blaming the victim,’ an accusation which is meant to make some feel guilty.

Suggesting that there are reasonable measures one can take to safeguard against being the victim of someone else’s criminal, immoral, neglectful, or just plain nasty behaviour is not blaming the victim. … Read the rest


The race to see racism

Now that the dust has settled a little on the recent events involving a cartoon of a black female superstar behaving unprofessionally and a young Australian girl objecting to the national anthem, I thought I would offer my opinion. For many people, both events have validated their belief that “racism is alive and well.” For me, no such validation occurred, at least not in the Australian context. Sure, racism exists, but it is not well; I think it struggles and it is actually dying. What these events have clearly demonstrated to me, is that the desire among some to see racism where it isn’t, is alive and well. They have further demonstrated to me that racism is not as common as social justice warriors, whinja ninjas, and snowflakes like to think it is. If people have to use an Olympic gold medal standard of mental gymnastics to see Knight’s

Read the rest

How inclusive is your childcare?

Last week, while organising an event on Eventbrite, I stumbled across an event organised by Inclusion Support Queensland, a key architect of Australia’s childcare industry’s National Quality Framework and Standards. Targeted at early childhood teachers and titled ‘National Quality Standard: Inclusion in Practice’, the event promised to ‘explore how inclusion underpins the National Quality Standard.’

The term “inclusion” is problematic in the context of the childcare industry’s National Quality Standards, since it refers to both disability access and cultural inclusion. While there’s a general expectation that the industry complies with anti-discrimination law in ensuring accessibility and inclusiveness of all children regardless of their cultural background or disabilities, the “inclusion” imperative can become a multi-headed hydra, used to impose narrower and more ideologically driven cultural inclusion policies that many parents may find problematic.

Australia’s childcare system is regulated by National Quality Framework (NQF), introduced in 2010. The NQF comprises: Read the rest


Why individualism trumps collectivism

The debate between individualism and collectivism is complex, even without the ad hominem attacks, common straw man arguments and what seems to be deliberate misunderstanding of the principles that often come into play when these ideas are discussed.

Let’s start with definitions for the record.

Individualism is a doctrine that posits that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount. It is also the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals.

Collectivism on the other hand is the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it. It is also a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution.

Individualism is a far more desirable moral and ethical framework to collectivism. It supports the rights of every individual to do as they please to advance their life. It doesn’t require sacrifice from any one person Read the rest


When “the press” are not “the press”

Among the many issues which define the modern-day culture wars is the issue of “the press.” Donald Trump bloviates repeatedly about “the press” and how terrible and biased it is, but dissatisfaction with the establishment media has been a recurrent theme even before Trump’s election.

In response to rising criticism of “the media,” many media outlets have argued that such criticism constitutes an attack on freedom of the press and an attempt to undermine the role the media plays as a guardian of liberty against tyranny. The latest entry in this genre comes from CNN, where Professor Joseph Holt of Notre Dame University makes the argument that Trump’s criticism of the press is dangerous to the civic culture of the United States, and implies that the press should be viewed as akin to military personnel who place themselves at great risk to defend freedom.

Professor Holt’s view has been Read the rest