Category: Personal Liberty

The case for pill testing

Over the New Year’s period two party goers have fatally overdosed at music festivals around the country, renewing the debate about pill testing which has become a contentious issue in New South Wales.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has taken a firm stance against pill testing in the wake of the two fatal overdoses and over 700 requiring drug related medical treatment at Defqon1 late last year.

Berejiklian has since softened her stance on pill testing after the deaths over New Year’s and is now open to considering the possibility of pill testing at future music festivals in the state. It is still unclear, however, if public money will be used to supply pill testing services or venue operators will be permitted to operate their own pill testing services privately, or with cooperation from outside institutions.

The current response to drugs in music festivals in both New South Wales … Read the rest

Read more

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

Read more

The Majority is the biggest gang in town

This article is adapted from the opening remarks by Andrew Cooper at LibertyFest Brisbane 2019.

Taxation is theft. Who has heard of this term?

Those of you who read and think deeply about the writings of Murray Rothbard, Lysander Spooner or John Locke twill no doubt have a deeper understanding of these three simple words than I do but it is these words that are most responsible for my personal journey towards the liberty movement.

To get a grip on the idea that ‘taxation is theft’ we can use a popular thought experiment that some of you may have heard of and it goes something like this:

Imagine that you’re walking down a street in the evening and someone approaches you, pulls a gun out of their jacket and demands you hand over your cash or they shoot. Well, that’s robbery right?

Now, because it’s robbery, protecting your property by Read the rest

Read more

Hey, Shorten! Leave those kids alone

Bill Shorten, leader of the Australian Labor Party, has announced a plan to subsidise two years of pre-primary-school education for children. This means children as young as three years old will now be able to receive state-subsidised education.

Some may ask, “why is this bad?” After all, isn’t education the key to a successful future? Isn’t an educated workforce more productive? Doesn’t education pay for itself? Isn’t providing more education a way to ameliorate disparity and disadvantage?

The reality, however, is that not only are our lofty hopes for education unrealistic, but Shorten’s plan perpetuates a phenomenon I shall refer to as the Progressive Institutionalization of Childhood, and this phenomenon appears to be implicated in the erosion of our civic culture over the past several years. Only a few years ago, the young were resilient and rebellious and more inclined to free thinking and defiant of convention; today, our Read the rest

Read more

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

Read more

Sex, cars and e-cigarettes

It is interesting to apply current thinking to decisions taken years ago. Whilst our greater knowledge today can make previous behaviours and thinking seem odd or plain wrong, there are also instances when applying todays approach would have stopped progress.

In the 1960’s it became apparent that seatbelts reduced harm from use of motor vehicles. Whilst the vast majority of users, got from A to B safely, there were (and still are) vehicle collisions causing death or serious injury.

Wearing seatbelts was not subjected to randomised double blind placebo trials. It was not felt that use of a seatbelt required a doctor’s prescription. Use of seatbelts did not make using vehicles harm free. We did not know if there may be long term harms from use.

Yet not only was this form of harm reduction recommended, it was made compulsory.

In the 1980’s we saw the advent of HIV/AIDS. It … Read the rest

Read more

High tobacco taxes linked to crime spike

Another convenience store worker has been attacked in what has become an increasingly common occurrence. Criminals, lured by the sky-high value of cigarettes due to the government’s Tobacco Excise, are robbing local shops to get their hands on them. It has become “tobacco first then cash” according to Jeff Rogut, chief executive of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores. Tobacconists in Queensland have also expressed concerns for the safety of themselves and their stores, with one man’s shop being hit twice in a week by thieves targeting cigarettes. New Zealand has faced the same crisis, with aggravated robberies soaring by 87% between 2016 and 2017 and then-acting Prime Minister Winston Peters criticising high tobacco taxes in his country for much of that rise.

This hardly comes as a shock. History shows that aggressively taxing a product is a surefire way to create a black market and contribute to increased … Read the rest

Read more

How Lauren Southern exposes a double standard

Activist reporter Lauren Southern who is currently touring Australia with popular alt-media philosopher Stefan Molyneux, was warned by police not to visit a mosque in Lakemba, a predominantly Muslim area in Sydney’s western suburbs. Her plan was to observe the “culture” in Lakemba and to interview people outside of the mosque.

But before she could get there, she was apprehended by a senior police officer, who warned her that if she continued, her actions may incite a serious breach of the peace. His first line of questioning included asking her where she planned to walk next. In a video of the exchange, the flatfoot is seen to tell her that he has “grave concerns” that she will cause an “imminent breach of the peace” if she continues on towards the mosque and asks her not to go there.

Obviously Australia is not quite the free country that we think it … Read the rest

Read more

WTO plain packaging verdict is an assault on liberty

The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) recent decision to validate Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws is a colossal setback for liberty. The plain packaging laws which were implemented in 2012, ban logos, stylised images, brands and coloured cigarette packaging in favour of a generic packet with brand names printed in small standardised fonts. The WTO concluded, without considering significant evidence of their ineffectiveness, that Australia’s plain packaging law contributed to improving public health by reducing the use of and exposure to tobacco products and rejected claims that alternative measures would be equally useful. As a result, they declared that the law was still consistent with global trade rules.

The decision to uphold plain packaging laws is an assault on the principles of liberty. Free market capitalism, personal liberty, the ownership of private property and the enjoyment of limited government are being curtailed as a result of the panel’s decision. Strong and … Read the rest

Read more