Category: Philosophy

Federalism, Australian style: federal-state financial socialism

There has been a lot of public debate this year in Australia about the federal system of government, in general, and, in particular, the system of payments between the national level of government and the sub-national level. Australia has a federal system of government similar to countries like the USA and Canada. Like the U.S., there is a national government and sub-national governments called the states and territories. Like Canada, these sub-national governments are a relatively small in number and population compared to the U.S. and include territories. Australia has six states and two territories compared to Canada’s ten provinces and three territories remembering of course that the U.S. has fifty states plus sixteen territories. The Australian national government is called the “Commonwealth”.

Three Aussie states are strongly complaining that it is largely unfair and unreasonable that they respectively and collectively do not get nearly enough revenue back from the … Read the rest

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Politics can be fixed

With a federal election approaching, the issue of political corruption is shaping up to be a key issue. Labor have committed themselves to a National Integrity Commission and, after sustained pressure from Labor and the Greens, the Liberals eventually announced a similar Commonwealth Integrity Commission. These Commissions sound like a nice idea, but rather than being a solution they are a justification of the root issue: political power.

The leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, claims that such a Commission is necessary to “restore people’s faith in their representatives and the system”. This is a feel-good line from a power hungry politician, a characteristic shared by all parliamentarians who call for this type of anti-corruption body.

It’s time for a quick history lesson.

Friday marked the 330th anniversary of the birth of Montesquieu, the great political thinker of the 18th century. The occasion marks a perfect time to remember his Read the rest

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Rock stars of the counter-counterculture

In July this year I arrived at the Brisbane convention centre to hear right-wing YouTubers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux speak on their Australian tour. The scene in the large foyer seemed more like a rock concert than a speaker tour. Hundreds of people were waiting outside buying T-Shirts with slogans like, “It’s OK to be white, “West is best” and “Feminism is cancer”. The experience was unlike anything I’d ever seen in my entire time being involved with politics. A normal right-wing political gathering usually involves a few dozen political tragics, usually men, quietly chatting while waiting to listen to a political speech. This was entirely different, and these weren’t the usual suspects I’d come to recognise. The crowd was the most diverse I’d ever seen. Young and old, men and women, white and black, gay and straight. Through the power of YouTube Southern and Molyneux had reached the Read the rest

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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

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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

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The myth of political merit

There is much current debate around gender quotas in politics. The popular case against quotas says that politicians should be chosen according to ‘merit’. Outside of politics this makes sense – you want the best doctors operating on you and the best lifeguards patrolling your beach etc, regardless of other superficial characteristics. But when it comes to politics, these commentators are calling for something other than the best politicians. ‘Merit’ in politics means playing the political game most effectively, as measured by whether you win. The ballot box victors are by definition the most talented individuals that society has to offer, in that particular pursuit.

In the fairly-tale version of politics, people like to imagine politicians doing things other than politics: ‘running the country’, ‘managing the economy’, ‘representing the people’ and other such inanities. Less euphemistically, we could say interfering in people’s lives, meddling in the economy and shilling for … Read the rest

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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

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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

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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

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