CPAC 2018 and the American liberty scene

I recently attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington DC in the good old US of A. I was there on behalf of Mark Latham’s Outsiders. This is my second CPAC in the past few years. It is a “yuge” annual and multi-day event with speakers, media, exhibitors and attendees of all sorts from the right side of politics including conservatives, libertarians, Trumpers, Never-Trumpers and more. Note that the term “conservative” is often used in the States as short-hand to include libertarians and other freedom-friendly folks. The young and not-so-young come from around the USA and world every February to beautiful National Harbor in Maryland for CPAC. This event along with FreedomFest in America should be on every right-minded person’s bucket list, along with the Friedman Conference and LibertyFest in Australia.

There were many highlights from CPAC, but none greater than the hour-plus speech by President Donald Read the rest

Stop justifying yourself!

“You slept with a consenting adult of the same sex? How dare you! Why?!?”

“You said something that goes against my values? How dare you! Why?!?”

“You own a gun? How dare you! Why?!?”

The three answers most commonly deployed to the previous questions usually go as follows:

“I was born with an innate biological sexual preference for members of the same sex exclusively, and therefore it is okay for me to have sex with consenting adults of the same sex.”

“I said it because I believe your values are incorrect for various reasons and I wished to critique them.”

“I own a firearm for the protection of myself against dangerous criminals or pre-emptively, in case the government becomes tyrannical.”

Even if these answers are sincere, and even if these answers are technically correct, I will argue that offering these answers is the wrong thing to do.

Why? Because an Read the rest

How ‘change the date’ activists saved Australia Day

The debate over Australia Day seems simple at first; Australia Day, the national holiday of Australia, is set on the same date as the First Fleet’s arrival in Sydney. Some argue that this isn’t particularly representative of Australia; it honors the date of the establishment of a small British colony and thus doesn’t particularly hold any relevance to Australians of non-British ancestry. More pointedly, it is argued that the date is offensive to Indigenous Australians, because it is the date at which the colonization of Australia began, and thus was the precursor to several acts of injustice against the Indigenous Australian community.

In other words, the debate around Australia Day is really just an extension of the history wars: debates over positivist versus postmodernist methodology in history, and the overall issue of what might be called post-colonial guilt or white guilt. This debate of course has an impact on the Read the rest

Crony unionism, coming soon to a hole in the ground near you

I had a shock recently when I read an article in the New York Times that wasn’t critical of Donald Trump. Not only was it on a subject other than Trump but it was a great piece of investigative journalism of the calibre that was once the mainstay of western journalism. The article was about the enormously extravagant cost of a new subway tunnel named the East Side Access project, which currently sits at $US3.5 billion per track mile, compared to a global average of $US500 million for the same distance. A similar project currently underway in Paris, for example, is being constructed for one-sixth the cost. And this isn’t the only New York tunnel project that has overflowed its financial banks in recent years. Two other recent projects were also way over the global average.

The reason for the extraordinarily high cost is Crony Unionism. A problem as much … 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

No matter the question, government is the answer

In an excellent article in The Australian this week, Nick Cater does a skilful dissection of the Northcote by-election in Victoria. For those who might not have heard the news, a seat that has been Labor since 1927 went to The Greens. Amazingly, the Andrews government, that seems to have more in common with Che than Chifley, was not left enough for this electorate.

Some of the seat’s statistics of are quite illuminating. Apparently, there are ten times more teachers than truck drivers and twenty times more university lecturers than brick layers. The most interesting statistic of all however, is that 58 per cent work in the public sector. It seems that when government workers are in a position to decide, they vote for more government and there is no party more in favour of larger government than The Greens. It is no coincidence that the growth of government both … Read the rest

Brisbane’s new green ghetto?

The Queensland Greens have announced what they euphemistically call a “Housing Policy“, called “a home for all”. This will cost (by Greens fuzzy maths) $60 billion, yes, billion with a “b”, and produce 200,000 “dwellings”. The numbers are rosy and utopia will arrive, although they forgot to tell everyone that they’ll be better looking, but I’m sure that will be coming in the “cosmetic surgery improvement” policy they’ll be announcing soon.

If there’s any doubt about what this will look like, just do an internet search for “Soviet housing projects”. Not the concept drawings, but the actual finished product and what it looks like after a few years. If you’re still curious, do a search for British council flats and have a look at how hideous government housing ideas really look like.

The stated intention of the Greens is to bring the wisdom and superior guidance of the … Read the rest

Queensland’s undemocratic electoral process

Libertarians, classical liberals and small government conservatives will likely be disappointed in their options when they come to vote in Queensland’s election. Faced with a choice of choosing between the Liberal National Party, Labor, the Greens and One Nation many may choose to put a blank ballot paper in the box. Where’re the Liberal Democrats or the Australian Conservatives they will likely ask? The answer to that question has nothing to do with either of those parties’ willingness to run candidates, but Queensland’s byzantine process for registering political parties. It’s time to call bullshit on the corrupt processes used to prevent Queenslanders voting for the party of their choice.

The process for registering a political party in Queensland is outlined in the Electoral Act of 1992 and is described in the Political Party Handbook produced by the Queensland Electoral Commission. That process requires that a political party either have a … Read the rest

An open letter to Conservatives

Dear Conservatives,

You thought the state was your friend. You introduced the Marriage Act in 1961 and on some level that is understandable. The temptation to do so must have been irresistible. It centralised and standardised a definition of of marriage in Australia that reflected your own views and invalidated others that did not. The power of the State must have seemed wonderful when it was used to protect and expand your firmly held beliefs.

But soon the Marriage Law postal survey results will prove that the state can never be trusted. It is never your friend, it is never there to protect you. It’s power is amoral. It exists to be contested, fought over and used by the victors to validate their view of the world, just as you used it to validate yours. And soon that State will be further co-opted to introduce additional controls over the Read the rest