The Tyranny of the Majority

The high turnout and overwhelmingly positive result of Australia’s voluntary postal plebiscite on same sex marriage enabled our parliament to enact marriage equality laws with public approval. The people had spoken, and the support was clearer than if politicians had made the decision alone. The parliament erupted with joy when the legislation passed. However, there were concerns about the impact of the SSM bill on religious freedom. These persist. Attempts to modify the SSM bill to protect freedom of speech and religious beliefs got little support and amendments to the bill were voted down. Once the emotional euphoria has settled, these issues should be revisited. We live in one of the fre

Facebook's Social Good Forum and the Tragedy of the Commons

John Gapper, in an opinion piece, in The Australian Financial Review on Friday, 1 December 2017, “Facebook’s fight for the common good”,quotes extensively from Garrett Hardin, whom he describes as an ecologist and philosopher. Unfortunately, Hardin’s discredited theories are hardly a sound basis for developing an understanding of the problems of community standards facing Facebook. In 1968, microbiologist Garrett Hardin, a University of California professor whose specialty was population control, wrote a paper in Science entitled The Tragedy of the Commons in which he argued that community ownership of land, forests, and fisheries led inevitably to ecological disaster. It has been embraced a

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Peter Francis Fenwick       Writer      Melbourne     Australia