December 1, 2017

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 owner...

November 2, 2017

In the spirit of the famous Harvester case, ACTU secretary Sally McManus is proposing an overhaul of the national minimum wage to better account for the reasonable needs of an average sized family. The ACTU wants a “living wage” that takes into account the cost of renting a two-bedroom flat in a working-class suburb of Sydney or Melbourne, the cost of providing a balanced diet for a family of four, the cost of running a car, as well as electricity, gas, and childcare, with a little over to be able to take the family out for a meal or to a footy match. The aim is to fix the minimum wage at 60%...

October 4, 2017

I have developed a seminar to explain libertarian philosophy to a lay audience. The course draws on the work of Locke, Smith, Mises, Hayek, Nozick, Rothbard, et al. and themes from my book The Fragility of Freedom.

Our wonderful, free and prosperous society is being threatened by ideologies, from within and without, that compromise the reasons for its success.

If we are to succeed in our battle with competing ideologies, then we need to acquire an appreciation of the legacy of our Western Civilization and be determined to live up to its ideals.

Libertarian philosophy is based on the concept...

September 4, 2017

I think we should give credit to GetUp! for having the courage to withdraw its support from the petition seeking the deregistration of Dr Pansy Lai for her views on same sex marriage.

The issue at stake here is tolerance in a pluralist society.

I am confident that our society will be able tolerate loving relationships between homosexuals being called marriage.

At the same time, we must respect the rights of those who hold a traditional view of marriage. It would be intolerable to deny them the right to practice medicine, or law, or teaching because of their views.

Formerly, many societies shared c...

August 31, 2017

Imagine you are the Vice Chancellor of an Australian University, an extremely demanding job. You are approached by the Australian Human Rights Commission because they are concerned that a rape culture is prevalent in Australian Universities.

They seek your commitment to a survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment to measure the extent of the problem. How could you possibly decline?

"I work at the greengrocers - what do you do?"

When the survey is done, it reports that “around half of all university students (51%) were sexually harassed on at least one occasion in 2016, and 6.9% of students...

August 15, 2017

On a recent visit to Dubrovnik, Jill and I chanced upon a fish restaurant in the Old Port area – Riblji Restoran Proto. It was a serendipitous experience.

Established in 1886, it is now owned by Mato Durovic, who has been a major influence in the hospitality business in Dubrovnik for fifty years.

I have always admired well-run businesses. There is something exciting and satisfying about people working together to achieve the best they can.

Proto was a fine example of this, an excellently run restaurant. The attention to detail showed. The staff were well-trained and courteous; the napkins matched...

There are views that used to be widely held, or even law, that today would be considered inappropriate. As John Stuart Mill remarked - “every age having held opinions that are now recognised as absurd”.

There are scientific views (for example: the world is flat; the sun travels around the earth; synthetic chemicals will cause a cancer epidemic; acid rain will destroy all the German forests; global famine is inevitable due to the population explosion).

There are social norms and cultural conventions (for example: no one, who does not profess a belief in a God, should be permitted to give evidence...

Ten green bottles hanging on the wall.

Ten green bottles hanging on the wall.

And if one green bottle should accidentally fall,

There would be nine green bottles hanging on the wall.

Nine green bottles…

For twenty-five years, there has been a consensus; global warming is caused by humans adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Led by the United Nation’s body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), governments have invested millions of dollars and climate scientists have spent hours in research and built models to prove it.

Everyone knows it is true. The science is settled. 97% of scientists agr...

June 15, 2017

The objective to provide reliable, low cost, low emission energy is fraught.

We must choose our priorities. All three cannot be optimised simultaneously.

Only coal and nuclear can provide the base load necessary to supply our electricity needs for households and businesses. Our government policies must permit this to happen.

There is increasing evidence that the dangers of global warming have been exaggerated. The public is starting to understand this and is concerned that climate change policies are ineffective and come at an unacceptable cost to our standard of living.

With USA pulling out of th...

We hear, ad nauseam, of the need to prevent Muslim youth in Western societies from being radicalised.

Too little effort is made to inspire them with the values of our Western Civilisation.

We live in one of the most tolerant, prosperous and free societies in the history of mankind. Our liberties are based on certain rights which have been developed and refined over many centuries. These include our rights to free speech; to our religious and political beliefs; to choose our friends and associates, and whom we may marry; to nurture our children and to pass on our values to them; to choose our occ...

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