To boldly regulate where no government has regulated before

September 29, 2011

82% of Australians think protecting freedom of speech is more important than protecting the right not to be offended.

That’s the result of an IPA commissioned survey last weekend of 1,052 people. We released the findings a few hours before the decision in the Andrew Bolt freedom of speech case.

Here’s what we said about freedom of speech back in 1992. Here’s what we said yesterday.

We’re taking out a full page statement to publicise our support for freedom of speech. If you’d like to donate and have your name appear on it click here.

Here’s the IPA’s Professor Sinclair Davidson and here is James Paterson on why freedom of speech has to be defended. And here’s Chris Berg in The Sunday Age on all the other threats to free speech.

And if by any chance you are one of the few people in the country who hasn’t seen Mark Steyn’s comments from the IPA’s free speech event back in June here it is – at last count upwards of 30,000 people have seen it.

Here’s two minutes from the fantastic Penn and Teller on freedom of speech – it’s very good – but they do use the ‘F WORD’ and (more offensively? less offensively?) they do get undressed.

What’s America’s biggest problem right now?  Yep – you guessed it – unregulated trips to the moon. It’s from the Heritage Foundation a few days ago.

Last week I told you about the ad from Ford attacking the US government’s automobile bailouts. Guess who didn’t like it?  Ford pulled the ad, then put it back up.

If you’ve had enough of Warren Buffett’s moralising you’ll like my column in last week’s Australian Financial Review.

What the IPA said this week:

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Don’t call me broccoli head!

September 22, 2011

From John Roskam | Thursday, 22 September 2011

Here’s classic British Nanny State. Teachers are compiling lists of racist…3 year olds. Last week the Daily Mail revealed that children calling each other ‘broccoli head’ will be labelled for life.

As if that wasn’t enough for poor Britons…that cultural icon – HP Sauce has been ruined! In 2009 the UK government set salt reduction targets for the food industry, and Heinz complied – reducing the salt content in their iconic HP Sauce by 51%. Apparently it now tastes awful. You know what’s even worse? UK Nannies have gone global – we called Heinz Australia and they confirmed that HP Sauce sold here also uses the new recipe!

It’s no surprise then that most Australians are concerned about the Nanny State, as the IPA’s exclusive poll revealed this week.

Watch this amazingly solid TV ad from Ford Motor Company in the US about how they didn’t take taxpayer money. It’s good. This article explains why they didn’t (although it isn’t quite as simple as they’d have you believe).

There’s a big debate about taxes in the United States this week. No surprise, Obama wants to raise them. Billionaire Warren Buffett is doing his bit to help the President out, claiming he pays less tax than his secretary. But as this great piece in the Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday, ‘There’s one small problem: the entire Buffett Rule premise is false’.

If you’re looking for something long to read, try this detailed profile of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from the New Yorker a few weeks ago. They dub him, ‘probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties’…because he believes in small government!

And coming up from the IPA: the second monograph in our Western Civilisation series. It’s by emeritus Professor Wolfgang Kasper and is entitled The Merits of Western Civilisation: An Introduction. All IPA members will be mailed a complimentary copy. Not a member? Sign up here.

IPA said this week:

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Who said ‘not every human problem deserves a law’?

September 15, 2011

From John Roskam | Thursday, 15 September 2011

Can you guess who said this last week:

Boris Johnson? Ronald Reagan? Friedrich Hayek?

Nup. It was Jerry Brown, Governor of California (and a Democrat no less).  He vetoed a law which fined children for skiing without a helmet. Reason has the story. This explains his veto of another law dictating what people wore when canvassing for votes.

Because the federal government has such a great track record of running websites (NOT!), we’ve now got a media enquiry to tell business how to make money from the web. Remember how two years ago GroceryChoices was cancelled after only 11 months of operation and $7 million of taxpayers’ money?

Watch this video of Kerry Packer letting loose on media enquiries back in 1991 – it’s 8 minutes long and entertaining.

As Chris Berg wrote in The Sunday Age this week – where are all the defenders of free speech now?

Many people have told me this was one of the best pieces on the 9/11 anniversary – it’s by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks from The Times last week.

Something else thought-provoking is this wonderful program that went to air on Monday on BBC Radio 4. It is a 43 minute panel discussion with Antony Beevor on one of the great works of 20th century literature – Vassily Grossman’s Life and Fate. If you’ve got any interest in writing, history, or the tragedy of last century, make the time to listen to it – you’ll thank me. The BBC is airing a radio adaptation with Kenneth Branagh next week. A few years ago Prospect had this great article about the Russian Orwell.

Next week the IPA’s John Lloyd will be speaking at the National Press Club about industrial relations – details here.

IPA said this week:

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Nannying nannies

September 8, 2011

Here’s why I’m really worried about the global economy:

Barack Obama is even blaming his failure to produce “Green jobs” on free trade! The IPA’s Tim Wilson wrote about protectionism in The Australian in October last year, and I wrote about it in The Sunday Age last month. But how’s this for chutzpah? American protectionism condemned…in China’s People’s Daily.

From the Nanny State files – a bill introduced in California would insist that even babysitters fill out government employment paperwork, and that they be entitled to rest and meal breaks! Clearly, the Nanny State is jealous of other nannies. But the US Federal Emergency Management Agency is taking it to a whole new level – they’re telling Americans to think of them as their “federal family”.

The September issue of the IPA Review is out this week. Here’s the front cover. We’ve uploaded two great articles free for you to read: Byron Hodkinson says Gillard’s national curriculum might be unconstitutional, and Cassandra Wilkinson argues we should just let kids be kids.

Here’s a new video about how stuffed the EU is, from the great Daniel Hannan (you know, from this speech criticising Gordon Brown).

This Sunday is the ten year anniversary of September 11. Christopher Hitchens in Slate on Monday had one of the best commentary pieces so far. And Mark Steyn mentions the Andrew Bolt case in this great cover essay for the National Review last week on what has happened to free speech in the West in the last decade.

Connor Court Publishing’s new book The Greens: Politics, Reality and Consequences has contributions by the IPA’s Sinclair Davidson, Alan Moran and Ken Phillips. The book is available here, and Alan was interviewed about it on Counterpoint last week. And Sinclair will be debating Tim Flannery and Adam Bandt in a carbon tax debate on Thursday 15th September in Melbourne. Details here.

Tim Wilson released this report on Monday about how environmental NGOs work to impose so-called voluntary regulations on consumers and business.

(John Roskam has been in Kununurra, Derby, Broome and Port Hedland this week as part of the IPA’s carbon tax information sessions. He’ll be back on board for Hey next week.)

IPA said this week:

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