The New York Times thinks you’re stupid

July 26, 2012

From James Paterson

The Washington Post recently listed 14 reasons why the current US Congress is the worst ever. The list says more about the Post than it does about the Congress – their number one complaint is that Congress is not passing enough laws!

If only our parliament had the same problem, as this new video from Chris Berg explains:

The video launched the IPA’s brand new FreedomWatch program on threats to freedom of speech and personal liberty. Read more about it here.

On Monday 6th August Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will address the IPA on freedom of speech in Sydney. Click here to book your tickets.

How many times have you heard that the government invented the internet? Well – surprise, surprise – it turns out they didn’t.

For-profit schooling is transforming education in Sweden, according to The Economist. It’s a shame The Economist’s enthusiasm for the free market isn’t always on show.

Donna Laframboise has now left Australia after a fantastic tour through Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The video of Donna’s full presentation is now online for those of you who missed seeing her live, or those who want to share her speech with your friends. Oh, and if you watch that and agree with Donna then The New York Times thinks it is because you are stupid.

This is an amazing and amusing list: ‘The 5 Stupidest Things Ever Done With Borders’. And lovers of books and architecture will enjoy these stunning photos of Europe’s most beautiful libraries.

Lastly, if you’re looking for something long to read, then try this article from last week’s Businessweek on why Estonia proves Paul Krugman is wrong about stimulus spending.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Please don’t tell Nicola Roxon

July 19, 2012

From James Paterson

This is scary – your fridge might be about to become the latest weapon of the Nanny State! (Please don’t tell Nicola Roxon).

Barack Obama says “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Yeah, I guess it’s kind of like winning the Nobel Peace Prize, or killing Bin Laden.

Last week we told you about a new government website, ‘Tell me something I don’t know’. Here’s a tip: if you’re going to set up a website with such a presumptuous name, make sure you get all your facts right, like how many faces a dodecahedron has. (The correct answer is here).

Here’s another thing I bet you didn’t know: The Shire is all John Howard’s fault (what would we do without The Conversation?)

But this should come as no surprise – the so-called ‘food miles’ movement makes food more expensive, less environmentally friendly, less nutritious and taste worse.

One of the most impressive reforms of the Cameron government has been the establishment of free schools. This excellent piece by Toby Young, who helped set one up, explains why they are working.

Last month’s New Statesman had a great review of Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge with this key line: “Totalitarian repression was not a regrettable departure from the high ideals of socialist philosophy”. And the current edition of Standpoint has this wonderful essay by Nick Cohen on free speech and press freedom.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Something the government thinks you need to know

July 12, 2012

From James Paterson

In May we told you about the most ridiculous government-funded websites. Well, we’ve found another one that might just take the cake: http://tellmesomethingidontknow.gov.au.

It’s chock full of handy-hints like these:

This week the Press Council announced the members of its panel that will tell journalists how to do their jobs. It doesn’t include a single journalist or editor, but two former politicians and a current political staffer. Press Council chief Julian Disney is currently lobbying the government to force media companies to sign up to his organisation. Chris Berg explains why it is a terrible idea.

And last Friday in the Australian Financial Review John Roskam dared to suggest the ABC was crowding out its private competitors. This ABC fan did not appreciate it one bit!

On their own, farm subsidies are bad enough. But they’re particularly wasteful when they go to people who aren’t farming the crops they’re being paid for, or indeed aren’t farming at all.

And this is one for the scrap-books: George Monbiot admits he and his fellow environmentalists were wrong about peak oil.

If you were planning on building an exact replica of Fred Flintstone’s car, then forget about using it for your road trip in Germany.

Here’s a nice long read – the August edition of Vanity Fair has Christopher Hitchens’ introduction to the upcoming publication of George Orwell’s diaries.

This month Connor Court Publishing is releasing Educating Your Children: It’s not rocket science by Dr Kevin Donnelly. You can RSVP for the Melbourne launch on Tuesday 31 July here.

Many Hey subscribers enjoyed this recent video on free speech from Melbourne filmmaker Topher. He’s currently fundraising for the sequels on taxes and government bureaucracy – click here if you would like to support him.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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The joke’s on us…

July 5, 2012

From James Paterson

The government likes to boast that they’ve ‘overcompensated‘ average households for the carbon tax. New research released by the IPA’s Tim Wilson this week shows that won’t last for long. Read Tim’s article in The Australian on Tuesday or download the full report here.

Last week we had a good laugh about the European Union giving people extra holidays if they got sick whilst on leave. As many Hey readers told us, turns out the joke is on us: check out section 89 (2) of our very own Fair Work Act.

We also told you about the massive grab for power by the federal government following the High Court’s chaplains decision. Legislation like this is exactly why the IPA has just launched our new Rule of Law Unit. Research Fellow Simon Breheny explains why it matters in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

And we think you will like this amusing video from Malcolm Turnbull that also makes a powerful point about media regulation. If you haven’t yet joined the IPA’s Press Freedom Campaign, you can do so here.

I enjoyed this from the New York Times recently on why political scientists are lousy forecasters and shouldn’t be subsidised – from a political scientist! It must be the time for great articles in the NYT, because this piece on how an almost fully-privatised local government works is great too.

The US Supreme Court found Obamacare constitutional last week. Some argue there is a silver-lining. Mark Steyn, for one, isn’t buying it. And this is an excellent list from Reason on the 5 most unlibertarian Supreme Court rulings ever.

And the US government seems intent on destroying childhood fantasies. A few weeks ago they told us there was no such thing as zombies. Now they tell us mermaids aren’t real either?!

This is a fascinating long read from Wired magazine last month, on how millions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent to make Olympic athletes “one one-hundredth of a second faster”. And this is what you call an ambitious graph: the economic history of the world since Jesus.

Our guest Donna Laframboise has landed and spoke to Alan Jones on 2GB this morning about the carbon tax and the IPCC. Donna’s talks in Melbourne and Sydney are now sold out, but you can still book to see her in Brisbane on 12 July and Perth on 15 July.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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