South Australia enters the Twilight Zone

September 29, 2016

From James Bolt

If something is this expensive, shouldn’t it be good?

Some people are saying electricity should be even more expensive. The IPA’s Brett Hogan argued today that South Australia’s blackout is a “warning sign of the consequences of its ideological march towards renewables“. Read Jennifer Marohasy’s analysis on her blog, and make sure to check out the meme.

Brett also wrote in the Australian Financial Review in August how the first priority of energy policy should be to make energy affordable.

If you heeded the ‘trigger warning‘ sign outside the Hofstra University hall where the first Presidential debate was held and missed it, here it is. Our favourite campaign analyst, Dilbert creator Scott Adams, says Hillary won on points but Trump helped his campaign too. But as Fortune points out, it was slim pickings for anyone interested in free trade.

Two weeks ago we told you about author Lionel Shriver’s defence of writers using cultural appropriation and all the predictable outrage Shriver caused. On Friday Shriver’s brilliant must-read article appeared in the New York Times asking whether the Left can survive millennials – and wrote on the dangers of Australia’s 18C.

If you’re against Shriver and think authors should only be able to call upon their own experiences when writing, in the upcoming IPA Review I re-imagine classic works where the authors become the main character – such as To Kill a Mockingbird, where Harper Lee quickly loses the case because Lee is an author, not a lawyer.

Mike Baird has taken an absolute slamming in the polls today because of his ban on greyhound racing. The IPA’s Evan Mulholland joined SYN on Friday to discuss the ban and the future of the racing industry.

There were three incredible ‘safe spaces’ stories this week. Brendan O’Neill in The Spectator wrote on Monday about archaeology students at University College in London who can leave class if the bones they dig up are too “scary.

Also, Clemson University on Friday tried to stop students from spreading ever-popular Harambe memes because they apparently encourage “racism.” But most dangerous of all, students at Northern Michigan University were told they would be punished if they expressed suicidal thoughts to their friends.

Artificial Intelligence continues being awesome. This week a computer wrote two pop songs – andthey’re actually pretty good. Hopefully the lyrics the computer writes are free of any cultural appropriation.

Article of the week

In Monday’s debate, Clinton accused Trump of using “Trumped-up trickle-down” economic policies. If somehow you’re still conscious after laughing so hard at that zinger, you should read this great piece by Steven Horwitz for the Foundation for Economic Education on Saturday on how ‘trickle down economics’ is a myth and no serious economist believes in it.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Morgan Begg

This classic 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone stars Burgess Meredith as a librarian in a dystopian future without books. The state decides he has no function in society, and is to be executed for the crime of being obsolete. Rod Serling delivers the brilliant closing narration: “Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognise the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man, that state is obsolete.”

You can watch the whole 25-minute episode here:

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Meet Africa’s capitalist crusader

September 22, 2016

From Morgan Begg

ABS data released last Thursday show that the underemployment rate is the highest it has ever been:

Persistently high underemployment and unemployment means that Australia’s employment laws are not doing enough to enable people to get into work. As Stephen Sasse explained in an important essay published by the IPA in July, Your Right to Work, “the laws of economics apply as much to the labour market as to any other proposed exchange” and significant institutional change is needed.

Part one of John Howard’s two-part documentary, Howard on Menzies: Building Modern Australia, has rightly been described as captivating (and by Fairfax no less!). Part two will air on ABC on Sunday. The former Prime Minister joined the IPA’s Tom Switzer on Between the Lines last Thursday to discuss the Menzies era, and you can revisit this important speech that Sir Robert Menzies delivered to the IPA back in 1954 here.

Meet Herman Mashaba – the self-styled “capitalist crusader” who was elected Mayor of Johannesburg for the Democratic Alliance party in August. This feature in The Globe and Mail explains how he overcame poverty and apartheid to become a successful entrepreneur whose highest value is “individual freedom”.

Former English footballer Paul Gascoigne was fined £2000 by a British court on Monday. His crime: telling an offensive joke. Yes, really. Brendan O’Neill at The Spectator explained on Tuesday why the precedent set by this case is so terrifying.

Last week, businessman and American Enterprise Scholar Edward Conard released the ultimate rebuttal to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. The National Review on Monday called Conard’s new book, The Upside of Inequality, a rousing defence of conservative beliefs about how markets and incentives drive prosperity.

This week’s long read is this 7,000 word essay from the September issue of New Criterion by American historian of post-war conservatism, George H. Nash. The fascinating essay describes how the emergence of a new populist faction is fundamentally reshaping the Republican party.

Our friends at the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation are co-sponsoring an important conference on 6 October on the topic of “Property Rights in WA“. Join the IPA’s Dr Mikayla Novak to hear about the effect of declining property rights on businesses, jobs and families.

Article of the week

Following Hilary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remarks two weeks ago, Daniel Henninger explained in the Wall Street Journal last week why America’s les déplorables have had enough of bullying insular progressivism. Meanwhile, Trump has embraced the tag and incorporated it into his campaign.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Evan Mulholland

Janet Albrechtsen’s brilliant piece in The Australian yesterday highlights the contradictions of the illiberal, intolerant modern left and their global regressive movement against free speech:

The right not to be offended, not to have one’s feelings hurt, marked the downward spiral of the liberal Left. Instead, a paternalistic Left has set itself up as the arbiter of rights and freedoms based on repressive adherence to its feelings-based moral code rather than the universal rights of mankind.

Continue reading here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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The elephant in the room

September 15, 2016

From Bella d’Abrera

Are you up to date with the hottest thing in economics? It’s the “elephant chart“, a representation of why capitalism has apparently failed the middle classes.

The Washington Post thinks it’s “the most important chart for understanding politics today“, while theFinancial Times goes further and claims that it actually “explains the world“. Except that it really doesn’t. This week, it was exposed as a fanciful myth. Read the Resolution Foundation’s full report here, and read Robert Colvile’s summary at CapX here.

On Monday, the IPA released its report Strangling the Goose with the Golden Egg which explains why the government’s proposed changes to superannuation would hit middle-income Australians the hardest. Read the page 4 coverage in The Australian. The government today announced that it will amend its proposed changes, which the IPA’s Brett Hogan called a step in the right direction.

Who should you turn to if you have been left homeless by a biblical flood? Airbnb. Last month, when the heavens opened in Louisiana for three weeks, Airbnb activated its disaster response tool and provided beds for thousands of Louisianans.

In Australia we’ve had the second-wettest winter on record. But according to the Bureau of Meteorology it shouldn’t have rained at all. In the Herald Sun on Wednesday, Andrew Bolt asked the Bureau to explain how it got it so wrong.

In the September edition of Standpoint, Jonathan Gaisman reviews Sir Roger Scruton’s latest book,The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung. Sir Roger makes the case that The Ring Cycle is a philosophical, musical and textual masterpiece and one of the most important works of art that has been produced in the last 200 years.

The Guardian has outdone itself by giving a contributor space to write a 1400 word account of why she walked out of Lionel Shriver’s keynote address at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival. We don’t know which part offended the writer more – the defence of cultural appropriation or the giant Mexican sombrero which Shriver sported for much of the speech.

In a big win for democracy, sarcasm has been officially banned in North Korea. Read this article fromThe Telegraph last Thursday on why Kim Jong-un is scared of people agreeing with him ‘ironically’.

He must have modelled his policy on Australian universities. Read what the IPA’s Matthew Lesh had to say in the Daily Telegraph in March about Australian universities banning sarcasm and ridicule on campus.

This week’s long read is a 3000 word article in the September edition of Standpoint. While writing the book Brexit Revolt: How the UK Voted to Leave the EU, authors Michael Mosbacher and Oliver Wiseman compiled and dispelled a list of 7 myths about how the result came about.

Article of the week

The 2016 US election has the two most unpopular candidates in history. At Reason on Wednesday, Barton Hinkle asks if this is making progressives change their minds about small government now that they realise that one of the candidates will be president.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Daniel Wild

Charles Murray is a conservative treasure. In this fascinating 70-minute interview with Bill Kristol, Murray discusses how the decline of communities is affecting the US presidential race, and how Trump is drawing support from men who are out of work and are sick of being called homophobic, sexist, racist and violent.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Would Harambe endorse Gary Johnson?

September 8, 2016

From James Bolt

This is the best graph you will see this week.

That’s from CapX on Monday as part of their article ‘How We Are Beating Hunger In 5 Graphs‘. The number of undernourished people has fallen by 265 million since 1992. Part of the reason is we’re growing more food, and we’re about to have the second highest global grain crop in history:

We should show these graphs to the UN human rights office! Last week they tweeted whether the belief in the power of free market policies constituted an “urgent threat” to human rights.

Last week we told you about the EU demanding Apple pay €13 billion in taxes to Ireland that Ireland didn’t even want. You have to read John O’Sullivan’s scathing article about what really motivated EU’s decision in National Review on Tuesday. The Adam Smith Institute covered the five things everyone needs to know about the ruling.

The Presidential election is exactly two months away. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on Sunday received the most important endorsement in party history. This video of Abraham Lincoln endorsing Gary Johnson is also going viral. If you want to find out more about Gary Johnson, Tim Black onSpiked wrote this great profile of him on Monday.

On Saturday, thousands of sore losers gathered in London to protest Brexit. Brendan O’Neill had this fantastic article in The Spectator on Tuesday on how the anti-Brexit brigade reveals democracy is hanging by a thread in Britain. Dan Hannan wrote in The Sun on Monday that Brexit provides more economic opportunities for Britain than the EU ever did.

The conservative movement lost a titan on Monday with the death of Phyllis Stewart Schlafly. Ann Coulter wrote this obituary for her in Townhall. The editors of National Review explained her impact on conservatism and showcased the highlights of her career.

This week’s long read is this insightful 4,000 word piece from Gary Saul Morson in the September edition of New Criterion on how Western scholars overlook the horrors of communism, and why the ideology of communism is in itself the problem. At least we in the West have the freedom to ignore history – in Russia it is illegal to say the USSR invaded Poland in 1939.

The internet is dominated by memes about Harambe, the Cincinatti Zoo gorilla shot in May. Some people aren’t getting the joke, though. Employees of the University of Massachusetts have banned students from making Harambe memes because they are a racist ‘microaggression‘. If this is your first exposure to the world of Harambe memes, then start at the best.

The IPA is proud to be hosting the first Open Minds Workshop in Melbourne on Saturday 22 October. This is a must-attend event for young people interested in the history of Western Civilisation. More details here.

Article of the week

Around a billion people live on US$3 a day or less, but in 1800 almost the entire world lived that way. How have we come so far, so quickly? Dierdre McCloskey says in the New York Times last Friday it was because of what Adam Smith called ‘the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice’.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: John Roskam

Even The Guardian acknowledges Isaiah Berlin’s brilliant The Hedgehog and the Fox, which has come in at number 28 on their 100 best non-fiction books. Berlin also appears in the IPA’s 100 Great Books On Liberty, read Tom Quirk’s review here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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