Mullets, whiskey and freedom

October 27, 2016

From Peter Gregory

Environmental lawfare has cost the Australian economy up to $1.2 billion and condemned vital projects to a total of 7500 days in court.

They’re the major findings of the IPA’s latest report ‘Section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act: How activists use red tape to stop development and jobs’ by the IPA’s Daniel Wild which featured on the front page of The Australian today. Read our media release here, and the full report here.

When the IPA says government has grown larger, we aren’t joking:

That graph is from this excellent blog post from Cato’s Dan Mitchell explaining how Europe moved from agricultural poverty to middle class prosperity during the 1800s when government expenditure was only around 10% of GDP… could be something in that.

This week a born-again Christian couple in Northern Ireland were fined for not baking a cake supporting gay marriage.

And, on Friday at the University of California, Berkeley student protesters prevented white students from crossing a bridge on campus, whilst allowing students of other racial backgrounds to pass.

Good to see identity politics fostering co-operation between races then! At least in Australia it’s still legal to make fun of someone’s mullet.

This is a great piece for dinner parties – Matt Ridley in The Spectator this week with the news that in the last 30 years green vegetation on Earth has increased by 14% mostly due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

If you’d like to donate to the IPA’s Climate Change: The Facts 2017 featuring a contribution from Matt, click here.

Another one for your dinner party survival kit – your (quite) long reading for this week is the new 9,000 word Cato report on the five myths about economic inequality in America.

This week the IPA was proud to publish Dr Kevin Donnelly AM’s The Culture of Freedom, the fifth monograph of the IPA’s Foundations of Western Civilisation Program with a foreword by the IPA’s Dr Bella d’Abrera. You can order your copy, here.

Article of the week

This is really important. Both US presidential candidates are free trade sceptics. That makes former IPA guest Bjørn Lomborg’s thorough defence of free trade and optimistic forecast for the future onProject Syndicate compulsory reading.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Scott Hargreaves

Scottish poet Robert Burns famously said that “freedom an’ whisky gang thegither!” and this new video from the Competitive Enterprise Institute explains why. In I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit, the filmmakers explore how whisky is the story of the freedom to connect and create, and how it encapsulates “a rebel spirit renowned for its individuality and colourful history”.

Cheers to that!

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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In praise of Clive James

October 20, 2016

From James Bolt

David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democratic senator for New South Wales (and IPA member!) last week launched a Senate inquiry into Australia’s largest industry – you guessed it, red tape. Read about it here. As IPA research shows, this inquiry could not come soon enough:

The IPA is delighted to announce that Clive James will be contributing to Climate Change: The Facts 2017. Read what John Roskam wrote to IPA members about it on Tuesday. You can also read Clive’s fantastic essay for the BBC in 2009, In Praise of Scepticism here, complete with angry comments. If you want to donate to the publication of CCTF17 – you can donate here.

As we said on Facebook yesterday the 18C case against The Australian cartoonist Bill Leak is disgraceful, and yet the government is still silent on it. The day before the Leak case became public, the IPA’s Simon Breheny wrote in The Australian why 18C must go.

Today in the UK’s Spiked Online, the IPA’s Matthew Lesh said the case was “a worrying sign that our leaders can’t even be bothered to attempt to stand up for the fundamental value of freedom of speech“. Bill Leak appeared on The Bolt Report on Monday to discuss the case.

In sad news this week, Family First Senator Bob Day (also an IPA member) announced he will leave the Senate. Bob is a tireless defender of free speech, IR reform and federalism. Our friend Tim Andrews at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance started a wonderful initiative, which has already raised over $20,000 for Bob. You can help Bob in his financial troubles by donating here.

With less than a month to go in the US elections, people looking for a third-party candidate may have found a hero. Independent candidate Evan McMullin, who calls himself the “only conservative” in the race, polled 31% in Utah on Wednesday, four points ahead of Donald Trump. Last weekFiveThirtyEight outlined how McMullin could win Utah… and the Presidency.

As if we needed another example of the world’s short memory of communism – a poll this week found that a quarter of Americans think more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.

This week’s long read is this 6,000 word review of Chris Berg’s latest book, The Libertarian Alternative, from the Sydney Review of Books. While Berg is praised in the article, it’s the most gritted-teeth praise I’ve seen since Crikey‘s review of me in the Melbourne Uni Law Revue.

Article of the week

In a brilliant article published in The Australian yesterday, Mark Steyn slammed the dangerous section 18C, and called the government’s silence on the Bill Leak case “unmoored from the core principles of liberty“.

IPA Staff Pick

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

In a talk delivered to the Boston Mises Circle, Jeff Deist from the Mises Institute absolutely nails what has gone wrong in the economics profession. Deist says the study of economics has been captured by academics and mathematicians, meaning it “starts with the wrong premises, asks the wrong questions, applies the wrong methods and not surprisingly arrives at the wrong conclusions.

This is a must-read speech on how proponents of free markets need to approach the debate, and why it is so important to reclaim economics from the Left.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Brian Eno deserves a Nobel Prize

October 13, 2016

From Morgan Begg

This is how much Australian living standards have improved since the year I was born:

That’s from Your Life in Numbers, an amazing new project by the Cato Institute launched on Friday. You can see how much any country has changed in your lifetime here.

Remember when Tim Flannery said global warming would mean we’d see less rain and our damns wouldn’t fill anymore? Well, as the IPA’s Jennifer Marohasy noted on her blog on Wednesday, the Murray Darling Basin has just recorded its wettest September on record. You can also listen to what Jennifer had to say about climate change, flooding and the South Australian blackouts in her appearance on the Alan Jones Show two weeks ago.

The Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström on Monday for their work on contract theory. You can read a useful explainer of their work here. You can also read why Tyler Cowen praised the decision on Monday. The Mises Institute on Monday found there was “much… for Austrian economists to admire” in the decision.

Last week Katie Hopkins called the British government’s commitment to leaving the EU the moment the UK began “rebuilding the British Empire“. Nigel Farage had a great article in The Telegraph on Sunday warning that the Brexit vote in June should not be viewed in isolation – it is replaying itself in the US right now with Trump. You can see where Katie and Nigel fall on Conservative Home’s updated list of the 100 most influential British conservatives, published last week.

By his own admission, Mike Baird “got it wrong” on greyhound racing, and has scrapped his proposed state-wide ban on the industry. And it looks like lockouts will be next. Last month, the IPA’s Evan Mulholland appeared on SYN radio to slam the proposed greyhound racing ban.

Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist, published his latest book last week, Messy, about how disorder and randomness can inspire people to do extraordinary things. My favourite example, as Harford recounts in his Financial Times column, is how Brian Eno randomly switched musicians to different instruments during production of what would become David Bowie’s hugely acclaimed ‘Berlin Trilogy‘ of albums.

Former IPA deputy director turned Senator, James Paterson did what we would expect any former IPA deputy director turned Senator to do – propose the sale of government assets to reduce the debt. On Friday, Senator Paterson said Jackson Pollock’s dreadful Blue Poles paintings, worth $350m, should be sold – see the predictable outrage here, here, here and here.

We should sell the paintings, but there must be some reason the government wants to keep them. So we asked people to use their imaginations and convince us why we should keep the paintings for the latest Generation Liberty writing competition. Submissions close tomorrow. We listed our three favourite submissions we’ve received so far – the first one is surprisingly convincing!

Our friends at the HR Nicholls Society are hosting their 36th annual conference in Melbourne on 21-22 October – details and registration here. Immediately after the conference, the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is hosting a symposium featuring IPA’s Dr Mikayla Novak, Prof. Sinclair Davidson and Aaron Lane – details and registration here.

Lastly, the IPA’s Chris Berg will be speaking about freedom of speech at La Trobe University’s Bold Thinking Series event in Melbourne on 27 October – see details here.

Article of the week

Even the ultra anti-Trump columnist Bret Stephens has some sympathy for the forces driving Trump’s support. His brilliant article in the Wall Street Journal last Monday explains why people may defy the elites and elect Trump to the White House.

IPA Staff Pick

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

The hottest new series is HBO’s ‘Westworld‘, a remake of the 1973 cult-classic film written by the brilliant Michael Crichton. Crichton also wrote the 2004 book State of Fear, a book centred around a ruthless plot by eco-terrorists to manufacture disasters to push the global warming theory.

Crichton gave a fascinating 50 minute address to the Independent Institute in November 2005, titled “States of Fear: Science or Politics?

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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