An inconvenient truth for the NYT

March 30, 2017

From Peter Gregory

These two graphs from a new report called ‘Why Australians are struggling to get ahead‘, released this week by our friends at the Menzies Research Centre, encapsulate Australia’s budget predicament:

On Saturday night, millions around the world turned off their lights for Earth Hour, while 1.3 billion people globally live in darkness permanently. Bjorn Lomborg dismantled Earth Hour in USA Today on Friday.

Speaking of fading environmentalist fads, the trailer for the sequel to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was released this week. No discussion of Al Gore would be complete without Anthony Watts’ top 10 reasons why Al Gore was wrong on Watts Up With That? from January 2016 (my favourite is number 6, about the polar bears).

If you were still unsure what fake news is, here’s a cracking example. The New York Times breathlessly reported that nearly 40% of US colleges reported a drop in international student applications as a result of the “Trump Effect“. They failed to mention (as pointed out by Tyler Cowen in this blistering post) that 35% of colleges reported an increase, and 26% reported no change.

The poorest 20% of people in Utah are more likely to move up to the richest 20% than in any other state in America. Why? Because of Utah’s small government and big civil society – this in-depth 4,700 word piece by Megan McArdle in Bloomberg on Tuesday is fascinating.

In Perth on 6 April and Adelaide on 11 April, the IPA’s CD Kemp Fellow Andrew Shearer will be delivering lectures on securing Australian freedom and values. Andrew is also a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC and was formerly National Security Adviser to Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott. Details here.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to The Young IPA Podcast which I host with James Bolt. It’s available on iTunes and soundcloud – the latest episode features 18C, travel expenses, Beyonce and an interview with the IPA’s Simon Breheny.

Article of the week:

Friedrich Hayek died 25 years ago last week. Matt Ridley’s wonderful piece in CapX last Thursday captures brilliantly Hayek’s egalitarian notion that human knowledge is a collective phenomenon.

IPA Staff Pick:

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Dr Bella d’Abrera

Read this. It will make you feel optimistic. In the week that Article 50 was invoked, Spiked published the accounts of a dozen prominent Brexit activists on why Brexit will be brilliant.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Don’t mess with Dilbert

March 23, 2017

From James Bolt

The more free markets save lives, the more sceptical people become:

That graph borrows from this CapX article last week, ‘5 Graphs That Will Change Your Mind About Poverty.’ This video by PragerU from last week presented by Arthur Brooks is also fantastic, showing how government welfare programs don’t reduce poverty rates.

Malcolm Turnbull’s 18C announcement on Tuesday is an important step towards restoring freedom of speech in Australia – but the issue is not resolved. As Morgan Begg wrote in The Spectator Australia yesterday, “the only way to guarantee section 18C doesn’t infringe on freedom of speech is to repeal 18C entirely.” And today in Online Opinion medical doctor Michael Keane says 18C is worded so poorly that even Stan Grant could have breached it.

Watch our video from November last year presented by Simon Breheny on how the case against the late, great Bill Leak shows why 18C must be repealed:

And it could get even worse. The Australian this morning reported that Labor is planning to extend the reach of litigation based on 18C to complaints based on gender, disability or age. This is a reboot of the Gillard government’s failed Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 – read our factsheet from then here about why these ideas are so dangerous.

Since its rise to prominence, we’ve been sending you links from the hit blog Dilbert. Here’s a masterclass in Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ analysis of the persuasive power of language. First read this 3,600 word profile of Adams in Bloomberg from Wednesday – and then read the 16 pieces of fake news from the Bloomberg article that Scott Adams’ identifies at his blog. My favourite is number 13.

This week’s long read is this 3,700 word article from Jon Baskin in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s about how the Claremont Review of Books became the intellectual home of Trumpism after the famous “Flight 93 Election” essay in September 2016 by Publius Decius Mus.

By now I expect every single reader of Hey to be a subscriber to The Young IPA Podcast, which I host along with Peter Gregory. Crikey said it’s a must listen if you want to be “overwhelmed by smugness“. Crikey are always good for a pull quote. If you want to see me be “actually a decent performer” catch me in Improv Against Humanity at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from April 10.

Article of the week:

Dan Hannan in The Washington Examiner from Monday on how American politics has become a sporting match, with people blindly barracking for their side.

IPA Staff Pick:

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Matthew Lesh

Last week in London I attended a debate which pitted conservative luminary and leading Brexiteer Michael Gove against economist Jonathan Portes, on the appropriate role of experts in the public sphere. The feisty and entertaining discussion brought to light the importance of scepticism, debate, and questioning simplistic appeals to authority.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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The real scandal is drinking light beers

March 16, 2017

From Morgan Begg

Australia lost a great champion for freedom on Friday. The IPA’s Simon Breheny was proud to call Bill Leak a friend, and heard the tragic news as he was about to go to air on Sky News:

To see why Bill Leak was such a treasure, read the final speech he gave last Wednesday which shows one of Australia’s greatest artists at his very best. And here are three essential items about Bill to read, watch and listen to:

This is the state of debate in Australia: Coopers Premium Light beer featured in a Bible Society video of a discussion on the definition of marriage, and social justice warriors went into overdrive. We can’t even show you the video because Coopers and the Bible Society took it down.

As John Slater explained in The Spectator yesterday this perfectly highlights the “ugly authoritarianism” underlying the so-called tolerant left. Although it’s hard to have any sympathy for Coopers after they released this pathetic apology video that Andrew Hastie MP called a “craven capitulation“.

New ACTU secretary Sally McManus doesn’t “think there’s a problem” breaking laws she believes are unjust. Does that mean McManus believes that employers should be able to pay below the minimum wage if a boss thinks it’s unjust?

Activists are travelling to India to confront Gautam Adani’s outrageous efforts to buy our coal and ship it to his country to provide electricity to homes, factories and offices. Environmentalists are fond of using section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to delay major projects like the Adani mine. The IPA’s Daniel Wild explains why it must be repealed in this new IPA video released today:

You know you have a red tape problem when you can’t even count how many regulatory agencies there are. A report published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute this week finds there could be as many as 443 in the US federal government. The IPA’s Mikayla Novak estimated in May 2016 that there are 497 entities involved in designing or enforcing Australian federal regulations.

The IPA is now on iTunes! The Young IPA Podcast, hosted by fellow Hey writers Peter Gregory and James Bolt, was launched two weeks ago: I was the guest on episode 1, discussing 18C, legal rights and my favourite Simpsons episodes. Episode 2 released on Friday featured the IPA’s Evan Mulholland to talk about feminist traffic lights, stormtroopers and the ABC. The podcast is also on Soundcloud.

Article of the week:

Nate Silver might be a part of the progressive bubble, but at least he knows there is one. In this piece published on Friday at FiveThirtyEight, Silver explains how the progressive media bubble underestimated the chances of Trump and Brexit.

IPA Staff Pick:

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

We all know the left dominate academia, and now we have new evidence to prove it. Noah Carl at the Adam Smith Institute finds in a 23-page paper that while 50% of the British public supports parties on the right, only 12% of academics do the same. Carl also offers an explanation for why this happens, and what can be done to fix it.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Institute of Public Affairs | Level 2 | 410 Collins Street | Melbourne | Victoria | 3000 | Australia

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But 100% of Hey is true

March 9, 2017

From Peter Gregory

The UN said last week that free markets undermine “the realization of housing as a human right“. Really? Here’s how freer markets have worked out for the world’s slum dwellers since 1990:

Why has the IPA’s Evan Mulholland been quoted in media outlets in New York, Washington, Canada, Malaysia, the UK, Ireland and, the Czech Republic this week? Is it free speech? Free markets? Climate change? No – it’s the Committee for Melbourne’s crusade to end the oppression of women, one traffic light at a time. Here is Evan on Ten News on Tuesday:

Evan wrote that “using pedestrian signals to virtue signal is utter nonsense” in The Spectator Australia yesterday.

Last week, after being prevented from giving an address at Middlebury College in the US by protesting students, conservative American sociologist Charles Murray was surrounded and attacked as he left the venue. A female professor accompanying Murray was hospitalised. Three things you must read about this attack on free speech:

This just sums up the problem with American college elites. They are less worried that attackers like those above resemble fascists, than that someone dressing up as a Star Wars stormtrooper for a party, might be a closet Nazi.

Your long piece this week is actually a long listen – a 30 min discussion with John Roskam, Paul Kelly and Nick Cater on whether or not conservatism is in crisis on Tom Switzer’s Between the Lines on Radio National.

And a couple of terrific articles for when you’ve backed yourself into a corner in a political discussion at the pub – “Half of scientific studies are false” in Vox last week and “What do economists actually know?” by Russ Roberts in NewCo Shift on Friday.

Article of the week:

This excellent piece on Reason from Elizabeth Nolan Brown discusses a study from the University of Southern Mississippi that has found what we have long suspected – those expressing moral outrage are often doing so for self-serving reasons.

IPA Staff Pick:

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

I found this experiment intriguing – last week researchers in New York re-staged the US presidential debates with a female playing Donald Trump and a male playing Hillary Clinton. To their great surprise, this caused the largely progressive audience to support Trump and reject Clinton.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

Institute of Public Affairs | Level 2 | 410 Collins Street | Melbourne | Victoria | 3000 | Australia

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