OTHER RECENT POSTS

Solidarity and Its Discontents

Solidarity and Its Discontents

A blast from Hollywood’s golden past … In a dry valley in the Italian countryside, the remaining members of Spartacus’ slave army sit in chains, surrounded by their Roman captors. At the front of the group sits Spartacus himself (Kirk Douglas) and next to him Antoninus (Tony Curtis), a slave entertainer and Spartacus’ favourite. The victorious Roman general, Marcus Licinius […]

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Democracy Inaction: Two Major Parties, One Major Train Wreck

Democracy Inaction: Two Major Parties, One Major Train Wreck

Even by the standards of the Australian parliament, this year has been a dull affair, at least for those of us more interested in policy than in the politics of politics. The recent agonies over the backpacker tax were almost Talmudic in their hair-splitting tedium, while the faux debate on immigration sunk even further into absurdity, with Labor basing its […]

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Raise the Floor to Smash the Ceiling

Raise the Floor to Smash the Ceiling

There’s been a strong backlash in the last few days against the recent spate of articles suggesting that one of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost the election is that she relied too heavily on identity politics, ignoring the bigger economic picture in favour of an emphasis on diversity and rights. Two fairly representative pieces were by Laura Penny, writing in […]

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Crying Freedom: On Chris Berg, Andrew Bolt and Paul Ritchie

Crying Freedom: On Chris Berg, Andrew Bolt and Paul Ritchie

In October 1976 an aged Austrian economist assumed the podium in a Melbourne hotel and delivered, extempore, a speech that set libertarian hearts racing. The economist was Friedrich Hayek and the occasion was the Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which was then in the process of transforming itself into a radical free-market think-tank of the […]

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Mooting an Elephant

Mooting an Elephant

When economist Branko Milanović first published his now-famous chart showing changes in global income distribution between 1988 and 2008 he furnished the world with a neat explanation for the various anti-establishment types now rocking the boat of Western politics: sandwiched between the Asian middle class and an increasingly bloated 1% – the winners from twenty years of ‘high’ globalisation – […]

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From the archive: Katter talks through his hat about same-sex marriage

From the archive: Katter talks through his hat about same-sex marriage

This article was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 23, 2011. * Of all the stupid and spiteful things said at last week’s rally against same-sex marriage, one of the dumbest, and indeed most clarifying, fell from the lips of Bob Katter. Quoting from Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock – ‘Belinda smiled, and all the […]

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Double Disillusion

Double Disillusion

First there was Trump, then there was Brexit, then there was the Australian Senate. Not all developments of equal moment, though underlying each of them, we are invited to believe, is a common foundation: disenchantment with the political class. Lashed by the winds of globalisation and regarding our dwindling pay packets with alarm, we are turning our backs on the […]

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Cholera vs. Plague: The Lesser Evil Calculus

Cholera vs. Plague: The Lesser Evil Calculus

When Lionel Jospin, the Socialist Party candidate for the 2002 French Presidential election, unexpectedly finished in third place in the initial round of voting – behind the Gaullist conservative Jacques Chirac (first) and the far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen (second) – progressive and leftwing voters in France were presented with a stark choice: should they support Chirac in the run-off […]

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Why Jeremy Corbyn Matters

Why Jeremy Corbyn Matters

“The King is dead! Long live the King!” Thus did the English aristocracy mark the death of a monarch, with words that at once acknowledge change and insist on continuity – on the idea that divinely sanctioned kingship not only survives the King’s demise but also alights immediately on the next in line, on the dead monarch’s heir. It would […]

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Blessed are the moderate: how not to talk about religious violence

Blessed are the moderate: how not to talk about religious violence

BEARDED MAN: Could you be quiet, please? What was that? WISEGUY: I don’t know; I was too busy talking to Big-nose. SPECTATOR: I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers”. BEARDED MAN’S WIFE: What’s so special about the cheesemakers? BEARDED MAN: Well obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.                                                 –– […]

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