Category Archives: Australia

Why I am voting Yes in the SSM postal survey (but won’t be telling anyone else how to vote)

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me well that I’ll be voting “Yes” in the Same Sex Marriage postal survey. After all, I’m a small-l liberal, non-religious legal academic with many friends in same-sex relationships. I’m the stereotypical “Yes” voter. But I have become increasingly concerned that the “Yes” vote will not win, despite […]

You cannot make people love & accept you: so stop trying

British people often react with incomprehension at how compulsory voting changes the way Australians approach elections. The ABS postal survey on same-sex marriage is a reminder of just how different Australia’s usual voting procedure is from that in most other developed democracies: people are running the campaign as though it were compulsory, you see, and […]

Well, we’re back

Many moons ago, Katy Barnett (Legal Eagle), Lorenzo M Warby (Lorenzo), and I (skepticlawyer, aka Helen Dale) ran quite a popular blog from this site. Apart from Lorenzo’s sterling efforts, the blog has fallen by the wayside, and we kind of forgot its Facebook ‘fan’ page existed. However, since all three of us have got books either published […]

Why there is so much nonsense spouted about fascism

If you are going to invoke the interwar period, particularly the 1930s, please do so intelligently. By which I mean, non-propagandistically. And by interwar period I mean the phenomenon of fascism and neo-fascism. Despite self-serving (look at me, I am opposing fascism!) shrieking, there is not a lot of fascism or neo-fascism in contemporary Western politics. […]

Stop with the projecting

If you assume some factor is behind everything, it is very easy to find it everywhere you look–you just project it onto phenomena. Marxists assumed everything was driven by class dynamics and–surprise, surprise—they found it everywhere they looked. As a friend of mine said to me years ago; Marxist academics didn’t look for evidence, they […]

Globalisation, internationalisation and globalism

It has become something of an analytical commonplace to see the rise of populist nationalism (or national populism)–the development of nationalist parties in Europe, the Brexit vote in the UK and The Donald winning the Electoral College (and thus the US Presidency) in the US–as signifying “a revolt against globalisation”. That is not a useful way […]

Multiculturalism is an experiment that might fail

Multiculturalism has become a sacred marker of progressivism: one absolutely has to be in favour of multiculturalism, or one is not a good person. A person seriously critical of (let alone hostile to) multiculturalism is, in fact, outside the moral pale. There are deep problems with this. First is defining what one means by multiculturalism–there are quite a […]

Why hasn’t the politics of immigration in Australia gone feral?

As one contemplates the rise in anti-immigration parties in Europe, and the fraught politics of immigration in the US, it is very striking how little political angst Australia’s very high level of immigration has caused. True, the nationalist One Nation Party recently scored 4 Senators in the 2016 Federal Election, but that was on 4.3% of the […]

A Rebuke to Crony Unionism

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) of Victoria has 60,000 volunteer firefighters to fight fires, particularly bushfires, outside the area covered by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB). CFA volunteers are deeply linked in with their local communities and represent a huge saving to the Victorian taxpayer. The CFA represents a fine example of practical social capital. As Victoria’s […]

The rhetorical appeal of The Donald

The Donald is a demagogue and central to demagoguery is wish fulfilment politics. Demagoguery is not about believing in things, but in saying whatever the audience wants to hear. (The real trick is saying what they want to hear but haven’t articulated themselves yet.) Say it well enough and almost any amount of contradiction will […]