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Category Archives: The Right

States and gangs

Having previously defined the state as (a structure of) systematic coercion requiring hierarchy to operate and revenues to sustain itself extracted from a given territory, an obvious question is: what about criminal gangs? They engage in systematic coercion, have a hierarchy which they use to extract revenue to sustain themselves from a given territory. One objection might be that criminal […]

Ebola, Ferguson and political narratives

The Ebola virus reaching the US and the ongoing troubles and controversy over a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri display the power and the dangers of political narratives from all sides, both of US politics and more broadly. Thus, one of the more tired and embarrassing responses to Ebola mis-steps in the US has to […]

Memories of Ray Evans (1935-2014)

I was greatly saddened to learn, via email, of the death of Ray Evans.  I first met Ray sometime in the 1980s, when he was an indefatigable fighter for labour market reform. The attempt by the new Hawke Government, via the Hancock Report, to expand even further the legal privileges of the union movement inspired him to co-found the H […]

The Jacobin impulse

What makes the decent Left decent is not that it is Left, but what it shares with decent folk who are not of the Left. Failure to grasp that leaves one claiming that any person of the Left is morally and intellectually superior to any person of the “Right”: so Pol Pot is morally and intellectually superior […]

First they came for the pagans and the queers

The upside of Mozilla’s purging of Brendan Eich is various folk are getting the point that penalising opinion and purging workplaces is so not a good idea. The downside is a lot of folk just don’t get the bigger issue. This piece, for example, First They Came For The Mormons, exemplifies the common notion that “this” started with […]

Non-Believer Nation

Freedom of belief doesn’t appear to be important to Fox News host Dana Perino, who suggested that if atheists don’t like having “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, well, “they don’t have to live here.” Massachusetts’ highest court is currently hearing a case against the Pledge brought by atheist parents, who feel that due […]

Ben Bernanke, the Fed and the Tea Party

Ben Bernanke is not a Tea Party sort of person. An academic appointed as Chair of the US Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) by a Republican President (Bush II) and re-appointed by a Democrat President (Obama) who helped organise the bailout of Wall St in response to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), he is the epitome of […]

You Turn If You Want To

Downing Street has released the names of more guests who will attend Lady Thatcher’s funeral, including US politician Newt Gingrich and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Advertising magnate Lord Maurice Saatchi, internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee and singer Katherine Jenkins have also accepted invitations. The ceremony will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral in […]

Remembering Maggie

The death of Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (née Roberts, 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013), the longest serving and most controversial British Prime Minister of the C20th, has and will let loose a storm of picking over the bones of her Premiership and legacy. I would caution against examinations that look at British economic statistics alone, […]

Check your expectations (1) right-wing wimps and left-wing weaponistas

There is a joke in modern American politics–the Republicans want a big defence force they don’t want to use anywhere and the Democrats want a small defence force they want to use everywhere. Implicit in the joke is that the Republicans like military spending and the Democrats don’t. Because the right is “strong” on defence […]