Free Speech Archive

We don’t need right-wing comedy

Be clear: comedy can be about politics, but the moment it is for politics rather than for humour, the comedy dies.

Quadrant Online: Well Said – And Saying Well Isn’t Enough

My latest piece up at Quadrant Online, arguing that well written, rational pieces supporting classical liberal institutions like free speech won't make a jot of difference.

Decay of the Fashionable Left

Nothing explains the decay of the fashionable left better than this. Juvenile, permanently oppositional, trashing every truly radical, liberating change for the better from the past 500 years, medievalist at heart. I hesitate to use the terms Left and Right anymore – alignments and beliefs have clearly changed. Cassandra Wilkinson talks about free and unfree, […]

In Praise Of Ridicule Repost

After the attacks on US embassies on September 11 – purportedly in response to a video, but apparently pre-organised – and the following blasphemy riots across the West, I’m reposting this meditation on Molly Norris from earlier this year. Free speech, comedy, parody, ridicule and even error need defending more than ever.   September and […]

Silent and Weak

In the wake of worldwide Islamist riots, the US government responds by arresting a videomaker just after midnight (‘taken in for questioning’, not arrested). For making a film. A legal film, in a nation with a Constitutional guarantee of free speech. Tacky, wrong, misleading. But a film. Yeah, formally taken in for questioning  for violating […]

Dissent Is Only Good If You’re Winning

The New Left is overplaying the outrage game so badly that in years to come it will be a study in propaganda failure. Away from the shaping and scolding of their teachers, one can imagine the teen contempt students would have for the constant shock, outrage, inhalations and fake swooning our opinionistas  pass off as […]

ABC: Criticise Any Government But Ours

So the ABC is whingeing about their news site being blocked by India on the grounds it may stir up public unrest (read, ethnic violence). I await with unrealistic expectation that the ABC will defend other Australians’ rights to speak in a way that embarrasses the Australian government. And I await the equally important statement […]

Self Defeat – The Essential Finkelstein

One of the joys of watching policy development is how it completely ignores the infinite flexibility of the people it seeks to regulate. Every policy should go through a rigorous Response Scenario attack from the most creative public-private team imaginable. Just to work out what the best-and-brightest would do to subvert the policy goal. And […]

Who Else Said ‘Gloves Off’ for the Media?

Our Prime Minister and her caucus are putting themselves in dubious company with the demand that it is time for "gloves off" in dealing with the media

Competition And Local Press Freedom

I’m all for a competitive media sector offering a range of choices to media consumers. But in one case media competition can actually make it harder for media outlets to publish fearlessly. Regional and suburban newspapers, local radio and website directories all rely heavily on local Council advertising. And, on occasion, on grants. All Councils […]

The Fairfax Readers’ Dictionary I

In past months it seems words have developed a different meaning, especially from our Fairfax-reading friends: Minister for Communications:  Editor Media Standards:  Media Control Social licence  to operate:  ALP licence to operate Socially acceptable outcomes:  That which keeps Steve Gibbons, Swanny and Marieke Hardy in a job Independence:  An ideology espoused when losing other people’s […]

Hume of the Week

Faced with climate catastrophism and all it has spawned, I am led to Hume’s concern with religion of his period: In all ages of the world, priests have been enemies to liberty; and it is certain, that this steady conduct of theirs must have been founded on fixed reasons of interest and ambition.  Liberty of […]

In Praise of Ridicule

September and November of 2011 saw  the West celebrate success in preventing further terrorist attacks following 9/11. However, we have no real victory over terror. Rather, as the case of Molly Norris shows, in art, in comedy and in speech we have forfeited much. We live in a society where artists cannot speak freely for […]