smart class Archive

#I’llRideWithTheseGuys

All of these are people #IllRideWith. For my safety? Perhaps. But more for engagement with their strength of character, and because they represent real bravery in a time of fakes.

Just How Expensive is Bottled Water?

In 2014, for the cost of one bottle of Mt Franklin from Woolworths, you can refill your bottle nearly 1900 times, and hydrate yourself for 5 years 73 days.

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.

Where is the liberal in Liberal?

Minister Nick Kotsiras' warning to Geert Wilders is another worrying announcement from a Liberal insider class channelling deeply illiberal intuitions. At bottom, classical liberal institutions, rights and conventions limit authoritarian power, and protect individual autonomy. No government likes that. No political class likes that, regardless of their ostensible labelling. Coalition governments need to beware.

Flag: Top Down, Priority Low

The resurgence before Australia Day of the movement to change the Australian Flag is both predictable and lamentable. This is yet more gesture politics, driven by the smart class for whom 'meaningful' gestures constitute the measure of one's goodness.

HECS Rort and the Middle Class

$6.2bn of the outstanding HECS debt is now deemed uncollectable. This is no surprise when middle class housewives, out of the workforce, take 3 year degrees in their fifties and then defer fee payment. Since they will never work again, that money is gone. Time to fix this regressive rort.

Greens, Temperance & Calvinist Self-Hatred

Anyone interested in history cannot fail to notice the recurrent enthusiasms of those fixated on sin, pleasure, comfort and their associated punishment and (occasional) redemption. Whether it is asceticism or just reforming censoriousness, the Hebrew Prophets, Desert Fathers, Essenes, Zwingli and Calvin and now, Carson-inspired Gaia worshippers have much in common.

Return of The Prince

Janet Daley ┬ácalls out UK PM David Cameron on what seems to be a ubiquitous political failing: the belief that being likeable constitutes political leadership. OK, the UK Conservatives had to rebrand after Maggie and after years of artsy scribblers swallowing the Left’s characterisation of what conservatism is about. But there’s no point in prime […]

Fear, Loathing and Bigotry at Leichhardt

So Leichhardt was spared the ignominy of following Julia Gillard and Bob Brown into the cesspit of signed ALP-Green agreements. Thus Rochelle Porteous’ last act as Mayor was her best. Her intransigence and undergraduate politicking ensured her own demise. Seriously, read the email chain Darcy Byrne has distributed and you’d swear Councillor 11% was a […]

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, […]

For What?

Many candidates simply have a desperate desire to be an MP. Any sort of MP. They don't have to compromise anything, because they don't have anything to compromise.

New Media Shames Old

The last 15 years of media appear to be a story of print’s decline and broadcasting fragmentation. But that’s just the sort of creative destruction you expect in a mature industry with a big technological component. A deeper change is the emergence of an alternative accountability media. This change has fully revealed the way the […]

Culture Matters: Why Do We Pretend Otherwise?

Another Romney storm in an American teacup. But it’s one that recurs in the world of social policy and economics. Romney made some remarks about culture and prosperity in Israel, comparing the economic effects of Israeli and Palestinian cultures. It may have been a hand-waving generalisation that you wouldn’t accept from a student, but it […]

Nudge Fads, Behavioural Econ & Paternalists

Tyler Cowen links to an interesting paper on economic research that relies on behavioural economics. Behavioural Economics identifies psychological biases that lead to irrational decisionmaking, and frequently leads to suggestions of ‘nudge policy’, where policymakers use those biases to drive policy outcomes. Only problem is, nudge approaches aren’t part of a transparent policy discussion, and […]

Revolutionaries Become What They Hated

The flood of the revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. The chains of tormented mankind are made out of red tape - Kafka

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