Many politicians and bureaucrats systematically cause delays and unnecessary expenditure, and ignore reality. Even worse, many from the ‘Left’, progressives, Cultural Marxists and activists keep trying to stymie democracy with their shrill, often illogical and ideological views. The following articles provide evidence.
- Beware creeping authoritarianism in Australia By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 11 October 2017
- Modern democracy is soft-headed, wimpy, sly socialism By Nick Cater, The Australian, 26 September 2017
- Correctness By A.Z.Mohamed, via The Gatestone Institute, 25 August 2017
More previous articles are linked below the most recent three.
Beware creeping authoritarianism in Australia
Beware creeping authoritarianism in Australia By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 11 October 2017
Green shoots of authoritarianism are sprouting in the nation’s capital as calls come for executives to rush to Canberra to receive lectures from senior politicians.
Scott Morrison’s “cry me a river” comment after hitting the top five banks with a special tax certainly sounded dictatorial, as did his cop-this announcement that delivered the banking regulator even greater powers to intervene in senior management through the Banking Executive Accountability Regime. It requires executives and senior managers to register with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
If the culture in some banks needs attention, that’s the preserve of shareholders and boards, not politicians.
Rather than oppose the Treasurer’s proposals with a vigorous campaign objecting to this intrusion into bank management and explaining how it will weaken international competitiveness and lead to risk aversion, the industry association says the regime should be extended to all entities regulated by APRA, such as insurance companies and superannuation funds. Go figure.
Energy companies also have incurred the wrath of Canberra.
In a letter to seven retail electricity chiefs, plus the Australian Energy Council, Malcolm Turnbull said the companies’ various hardship programs were not enough. Australian Energy Market Operator chief executive Audrey Zibelman said the federal government would have no choice but to put more regulation on electricity retailers if they could not show how they were going to cut prices, especially to poor households.
What the Prime Minister really means is that it’s fine for companies to profit handsomely from incoherent energy policies that predictably lead to higher electricity prices but, should the government lose votes as a consequence, they will be blamed and disciplined. As the companies’ revenue depends on taxpayer and consumer subsidies, they will obey.
These days industry is careful not to upset its political masters. Most discussions occur behind closed doors. Publicly, business leaders such as Minerals Council of Australia chairwoman Vanessa Guthrie endorse the government’s policy direction. While representing Australia’s extensive, high-quality coal interests, “which can deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy”, Guthrie says, “Our singular goal must be a more affordable, reliable electricity supply which meets our international commitments and our community’s desire for a lower environmental footprint.” All bases covered.
That “lower environmental footprint” has distorted the domestic energy market, resulting in a possible gas shortage next year. Former Labor resources and energy minister and now gas industry adviser Martin Ferguson says the gas sector is being used as a political pawn and held to ransom to solve the instability created by short-term political decisions.
After the federal government threatened to impose export controls, the major gas exporters agreed to meet the predicted shortfall, but on price, committed only to “reasonable terms’’.
Depending on what those terms are, a self-inflicted political crisis will be averted. But is coercing business for political ends to become the new policy normal?
Well, when governments choose state corporatism over the efficiency of market forces, yes. When the priorities are political, not economic, shareholder sovereignty takes a back seat. Increased corporate welfare and regulatory protection have empowered government, and captured and politicised much of big business. It gives credence to the notion that business operates under a “social licence”. This encourages morally virtuous social engineers in industry superannuation funds and elsewhere to push their latest environment, social and corporate governance fashions. The “one size fits all” mentality is socially driven and adds to red tape and distractions for management.
The media-left loves this form of collectivism. It promotes anti-capitalist ideas and beats into submission businesses that fear community reprisals from non-compliance. It explains why so many companies give uncritical support, however marketed, to perceived popular causes such as global warming and same-sex marriage. Political correctness may be a topic of wonder and derision at family barbecues, but to the business elite, in language and in deeds, it is deadly serious stuff.
German author Sebastian Haffner kept a secret journal in the 1930s in which he wrote: “There are few things as odd as the calm, superior indifference with which I and those like me watched the beginnings of the Nazi revolution in Germany, as if from a box at the theatre.”
Like today, it was easier to accept the lived realities and adapt to them than to resist. When your and your organisation’s future are linked to being on one political side, you pay close attention to the new doctrines. It shapes your behaviour. Haffner calls this “sheepish submissiveness”. “There was not a single example of energetic defence, of courage or principle. There was only panic, flight, and desertion,” he wrote.
It may be melodramatic to draw parallels between 1930s Germany and contemporary Australia. But there is no denying Canberra is warming to a culture of enforcement. And freedom’s champions are few. Today, all economic actions are seen through a political prism. The leadership of both parties is rapidly finding the allure of command more appealing than markets. And, like those in Haffner’s box, we miss how this is affecting our own freedoms. Meanwhile, the political class uses capitalist prosperity to underwrite our social decay.
Modern democracy is soft-headed, wimpy, sly socialism
Modern democracy is soft-headed, wimpy, sly socialism By Nick Cater, The Australian, 26 September 2017
There were two paths the government could take, Kevin Rudd said in 2009 before explaining to the ABC’s Kerry O’Brien why he’d decided to take the wrong one.
The first was to build the National Broadband Network, a nation-building project said to be as bold as the Snowy Mountain Scheme or the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“The alternative,” said Rudd, “is to sit back and do nothing.”
The information superhighway, as Rudd called it, would have been built by now if his bullish predictions had come true.
As it is, more than half the country is still waiting, though not exactly clamouring, since other technology seems to be working just fine.
The Akamai 2017 State of the Internet report found mobile broadband to be 41 per cent faster on average than fixed broadband in Australia, and improving twice as quickly.
The decision to plunge the commonwealth into a high-risk, low-return, capital-intensive business it knew nothing about was made in the anxious days of the global financial crisis when Labor convinced itself that capitalism was broken and it was the state’s job to fix it.
Today Labor appears incapable of shaking off that thought, let alone admitting there was anything unseemly in its post-crash embrace of Keynesianism.
“What the last 10 years confirmed,” Wayne Swan told the National Press Club last month, “is that government intervention worked.”
Not everyone would agree. They might argue Labor’s interventionist tendencies emboldened by the financial crisis led to some of the worst policy decisions in Australian history for which we continue to pay the price. Labor’s legacy is a broadband network that is well behind schedule, slower than its competitors and that has suffered a $10.7 billion loss in the past four years.
Labor’s intervention in the energy market, forcing the construction of unreliable wind and solar generation, together with state government injunctions on the exploitation of gas, has doubled the price of electricity.
The list of government bungles is extensive. The National Disability Insurance Scheme’s failings are too extensive to be regarded as mere teething problems.
We spent three-quarters of a billion dollars on developing a personally controlled electronic health record and there’s hardly anything to show for it; ditto the $700 million Carbon Capture and Storage Institute; $1.2bn invested in halving homelessness by 2020; the Education Revolution, the Digital Education Revolution and the Building the Education Revolution; triple cash grants to first-home buyers; and so on.
The inescapable conclusion is that, however well-intentioned, governments are blundering, lame and unimaginative beasts without the sense to recognise their failures, let alone learn from them. The little they achieve comes cheaply and it is frequently outweighed by unintended consequences.
The present weaknesses of the Western world are not rooted in capitalism but in fundamental weaknesses of the state, in its structural fiscal deficits, burdensome regulation and world-trailing public services. As Niall Ferguson said in a recent interview: “State failure is not capitalism’s fault but the fault of inadequate politicians, ineffective public administrators and public sector unions that are too powerful.”
Ferguson’s 2013 book, The Great Degeneration, is a convincing rebuttal of the fairy story, embraced by social democrats as fact, that the financial crisis was caused by deregulation.
On the contrary; the crash occurred because the regulations were so complex that the banks were able to game them, calculating that if anything went amiss they were too big for the state to let them fail.
The present fashion for regulation is, at best, “beside the point”, says Ferguson and at worst encourages moral hazard.
That the most fervent support for the neo-interventionist left should be among voters under 35 should come as little surprise.
Millennials have no memory of the economic troubles of the 1970s and 80s and are unlikely to have been taught about them in school. Economics has become unfashionable, and economic history even more so.
What’s worse, the deregulatory reforms of the 80s that put Australia back on track are demonised in universities and increasingly by mainstream politicians of what was once the centre-left.
The consequences of “the teetering edifice of neoliberalism”, Swan told the press club, were “falling real wages for more than a generation; mass blue-collar unemployment; drug epidemics; rising working-class mortality rates; and ongoing political crises”.
This unexacting argument underpins his call for an “activist fiscal policy” to promote what he and other progressive would-be intellectuals like to call “inclusive growth”.
If the consequences of Swan’s last spell of fiscal activism were not enough to expose the flaw in his argument, we could always look to Venezuela, where fiscal activism was enthusiastically embraced by Hugo Chavez’s Fifth Republic as part of the socialist “pink tide” sweeping Latin America. Chavez, like Swan, believed in ending inequality and warned that horrible things would happen if his country took “the American road”.
But we digress, for after various experiments in central planning across two centuries the case surely has been made that light regulation, low taxes and economic freedom have a far higher success rate.
An early 19th-century political scientist, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59), once described the dispiriting consequences of an interventionist state that “covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd”.
This is not outright socialism as practised in the communist bloc: it is soft-headed, wimpy, sly socialism, the socialism advocated by socialists who prefer not to use the S-word if they can possibly help it.
“It does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them, and directs them. It does not tyrannise, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and ?nally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”
It’s a perturbing picture but, then, what would a neoliberal trickle-down crackpot like de Tocqueville know?
Nick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre.
Two New Totalitarian Movements: Radical Islam And Political Correctness
Two New Totalitarian Movements, Radical Islam And Political Correctness By A.Z.Mohamed, via The Gatestone Institute, 25 August 2017
The attempt in the West to impose a strict set of rules about what one is allowed to think and express in academia and in the media — to the point that anyone who disobeys is discredited, demonized, intimidated and in danger of losing his or her livelihood — is just as toxic and just as reminiscent of Orwell’s diseased society.
The main facet of this PC tyranny, so perfectly predicted by George Orwell, is the inversion of good and evil — of victim and victimizer. In such a universe, radical Muslims are victimized by the West, and not the other way around. This has led to a slanted teaching of the history of Islam and its conquests, both as a justification of the distortion and as a reflection of it.
Thought-control is necessary for the repression of populations ruled by despotic regimes.That it is proudly and openly being used by self-described liberals and human-rights advocates in free societies is not only hypocritical and shocking; it is a form of aiding and abetting regimes whose ultimate goal is to eradicate Western ideals.
Political correctness (PC) has been bolstering radical Islamism. This influence was most recently shown again in an extensive exposé by the Clarion Project in July 2017, which demonstrates the practice of telling “deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them in order to forget any fact that has become inconvenient” — or, as George Orwell called it in his novel, 1984, “Doublespeak.”
This courtship and marriage between the Western chattering classes and radical Muslim fanatics was elaborated by Andrew C. McCarthy in his crucial 2010 book, The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.
Since then, this union has strengthened. Both the United States and the rest of the West are engaged in a romance with forces that are, bluntly, antagonistic to the values of liberty and human rights.
To understand this seeming paradox, one needs to understand what radical Islamism and PC have in common. Although Islamism represents all that PC ostensibly opposes — such as the curbing of free speech, the repression of women, gays and “apostates” — both have become totalitarian ideologies.
The totalitarian nature of radical Islamism is more obvious than that of Western political correctness — and certainly more deadly. Sunni terrorists, such as ISIS and Hamas — and Shiites, such as Hezbollah and its state sponsor, Iran — use mass murder to accomplish their ultimate goal of an Islamic Caliphate that dominates the world and subjugates non-Muslims.
The attempt in the West, however, to impose a strict set of rules about what one is allowed to think and express in academia and in the media — to the point that anyone who disobeys is discredited, demonized, intimidated and in danger of losing his or her livelihood — is just as toxic and just as reminiscent of Orwell’s view of a diseased society.
These rules are not merely unspoken ones. Quoting a Fox News interview with American columnist Rachel Alexander, the Clarion Project points out that the Associated Press — whose stylebook is used as a key reference by a majority of English-language newspapers worldwide for uniformity of grammar, punctuation and spelling — is now directing writers to avoid certain words and terms that are now deemed unacceptable to putative liberals.
Alexander recently wrote:
“Even when individual authors do not adhere to the bias of AP Style, it often doesn’t matter. If they submit an article to a mainstream media outlet, they will likely see their words edited to conform. A pro-life author who submits a piece taking a position against abortion will see the words ‘pro-life’ changed to ‘anti-abortion,’ because the AP Stylebook instructs, ‘Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and pro-abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.’ It goes on, ‘Avoid abortionist,’ saying the term ‘connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.’
“Words related to terrorism are sanitized in the AP Stylebook. Militant, lone wolves or attackers are to be used instead of terrorist or Islamist. ‘People struggling to enter Europe’ is favored over ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee.’ While it’s true that many struggle to enter Europe, it is accurate to point out that they are, in fact, immigrants or refugees.”
To be sure, the AP Stylebook does not carry the same weight or authority as the Quranic texts on which radical Islamists base their jihadist actions and totalitarian aims. It does constitute, however, a cultural decree that has turned religious in its fervor. It gives a glimpse, as well, into the intellectual tyranny that has pervaded liberal Western thought and institutions.
The main facet of this PC tyranny, so perfectly predicted by Orwell, is the inversion of good and evil — of victim and victimizer. In such a universe, radical Muslims are victimized by the West, and not the other way around. This has led to a slanted teaching of the history of Islam and its conquests, both as a justification of the distortion and as a reflection of it.
As far back as 2003, the Middle East Forum reported on the findings of a study conducted by the American Textbook Council, an independent New York-based research organization, which stated:
“[Over the last decade], the coverage of Islam in world history textbooks has expanded and in some respects improved…. But on significant Islam-related subjects, textbooks omit, flatter, embellish, and resort to happy talk, suspending criticism or harsh judgments that would raise provocative or even alarming questions.”
Thought-control is necessary for the repression of populations ruled by despotic regimes. That it is proudly and openly being used by self-described liberals and human-rights advocates in free societies is not only hypocritical and shocking; it is a form of aiding and abetting regimes whose ultimate goal is to eradicate Western ideals. The relationship between the two must be recognized for what it is: a marriage made in hell.
- Social engineers determined to remove the wonder from childhood By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 23 August 2017
- Need to deactivate activists 10 August 2017 . Need to deactivate activists, by Julian Tomlinson, 11 August 2017
- Freedom of speech is critical to all other freedoms By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 9 August 2017
- Democracy under attack By Dr Muriel Newman, NZCPR, 30 July 2017
- Socialism returns in the guise of sincerity By Nick Cater, The Australian, 25 July 2017
- Cairns Post editorial, An attack on our way of life, 170629 By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 29 June 2017
- Surely You’re Crying, Mr Feynman By Tony Thomas, Quadrant Online, 23 June 2017
- Masks slip to reveal the ugly face of the Marxist future By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 21 June 2017
- Standing up to political bullies takes courage By Dr Muriel Newman, NZCPR, 11 June 2017
- How radical Left shuts down debate Gerard Henderson, The Australian, 3 June 2017
- Australia’s Liberal inheritance sinks from view By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 22 May 2017
- The Gender Obsessed West Sets Itself Up for the Rise of Islam By Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, 21 May 2017
- New Zealand, of all places, is bringing in cultural Marxism by stealth By Dr Muriel Newman, NZCPR, 14 May 2017
- Britain’s intrusive surveillance system, a threat to civil liberties By Graham Valgerben, Global Research, 11 May 2017
- The Plague Of Cultural Marxists Interview with Doug Casey, InternationalMan, 8 May 2017
- The Death Of Facts By Douglas Murray, The Gatestone Institute, 5 May 2017
- My Agenda, destroy Australia, and how well I’m doing By Frank Pledge, Quadrant Online, 13 April 2017
- The Australian public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, no longer have public purpose By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 10 April 2017
- Totalitarian-minded citizens challenge our freedom of speech By Stephen Chavura, The Australian, 6 April 2017
- Universities have become crucibles of PC indoctrination By Melanie Phillips, The Times, 4 April 2017
- Julian Tomlinson editorial, 30 March By Julian Tomlinson, The Cairns Post, 30 March 2017
- Memo to the politically correct, you have failed By Chris Kenny, The Australian, 29 March 2017
- Populist challenge provokes an almighty tantrum from leftists By Brendan O’Neill, Spiked Online, 18 March 2017
- Why Do Leftists And Globalists Hate Tribalism So Much? By Brandon Smith, Alt-Market, 17 March 2017
- Graphic link Cairns Post Editorial, 160317 ; text link Green hue to sea of hysteria. By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 16 March
- Bill Leak’s final brilliant speech From John Roskam, Executive Director, IPA, 12 March 2017
- CP Editorial, 9 March 2017 By Rita Panahi, Cairns Post, 9 March 2017
- Unsightly contortions of tweet-deep ‘feminists’ By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 8 March 2017
- CP Editorial, Julian Tomlinson, 23 Feb 2017 By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 23 February 2017
- Political correctness kickstarted populism in the West By Melanie Phillips, The Times, 22 February 2017
- National pride is a dangerous concept to our political leaders By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 20 February 2017
- CP Editorial, Rita Panahi, 7 Feb 2017 By Rita Panahi, The Cairns Post, 7 February 2017
- Politics, judiciary must remain separate By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 4 February 2017
- CP Editorial, Julian Tomlinson, 2 Feb 2017 By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 2 Feb
- The ballot box defeats media and far left trying to usurp democracy By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 1 February
- CP Julian Tomlinson editorial 260117 by Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 26 January
- The Demise of the Left By Paul Craig Roberts, 26 January 2017
- Australian politicians ignore forthcoming perils By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 18 January 2017
- The censorious, mollycoddled environment of modern academe By Nick Cater, The Australian, 17 January 2017
- The Left’s near-total dominance of the political stage in Australia By Dr Michael Galak, Quadrant Online, 12 January 2
- cp-editorial-171116 – Cairns Post Editorial, Julian Tomlinson, 17 November 2016
- the-snobbish-nastiness-and-division-perpetuated-by-gender-studies-experts By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 16 November 2016
- at-last-the-pontificating-media-elites-are-trumped By Nick Cater, The Australian, 15 November 2016
- trigger-warning-freedom-of-speech-not-welcome Editorial, The Australian, 8 October
- lies-and-propaganda-of-the-supranational-elites By Jennifer Oriel, The Australian, 31 October 2016
- taxpayer-funded-activism-undermining-the-nation The Australian editorial, 24 October 2016
- australias-thought-police-are-destroying-freedom-of-speech James Allan, The Australian, 20 October 2016
- the-war-on-free-speech-has-just-begun By Mark Steyn, The Australian, 19 October
- cultural-totalitarianism-of-the-postmodern-era-did-the-impossible-it-changed-the-very-nature-of-man-and-woman By Alexander Maistrovoy, 17 October 2016
- offended-left-claims-exclusive-right-to-freedom-of-expression By Gerard Henderson, The Australian, 15 October 2016
- road-to-tyranny-is-paved-with-leftie-assumptions By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 27 September 2016
- protecting-americas-children-from-police-state-goons-bureaucratic-idiots-mercenary-creeps By John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, 22 September 2016
- free-speech-inimical-to-lefts-stifling-orthodoxies By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 21 September 2016
- swamped-by-outdated-multicultural-model By Nick Cater, The Australian, 20 September 2016
- egressive-left-puts-bigotry-and-militant-islam-on-a-pedestal By Peter Baldwin, previously a minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor governments. The Australian, 17 September 2016
- Parents allowed tough love By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 1 September 2016
- Australians see all this as craven, cultural surrender by the ruling classes By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 1 September 2016
- George Soros evil influence on Western politics By Jennifer Oriel, The Australian, 22 August 2016
- What Became of the Left Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy, 20 August 2016
- 21st-century Left waging new war on free speech By Jennifer Oriel, The Australian, 15 August 2015
- Denial of speech is one step towards totalitarianism By Nick Cater, The Australian, 25 July 2016
- Generation Snowflake By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 21 July 2016
- The silent majority starting to speak out By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 13 July
- A march against democracy By Tom Slater, Spikes Online, 10 July 2016
- Australia’s unprotected rebel against the political elites By Grace Collier, The Australian, 9 July 2016
- Australia’s politics in disarray By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 7 July 2016
- Censorship is not education By Julian Tomlinson – the Cairns Post, 30 June 2016
- Brexit, this is what democracy feels like By Brendan O’Neill, Spiked Online, 25 June
- No offence – but harden up! By Julian Tomlinson – the Cairns Post, 23 June 2016
- The Brazen Left’s Bid to Kill Quadrant By Jeremy Sammut, Quadrant Online, 1 June
- How to raise boys and avoid PC nonsense By Julian Tomlinson – the Cairns Post, 26 May 2016
- The Greens, sirens of socialism By Nick Cater, The Australian, 3 May 2016
- Leftists for the EU, the radical wing of the oligarchy By Brendon O”Neill, Spiked Online, 23 April 2016
- A new authoritarianism has descended By Neil Brown, The Spectator, 11 April 2016
- Don’t fear the freedom police By Julian Tomlinson, Deputy Editor, Cairns Post, 7 April
- Australia’s Marxist-LGBTI engineers By Merv Bendle, Quadrant Online, 2 March 2016
- Authenticity, the answer to PC pundits By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 17 February 2016
- Progressivism’s clash with reality – by Merv Bendle, Quadrant Online 8 February 2016
- gloriously-unhinged-by-president-trump By Daryl McCann, Quadrant Online, 20 November 2016
- cairns-post-editorial-201016 Laws of diminishing returns as the ‘nanny state’ takes over control of our freedom, By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 20 October 2016
- The Truth Behind Revolutions By Alexander Light, HumansAreFree.com; 27 August 2016
- The counter-revolution against the Deep State From Inner Circle, 26 August 2016
- The welfare state fails Aboriginals yet again By Gary Johns, The Australian, 25 August 2016
- I quit, the bureaucrats had beaten me By Charles Hugh-Smith, 13 August 2015