The creeping hand of authoritarianism

Little by little the creeping hand of authoritarianism reduces us to sheep-like cyphers, and as usual the vastly overstated threat of terrorism is used to justify it. The innocuously named Assistance and Access Bill 2018 is intended to force companies to provide information about how their systems work, thus compromising their cybersecurity. It’s an extraordinary overreach by officialdom in the name of fighting terrorism, which is nowhere near the level of threat suggested by the … Read more

The worst political attribute

Hypocrisy. It can be deliberate or — I hate to use the word ‘innocent’ — unknowing. If deliberate, it smacks of deceit and ruthlessness. If the perpetrator is unaware of their hypocrisy, it is symptomatic of a mindset that is incapable of impartiality, an inability to self-examine, a static belief in their, or their party’s, absolute rightness. What brought this to mind recently was the LNP’s claims that Bill Shorten is a … Read more

A new left future?

If you believe the mainstream media you could be forgiven for thinking that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez’s victory in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional district against the 10-term incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley was merely reactionary, a need for change. In fact, it was more reflective of her constituency and its rejection of the status quo. Ms Ocasia-Cortez is a young socialist activist. She’s a third-generation New Yorker whose family has roots in Puerto … Read more

The peril of ignoring history’s lessons

One more thing about the creeping erosion of liberty in the name of security: underlying public acceptance of these measures is the assumption that we will continue to live under a benign government. History gives the lie to that. Look at Turkey, for example. Or Italy and Germany in the thirties, where the expectation that embracing authoritarianism would make everyone much safer. Except it didn’t.

More erosion of liberty (2)

Yesterday I was concerned about a federal bill to limit the right to protest freely. Today I discover that the New South Wales Parliament has just issued a regulation that provides public officials with broad power to “direct a person” to stop “taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly” that takes place on public land, e,g. roads, squares, parks. The only exception is “in the case of a cemetery, for the … Read more

More erosion of liberty

The Foreign Espionage Bill (or, to give it its full name, National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill) going through parliament at the moment is a threat to not-for-profit (NFP) organisations in that it could make peaceful protests punishable by up to 20 years in jail. Hundreds of thousands of people around Australia took to the streets to protest against Australian involvement in the Iraq war. Potentially, they could all be … Read more

Not everyone seeks to aspire

Years ago I received a phone call from someone saying I’d been referred to him by my local servo owner. The caller said he had a great investment that would interest me. It was one of those too good to be true opportunities and I told him I wasn’t interested. “But,” he said, “you’ll  make a small fortune.” “Still not interested,” I said. “Don’t you want to be rich?” he persisted. “No. … Read more

Is Neoliberalism the same as capitalism?

Capitalism is an economic system where the means of production and distribution of goods and services for profit are owned by a few as opposed to the state. The means of production are entrepreneurship, labour, capital goods, and natural resources. Capitalism requires a free market economy in which to operate. Neoliberalism is both an economic and a political system. It embraces laissez-faire (unregulated) capitalism, removal of all constraints to trade, globalisation (removal … Read more