Parliamentary support for free speech continues to grow.
Liberal senator Eric Abetz (Tasmania) has encouraged his party to throw their support behind amendments to remove the words “offend” and “insult” from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
See the full list of current senators who are on the record in support of changes to section 18C here.
The damage to science from global warming
On Thursday, an important essay by Matt Ridley was published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, categorically detailing the distortion of scientific debate, and the damage to science itself, brought about by global warming alarmists.
At the heart of the debate about climate change is a simple scientific question: can a doubling of the concentration of a normally harmless, indeed moderately beneficial, gas, from 0.03% of the atmosphere to 0.06% of the atmosphere over the course of a century change the global climate sufficiently to require drastic and painful political action today? In the end, that’s what this is all about. Most scientists close enough to the topic say: possibly. Some say: definitely. Some say: highly unlikely. The ‘consensus’ answer is that the warming could be anything from mildly beneficial to dangerously harmful: that’s what the IPCC means when it quotes a range of plausible outcomes from 1.5 to 4 degrees of warming.
On the basis of this unsettled scientific question, politicians and most of the pressure groups that surround them are furiously insistent that any answer to the question other than ‘definitely’ is vile heresy motivated by self-interest, and is so disgraceful as to require stamping out, prosecution as a crime against humanity, investigation under laws designed to catch racketeering by organized crime syndicates, or possibly the suspension of democracy.
You can find this must-read essay here. Matt Ridley also delivered the 2013 CD Kemp Lecture for the IPA, ‘Freedom and Optimism: Humanity’s Triumph.’ You can watch the video of the lecture here and his Q&A session with Bjørn Lomborg here.
The totalitarianism of the Human Rights Commission
This obscene video was uploaded onto the Australian Human Rights Commission’s YouTube channel, highlighting the government agency’s coercive powers to regulate attitudes and censor websites:
Here’s the creepiest part, where the offended narrator touts the AHRC’s ability to order sites to remove content “so that no-one else had to read” what they had to:
This is another reason why the Human Rights Commission should be abolished.
If Bill Shorten thinks you’re old enough to vote, does he think you’re old enough to smoke?
Recently, Labor leader Bill Shorten proposed that 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote. If he was consistent he would also support giving 16 and 17 year olds the right to smoke, drink and gamble as well.
The voting age should be consistent with an individual’s rights as an adult across the board. Otherwise, the opposition leader’s proposal will be seen for what it most likely is – a political ploy to secure more votes for Labor in future elections, rather than a serious attempt to bring 16 year olds into adult society.
Teachers are taught to deride the West
Last month the wonderful Dr Jennifer Oriel warned that Australian universities are moulding a generation of teachers to resent Western Civilisation ($).
In response, Dr Bill Allen argued that there is no ‘left-wing conspiracy’ in teacher education courses. On FreedomWatch, the IPA’s Hannah Pandel recounted some of her own experiences in university education courses:
We were told that as educators, we have an ‘important role to play as “public intellectuals”, who should fight the forces of social and economic oppression within which schools operate’. This is informed by critical pedagogy advocate Henry Giroux, who contends that neoliberal politics, pop culture, and corporations are negative ideological forces which must be fought in schools.
Only last week, I sat in classes that denigrated non-government schools, argued for trigger warnings in the classroom, and derided the idea of individual responsibility.
Continue reading here.
The intolerance of political correctness at universities
If the Bjørn Lomborg saga has proven anything, it is that debate is increasingly unwelcome in academia.
Of course, this is not isolated to Australia. Did you hear about the poll which showed that 63 per cent of American college students supported mandatory trigger warnings on campus? Or how about the online petition launched by left-wing groups in opposition to a speech by feminist Germaine Greer?
On FreedomWatch, Murdoch University’s Lorraine Finlay wrote in Greer’s defence:
I may disagree with most of what Germaine Greer says, but that is exactly the reason that I would love to hear her speak. Engaging with thinkers you disagree with, and having your own ideas challenged in the process, is at the core of a university education. Spending your student days wrapped in the cotton wool of agreeable ideas might lead to a safe and comfortable journey through your university degree, but it won’t be an intellectually engaging or rewarding one.
Indeed. Read more on FreedomWatch here.
Three recent articles you must read
- Matt Ridley’s terrific essay on the damage global warming alarmists are doing to science is a must read
- In the New York Times on Saturday, Arthur C. Brooks slammed academia for promoting diversity, without actually practicing it
- From the “population bomb” to catastrophic climate change, it seems progressives always champion doomsday ideologies. See Bret Stephens excellent article In The Australian yesterday here ($)
Some other recent highlights from FreedomWatch
- Brett Hogan, Nuclear should be part of the energy mix – 26 October 2015
- James Bolt, Will bacon give you cancer? – 27 October 2015
- Patrick Hannaford, Union membership at lowest rate in over 100 years – 27 October 2015
- Darcy Allen & Jason Potts, Codeine changes will only make pain more painful – 29 October 2015
- Peter Gregory, One child policy discarded as population bomb fears unfounded – 3 November 2015
- Simon Breheny, Ban first, ask questions later – 4 November 2015
Editor of FreedomWatch – Institute of Public Affairs