Pokémon Go is not an indictment of late capitalism

by on 13 July, 2016

unnamedStephan Livera rebuts the arguments that “Pokemon Go is everything wrong with late capitalism”:
Contra the arguments presented by Timothy B. Lee in Pokémon Go is everything that is wrong with late capitalism, Pokémon Go is not a good reason to believe that modern day capitalism has failed us. I’ll quote liberally from Timothy’s article:

If you were looking to have fun with some friends 50 years ago, you might have gone to a bowling alley. Maybe you would have hung out at a diner or gone to the movies.

These were all activities that involved spending a certain amount of money in the local economy. That created opportunities for adults in your town to start and run small businesses.

This is based on the notion that in order to benefit, people have to spend into their local economy. But the real reason we are able to progress forward is not merely due to consumer spending going up (this is putting the consumption cart before the production horse). It is because of savings and capital accumulation. This capital accumulation enables us to make things in more productive and efficient ways. We’re getting more for less!

Blame the Nanny State for Donald Trump

by on 13 July, 2016

By Erika Salmon

The rise of Donald Trump in the US can be associated with many things, especially regarding populist politics, the radicalisation of political correctness and the expansion of the nanny state. This is only becoming increasingly evident as health elitists are prescribing taxes and legislation in order to curb what they consider inappropriate and, even immoral, indulgences. Working class culture was once seen as dignified and respectable, now there is growing sense in working class communities of suffering endless condescension and being ridiculed as “white trash”. The health elitists are viewing a blue-collar lifestyle as ignorant and dangerous, thus they are simply “saving them from themselves.”


Trump defying the nanny state on instagram

Donald Trump is by no means blue-collar, but through his Instagram photo with a big mac he is identifying with them. He is not saying that he wants to change them or their culture to some “golden” lifestyle, he is not saying I know better than you, but rather just going I can appreciate it and I do. The concept of the “Nanny State” is born on socialistic ideals in that we can fit everyone into a box, because we know better than you, we know what’s good for you. This spine-chilling concept does certainly set the teeth on edge, however, the class-based cultural campaign employs slice-by-slice tactics because abolishing traditional pleasures in one grand gesture would be too obvious, too crude, and arouse too much passionate opposition. Instead, the campaign seeks to ease them gradually out of existence, as working class culture underpins American culture.

Health elitists shouldn’t feel too secure in their cultural assault, as working class culture is in no was a minority taste. The stigmatisation of working class culture is only causing more disillusionment within the working class as established voters defend the “working man” but in no way understands working class culture, or their day-to-day lives. Someone like Trump is filling that gap, no matter how poorly, and because of Donald Trump’s political incorrectness they see him as someone who will go against the nanny state, not facilitate it. As the working class increasingly use candidates’ positions on the nanny state to gouge whether politicians respect their culture or mock it, we can only hope that the health elitists and social justice warriors’ rhetoric on “knowing better than you” will dissipate and civil liberties, individual freedoms and a respect for working class culture will become the ideal to pursue.

The Erosion Of Our Civil Liberties

by on 12 July, 2016

By Erika Salmon


Australia is one of the most regulated countries in the world, especially as people have the constant attitude of wanting the government to do everything for them. The ‘Nanny State’ is a collection of increased bureaucratic and governmental power into our daily lives and population apathy in regards to civil liberties. The outcome is a dependence on government, most commonly seen through Australia’s welfare state and public services, but more recently we have seen governments step in through social affairs, such as the recent lock-out laws in NSW and the proposed zero-tolerance alcohol levels in those under 26 in VIC.


Despite the obvious economic and social erosion due to these measures, most people disregard the consequences. What are people willing to sacrifice for security, routine, an easier life? The answer is surprisingly a lot. In regards to the no-smoking bans placed on high density areas around Sydney CBD, the overarching powers given to glorified council workers aka City of Sydney Rangers, is appalling as it encroaches on your civil liberties so carelessly. During the 12 month trial on Pitt St Mall as a no smoking area, rangers were given the power to demand a smoker’s details and if they didn’t comply to follow them into their workplace and harass them until they provide their information. Let’s hope most of those buildings had good security.


This should have been societies wake up call to the increasingly totalitarian and fascist policies that are being instituted to run our lives. But sadly, this has only increased resentment and prejudice towards smokers despite there being no credible science to show that second-hand smoke outdoors is any harm to anyone. May I remind you that smoking is legal.


This intrusion is being pushed further in VIC with the proposed zero-tolerance measures, changing a regulation won’t prevent drunk driving, changing society’s views will. And while since randomised breath testing has been introduced deaths regarding drunk driving has gone down, the proposed deterrence may not stop the 250 lives the VIC police are hoping for. While people under 26 are over-represented in the crash statistics, does that give the government and the executive the right to impinge their own standards and sensibilities upon the populace? While these laws may give companies such as Uber a larger market to tap from, the fact that the free market is introducing these services at a market price is incentive enough to not drink and drive. Maybe instead of limiting the youth’s rights and paving the road for further control and regulation we should instead be facilitating and encouraging industries that provide a competent plan B.


Erika Salmon is currently interning for the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and is on the executive of Croyden Park Committee


Cape York Under Attack From Environmental Extremists

by on 12 July, 2016

By Jack Andrew Wilkie-Jans

Cape York is yet again under attack! There’s no other way to put it. While the region is the “conscience” of Australia and thus bandied around the social policy field, the majority of Australians do not have any real insight into the region, the environment and the peoples’ aspirations.

The region is vast, larger than Victoria and most European countries, it has a wealth of cultural, environmental and also natural resource assets. The region is also home to only 16,000 people (give or take according the last census count). Politics as we all know is a numbers game and so too is policy drafting and implementation. With so few people it is no wonder political parties and bureaucrats feel they can walk all over them with no chance of any serious backlash at the polls. Yet in spite of the minute population and internal politics, the people of Cape York have always been able to pull through in defiance against city based policy makers for the preservation of their own best interests. This is a credit to their political nous and determination. Mostly the Cape has been battling against ‘lock-up’ policies generated by the Greens and Labor, instead in favour of pursuing a future of economic prosperity and social cohesion.

After successfully banding together and keeping the Cape viable back in 2011, the Cape is yet again under attack by Queensland’s Labor government.

The Consequences of Ubrexit: Texas

by on 6 July, 2016

By Andy Tess

Stifling regulations can harm even the most competitive businesses and remove the manifold benefits that came with them. In policy maker’s efforts to make the city safer, the people in Austin, Texas are now less safe following unnecessary intervention. Since obliging all ride share drivers to take on fingerprint-based background checks, they have caused Uber and Lyft to cease operations in the city. This has led to “a patchwork of rogue Facebook groups, drivers struggling to find rides, bartenders terrified to over serve, and stranded drunks trying to get home”

With scarce public alternatives, the recent policy proposal has devastatingly impacted a city that relied on effective private transportation services. With more bars than anywhere else in the US, Austin more than anywhere requires safe riding options. It’s an outrage that DUI’s rose by almost 7% immediately following the companies’ decision to leave the city.

The advent of new companies trying to fill the demand for services is filling quickly, with Arcade City offering to “out-Uber Uber.” One can only hope that these services will not also be thwarted under policy makers’ misguided attempt to create public safety. All policy decisions would benefit more from looking at evidence based outcomes, where they would find that opening the market for legitimate ride sharing services creates more safety, not less.

Brexit is a win-win for Europe and the UK

by on 27 June, 2016


Britain’s vote to leave the European Union should be celebrated by all, writes Nikola Kaurin:

When you resign a job you’re essentially firing your employer.

It means that you’ve compared what you have against what you can get and you’ve decided that it’s in your best interest to go somewhere else.

The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union is no different.

On Thursday, British voters took a good hard look at the EU and they tendered their resignation.

What’s even more extraordinary is that the British electorate voted to leave in the clear absence of a defined alternative.

Or did they?

Contrary to popular wisdom, Britons voted for a very clear option. They voted for the option of successful European integration compared to the alternative of unsuccessful European integration.

But how is that possible? Simple. There’s no greater success story of European integration than the United Kingdom itself.

Why Australia Should Support A Brexit

by on 23 June, 2016

Tomorrow in Britain a referendum will be held asking whether to leave or stay in the European Union. For economic, political and cultural reasons it is imperative to vote leave, and for those same reasons Australia will benefit from this change.

Many British communities living in Australia understand this most acutely. British expat Tobias Lehmann for example, raises the issue of governance. “I read some horrifying statistics that more than 60 per cent of the rules and laws in the UK now come from Brussels rather than Westminster and I just thought to myself ‘I’m lucky to live in Australia where all the laws come from Australia’.

The three main reasons to leave have been outlined by Gerogina Downer from the IPA. She argues:

  • Britain never consented to be part of the European political structure
  • The EU is both anti-democratic and illiberal
  • Australia and Britain will work better following independence

Out and Into the World, Spectator, 18 June 2016

As the spectator notes, the attempt at a ‘common government has had disastrous effects over a continent distinguished by glorious diversity.’ Having lost the ability to cater for the British population, Downing Street has become more pre-occupied with appeasing European technocrats. This is a significant catastrophe in everyday matters, but all the more so in turbulent political and economic circumstances. For the very reason that we do not know events ahead of their time, so we should place greater strength on a British democratic alliance of the willing to tackle them. As the Spectator maintains, Britain will almost always ‘be able to respond and adapt better as a sovereign country living under its own laws.’



Does Canberra know best? The NBN Debate

by on 20 June, 2016

By Dean Hamstead

Labor just announced that “they” will install Fibre to the home for 2 million more Australians. There is no longer a pretense that NBN is a “national asset” – it’s similar another avenue for delivering pork to votes.

Despite this, hidden in a sea of non-sense articles from punters with no technical, no financial and, possibly no life experience – the SMH quietly published perhaps the most sensible article on NBN to date.

“The original vision of the NBN, “FTTP everywhere”, was laudable. Private monopolies are notoriously bad at deploying new technologies and have been in the USA and most other countries. That seems to have been the case in Australia as well. In frustration, the government launched the NBN to fix the problem.

But government monopoly programs are rarely any better than private ones — especially in dynamic sectors like telecom. True to form, it seems that execution of the original NBN did not measure up to the admirable vision. But the new government appears to have kept the flawed execution mechanism (government monopoly) while discarding the admirable all-fibre goal. Seems like the worst of both worlds to us.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is no need for monopolies of any kind to build state-of-the-art FTTP infrastructure. In fact, contrary to common mythology, economies of scale are small in this sector and need not be a barrier to FTTP development. Profitable companies as small as 1000 customers are being built entirely with private capital in circumstances more difficult than you have in Oz…

“Nor are these networks rocket science. As we look around, we see plenty of people in Australia with the energy and talent to build them. If you are smart and enterprising enough to build and run a farm or small business in rural Australia you are smart enough to build and run a local FTTP network as well.”

My personal view has been near complete regulation and handing powers back to residents to decide what cabling is run in their street. With the pits and poles owned by councils, then access leased to any and sundry to run broadband services, pipe gas or whatever they can dream up.

Sadly, in Australia we have embraced that Canberra knows best. Got an idea that might work in your area? Are you willing to risk your own money or someone willing to back you? Too bad it’s illegal.

Just How Fair is FARE? The Canberra Lockouts

by on 16 June, 2016

Henry Innis discovers who is behind the ‘popular support’ for Canberra’s lock out laws


Henry Innis is a partner at B.B.E, a ventures and consultancy firm

There’s a pretty interesting piece of research coming out of Canberra today — a poll showing most Canberra residents want 3am last drinks implemented.


At a glance, it’s fairly innocuous. A poll in a newspaper shouldn’t be a big deal. But the results are somewhat surprising. Why would most Canberrans want this to be the case?


When I studied history at Sydney University, one of the critical parts of your research was to identify your source and account for their bias. It’s as important in current affairs reporting as it is in history essays. Here’s a fact — every single poll commissioned that was in favour of lockout laws was commissioned by one body: FARE.


FARE was established in 2001 with $115 million of taxpayers money. There’s no evidence to suggest it reflects the will of taxpayers in any way, shape or form. Worse still, the organisation has very little accountability to the everyday taxpayer.


Public health lobbies are murky at the best of times. They’re organisations which are less about policy outcomes as they are about absolutes. Stopping all of something is never a realistic goal (FARE’s strategy is to “stop harm caused by alcohol”). So of course they pump out study after study designed to scare the public into submission.


Here’s some key facts about polling, from someone who has experience in market research:


  • Polls can be upweighted to get a specific outcome (e.g targeting parents in the poll).
  • They also typically skew older as they target landlines (ReachTEL is notorious for this).
  • Methodology is critical – they all have methodologies and certain questions framed a certain way to get it right.


None of FARE’s polls disclose any of this. Why? Because they’ve probably briefed their market research agencies to get a certain result. Controlling the poll and making it the central source of truth is the best way to shift public policy opinion – even if the poll is a cynical reflection of the public will.


Here’s the thing about the public health lobby: they’re constantly commissioning research for an objective, passing it off as fact and using that to steer the public debate. Forget objectivity. These guys just want to sucker in your politicians and convince them that you’re thinking something you aren’t.


Worse still, the public health lobby is run by staffers. The CEO of FARE isn’t a doctor. He’s a staffer with a history in Crime Prevention. Not a medical professional. Not even anyone with a history in understanding the impact of alcohol harms or policy.


So when you see polls like the Canberra one from organisations like FARE, don’t take them at face value. Because underneath all the stats is a public health lobby pushing its own agenda.

The People’s Republic of WA

by on 16 June, 2016

Jack Morrison explains the latest errors of the nanny state in WA.

jack mo photo

Jack Morrison is a Post Graduate student at Macquarie University where he is studying his Master’s of Politics and Public Policy, he is currently on the executive of Liberty Macquarie

From the State that brought you the Potato Marketing Corporation to control the types and quantities of potatoes produced comes the latest attempt to turn Western Australia into a Venezuelan themed paradise.

The Director of Liquor Licensing has released its decision regarding Aldi’s application to sell liquor in their Harrisdale Shopping Centre store. This decision comes on the heels of the approval given to the Woolworths owned BWS to open a store at the same shopping centre.

The decision noted that it was neither “necessary nor desirable” to have more than one liquor store operating in the one shopping centre. The decision also explained that Aldi’s lower prices for alcohol in comparison to competitors such as BWS “poses a greater risk from a broad public health perspective” than what BWS would offer.

This latest decision from the nanny state bureaucracy flies in the face of true liberal values and should be soundly rejected by all supporters of free choice, competition and free markets. Aldi have appealed the decision and I for one hope it is reversed.

If the decision stands, we may well soon see ourselves with the one brand of State Beer, the one brand of State Wine available at the one price in the one location. Who knows, we may even be lucky enough to line up for hours for it.