How to stop a crime wave

This piece originally appeared in the IPA Review and can also be found here.

In politics, the range of ideas that the public will accept is known as the Overton Window. Ideas from outside the window can shift the public discourse, changing what people think of as normal.

The same is true for behaviour. People’s conduct is governed by their idea of what is socially acceptable. The more that antisocial behaviour is tolerated, the more it will be normalised, and the more of it society will have. And that is how a crime wave forms.

As those of us living in Melbourne know all too well, this is not only an academic concern. Over the last two years, Victoria has seen robbery rates rise 20 per cent, theft rise 9 per cent, and assault rise 8 per cent. Crime has a habit of begetting more crime, and the failure to crack down on serious offending has seen Melbourne fall into a crime wave.

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Righting wrongs in America

This piece first appeared in the IPA Review and can also be found here. It is a review of Richard Rothstein’s book The Color of Law, which can be purchased here.

Across the United States, governments at all levels participated in the segregation and consequent impoverishment of African Americans. For 100 years, from the end of the Reconstruction period following the Civil War to the 1970s, federal, state, and county administrations discriminated against African Americans in housing and employment. The effects of this discrimination haunt the US to this day, and demand remedy by the governments that participated in it.

So argues Richard Rothstein in his new book, The Color of Law. Rothstein aims to show that racial segregation in the US was not de facto but rather de jure—that is, a product of government action, sanctioned by the law. He argues that segregation is unconstitutional under the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments and that anyone harmed by breaches of these laws is entitled to a remedy.

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How identity politics divides us

This piece was co-authored with Daniel Wild (Research Fellow, IPA) and first appeared in the IPA Review. It can also be found here.

The idea that Indigenous Australians should have a separate voice in our Parliament, the push to make Australia Day a representation of our divisions rather than our unity, and the calls for formalised diversity quotas are all manifestations of identity politics, where our legal rights are allocated according to our race, gender and sexuality. This identity politics movement seeks to divide us, and poses a threat to the functioning of our liberal democracy.

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Tim’s tawdry trick

This article originally appeared in the Spectator Australia on 6 October 2017.

As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So naturally, when the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, decided last week to share his view of Trump, Brexit, and conservative populism, he described it as ‘xenophobic and racist’. In the name of ‘equality and non-discrimination’ and ‘rationality and civility’, the populism that has swept the West should be shunned, if not made unlawful altogether.

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Ideological Evasion

This article originally appeared in the Spectator Australia on 22 July 2017.

Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to London think tank Policy Exchange on 11 July provided an insight into his government’s ideology, and there was little to like for conservatives.

In a speech dedicated to Benjamin Disraeli, one of the founders of the United Kingdom’s Conservative party, Turnbull mounted an argument for the state’s role in securing the borders and fighting terrorism, rightly framing this as necessary for defending liberal values. The speech, though, ultimately showed a government bereft of sound philosophy and trapped in the language of its opponents, its leftward drift distinguished by vague gestures towards pragmatism.

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Remember when art was beautiful?

This is a review of Sohrab Ahmari’s book, The New Philistines. It was originally published in the IPA Review in June 2017.

Corrupted by identity politics, high culture in the West is no longer about the search for truth or beauty, but merely a tool for the advancement of leftist social engineering. So argues Wall Street Journal editorial writer Sohrab Ahmari in The New Philistines, a polemic about contemporary art.

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