The Principles Of Freedom Are For Everyone And Everywhere

6 January 2022
The Principles Of Freedom Are For Everyone And Everywhere - Featured image

As editor I had no particular plans to make this a ‘China issue’, but from quite disparate sources I find myself with three articles addressing different aspects of that remarkable country’s history, current situation, and influence strategies. This was by happenstance rather than design, but in the final stages of production the ‘white paper’ protests have broken in many of the cities across the country. The is serendipity—or what Carl Jung would have called ‘synchronicity’—the strange way in which precisely the right thing appears at precisely the right time.

On the internet there are viral photos from Tsinghua University—one of the country’s leading institutions—in which students hold up the Friedman equations, a pun or wordplay on the physicist’s name, and the phrase ‘freed man’ or ‘freedom’. The proximate cause may well be the endless pursuit of COVID-zero and the attendant lockdowns and brutality, but what quickly bubbles to the surface is the simple human yearning for freedom. “No to COVID tests, yes to freedom” was part of the slogan on the banner of one brave protester in Beijing just before the CCP Congress in October. Another section read: “No to cultural revolution, yes to reform. No to great leader, yes to vote. Don’t be a slave, be a citizen”.

On page 68 you will read a review by the IPA’s Claire Peter-Budge of a memoir of growing up during the Cultural Revolution to which the protestor referred. The legacy of Mao is valorised by Xi Jinping, but not it seems by all citizens.

This is a reminder—if we needed one—that the principles of freedom subscribed to by the IPA are universal. It is true they emerged in their most fully articulated form from Western Civilisation, but they are a legacy for all the people of the world. The protests are a slap in the face for all the apologists who say there is something deep in the culture of the Chinese people—in China and in the diaspora—that favours stability if not authoritarianism over freedom.

No to cultural revolution, yes to reform … Don’t be a slave, be a citizen.

The protestors are waving bits of white paper, which I gather is an ironic commentary on the consequences of publishing anything critical of the regime. Holding up a blank sheet of paper is enough to signal a protest, and people gather spontaneously in decentralised mini-uprisings. The bravery of the protestors doing this in a police state is incredible to contemplate.

In Jim Molan’s bracing book on the possibility of military conflict initiated by China, the trigger is not surprisingly Taiwan: a free and democratic country whose very existence cannot be tolerated by the CCP, precisely because it refutes its fusion of ethno-nationalisms with ‘Xi Jinping’ thought. Paul Monk’s review of Molan’s book appears on page 62.

The final article in the trilogy is by former Liberal MP Gladys Liu, who lifts the lid on how Chinese language schools in Australia provide a back-door means for the CCP version of history and geopolitics to shape the minds of young Australians of Chinese descent. It is a deeply concerning read.

Article, Taking Stock, title image

Other articles here reflect various interests of the IPA. Our first article, on the Pioneers, is an edited extract from a memoir by Doug Morrisey. It is a thoughtful reflection on the Pioneers who built the free country in which we live, and also the bookends of Doug’s own life, in the 1950s and today. It commences with a description of the 1950s which at first looks like mere nostalgia, but is not. He carefully says it was not a “conservative golden age”. His eye is sympathetic, but not uncritical. It is a nuanced and warm-hearted approach to thinking about Australia—and we could do with a lot more of that.

Two of the articles cover different aspects of the green dreams that are the obsessions of the globalist institutions and the green religionists. The first is one I commissioned from Aynsley Kellow, unpacking the Global Methane Pledge and the emerging demonisation of nitrogen. One of the functions of an organisation such as the IPA is to be an early warning system. Looking around the world—at Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, and Canada, for instance—we can see what happens when abstract analyses of a trace gas (N₂O is 333 parts per billion) suddenly start to drive public policy. Our Government has signed us up to the Global Methane Pledge without any real appreciation of the consequences (or the very pointlessness of it all).

Meanwhile on page 38, John Kananghinis, who actually loves driving electric cars, examines why their potential to ‘save the planet’ is massively overhyped.

Saxon Davidson, on page 32, looks at how pension reforms could address the current excruciating labour shortages being experienced right across the economy. Apparently people who lose more than 50 cents in the dollar for every dollar they earn are less inclined to work … who knew!

Another aspect of the labour force, and the economy more generally, is revealed by Kaylee Boccalante, who on page 46 examines the destructive impact on productivity and general welfare of the growth of the bureaucratic class. The article title’s reference to “bullshit jobs” is a lift from the left-anarchist David Graeber, who once remarked that “it’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working”. Yep!

On page 54, Matthew Ogilvie examines our failing university sector from the perspective of the quality of education—something of interest to all Australians, but particularly students.

Gideon Rozner in Strange Times provides our horoscopes for 2023, and wishes us all a Happy New Year, as do I.

This is the editorial from the Summer 2022 edition of the IPA Review by Editor of the IPA Review, Scott Hargreaves. Articles once loaded online are listed here. IPA Members receive a print edition and online versions of articles are progressively released in the months following publication. To join/subscribe see here.

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