This is the editorial from the Summer 2020 edition of the IPA Reviewby Editor of the IPA Review, Scott Hargreaves. A Table of Contents can viewed 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.
What just happened? Donald Trump is the most consequential US President in decades. As I write (December 2020) he looks to be departing the White House, but not the political stage. Figuring out why he was elected and what his legacy means for America and centre-right parties across the globe is critical. That’s why I asked my IPA colleagues to contribute ideas and words to our cover story—our first but by no means last attempt to answer one question and start another: what’s next?
In so doing I realised that the very first cover I worked on as incoming Editor of the IPA Review was for the edition just after President Trump had been elected (see inset, right), and framing the start and finish of the Presidential term with arrival and departure photos seemed appropriate.
Every generation has to fight and claim its ancient rights.
What just happened? Even in a year when coronavirus supposedly was the biggest issue facing voters (it wasn’t—see the cover story), the radical left campaigns run under the banner of Antifa, Black Lives Matter and other forms of deconstruction went to the next level, with protests, riots and destruction at various levels of intensity across the West. Sure, not everyone ‘taking a stand against racism’ is a radical (I’ve never met anyone taking a stand for racism), but at the heart—or at the very least the not-insignificant fringes—of these social movements is a genuinely pernicious, dangerous ideology and set of objectives.
We’ve seen it before: it is Maoism. Chairman Mao has been dead a long time, but if we want to know what just happened, we need to understand him, his legacy, the ideology that bears his name, and its modern incarnation. That is the valuable service provided to you, the reader, by Magnus O’Mallon.
What just happened? Just when we thought the States of Australia had reached new levels of irrelevance due to the untrammelled growth of the Federal Government—aided and abetted by the High Court—the hysteria occasioned by coronavirus thrust those States back to the forefront of our lives as they grabbed unprecedented powers over our lives and their decisions (for good or for ill) had far-reaching consequences.
As IPA Adjunct Fellow Matthew Lesh writes on page 16, the breadth of the powers they claimed and the promises they made were by no means matched by their competence. At a time when libertarians have a renewed interest in State Capacity, coronavirus revealed the lack of it in the State of Victoria and raised question marks over other jurisdictions. As Matthew points out, competence in the modern age is inextricably linked to expertise in matters digital, and when it comes to Government services (an oxymoron?) we have a long way to go.
What just happened? The reaction to coronavirus also raises questions about who we are as a people. What does the widespread acquiescence to the suppression of our freedoms indicate? It wasn’t so much that Governments were able to justify restrictions on lives and businesses for the sake of public health, it’s that Government seemed not to need justifications at all. When Parliamentary sittings were cancelled and Governments rule by regulations signed off by bureaucrats, it seemed we were forgetting who we are and what our system is built on.
It was therefore timely to have Dr Zachary Gorman goes back to the foundational issuing of the Magna Carta in 1215, if only to remind us of the enduring lesson that citizens merely ‘quoting’ their rights under Magna Carta is of no use. When pregnant women can be handcuffed in their own kitchen in front of their family for the supposed crime of a social media post, then it’s proof that every generation has to fight and claim its ancient rights. The IPA will be publishing a new book by Zac on that exact topic in 2021, so keep an eye out for it.
Sporting shooters and others with an interest in professional and recreational use of firearms in Australia also have been asking ‘what just happened?’ Former senator David Leyonhjelm studied this question with a serious book deserving examination. Kate Fantinel reviewed that book and two others of high relevance. From whatever perspective you bring to the debate, I am sure you will find much of interest in Kate’s article.
Further reasons are provided to doubt the official mantra of ‘unprecedented’ climate change.
What just happened at the IPA this year is also the publication of Climate Change The Facts 2020, edited by Jennifer Marohasy. Her work has been very well received and it’s gratifying that hundreds of people have taken the opportunity not just to buy the book, but to join the IPA. German Professor and energy expert Fritz Vahrenholt on page 46 provides further reasons to doubt the official mantra of ‘unprecedented’ climate change.
And as always in the IPA Review: much more besides, which I trust you enjoy reading. By the time you read this—Australia Post being somewhat under the pump at the moment—2020 may have finally drawn to a close. And not a moment too soon! From all of us at the IPA, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all the best for you, your family, and this great country of ours.