Dear IPA Members
Like the rest of the IPA’s operations, it was so important to co-hosts James Bolt and myself that The Young IPA Podcast not just survive the lockdown, but thrive. After all, not only is this arguably the biggest crisis to face Australia since World War Two, but many of our listeners are undoubtedly going through tumultuous times in their own lives. The lockdown was not a time for us to hide ‘under the doona’.
Despite moving from the IPA’s exquisite Baillieu Myer Studio to my kitchen, and swapping our state of the art recording equipment for balancing my phone on a pile of books (The Gulag Archipelago and Shane Warne’s autobiography among others) we’ve largely been able to achieve that.
We’ve added a second weekly show that comes out on Fridays and our average weekly audience has jumped from under two thousand downloads each week in July last year to now sit at ten thousand weekly downloads since the lockdown began. In just the last few weeks we’ve spoken to the likes of Senator James Paterson, Brendan O’Neill, Adam Creighton and of course, the great Dave Rubin.
Our interview with Dave has had 40,078 downloads at the time of writing. Dave has a new book out called Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason. The main point he made in our interview (and in the book) was about honesty and courage in standing up for what you believe in. He said:
“If they can get you to shut up when you’re 18, 19, 20. They’ve basically got you for the rest of your life. And I think a lot of college students think ‘I can just kind of be quiet now, I want to get the grade, I don’t want to upset the professor, I don’t want my friends to think I’m a weirdo, but then when I get out of college, then I’ll start telling people what I think’. And it’s like ‘no you won’t’…
It’s a better way to live to be who you are than to shy away from something so that maybe you’re accepted. That’s no fun way to live…You gotta slay your dragon. When you slay that thing – only good things will happen.”
As Generation Liberty National Manager Renee Gorman said in her Keeping In Touch email last Thursday, no one talks to young people about courage anymore. But courageous is exactly what Australians will have to be to overcome the crisis we now find ourselves in. It was such an ennobling message for Dave to give our listeners.
Dave said something else that made me proud but also sad:
“Australia has what I would say is the closest to an American ethos of just like ‘it’s your life, live it how you want’…so for you guys to be hit with the politically correct thing it’s particularly sort of nefarious because it’s so against what I think outsiders mostly think about Australians. We think about Crocodile Dundee – he’s the guy living his life how he wants to!”
I’m proud that outsiders still see Australians as independent, tolerant and straight-talking. But I’m sad that he’s right when he says we’ve been “hit with the politically correct thing”. The optimistic part of me thinks that the preoccupations of certain ideological bubbles are magnified way out of proportion to their actual influence, the authentic Australia remains and the damage to what Dave calls our “ethos” is not irreparable.
If you haven’t listened to Dave’s interview yet it’s available on all the podcast platforms, Facebook, YouTube and the IPA and Generation Liberty websites. After you’ve listened to it, maybe you could share it with a young person you know who may need a little encouragement to speak up about what they believe in.
Adam Creighton, Economics Editor at The Australian, and Brendan O’Neill, Editor of Spiked in the UK, both came out early against the worst excesses of the lockdown (along with the IPA of course). Adam pointed out that although the threat of COVID-19 was unfortunately serious for those over 65, it was far less serious for other age groups. He argued the government lockdown of the entire population was potentially unnecessary and could turn out more damaging than the virus itself.
Adam also made the very important point that Australian governments have been relying on immigration to boost growth figures for years and the certainty of a reduction in immigration as a result of the pandemic will “force governments to think about how they can grow the economy productively rather than just rely on more people”.
Brendan’s previous interview with us on the UK election result and what it would mean for Brexit had 29,872 downloads so we were very keen to get his views on Britain’s lockdown. With his typical panache Brendan derided Britain’s “curtain-twitchers” and, as he always does, exposed the snobbery of those in leafy middle class suburbs broadcasting their lockdown virtue by accusing people living in tower blocks of crimes against humanity for sitting in a park by themselves.
Brendan is probably my favourite public intellectual in the world at the moment. He’s made an artform of exposing the vanities of British elites and to be honest I can’t get enough of it. Unlike snobs of yesteryear, who not only believed they were better than poor people but were quite open about the fact, modern day progressive snobs don’t realise they’re snobs. Watching them find out in real time as Brendan informs them of it is always great viewing.
While Adam and Brendan’s views are now widely accepted as at least ‘morally permissible to hold’, at the time they were predictably greeted with vacuous accusations that they did not value human life. It is to their credit that they vigorously pursued them anyway.
Senator James Paterson told our audience about The Wolverines – or to use their official title, the Parliamentary Friends of Democracy. They are a bi-partisan group of MPs that aim to push back against the increasing authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party in its relations with Australia. I asked James how he treads the line between taking the CCP to task for their atrocious treatment of their own people and their trading partners, and the adverse effect his comments might have on innocent Australian businesses and workers who rely on the Chinese market. James’ answer was excellent. He said:
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