Blog highlights, week nine

Parts of the world are starting to emerge from isolation, but there’s still a need for good reading material. So here’s another selection of highlights from the last 7+ years of blogging, covering many issues that are still with us.

Could there be a libertarian Republican? (March 2013). After being cheerleaders for authoritarianism for so long, some Republicans are starting to move a little in the other direction. Kentuckian Rand Paul is their spokesman.

Civil partnership for all? (May 2013). Britain’s House of Commons backs same-sex marriage, but the future status of civil partnerships is likely to continue to muddy the waters.

Westminster government for beginners (July 2013). Our system of government operates under a set of largely unwritten conventions. But they’re well established and they work surprisingly well, which is why the governor-general didn’t try to second-guess the ALP caucus.

Spain scores a win on Gibraltar (November 2013). An EU ruling over the Gibraltar dispute gives Spain a victory but illustrates a general problem about regulating trade in a federal system.

Putting a general in charge (January 2014). The nomination of Peter Cosgrove as Australia’s governor-general raises interesting questions about what sort of job it is – and what sort of country we are.

Some thoughts about “terrorism” (July 2014). Terrorism everywhere, it seems: Ukraine, Iraq, Gaza. Or are we using the label as a substitute for serious thought?

If not peace, what? (July 2015). Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal have good reasons for not being too explicit about what their alternative is.

Fiji, and the enabling of democracy’s enemies (March 2016). Julie Bishop visits Fiji, apparently finding no cause for concern in a military ruler approaching ten years in office. And we wonder why voters seem to be giving up on democracy.

Two lectures, or how libertarians lost the plot (August 2016). Contrasting lectures by PJ O’Rourke and Gillian Triggs. The rise of Donald Trump shows why we can’t rely on libertarians to defend liberty.

Amazing hypocrisy on free speech (April 2017). A Palestinian activist falls foul of the federal government’s highly selective concern for freedom of speech.

Socialism with a human face? (August 2018). It’s fifty years since Soviet tanks crushed the Czechoslovak experiment in humane socialism. But the issues involved have not disappeared.

Death in Egypt (June 2019). A suspicious death in custody ends the unfortunate life of Egypt’s first and only elected president.

The Senate faces its enemies, again (September 2019). Plans are again afoot within the Australian government to try to cripple the democratic nature of the Senate. But there is an alternative direction that reform could take.

The revolt of the cosmopolitans (December 2019). One of the key trends of 2019 has been increased political polarisation between city and country.

A history of impeachment, part I & part II (January/February 2020). As Donald Trump’s impeachment trial approaches its inevitable climax, a look at where this process came from and how it fits in with the United States constitution.

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