Blog highlights, week ten

As Australia emerges from isolation and life starts returning to normal, I’m thinking we’ll make this the last instalment of blog highlights. But there’s some good stuff here, covering a range of topics and places.

Death of a conservative (December 2012). An obituary for Robert Bork, whose unsuccessful nomination was a milestone in the politicisation of the US Supreme Court, a problem that continues to haunt the country.

Copyright isn’t just for cyberspace / Clipping back copyright overreach (March 2013). A pair of stories on the ambitious claims of intellectual “property” and the need for supporters of free speech to push back against them.

And all shall have passports (November 2013). Hungarian citizenship becomes easier to get. That’s a good thing for aspirational Serbs and Ukrainians, but not all of Hungary’s neighbors see it the same way.

Drug war absurdity: Australian edition (February 2014). The execrable George Christensen gives a backhanded endorsement of marijuana legalisation, giving Labor the cue to go out of its way to endorse prohibition.

The downside of member participation (March 2014). A preselection ballot that, with hindsight, marked a turning point in the Victorian Liberal Party. Even at the time it contained a lesson for any political party that tries to improve member participation.

Discrimination, yet again (April 2015). Controversy over religious freedom in Indiana shows the ground shifting under the cultural warriors with remarkable speed.

D-day for Greece’s chickens (June 2015). In the long-running saga of Greece’s debt crisis, its radical left leadership is poised for a possible deal with the EU leadership.

Justice for genocide (March 2016). Radovan Karadžić, unsurprisingly, is convicted of war crimes. A reflection on why we actually bother with such things.

Brexit moves east (April 2017). Another victory for authoritarianism, this time in Turkey, and with striking parallels to the Brexit referendum.

Catalonia’s descent into madness (October 2017). By forcibly attempting to prevent a vote on Catalan independence, the Spanish government plays into the nationalists’ hands.

Blasphemy in Ireland and Austria (October 2018). Ireland strikes a blow for freedom of speech, despite an unfortunate precedent from the European Court of Human Rights.

How factionalism works (May 2019). Australian commentators still mostly get the Liberal Party wrong. For a start, the wet-dry division isn’t a factional conflict.

Oh dear, it’s free speech again (August 2019). Once again, the right of a “controversial” speaker to enter Australia is up for debate. His supporters seem oblivious to the contradictions in their position.

Ethiopia’s reformer wins a prize (October 2019). Ethiopia’s leader is a worthy recipient of the Nobel peace prize, but there is a lot of work still to be done in his country and the region.

It was a good idea at the time (December 2019). The end of the two-state solution, and why Israel’s new government will have to deal with a situation vis-a-vis the Palestinians that, despite appearances, has changed radically in the past decade.

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