Perry De Havilland (via Stephen Dawson on Libertarians) has a strange little post on Samizdata, asserting that blogging should be seen as a marketplace rather than a democratic conversation space. The reasoning seems to flow from the extreme libertarian/neo-liberal viewpoint that markets are good, governments are bad. Democracy is associated with constraining government, and government is about coercion, but has nothing to do with creating or underpinning freedom or equality of opportunity (so the story goes). The good stuff is created solely by the efforts of rugged individualists. The proposition that democracy integrally involves fostering individual freedom and equality of opportunity is rejected as a pernicious invention of woolly-thinking leftists. It’s complete crap, of course, but worth reading to remind ourselves that extreme right ideology can lead its adherents into bizarre blind intellectual alleys just as much as its leftist counterparts.
Bright Cold Matt blogs an amusing Roddy Meagher judgment extract about ongoing attempts to expand the scope of the tort of negligence, that will succeed only over Meagher’s dead whale-like corpse.
Bargarz (links still bloggered) continues to post fine analyses of the increasingly dreadful Israel-Palestinian conflict. Won’t someone offer this outstanding Australian blogger a Movable Type home?
Professor Bunyip (links also still bloggered, and who also merits MT digs, has apparently been offered them but is too slack to accept) had a post on Wednesday dealing with tax, which (implicitly?) accepted the Labor line that Costello is the highest-taxing Treasurer in Australian history. Jack Strocchi has blogged to similar effect on Catallaxy. I actually think Costello’s argument, that the GST should properly be viewed in large part as a State tax, has some merit, and I’m prepared to argue the point in the comment box if anyone’s interested.
Finally, there’s this article (via John Ray) advocating the unconditional reinstatement of Wollongong Uni academic Ted Steele, who had the temerity to go on the record and claim that academics were under pressure to go soft on marking to maintain enrolments (and hence funding). It remains an important issue, not just because academic freedom of speech is important IMO, but because the pressure to compromise university marking standards (while denying that it happens) will become even more acute when the recently-announced Nelson higher education reforms are introduced.