Letter from Melbourne: mirror to the post-democratic world

Things are very serious here in Australia. There is a mental health crisis. We have endured a state of emergency since March 2020. Normal rules of government decision making have not applied. We have pursued a medical utopia of COVID Zero at stunning cost. It is really something that should never happen again, and hopefully, at the right time in the right way by the right people, will be deeply investigated and reflected on.

Cease the endless war against the virus

Generals, Winston Churchill said, are always prepared to fight the last war. Their early experiences of combat, their intellectual training, the received wisdom interpreting the most recent conflicts - all shape how they read the battlefield. These decisions and the interests of the institutions, which were built during the last war - the war machine, … Continue reading Cease the endless war against the virus

Burning Archive Podcast #7 – The ordinary virtues of governing well

I have posted episode 7 of The Burning Archive Podcast – the ordinary virtues of governing well. You can listen to this podcast on Spotify, Apple and other platforms. In this episode I discuss a possible antidote to political decay; building a strong culture rooted in the ordinary virtues of governing well. Based on traditions of virtue ethics scattered from Confucius … Continue reading Burning Archive Podcast #7 – The ordinary virtues of governing well

The impeachment curse

The final forced impeachment of Donald Trump has ended in the result that should never happen in a show trial. The sacrificial victim of the authorities' spite was acquitted. Jonathan Turley is a reasoned and moderate legal scholar who writes widely on constitutional issues in the United States of America. He has yet to post … Continue reading The impeachment curse

On human frailty in governing

Today I am reposting this piece from July 2019, following the 2019 Australian election. It is newly relevant today as the American republic wrestles with how to save its crumbling political institutions from the oligarchs, their corrupt parasites and mercenaries, and its failing imperial war faction. As Edward Erler asks in The American Mind, Is … Continue reading On human frailty in governing

From here to immunity: charting COVID from pandemic to endemic

2020 has proven a testing year for the culture and capacity of governments around the world. Many governments have failed. Governments far away and close to home have failed. The State of Victoria in Australia, where I call home, has failed more in proportion to the real spread of the virus among its resident population … Continue reading From here to immunity: charting COVID from pandemic to endemic

The plague year

I have been following the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic since January, especially through the remarkable podcast Warroom: Pandemic hosted by Steven K. Bannon. The world is now living in its modern plague year, and the explosion of a crisis that cannot be managed. The great cities of the world - Wuhan, Beijing, Milan, Venice, … Continue reading The plague year

The Crisis in Australian Politics 2010-2013 (reposted)

As described in the previous post, Free speech for public servants and Osip Mandelstam, I am reposting here an extended set of posts that I originally posted in three parts on the Happy Pessimist blog (no longer online) in 2013. The Crisis in Australian Politics 2010-2013 07 Apr 2013 (originally posted on The Happy Pessimist … Continue reading The Crisis in Australian Politics 2010-2013 (reposted)

Free speech for public servants and Osip Mandelstam

During the week the High Court of Australia passed judgement on a case in which a public servant was sacked for an anonymous tweet, critical of government but made in her private life, that was said to breach a code of conduct for government employees. The lower courts had found that this action was an … Continue reading Free speech for public servants and Osip Mandelstam