Two exciting events yesterday. In the public arena the Quadrant Celebration of REALLY Dangerous Ideas.
Gary Johns (“Abolish the Human Rights Commission”)
Tom Switzer (“Privatise the ABC”)
Kerryn Pholi (“Does Respect Matter?”)
Peter Day (“The World Needs the Anglosphere”)
Greg Melleuish (“Intellectuals Do Not Matter”)
All good stuff and spirited discussion ensued to demonstrate healthy disagreement about how to get the job done while saving the decent parts of the ABC.
In a different arena, the launch of some intellectual air support for the ground forces of classical liberalism. The first of a series of Amazon e books to explain the ideas of the great classical liberal Karl Popper went live overnight. A nice coincidence, but completely unplanned!
Two books went live, The Poverty of Historicism and The Logic of Scientific Disovery. A gliche in the second has left the html codes visible (despite looking ok in preview). So leave that one for the moment and take on board the more relevant Poverty of Historicism.
This is Popper’s critique of the idea that history is out of human control, so we have to submit to the trends of the time, which at the time of writing were communism and fascism. Now it is Big Government and the Nanny State. Popper wrote this while he was on an extended working holiday in New Zealand from 1937 to 1945. He was designated as an “enemy alien” so he could not join the ANZACs on the ground and he took to the stratosphere in the world of ideas to take out some of the dangerous ideas that pave the way for bad policies.
Popper later described The Poverty as his stodgiest piece of writing but there were several mitigating circumstances. He was still struggling with English as a third or fourth language. He had a very demanding teaching load because he was the sole lecturer in philosophy and the writing had to be done in his own time because his professor insisted that he was employed to teach, not to do research and writing. For several years the outcome of the war was in doubt and at home in Austria sixteen of his relatives perished in the Holocaust. He had to make do with primitive library facilities (his father’s house contained more books than the college library) and he was desperately short of colleagues who could discuss his ideas in depth.
In 1945 Professor Anderson invited him to take up a position at the Uni of Sydney but got a better offer from the London School of Economics. This is a scan on his career.
Still waiting for Sinc’s guide and overview on Oakie’s ideas:)