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Occasional Papers


Occasional Papers (OP) are short publications usually based on a lecture or presentation given at the CIS. Our annual John Bonython and Acton Lectures are part of the OP series.

  • The Case for a New Australian Settlement: Ruminations of an Inveterate Economist

    25 Jun 2015 | OP141

    To enjoy prosperity into the future, Australia needs to establish an reform strategy that goes beyond economic policy and is underpinned by agreed basic understandings across political and social divides... Read More

  • Magna Carta: Talisman of Liberty

    15 Jun 2015 | OP142

    The Magna Carta is the foundation of justice, liberty and prosperity, and a singular event in the development of parliamentary democracy and rule of law. Eight hundred years after its creation, the Magna... Read More

  • What are We Fighting For? Islamism and the Threat to Liberal Ideas

    10 Feb 2015 | OP140

    This volume brings together two presentations and the introductions from an event hosted by the Centre for Independent Studies and exploring the frames of reference from which to view the colonisation... Read More

  • The Enlightenment Made Us

    23 Oct 2014 | OP136

    Nick Cater examines the Enlightenment ideals that helped shape our uniquely Australian culture, and asks whether the pragmatism that characterised the early colonists still exists today, or if it is in... Read More

  • The Age of Endarkenment

    23 Oct 2014 | OP137

    Humans are wealthier, happier and more comfortable than any previous generation thanks to science and technology. So why have we become so gloomy about the modern world and so pessimistic about the future?... Read More

  • A Quartet of Freedoms: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Association and Conscience

    16 Oct 2014 | OP135

    An aggressive secular culture, combined with the diminished standing of religious organisations in Australia, is putting religious believers under pressure to be silent in the public square. Robert Forsyth... Read More

  • Catholic Resistance to German State Persecution: Lessons for Modern Australia

    30 May 2014 | OP134

    Anti-Catholic sectarianism is on the rise in Australian society even though Australian Catholicism has made an extraordinary contribution to education, charitable relief, the running of hospitals, and... Read More

  • After the Welfare State: Politicians Stole Your Future … You Can Get It Back

    08 Apr 2013 | OP132

    History, economics, sociology, political science, and mathematics are the tools to understand and evaluate welfare states, rather than emotional responses or conspiracy theories. This little book, edited... Read More

  • What Kind of Religion Is Free in the Public Square? A Warning from the United States

    06 Mar 2013 | OP129

    In the 14th Acton Lecture, Dr Ryan Messmore, President of Campion College, asks what kind of religion is free in the public square and whether we have a strong, public expression of religious belief or... Read More

  • Capitalism and Virtue: Reaffirming Old Truths

    07 Feb 2013 | OP130

    In the 2012 Annual John Bonython Lecture, eminent political scientist Charles Murray describes the larger historical forces that have been at work in the United States (and, to a lesser extent, Australia)... Read More

  • Moral Wisdom and the Recovery of Virtue

    06 Feb 2013 | OP128

    What are the moral skills we need to cultivate to live effectively in the social media world of the twenty-first century public square? In an address given at Consilium in 2012, Peter Kurti proposes the... Read More

  • Leadership, Liberty and the Crisis of Authority

    15 Oct 2012 | OP125

    In the 27th John Bonython Lecture, Frank Furedi discussed the distinct lack of leadership needed to deal with the many crises facing the world in the 21st century and replace the society’s addiction... Read More

  • You Can’t Say That! Freedom of Speech and the Invisible Muzzle

    06 Feb 2012 | OP124

    This collection of four speeches warns against the increasing restrictions on free speech in a world being taken over by political correctness. Ostensibly a tool for civility and respect, political correctness... Read More

  • The Kingdom of God is Forcefully Advancing and Forceful Men Lay Hold of It

    14 Sep 2011 | OP123

    In the CIS’s annual Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom, Senator David Coltart discusses the application of biblical standards to foreign policy in terms of moral values: forsaking violence as means... Read More

  • The Multi-layered Hayek

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 22 Dec 2010 | OP122

    Friedrich August von Hayek was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century. His contributions ranged from economics to philosophy, from law to psychology. This collection of essays aims to rediscover... Read More

  • Reconciling Modernity and Tradition in a Liberal Society

    Chandran Kukathas | 21 Dec 2010 | OP121

    The distinction between traditional and modern is not a very useful one for understanding the problems confronting liberal society, or for working out how to address them because the contrast does not... Read More

  • Ludwig von Mises – A Primer

    Eamonn Butler | 16 Dec 2010 | OP120

    In Ludwig von Mises – A Primer, Eamonn Butler presents a comprehensive yet accessible overview of the outstanding achievements of one of the greatest economists and political scientists of the twentieth... Read More

  • Constitutional Conservatism

    Peter Berkowitz | 15 Dec 2010 | OP119

    In The Centre for Independent Studies’ annual Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom, Hoover Institution scholar Dr Peter Berkowitz discusses the much debated relationship between religion and politics... Read More

  • Invisible Hand versus Visible Fist: Securing the Future Wealth of Nations

    P.J. O'Rourke | 01 Nov 2009 | OP115

    In the 25th John Bonython Lecture, PJ O'Rourke presents his views of the economic and financial crisis that is shaking the world.  PJ O'Rourke's answer to a decline in the value of speculative assets?... Read More

  • Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 19 May 2009 | OP114

    Neoliberalism is one of the most commonly used words in political debates. Despite this, the origins of neoliberalism are hardly known. Nor does there appear to be a generally accepted definition of... Read More

  • The Role of Government in a Liberal Society

    Suri Ratnapala | 02 Sep 2008 | OP113

    Modern government has grown out  of all proportion, becoming a serious threat to life, liberty, property and the public interest.   Read More

  • Must Religion be a Threat to Liberty?

    Robert Sirico | 05 Jul 2008 | OP112

    Does Christianity destroy or defend freedom? Answering this question, Fr Robert A. Sirico turns to the foundations of Christianity. Read More

  • Adam Smith - A Primer

    Eamonn Butler | 04 Jul 2008 | OP110

    Despite his fame, there is still widespread ignorance about the breadth of Adam Smith's contrinbutions to economics, politics and philosophy.  In Adam Smith - A Primer Eamonn Butler provides an authoritative... Read More

  • Do Secular Societies Promote Religious Extremism?

    Tom Frame | 07 Apr 2008 | OP108

    In the Annual Acton Lecture Tom Frame looks at secularism in society. He concludes that in a genuinely secular society all must recognise and respect the opinions of those with whom they disagree. They... Read More

  • Milton Friedman: A Tribute

    Maurice Newman | 04 Dec 2007 | OP106

    Nobel-Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman died in late 2006. In March 2007, the CIS hosted a tribute to Friedman and his contribution to Australia's political and economic life. This Occasional Paper... Read More

  • Religion and Politics: Contemporary Tensions

    Paul Kelly | 12 May 2007 | OP105

    Religion has always been important but the decline in Christian practice in recent decades led to a widespread assumption of religion’s decline in civic and political life.  However, according to Paul... Read More

  • History as the Story of Liberty: A Globalised Western Civilisation

    Arthur Herman | 05 May 2007 | OP104

    In this lecture, Dr Herman explores how a prosperous and culturally diverse world depends on the human freedoms embedded in a globalised Western civilisation. Read More

  • Farewell to Liberty, Equality and Fraternity: Is the Left still on the Left?

    Dirk Maxeiner and Michael Miersch | 03 Mar 2006 | OP103

    In this Occasional Paper translated by Wolfgang Kasper, two German analysts, Dirk Maxeiner and Michael Miersch argue that the Left's classical aspirations have long been realised in all mature welfare... Read More

  • Sensory Order and Economic Order: The links between human cognition and economic freedom in Hayek's thought.

    Julie Novak | 01 Mar 2006 | OP101

    In this paper, Julie Novak illustrates the connection between The Sensory Order and Hayek's economic thought.  His psychological theories were profound in understanding how human beings acquire and communicate... Read More

  • The Wealth of Generations:Capitalism and the Belief in the Future

    Johan Norberg | 28 Nov 2005 | OP98

    In this John Bonython Lecture, with optimism and humour, Johan Norberg looks forward to a future which can only improve with greater freedom, increased knowledge, wealth and technology on our side. Read More

  • Smothering By the Security Blanket: Risk, Responsibility and the Role of Government

    Caspar Conde | 19 Sep 2005 | OP95

    To what extent can the government manage risk in our society without smothering self-responsibility and impinging on personal liberties? Conde outlines strategies for reducing risks citing examples of... Read More

  • Conspicuous Compassion: Why sometimes it really is cruel to be kind

    Patrick West | 19 Sep 2004 | OP91

    This book by Patrick West challenges the trend towards dramatic public displays of 'concern' which have very little to do with genuine compassion. Such displays of empathy do not change the world for the... Read More

  • Rendering Unto Caesar: New Challenges for Church and State

    Samuel Gregg | 18 May 2004 | OP90

    In considering contemporary church-state relations, Gregg argues that religious communities need to reassess their role, and suggests that the future focus of faith communities in pluralist societies should... Read More

  • Christian Morality and Market Capitalism: Friends or Foes?

    Ian Harper | 21 Oct 2003 | OP87

    In the 5th Annual CIS Acton Lecture on Religion & Freedom, Ian Harper explores the moral basis of market capitalism––its strengths and weaknesses––and defends the view that there is nothing... Read More

  • Islam in Pluralist Indonesia

    Mohammad Fajrul Falaakh | 03 Oct 2002 | OP83

    In this, The Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom for 2002, noted Indonesian academic Mohammad Fajrul Falaakh discusses the importance and interpretations of Shariah (Islamic law) and asks whether Islam... Read More

  • The Social Foundations of a Free Society

    Peter Saunders | 12 Feb 2002 | OP79

    A look at five main areas where current trends may be eroding the free society - family life, schooling, community relations, the welfare state, and the values, norms and beliefs that comprise our common... Read More

  • Dangerous Protections: How Some Ways of Protecting the Freedom of Religion May Actually Diminish Religious Freedom.

    Robert Forsyth | 24 Sep 2001 | OP78

    The 2001 Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom delivered by Robert Forsyth.  Sometimes efforts to achieve good can backfire, especially where government legislation is concerned.   Read More

  • The Moral Foundations of Freedom: Lessons from the Religious Encounter with Democracy

    George Weigel | 30 May 2000 | OP76

    What happens when a society loses it moral capital? Can democracy thrive in a value-neutral environment? These are just some of the questions asked by one of America’s most respected theologians and... Read More

  • A Short History of Australian Liberalism

    Greg Melleuish | 16 Mar 2000 | OP74

    This study was written in response to what I see as the misleading nature of the studies of Australian liberalism that have been produced to date. Read More

  • Economics & Ethics: The Dispute and the Dialogue

    Samuel Gregg | 02 Nov 1999 | OP71

    The relationship between economists and religious thinkers is often acrimonious. In this Occasional Paper, an economist Professor Ian Harper and a theologian Dr Samuel Gregg examine some of the causes... Read More

  • Principles for a Free Society

    Richard Epstein | 02 Aug 1999 | OP69

    The need for a principled reconciliation between the prerogatives of individual liberty and social order has been a central preoccupation of classical liberal philosophy. Professor Richard Epstein of the... Read More

  • Religion and Liberty: Western Experiences, Asian Possibilities

    Samuel Gregg | 01 Aug 1999 | OP68

    In this CIS Occasional Paper, Samuel Gregg examines religion and its effects upon liberty in the West, before speculating on what such experiences suggest about religion’s potential impact upon the growth... Read More

  • Catholicism and the Architecture of Freedom

    George Pell | 01 Aug 1999 | OP70

    The nature of freedom is a question that has puzzled western societies from their very beginnings. In the Centre for Independent Studies’ inaugural Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom, George Pell... Read More

  • The Road Not Taken- Hayek’s Slippery Slope to Serfdom

    Neil McInnes | 01 Nov 1998 | OP65

    In 1944 Friedrich Hayek published The Road to Serfdom, a warning against the totalitarian dangers involved in central economic planning. Although out of step with the intellectual fashions of its time,... Read More

  • The Modern Mask of Socialism

    Antonio Martino | 01 Nov 1998 | OP66

    After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, many people assumed that socialism was dead and that liberal democratic capitalism was to be the unchallenged way of the future. Now, however,... Read More

  • Nationality

    Lord Acton | 01 Dec 1997 | OP63

    Is the nation state the best form of political organisation? Should a country’s borders be based on racial or linguistic lines? Does the presence of ethnic diversity strengthen a community, or weaken... Read More

  • The Morality of Capitalism

    James Q. Wilson | 15 Oct 1997 | OP62

    Capitalism is winning the economic battle all over the world. The collapse of socialism has left it without serious challenge as a wealth-creating system. But moral criticism of capitalism continues. Even... Read More

  • Markets, Morals and Community

    Andrew Norton | 01 Oct 1996 | OP59

    Few people today doubt the market’s contribution to prosperity, but still there are powerful intellectual traditions opposing the market. The market’s current critics fear not so much that it will... Read More

  • Institutions of innovation and Poverty

    Ray Ball | 27 Aug 1996 | OP58

    Western nations benefit from social institutions that create prosperity and liberty. The separation of the economic and political spheres and the emergence of institutions of private property and markets... Read More

  • The Social Roots of Prosperity

    Brigette Berger | 01 May 1995 | OP55

    A society’s prosperity depends on its families. That is the central message of Brigitte Berger’s analysis of economic an and political success. Read More

  • The Political Economy of Freedom

    Michael Oakeshott | 01 Nov 1994 | OP52

    The Political Economy of Freedom is an eloquent discussion of the importance of a diffusion of power in maintaining freedom. Read More

  • Karl Popper’s Politics: Liberalism versus Democratic Socialism

    Jeremy Shearmur | 01 Nov 1994 | OP53

    Karl Popper (1902-94) was one of the twentieth century’s leading philosophers. In this Occasional Paper Jeremy Shearmur shows how Popper’s though lends support to the ideas and institutions of classical... Read More

  • The Century of Networking

    Rupert Murdoch | 20 Oct 1994 | OP51

    In this John Bonython Lecture, Rupert Murdoch reflects on the coming century of networking. In contrast with pessimistic views of technology taken by writers such as George Orwell, Mr Murdoch sees technology... Read More

  • The Moral Sense: An Essay

    James Q. Wilson | 01 Aug 1994 | OP50

    The distinctive feature of The Moral Sense: An Essay is that it uses the findings of modern science and social science to provide extensive evidence that natural human inclinations toward sociability lay... Read More

  • Literature and Freedom

    Mario Vargas Llosa | 01 Feb 1994 | OP48

    In this CIS Occasional Paper, Mario Vargas Llosa highlights the mutually beneficial relationship between literature and freedom. Where freedom does not exist, censorship and self-censorship stifle creativity-... Read More

  • Questions of Conquest and Culture

    Mario Vargas Llosa | 09 Sep 1993 | OP47

    In the tenth John Bonython Lecture, the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa reflects on the key question: ‘Can these cultures become modern and overcome oppression while conserving…fundamental elements... Read More

  • Economics, Faith and Moral Responsibility

    Robert Sirico | 01 Aug 1993 | OP46

    In this CIS Occasional Paper, Robert Sirico defends the institutions of the free and open society from a Christian standpoint. Read More

  • Lessons from the Freiburg School: The Institutional Foundations of Freedom and Prosperity

    Wolfgang Kasper | 01 Jul 1993 | OP44

    West Germany’s post-War economic success was based on the ideas of the ‘Freiburg school,’ a school of liberal economists, lawyers and social philosophers centred at Freiburg University. Read More

  • Why I Am Not a Conservative

    F.A. Hayek | 01 Nov 1992 | OP41

    Liberals who uphold the idea of a free society in which both economic and civil liberties are respected are often regarded as conservatives. In his essay ‘Why I Am Not a Conservative’, first published... Read More

  • Freedom, Tradition, Conservatism

    Frank Myer | 01 Jun 1992 | OP39

    This CIS Occasional Paper reproduces an essay of his first published in 1960. In it, Meyer argues that the ‘libertarian’ and the ‘traditionalist’ opponents of socialism (or what he called ‘collectivist... Read More

  • Equalising People: Why Social Justice Threatens Liberty

    David Green | 01 Dec 1991 | OP37

    In this Occasional Paper, David Green challenges the pursuit of social justice on three grounds: It is based on a shallow and materialistic conception of human nature that ignores unpriced and unrewarded... Read More

  • Dismantling Socialism: A Preliminary Report

    Vaclav Klaus | 05 Aug 1991 | OP35

    In the eighth John Bonython Lecture, Václav Klaus, Finance Minister of Czechoslovakia, gives an account of his government’s attempts to move away from a socialist system towards a free-enterprise system. Read More

  • The Fraternal Conceit: Individualist versus Collectivist Ideas of Community

    Chandran Kukathas | 06 May 1991 | OP33

    In this Occasional Paper, Dr Chandran Kukathas defends the liberal conception of civil association, in which individuals bound by rules of just conduct can peacefully coexist and pursue their private individual... Read More

  • Socialism Is Dead But Leviathan Lives On

    James M. Buchanan | 03 May 1990 | OP30

    In the seventh John Bonython Lecture, James Buchanan observes that the death of socialism has not been accompanied by the rise of any widespread faith in the free enterprise system, even though that system... Read More

  • Are We Winning?

    Antonio Martino | 01 May 1990 | OP29

    Although classical liberal ideas are at present in the ascendancy, there is no guarantee that they will succeed in the long run in substantially reducing the size and power of the state. In this Occasional... Read More

  • The Egalitarian Conceit: False and True Equalities

    Kenneth Minogue | 15 Sep 1989 | OP25

    Professor Kenneth Minogue traces the roots of modern egalitarianism to the Greek and Christian culture from which Western civilisation springs. Read More

  • Endangered Freedom

    Thomas Sowell | 01 Nov 1988 | OP22

    In the fifth John Bonython Lecture, Thomas Sowell argues that public life in Western countries is blighted by an ‘unconstrained vision’ of man and society. This vision treats all social evils as curable:... Read More

  • The Enemies of Progress

    Ralph Harris | 05 Aug 1986 | OP16

    In the third John Bonython Lecture, Ralph Harris recounts the advances that economic freedom and entrepreneurship have brought the world and reminds us that all this good has been an ‘unintended consequence... Read More

  • Ideas about Freedom: A Discussion

    Kenneth Minogue | 06 Apr 1986 | OP15

    Kenneth R. Minogue and John Gray, in separate essays, examine the history and assumptions behind liberalism and conservatism. They place the two doctrines squarely in the world of toady and recommend more... Read More

  • The Anti-Capitalist Mentality: Post Mortem for an Ideology

    R.M. Hartwell | 05 Dec 1985 | OP14

    In the Second John Bonython Lecture, Professor R. M. Hartwell traces the history of the anti-capitalist mentality back to myths surrounding the Industrial Revolution in England. Read More

  • The Role of the Entreprenuer in the Economic System

    Israel Kirzner | 16 Feb 1984 | OP10

    In the Inaugural John Bonython Lecture, Israel Kirzner strongly defends the entrepreneur's role in keeping our economy healthy and vigorous. Buy download or Buy Hardcopy Read More

  • Liberty, Justice and the Market

    Lauchlan Chipman | 12 Dec 1981 | OP6

    Lauchlan Chipman challenges us not only to reject the notion that there is a conflict between liberty, justice and the market, but to accept the idea that they are mutually supportive. Read More

  • Social Justice, Socialism and Democracy: Three Australian Lectures

    F.A. Hayek | 05 Jan 1979 | OP2

    Three lectures on democracy by F.A. Hayek. Read More