Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Moral Terrorism

Simon Heffer
21 July 2020 | OP174
Moral Terrorism

We find ourselves living in an age when a small but highly vocal, and zealous, minority are availing themselves of the power of social media, and of sections of the printed press, to seek to force their opinions and attitudes on everyone else. In normal circumstances, this would simply be tedious: if, say, the public were being pressured to watch a particular television channel, or buy a certain brand of coffee. In our society we are conditioned to such things; but we are less conditioned to being told we should not, for whatever reason, watch a certain channel, or should boycott a certain brand of coffee. Mature and advanced societies — liberal societies — take an attitude of ‘live and let live’ in such matters. It is one thing to be an advocate for your own interests; quite another to seek to attack, undermine and destroy someone else’s. Yet that is what the so-called ‘cancel culture’ seeks to achieve; and it is why the present circumstances of discourse are far from normal. In the pretence of wishing to shield vulnerable people from words that might wound or cause offence, they seek to render others terrified to utter the words at all.

Latest Publications

Reflections on the EU Project and its Flaws: A fatal conceit about markets and the real world
Richard Alston
09 September 2021 | OP185

The European Union shows all the signs of worsening economic, social and political decline — from tepid economic growth and chronically high unemployment to social unrest and rising political extremism. This paper reflects on the idealistic roots of early European integration in the wake of two world wars, before exploring how these worthy intentions have long given way to a…

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The Threat of Identity Politics
Simon Heffer
01 September 2021 | OP184

Global outrage over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in America last year has been harnessed by activist groups such as Black Lives Matter to support demands for social and political upheaval that go way beyond making racial equality a reality. This has led to the weaponisation of identity politics across much of the Western world, causing…

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The Psychology of Populism: Tribal Challenges to Liberal Democracy
Joseph P. Forgas
19 August 2021 | OP183

The resurgence of both left-wing and right-wing populism presents a serious challenge for liberal democracies. Whereas liberal democracy is based on the Enlightenment principles of individualism, tolerance and freedom, populism is a fundamentally collectivist, anti-individualist and anti-Enlightenment tribal ideology. This paper goes beyond economic and other explanations for the resurgence of populism to provide a much fuller psychological account —…

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Scaling up success in majority Indigenous schools
Noel Pearson
08 July 2021 | OP182

Addressing the Centre for Independent Studies, Noel Pearson outlines his insights and observations from decades of experience supporting education in remote majority Indigenous communities. He outlines the 6C Education model — Childhood, Class, Club, Culture, Civics, Community — adopted at Good to Great Schools, the organisation he co-Chairs, and the critical role played by teacher-led, direct instruction. Noel argues that…

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Afghanistan on the brink of an abyss
William Maley
01 July 2021 | OP181

Australia’s recent closure of its embassy in Kabul, and the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan after 20 years by 11 September 2021, casts a deep shadow over Afghanistan’s future prospects. In this paper, leading expert on Afghanistan, William Maley, examines the implications of the US withdrawal. He discusses how the ‘peace process’ that was supposed to flow from…

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