Defeating violent Islamic extremism has been a high priority for all western countries, including Australia, since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. However, the threat we face doesn’t so much come from zealots flying planes into buildings as from young people barely out of childhood and who have their entire lives before them. Altering any kind of ideological belief — whether religious or political — is very difficult. Once we get into our heads ideas about the difference between good and evil, right and wrong or innocent and guilty, they can be hard to dislodge. To do so requires more than a government program. De-radicalisation has been dismissed by some as a pseudo-science designed more for our own benefit to help us deal with a phenomenon most of us simply do not understand. De-radicalisation programs are unlikely to be completely successful. They may well do some good although they will not magically fix the threat of radicalised youths without us having to do anything more. The threat of radicalised youths is likely to confront our society for some time to come. This collection of essays looks at what more we must do and asks whether the beliefs that feed terrorism can be changed.
The Battle of Ideas: can the beliefs that feed terrorism be changed?
19 September 2016 | OP149
26 July 2018 | OP166
Based on the remarks made by former Prime Minister John Howard at the launch of The Centre for Independent Studies’ new Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society Program at the CIS’s Sydney office in July 2018 This hour long ‘Conversation About Culture’ ranged over many of the important topics that are at the heart of contemporary social, economic and political debates…READ MORE
20 June 2018 | OP165
The adequacy of religious freedom protections in Australia has been now reviewed by the Ruddock Inquiry established by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the same-sex postal survey in later 2017. By late June June 2018, however, the government had yet to release Ruddock’s findings. Nonetheless, advocates acknowledge that many Australians have only a very low level of concern about religious…READ MORE
07 February 2018 | OP164
Australia is in a period of economic malaise. GDP per person has been growing slowly ever since the GFC. Australia’s performance is mediocre compared to other developed countries; by contrast, we outperformed before the GFC. Household incomes and wages are also growing at slow rates, though some of this is caused by the end of the mining boom. One likely…READ MORE
05 February 2018 | OP163
Trigger warnings, cultural appropriation and safe spaces. Who decided to bestow guardian status to Australian universities? And why should we let this proliferation of politically correct ideals become the norm, prescribing, censoring or outright banning texts, gagging speech and curbing the exchange of ideas? “The radical transformation that universities are undergoing today is no less far-reaching than the upheavals that…READ MORE
30 January 2018 | OP162
Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA hacked the internet as a key part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence program. Since these revelations in 2013, legislation has largely served to give a secure legal backing to what was previously an undisclosed, covert and sometimes informal national surveillance program. In the private sphere, we are now on the brink of an…READ MORE