Civil Society – The Centre for Independent Studies

Civil Society

With freedom comes responsibility. A society of free individuals can only function if everyone respects the rights and liberties of everybody else. This means we have to voluntarily limit our own desires and monitor our own behaviour in the hope and expectation that other people will do the same in their relations with us.

But there is evidence that these informal norms governing our behaviour have been fraying over recent decades. The CIS asks what are the causes and consequences of the decline of civility and social cohesion, and what can be done about it?

The research also examines how government is weakening civil society by trying to eradicate risk from our lives and by ‘crowding out’ voluntary activity with state initiatives?

Publications

Cancelled! How ideological cleansing threatens Australia
Peter Kurti
17 August 2020 | AP13

‘Cancel culture’ campaigns in Australia are intended to erase elements of our history and to deny the record of those who helped found this country. The impulse to impose a revised interpretation of the past poses a danger that threatens to corrode civility, destroy civic…

Moral Terrorism
Simon Heffer
21 July 2020 | OP174

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…

Rights, Morals, Dignity: Why defending religious freedom matters
Peter Kurti
10 April 2020 | OP173

Calls for protections of rights are often made without much reflection on what it is, exactly, that needs protecting. In this Occasional Paper, Peter Kurti argues that behind any claim about rights lies a moral claim, and that this claim is essentially about human dignity.…

CRACKING UP? Culture and the Displacement of Virtue
Peter Kurti
09 July 2019 | AP4

Unease has been growing that something has changed for the worse in our culture. The change is perceptible but often defies precise description; yet it provokes this unease because of a concern that the foundations of our common social life have become unstable. This sense…

Taking Back Control: Restoring Universalism in the Age of Identity Politics
Amanda Stoker
16 April 2019 | OP170

It can feel safer avoiding conversations on social issues that can be landmines at the best of times. But the longer those who believe in freedom and responsibility sit on the sidelines, the longer we give free rein for others to shape the debate. Where…

Media & Commentary

Euthanasia bill a tragedy
Peter Kurti
16 December 2020 | DAILY TELEGRAPH

Even as experts fret about the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of the vulnerable, with a possible spike in suicides, greater access to voluntary death is spreading gradually…

Did Australia pass the COVID-19 test?
Monica Wilkie
11 December 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

As the wintery Northern Hemisphere suffers through a surge in coronavirus cases, Australians feel the relief of low numbers and easing restrictions.   But focussing on COVID cases and deaths…

Second Lockdown inevitable
Monica Wilkie
13 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

Parts of Victoria are going back into Stage 3 lockdown. This was inevitable – not due to rising coronavirus cases, but because in March we relinquished everything to fight COVID-19.…

Bursting CSR virtue-signallers’ bubble
Jeremy Sammut
31 May 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Many pundits have been forced to explain why middle Australia not only rejected Bill Shorten’s class war rhetoric but also spurned Labor’s enthusiastic embrace of identity politics and progressive ideology…

Christchurch brings out best and worst
Jeremy Sammut
22 March 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

The response to the Christchurch atrocity has brought out the best and worst qualities of our public life. The bi-partisan condemnation of terrorism of all kinds has affirmed Australia’s commitment…