Dangerous Ideas and Alternative Media

October 11, 2018

LibertyFest is a free-thinking conference aimed at encouraging discussion of disruptive and dangerous ideas. The conference took place over a weekend in Brisbane and included a wide variety of speakers with backgrounds in politics, psychology, economics, and many more. Over the weekend, myself and 13 other Mannkal scholars had the amazing opportunity to learn, interact and discuss ideas with leading industry professionals and academics in a free-thinking environment.

There were two groups of speakers which I enjoyed hearing from. The first group included speakers that I was already familiar with through alternative media sources. This included speakers such as Bettina Arndt, Scott Crowe, Renee Gorman and Daisy Cousens. These speakers use alternative media sources to act as social commentators for recent events in Australia and other countries.

My favourite speaker from this list was Scott Crowe. Scott Crowe is well known for his YouTube Channel, The Independent Man. At LibertyFest, Mr Crowe talked about “The Whinging Gap”. In his speech Mr Crowe discussed the hypocrisy within the political correctness movement and the notion that whoever “whinges” the loudest gets heard. The main idea Mr Crowe conveyed was how the left revert to using their identity (skin colour, sexual orientation, gender etc.) when their arguments and ideas are challenged. To prove his point, he used examples such as the recent Serena Williams saga, Gamer Gate and the replacement of meritocracy with quotas to solve the gender imbalances. As someone who is a fan of his YouTube Channel, it was fantastic to hear Mr Crowe talk in person and judge how the room reacted to his talk.

The second group of speakers were those from which I learned new concepts. This included speakers such as Tom Switzer, Steve Baxter, Simon Breheny and Warren Mundine. These speakers talked about current economic and social issues in Australia such as the rise of support for socialism, the NBN, climate change and Aboriginal wellbeing.

Though I greatly enjoyed all the above talks, my favourite was by Simon Breheny. Mr Breheny is the Director for Policy at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). Mr Breheny spoke about the Paris Agreement and the costs and benefits of meeting the targets specified in the agreement. I found the lack of scientific evidence showing the benefits of the Paris Agreement on world temperatures astonishing. I had previously assumed that an agreement which carries such weight and importance would have large amounts of research proving its benefit to society. This was not the case. Mr Breheny then referenced a study by Dr Bjorn Lomborg that stated if emission targets are met, global temperatures would only be reduced by 0.05°C by 2100 whilst the financial cost of such a project would be enormous. For Australia alone, the cost would be $52B from 2018 – 2030. It was a pleasure to learn and hear from Mr Breheny on such an important and relevant topic.

Overall, LibertyFest was an incredible experience. I am extremely grateful to the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation for providing me with this fantastic learning experience.

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Callum is studying Economics at The University of Western Australia. He is our 2018 End-of-Year Scholar, participating in the US internship program.

Callum has previously attended the ALS Friedman Conference in May 2018 in Sydney as well as LibertyFest in September 2018 in Brisbane.