TaraElla Themes 2017-18

A Moral Liberty
Contrary to popular (American) belief, real liberals are not Left (or Right), but pro-liberty.
The Ideas Lab is on a campaign to revive Moral Liberalism.
For more about Moral Liberalism, read TaraElla's book The Moral Libertarian Horizon.

A Liberal and Truly Intersectional Feminism, no GLIF

Only Liberal Feminism is Truly Intersectional Feminism. Learn more here.
Both the Ideas Lab and The TaraElla Show aim to advance liberal intersectional feminism.
To learn more about how other 'intersectional' feminists are doing it wrong, read The Disappointment of G.L.I.F.

More Music
More new work will be added to the catalog of TaraElla's Music.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

How Hillary Clinton can Really Make History this year

After losing out to Obama eight years ago, Hillary Clinton has finally got what she was perhaps waiting for for decades, i.e. the nomination of the Democratic Party for the election of US President. And as she is the first woman ever to receive this honor, much has been made about her 'making history'.

Of course, this is literally history in the making, like all great firsts. But the real prizes in history are not just for being the 'first woman' or the 'first' whatever. The real prizes in history come to those who have made a big difference. For example, Barack Obama may have come to office most notably as the 'first black President', but he will leave office being remembered for much more.

If Hillary is to 'make a difference', she should start with her campaign. After all, a successful campaign supplies the winner with a strong mandate, and sets the tone for their government. And I believe Hillary should start with the fact that she is a uniter, not a divider. In a campaign where her opponent is perhaps the most divisive candidate of all time, I believe the message of unity and a government that looks after all citizens equally would strike a chord.

There has also been much said about whether her economic message should be based around the continuation of the successes of the Obama years, or a more radical Sanders-like message. But in reality, this is a false dichotomy. Good economic governance and acknowledging the fact that many Americans are currently struggling and the government should step in to help are not incompatible. Just like supporting free trade and supporting welfare for those who really need it are not incompatible. (By the way, I think she should support the TPP. Again, it's not incompatible with better health care or a higher minimum wage.)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Is President Barack Obama a Muslim? Of course not, but even Question is Sinister.

The question of whether US President Barack Obama is a muslim has been around like forever. Recently, it raised its ugly head again, when one of the speakers at the Republican National Convention was reported to state that he was certain that this silly myth was true. Some commentators pointed to the fact that, as more than 40% of Republican voters also believed this myth, it shouldn't be surprising that at least one speaker at their convention would share this belief.

Of course we know it's not true. We know that Obama is, and has always been, a devout Christian.

But what if he were indeed muslim. Would it matter? Why would it, as long as he is an effective President? The question of whether the President is a muslim, besides being ridiculous, is a very sinister one, as it implies that a muslim would be unfit to be president.

I think this reflects the relatively narrow-minded attitudes of Americans (sorry), compared to even other countries of similar culture. For example, there are plenty of muslim members of parliament in both the UK and Australia, and nobody seems to have a problem with that. Perhaps it's time Americans reconsidered their stance.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chilcot Report Vindicates Us who were Anti Iraq War. But where to next?

The British government's Chilcot Report, which found that there was inadequate justification for the War in Iraq, vindicated those of us who were bitterly opposed to the war back in 2003. It has taken almost half my lifetime so far for this taste of 'justice' I've been waiting for since I was 16, and it surely feels good.

But the question is, what should happen from here on? Some British commentators say that Blair could be sued for the war. But if he alone faced trial, that would be unfair, especially when it was Bush who started it. Australian indepdent MP Andrew Wilkie called for Bush, Blair and Howard to be all trialled in an international court. Sounds great to me, but I know it's not going to happen.

Most likely of all, Bush, Blair and Howard will not pay any price for the war at all. The chance to make them pay has gone. The chance was there back in 2004-5, when all three faced elections. But all three were returned by electorates which, in my opinion, were not interested in justice. Now it's too late.

p.s. The biggest injustice, in my opinion, is that Howard is now commonly regarded as Australia's most popular PM in recent history. Australians, please wake up!

Download the full song here.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's Now Up To Libertarian and Moderate Republicans to Stop Trump, if they want to

So it's official. Several days ago Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, and by and large the GOP has embraced him, even with his problematic platform. It appears that winning office and defeating Hillary Clinton is more important than small government and individual liberty for them.

Many libertarians and moderate Republicans must be quite upset right now. But the truth is, now they hold the key to stop Trump from actually taking over their party. If Trump doesn't win in November, his 'takeover' of the party is over instantly.

The question is, can enough of them bring themselves to vote Democratic for once? Even if the candidate is Hillary Clinton? Time will tell, but I think at least some of them will. I would, if I were in their position.

Adele - Hello (cover/parody)

Download the full song here.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton will soon pick a VP. Should she Go Left? I don't think so.

Hillary Clinton may announce her pick for vice president as soon as Friday. Some commentators are saying that she should pick someone to her left, for example Elizabeth Warren. I disagree.

Right now, with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, there are many Republicans who feel they have nowhere to go this election. I think many people who believe in the concept of freedom, even if they are economically on the right, would not be able to bring themselves to support Trump. So if Clinton offers a more centrist VP, a uniter rather than a divider, many such people may in fact come to her in November. Running with a leftist VP would force many of these Republicans to embrace Trump.

Those calling for Hillary to go left for VP are worried that her own 'business as usual' approach is not exciting enough for people to support her sufficiently. But a politician can be not 'business as usual' while still being close to the center. President Barack Obama himself is a good example. Overseas, former British prime minister David Cameron and Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten are also good examples from the center-right and center-left respectively.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

For Marriage Equality's Sake: Why it's Good that the UK Won't Have a Second Brexit Vote

British Parliament has rejected a petition calling for a re-run of the Brexit referendum, and both Prime Ministerial candidates have insisted that Brexit will go ahead. Whilst some Remain supports are dismayed, I believe this is the only right decision, and I congratulate Theresa May in particular for sticking to the right decision, despite her personal support for Remain.

The principle is that, once a referendum is run, governments ought to abide by the result, and without unnecessary delay. Anything less would be insulting to the idea of democracy. Whilst Remain supporters are welcome to continue to build their case for a future referendum to rejoin the EU one day, the referendum that has come to pass must be put into practice. Some Remain supporters cite the low turnout and the close margin as reasons for a re-run, however, as everyone is free to turn up or not, and the UK has never had compulsory voting, these are clearly not valid reasons to challenge the result.

Remain supporters may believe they should try anything to save their cause, but if they do so, it would legitimise similar attempts by other groups regarding other causes, even in other countries. Already, in Australia, some conservative MPs have signalled ways they may choose not to respect the national results of the upcoming marriage equality plebiscite. Any attempt in the UK to circumvent the Brexit vote would certainly embolden these people.

Governments finding ways to ignore results of popular votes have dangerous precedent setting consequences, and should not be ever attempted.

Download the full song here.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Supreme Court's ruling on Texas's Abortion Laws: It's Only Fair

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision to strike down Texas's abortion laws, specifically those laws which creates overly burdensome requirements on abortion clinics to operate, has generated a fair bit of controversy over the last few weeks. As someone who is 'pro-choice but personally opposed' (or 'pro-life but anti criminalisation), let me offer my perspective.

As SCOTUS has decided that abortion is to be legal in all 50 states, this remains the law of the land. Consequently, any attempts to circumvent this situation ought to be illegal, or any right guaranteed by SCOTUS can be similarly circumvented (including marriage equality, for example). Therefore, this ruling is very fair, and I hope no other state attempts something similar ever again thereby wasting SCOTUS's time.

If someone feels strongly about reducing abortions, they can provide counselling services, and spread the word. But what they cannot do is to be tricky with the law, preventing access to what is considered a protected right, no matter how passionate they are about it. Being tricky with the law only serves to erode public trust in the law, I believe.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The UK's Second Female Prime Minister: Theresa May vs Andrea Leadsom: History Made?

The candidates for the next British Prime Minister are down to Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, which means the UK will definitely have its second female PM. Many have hailed this as history in the making.

Personally, I'm not so sure. For a Prime Minister, I believe someone's policies is much more important than their gender. And even the staunchest feminists would have to agree with me here, to a point. I'm sure many wouldn't want to vote for candidates like Hanson in Australia or Le Pen in France.

David Cameron has been a great Prime Minister and his record will be hard to match. These are big shoes to fill. Good luck to whoever wins.

Download the full song here.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Tale of Three Parties: Shorten Labor vs Corbyn Labour, and what Hillary and Bernie supporters can learn

(While this piece is regarding three leftist parties, rightist parties can equally benefit from this lesson, I believe)

The British Labour Party is in deep crisis. Jeremy Corbyn won't step down as leader despite most of his MPs wanting him to go, and even if he faces an actual challenge, he may prevail, making the whole situation unworkable. The controversies over foreign policy won't just go away, even as most domestic voters really don't care. They can't even decide if Tony Blair is a hero or a villain. Nobody is expecting them to win in 2020.

The Australian Labor Party, on the other hand, is much happier. Bill Shorten may not be PM yet, but, in his own words, 'Labor is back'. Analysts on both sides have suggested that Labor has a good chance at the next election, due in 2019, on the back of their strong performance this year. Obviously, there is no leadership controversy there. Shorten was warmly welcomed by his MPs, and was re-elected unopposed as leader.

Why the big difference? Whilst Australian Labor has been focussed on addressing what people really want and focussing the message on what people care about, such as health care, education and marriage equality, British Labour seems to have lost focus, fighting over issues that matter only to the political elite. Whilst Australian Labor is clearly united, British Labour is clearly not. Most people don't want to elect a divided government, no matter what they stand for.

Whilst the picture is clear for both Australian Labor and British Labour, their US counterparts could really go either way now. Hillary Clinton may have won the Democratic nomination, but many Bernie Sanders supporters still hate her. The fate of the US Democrats, and whether Clinton or Trump would be the next US president, may rest largely on the choice of Bernie's supporters.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ruby Rose Suggested Trump and Hanson may be the Same Person. Whilst that's not true, she may have a point.

Ruby Rose recently joked on twitter that Pauline Hanson, leader of Australia's right-wing One Nation party, may in fact be Donald Trump in drag. Whilst some have quickly dismissed this as a joke in bad taste, I actually think she may have a point there.

Whilst Trump and Hanson are clearly two different people, there is, I believe, substantial overlap in the policies they represent and the type of people who would vote for them. Moreover, I would even suggest that Britain's UKIP and France's National Front may belong in the same basket. The theme is the same: what's on offer is a mixture of nationalism, anti-multiculturalism, and old fashioned protectionist policies. These policies may be rejected by both urban intellectuals and most young people in general, but there's clearly a market for this type of thinking, be it in the US, Europe or Australia.

As a liberal and committed multiculturalist, I do find it alarming. However, I believe we must go back to basics and understand and seriously deal with this phenomenon. In Australia, there have already been opinion pieces written suggesting that the return of Pauline Hanson may be related to real unfairness and structural disadvantage parts of the population are experiencing due to changed economic conditions since the 1980s. If the US Democrats are to win against Trump, I suggest they better examine their economic policies in this light. Whilst I am a supporter of free markets and free trade, you can't expect any type of economic liberalism to be sustainable if it hurts people's actual liberties, by making their livelihood difficult.

Download the full song here.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Brexit now, Donald Trump next? Is the world going mad? Is there a solution?

A lot of my friends are really despairing the Brexit decision. Not just because of economic implications, but because they think the 'racists' have won. And now, they live in fear that the 'racists' will win the White House for Donald Trump too.

Whilst I can empathize, I really have to disagree with their assessment. It was probably true that some people who voted leave were racist, but I'm sure the majority had other reasons. Not wanting another layer of government control was a major reason for supporting Leave, to my knowledge.

Which brings me back to Donald Trump. I have already said that I would prefer Clinton winning, but let me also say this: to my knowledge, some people are supporting Trump not necessarily because they agree with what he says, but because they are sick of political correctness. And whilst I wouldn't do this, I can empathize here too. Especially in recent years, political correctness has gone mad, and this is pushing many people further and further into the right. I know those 'social justice warriors' probably mean well, but their actions have only been to the detriment of the very people they wish to help, in my opinion. I would even go so far as to say, were Donald Trump to win in November, the recent rise of SJWs would have been a major factor.

I'm all for changing the world, ridding it of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, but we need to uphold the freedom of speech and conscience, first and foremost. It was the freedom of speech that let us begin on the path to correct the aforementioned injustices historically, and it will be free and honest conversations that will win people over in any cultural campaign. Western society has done comparatively well in ridding these injustices, precisely due to a long standing history of freedom of speech and conscience. In many other cultures, the expectation of social conformity has meant that the process couldn't even be started.

I believe that the treatment of racial minorities in many countries needs to be improved. I believe that there still needs to be much cultural change towards full gender equality. I believe in the absolute equal treatment of individuals and couples irregardless of their sexuality. And I believe that whatever gender identity people present as, their truth is the truth, and is the only truth. For me, these are all logical positions I hold based on logical reasoning, some which I only acquired through the course of life, after re-examining each viewpoint again and again. If you debate something openly and long enough, the truth will win. There is no need for taboos and political correctness, which will only serve to prevent the conversations that will change people.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

J.K. Rowling Wishes she could use Magic to Undo Brexit. Is it really this scary?

J.K. Rowling has recently said she wish she could use magic to undo the UK's recent vote to leave the European Union.

It seems that everyone is so scared of what's going to happen, now that Brexit has become 'reality'. It has even become a major theme in the AUSTRALIAN election, half a world away. But the truth is that, it was just a vote. Some Brits thought it would be a good idea to leave the EU, and now that they have proven a majority agrees with them, their vision will proceed. Had the vote been the other way around, their vision would not proceed. It's just how democracy, the 'collective expression of liberty', is done. It's a decision that's done, you may not like the results, but it won't be life changing for 99% of us. So please don't help the scare campaign along.

And the world is more resiliant than this, really. Life will move on, and the economy will adjust, but will soon find its feet. Indeed, the markets are already recovering.

There's now also talk that Trump may win in November just because there was a shock result in Brexit. That's nonsense. The likelihood of Trump winning or not has not changed as a result of a very separate event. One surprise does not increase the likelihood of another surprise. Get logical, people!

Download the full song here.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Vanessa Hudgens wore a Dream Catcher, Now She's In Trouble (Not again?)

Vanessa Hudgens recently wore a dream catcher in her hair. And predictably enough, accusations that she was 'appropriating native American culture' came flying. Apart from the fact that Vanessa is actually part native American, the 'cultural appropriation' idea is getting really old, isn't it?

People being able to follow their dreams in whatever way is the CORE of the Princess's Spirit, and that extends to every little thing in life, I believe. Therefore, I have a very basic view that people should be able to do, say and believe whatever they want to, unless it physically hurts another or takes away from the freedom of another.

All this 'cultural appropriation' stuff really is political correctness gone mad. I am all for decency and politeness in society, and I definitely do more than my part in combating racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. People who read my stuff know it. However, political correctness is poison for freedom, and we should not embrace it.

Download the full song here.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lindsay Lohan's Tweets About Brexit Set a Good Example

During the Brexit vote, Lindsay Lohan surprisingly emerged as one of the most popular 'political correspondents', tweeting in support of the campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union. (Yes, she's not just a party girl anymore. People DO grow up, you see.)

Whilst I did not agree with everything she said, I very much applaud her for what she did.

A lot of celebrities don't dare to speak up about numerous issues, fearing it would lose them fans. But this traps all of us in a cycle of expecting our favourite celebrities to always agree with us, which further serves to increase the pressure against celebrities speaking up.

So did Lindsay lose any Leave camp fans? Possibly. But I do know that quite a few Leave supporters agree with my assesssment that what she did was valuable. So maybe that made up for it.

Anyway, thanks Lindsay.

Download the full song here.