I stay alone, skipped a stone, from the known to the unknown… It’s hard to be right wing, let me tell you, Internets

It’s scary to be conservative during the marriage debate in Australia, Internet.  At any time, without warning, somebody could jump out of the bushes and cover us with glitter.  It’s a horrifying thought and I live in constant fear.

And the ridicule!  I dare not express any opinion that contradicts the completely unreasonable belief that people ought not to be subject to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.  If a doctor expresses the belief that gay patients should be subject to conversion therapy, who knows what the Left might do?  Perhaps they might report this act to the authorities for being a breach of professional standards?  Who can know?

Clearly, every conservative now lives in fear of ridicule and humiliation.  It’s completely unfair.  It’s completely unbalanced.  Sure, the Left lives in fear that we will literally kill them — either by running them down with cars or by stripping them of healthcare and food — but there can be no justification for political discrimination.

Continue reading “I stay alone, skipped a stone, from the known to the unknown… It’s hard to be right wing, let me tell you, Internets”

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Are we dreaming the same dream? Of money, guns, and gasoline?… Centrism and the Media

Quand une guerre éclate, les gens disent : « Ça ne durera pas, c’est trop bête. » Et sans doute une guerre est certainement trop bête, mais cela ne l’empêche pas de durer. La bêtise insiste toujours.

When a war breaks out, people say: ‘It won’t last – it is too stupid!’ And, of course, war certainly is too stupid, but that does not prevent it from lasting. Stupidity always insists.

(Camus, La Peste, 1947)

I don’t believe that the current world is significantly worse than any other period in history.  As a conservative, I always think that we are in some kind of degenerate state but I don’t believe that this degenerate state is worse than any other.

The churn in Western democracies at the moment is questioning a lot of wisdom which we have not, on a grand scale, questioned for a while.  We have a moment to reexamine the received wisdom that many people — far too many — accept entirely without challenge.  We have intuitions about democracy, freedom of speech, and liberty that, on closer reflection, do little but support tired power structures in society.  And I say this from the conservative end of politics, reflecting on the incredible expansion of the market that has filled the void where traditional state authority used to be.

But it is rare that so many people are invited and encouraged to challenge liberalism, centrism, and even democracy to engage in a discussion about what sort of a society we want and how we can go about realising that society.

Continue reading “Are we dreaming the same dream? Of money, guns, and gasoline?… Centrism and the Media”

Quick Post: Historicity of Jesus

The Guardian published an article by Simon Gathercole about whether there was an historical Jesus.  The article is depressingly terrible and it’s annoyed me for a full day.

We should start with who Gathercole is.  He is an outstanding theologian who is pushing the development of several areas of inquiry about early Christianity.  When we talk about wanting Richard Dawkins to engage with serious theology, we’re talking about people like Gathercole.

But that doesn’t mean Gathercole isn’t sometimes afflicted by bouts of sloppy thinking, as evidenced by the Guardian article.

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About to make my golden move, apocalyptic lipstick campaign… Is there a moral reason to obey international law?

A few weeks ago, Australia’s chattering classes were gripped in an unedifying discussion about the Rule of Law.  The new head of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus, was asked by ABC’s Leigh Sales if she believed in the Rule of Law (she did) and if that belief was inconsistent with the amount of law-breaking undertaken by unions.  It was an asinine series of questions and the resulting conversation covered nobody in glory.  I pointed to it as yet another example of legal theorists letting down the wider community.

What might surprise some people, perhaps, is that the same discussion points raised by the questioning of Sally McManus also arise in the recent decision to smack Assad with the tomahawk missiles.

Continue reading “About to make my golden move, apocalyptic lipstick campaign… Is there a moral reason to obey international law?”

Am I more soulful? Am I coming down now? … Proud to be Right

It has been alleged — not unfairly — that I’m routinely more critical of conservatives than I am of progressives and radicals.  One person has suggested that this is because I’m after a pat on the head: the vast majority of my friends and colleagues are progressives, so it is socially profitable to go after conservatives than the alternative.  This greatly underestimates what an atrocious dinner guest I am.

The answer is less sinister.  I have more invested in an improvement in right wing politics than I do in the left.  I am like the theologian who wants to improve understanding of Christianity regardless of how many atheists I convert.

So why am I conservative?

Continue reading “Am I more soulful? Am I coming down now? … Proud to be Right”

The Economic Consequences of the Speech

There’s not a lot to be gained by engaging in any sort of analysis of Milo Yiannopoulos’ behaviour.  He’s an attention seeker and we keep, for whatever reason, giving him attention.

I want to focus on one aspect of the Milo saga: the part where a publisher withdrew a book deal with him due to comments he’d made in support of statutory rape.  I want to focus here because it raises questions about censorship and about freedom of expression and because, for whatever reason, we struggle with these concepts as a society.  The problem, as ever, is that quite a lot of the tricky bits of liberalism haven’t been resolved, yet all the loudest people on social media think that they have.

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A thousand rainy days since we first met… why there’s no Gal Fawkes

The obvious answer is that ‘Guy’ was his given name, but we can (and should) look more deeply at the gendered and racial nature of anonymity.  Why is Guy Fawkes — the symbol and icon — a grinning white male, and not something else?

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