Enforcing Orthodoxy

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An interesting editorial comment in the 20 January edition of The Tablet touching on the way in which opinions expressed by someone that are contrary to the accepted ‘orthodoxy’ (a word I use with some trepidation) are censored and condemned merely because they are contrary to the accepted ‘orthodoxy’. It is a phenomenon we often see […]

In Search of Democratic Equality

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…citizens of the Western democracies, and Americans in particular, no longer understand the concept of democracy itself. This, perhaps more than anything, has corroded the relationship between experts and citizens. The relationship between experts and citizens is not “democratic.” All people are not, and can never be, equally talented or intelligent. Democratic societies, however, are […]

I’d Like An Argument Please

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Public debate over almost everything devolves into trench warfare, in which the most important goal is to establish that the other person is wrong. Sensible differences of opinion deteriorate into a bad high school debate in which the objective is to win and facts are deployed like checkers on a board – none of this […]

The Problem of Ignorance

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…The United States is now a country obsessed with the worship of its own ignorance. It’s not just that people don’t know a lot about science or politics or geography; they don’t, but that’s an old problem. And really, it’s not even a problem, insofar as we live in a society that works because of […]

A Presidential Style Politics?

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“The rise and rise of presidential-style politics has infected every aspect of the way politicians’ days are shaped. In Question Time, almost all the questions go to the prime minister, rather than his or her ministers. The driving force is getting the “grab” for the evening news. The days when an Opposition would ask questions […]

Fallout of Foggy Memories

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“This world of foggy memories – and mediocre politics – has often helped take us back to the political equivalent of debating science versus religion. It has cleared the way for a vapid politics of three-word slogans and the “cheap corn” of appealing to our basest instincts and self-interest. It has cleared the way for […]

The Loss of Institutional Memory

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“Much is said about the dumbing-down of politics; the 24-hour news cycle; too much polling and poll-driven politics; the decline of community involvement in political organisations; the rise of the political professional; and the decline of “real-life” experience among our politicians. Without doubt, these all play a role. But elements that I think are regularly […]

State Paternalism

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“The idea of state paternalism is embedded in our relationship with government, and has been since the time our convict forefathers expected Governor Phillip to fix the small problem of starvation rather than do anything about it themselves. We have expected governments to intervene to create equality. The very way funding is divided up among […]

The Source of Australian Anger

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“…so much of our culture, so many of our public discussions, contain some suspicion or assertion that we might be being ripped off, that someone else might be getting preferment. The belief that we are entitled to a lifestyle that we think everyone else may be enjoying seems to simmer not far beneath the surface. […]

Community Setting of Ordained Ministry

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To understand the relational nature of priestly spirituality, we must remember that the presbyter is ordained to three interrelated roles in the community: shepherd, prophet, and priest. … the glue which holds the three together is pastoral leadership. The presbyter acts, first of all, in persona Christi – in the person of Christ who is the […]