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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

29th September 2008

Bruce Logan: Against Citizenship and Social Inclusion

Posted by: Craig Young

Muriel Newman seems oblivious to the exclusion of Bruce Logan from most mainstream New Zealand media outlets due to the plagiarism incident that resulted in his retirement from the Maxim Institute two years or so ago.  Let me remedy that.

As one might guess from his time editing Cutting Edge in the nineties, and Evidence for the first five years of this decade, Logan is once more attacking the concept of human rights, particularly those human rights that counter the assertions of fundamentalist Protestant and conservative Catholic religious perspectives, such as women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights and children’s rights. Now, this is all very well, and Logan has the right to deliver his sermons about these subjects, as long as he makes it clear that his position is derived primarily from the US Christian Right and Anglo-American social conservative thinktanks.

Freedom of speech and expression is one thing, however, and expecting those subjective assertions to be translated into public policy in the face of countervailing evidence-based research from professional sources is quite another. Moreover, I seriously question his assertion that the expansion of civil society and the boundaries of human citizenship and ethical and moral concern is somehow to be equated with outright anarchy. Rather, it is a benchmark of healthy democratic participation, procedures and institutions that they are so inclusive, and willing to expand further the boundaries of their inclusion.

Logan needs to realise that there are compelling reasons why sectarian religious assertions can never be the basis of sound public policy, and attack key democratic principles like meaningful religious and philosophical freedom, and faith/state seperation. Without those key democratic principles, one witnesses the horror of Nazi Germany, predated and legitimised by centuries German Lutheran and Catholic anti-Semitism beforehand; or Northern Ireland’s travails; or the role of the pro-apartheid Reformed Churches in apartheid-era South Africa; or, most recently, the horrific spectacle of ethnic cleansing and religious persecution in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia, to say nothing of the polarised fratricidal quagmire of modern Iraq.

Neither liberty, or a healthy pluralist civil society, can exist to underpin democratic societies where sectarian authoritarianism attacks key principles through seeking to impose its assertions through bully pulpit, and attacks on human rights and civil liberties result from that.

If you doubt what I’ve written above, then take a look at the section I’ve reproduced below. It’s about  US Christian Right organisations and their concept of what constitutes a ‘values voter’:

 If you want a particularly obscene example of the power-drunk nature of the US Christian Right, witness the Family Research Council and its allies at a so-called “Values Voters Forum” in Washington DC, September 22-23rd, 2006.

Right-wing talkback host  Ann Coulter and ex-Family Research Council head Gary Bauer condoned torture in the name of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror.” It was okay to suppress antiwar dissent, no matter what the cost in civil liberties and human rights.According to Tony Perkins and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, it’s okay to privatise social welfare, and the poor are “that way” because they’re “lazy and immoral,” and it’s also allowable to persecute illegal immigrants to the United States, oh, and ‘global warming’ is part of a neo-marxist one world conspiracy.

Sound familiar, Bruce and Dr Newman?


Bruce Logan: “The March of Human Rights” (26.09.08): New Zealand Centre for Political Research:

People for the American Way: Values Voters Summit: September 22-23rd, 2006:


Tags: Politics · Religion

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