Difficult Issues And The Thin Edge Of The Wedge

I READ an article in the Weekend Australian today that I want to share with readers, and invite comments in answer to; there are a lot of hot-button, emotional issues at the forefront of public discourse and debate at present, and that debate is marked to a worrying degree by intellectual belligerence.

Gay marriage, abortion, and I’d add “man-made” climate change: issues never far from divisive (and often ugly) confrontation, with adherents and proponents resolutely welded to their respective positions, often with well-reasoned arguments to back their cases.

Yet there is a slow movement to outlaw the right of the individual to hold an opinion different to those who would set the agenda; typically this movement has come from the Left, and those who disagree with their positions are being worked into the insidious choice of either complying with the agenda of the Left, or facing the prospect of committing a criminal offence for thinking or saying anything in defiance of it.

I’m not speaking necessarily, mind, of the political Left, but rather the ideological Left; there is considerable confluence between the two, of course, but we’re talking here about the social engineers, the thought police, and everyone else who would dream of a nanny state inspired social Utopia.

This article from the Weekend Australian is food for thought, and I would love to know what readers think.

I think it’s disgraceful that people are being railroaded into a single-option choice when it comes to a position on delicate issues such as these; there is no easy answer to things like abortion, or gay marriage, or whether single women should have access to taxpayer-funded IVF, and what answers there are — on both sides — a generally not ideal in their entirety and raise other questions of their own.

I’m going to post another article here as well; I published it in this column quite some time ago, and I think it is instructive to read the two side by side.

It’s┬áby American author, columnist and scholar Jeff Nyquist, and whilst he frames his piece in terms of the Cold War struggle between Communism and Democracy, it is interesting to spot the similarities in the two cases.

The striking thing about it for me is the case made by Nyquist is to some extent echoed in the article by the Murdoch columnist, but almost in a causal sense; when you think about it we don’t as a society really consider hard, tough questions of governance and world politics in the way we used to do, and the issues Nyquist identified are shaping a very different kind of society indeed.

Anyway, the purpose of tonight’s post is simply to share a couple of articles, dealing with thorny issues from very different perspectives, but asking the question: what sort of society, and world, do we want to live in?

Please feel free to share your opinions by way of comment; I’m curious to know what readers think, and I’m sure you will be keen to see what others are thinking as well.