http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=r06c-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0385516479&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr&npa=1I have just finished reading The Theocons: Secular American Under Seige by Damon Linker. While an interesting read, with valuable insights into the thinking of some theocons (especially Neuhaus), it didn’t really live up to it’s name. Secular America is not under seige – the theocons do not want to get rid of democracy or establish a church. For example, wanting to change abortions laws is not undemocratic. Nor is America secular. They may have no state religion, but religion plays a major part in Americans’ self-understanding and public life already, and has done for years. This book is another example of the confusion between liberalism and democracy that I criticise in my unpublished essay on the subject.
The DCC has advertised my job – Website â€“ Customer Service Leader. Making it real that I’ll leaving.
ANZAC Day I went to my second ever dawn service, this time in Wellington. I was pleased to some protesters but didn’t think burning a flag was necessary. They were right that the service was a justification for war – making violence respectable and OK if it is defend freedom. Interestingly I found this paper among my things today when cleaning out some boxes (seems very apt): Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Revisiting Civil Religion. If that seems interesting maybe these books will too:
What 20th Century Theorist are you?
You are Franz Fanon! The father of postcolonialism, you were a prominant French academic until you resigned your post and joined the Algerian resistance. Your works are surprisingly readable for a major theorist, although you only have two of them. You died in 1961 of Lukemia.
Take this quiz!
Amnesty International currently has a human rights campaign focussed on China, complete with a tour, whose slogan is “Human Rights: Not Made in China”. AI members had a run-in with DCC staff when they tried to meet with the Mayor Peter (Wing Ho) Chin yesterday.
As a DCC worker and someone who supports Amnesty and human rights I am disappointed that Chin is be shying away from making any stand or comment. But politics is clearly an issue here as ties between Dunedin and China are very close, with Shanghai, China having a meaningful relationship as a sister city of Dunedin. There is also the Chinese Garden development, which has central government support and involvement of Chinese experts.
I recently read a review of The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression, the basic thesis of which on the face rings true. China does abuse human rights and we hear little from our leaders condemning China. Will NZ boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to the human rights abuses in China? I doubt it, yet they are willing to call for sanctions on Fiji.
Once again this Eastertide there have been the inevitable questions about the inconsistencies of New Zealand’s Easter trading laws. It happens every year. Shop keepers and right wing politicians complain about the laws keeping some shops closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Unions and church “leaders” seek to protect workers and the their holy days.
Some examples (found easily AFTER writing the above):
- Easter Trading Negative Effect on Pacific Families
- Catholic bishops on Easter Sunday trading bills
- Govt could have sorted out Easter trading circus
I support more holidays and breaks for workers. I think it is a bad argument made by some that families need to be able to shop together to be together over Easter. This elevates consumers over retailers, who must be away from their families to serve others.
On the other hand it is worrying that the churches makes arguments that are indistinguishable from those of unions. Surely our theological traditions are richer than that? But if theology was used it would still be sill be in support of the trading bans. It is as though God needs favours from parliament. Yeah Right! Why assume that Christian holidays need the support of the state? In some ways the churches are seeking through the state and its law-making apparatus ways of making it easier for Christians to behave like Christians. They probably fear that people will not take leave on Good Friday to attend worship should it not be a national holiday.
Churches need to do some theology rather than jump on secular bandwagons. Otherwise they find those wagons taking them into unfamiliar and disturbing territory.
Today I completed the survey at http://www.8tribes.co.nz after seeing the book 8 Tribes – The Hidden Classes of New Zealand, by Jill Caldwell and Christopher Brown in a book shop. I did the survey on the website and here are the results:
Your dominant tribe is Grey Lynn
You’re dedicated to the idea of making a difference and living in a principled way. You love culture and ideas.
The Grey Lynn Tribe – Intellectual
The highly educated intelligentsia who value ideas above material things and intellectualise every element of their lives. Their most prized possession is a painting by the artist of the moment, they frequent film festivals, secretly wish they had more gay and Maori friends, feel guilty about discussing property values and deep down are uneasy about their passion for rugby.
Related News Story: Which tribe are you? Sunday Star Times | Monday, 15 January 2007
The so-called anti-smacking debate started by the proposal to repeal Sec. 59 of the Crimes Act has begun a new form of campaigning that all political actors should take note of. Reading “We The Media” and this report “Oxford Internet Institute Working Paper: Web2.0 and Citizen Participation” has made me realise that the Sec 59 debate is being conducted in a different ways than it would have only 2 years ago.
The rhetoric and vitriol may be the same we saw in the Civil Union debate, but new use of the web means that political debates will never be the same again. Some examples of these new tools are:
Who would have predicted that home-made videos of talking heads would be a political activism tool.
People have quizzing me about my PhD topic. And fair enough too, as that will my main occupation for the next 4 years and may define the rest of my career. Here is a link to the PhD research proposal that got me admitted to Edinburgh. Doubtless it will change but it’s the best I have at the moment. Comments welcome!
I have more or less completed my shift next door. Last night though I saw a cockroach in the new place. I was surprised by this as I’d been told that there are no cockroaches in Dunedin. This is clearly untrue. Hopefully no more will appear.