Theology made a mockery of democracy

“You’d think it would be bleedingly obvious that if 87% of the population agreed with a proposition, then our members of parliament would dutifully and faithfully reflect that view when it came to voting on legislation … It turns out that many of our MPs are quite happy to represent us – but only so long as they agree with us.”

“When it comes to abortion (or similarly divisive issues such as same-sex marriage, assisted death or even stem cell research) many MPs ditch the idea that they are our representatives, and instead impose upon us personal opinions dictated, they tell us, by their consciences.”

Haw! Haw! Conscience votes are almost as rare as a sighting of that famous bird, the dodo. Our parliamentary representatives are selected by their parties to be elected by us, on condition that they vote as dictated by party chiefs. Or else! The whole system is so authoritarian that a Prime Minister apparently took Australia to war recently without parliamentary approval.

Who are the controllers of our political parties? How did they achieve their control? I doubt if either academe or the media could enlighten us. All that we know is that the first priority of our political parties is to be re-elected; but not at the price of giving up any theology-related policy.

What is interesting is that Census data shows that just 61% of us are Christian; and that Roman Catholics represent 25% of Christians. That is, no more than 15% of the population could be identified as bound by the theology of the Vatican. This has significance in relation to policy in relation to assisted death (or voluntary euthanasia – no ‘killing’ involved) – a matter of great interest to the very elderly as they deteriorate, with increasing pain, in institutional care. (Where are the loved ones they brought up?)

Voting is compulsory in Australia, unlike other Western nations. Yet, reportedly, about 400,000 youths aged between 18 and 25 are not enrolled to vote. Many more allegedly submitted informal ballot papers. Is there any penalty for non-enrolment?

Vatican theology reached new heights in 2013 in the State of New South Wales. According to Anne Summers, a respected journalist, whom I quoted at the start of this post, “The vote for Zoe’s Law … involved a 63-26 majority of Lower House members … in favour of granting personhood to the foetus.” (Ye Gods!) In this so-called democracy, Vaticanites seem to have achieved control over both sides of politics, as well as the public services in the nation. Are we too well fed to care?

Minority rule is not democratic, especially if guided by a restrictive theology. Refer ‘Keeping the bastards honest’ in my book ‘The Karma of Culture’ (available at amazon kindle at $US 2.99 or $A 3.99). Yet, we preach, in lofty tones, to other nations about the effulgent beauty of Western democracy!

(Anne Summers’ article was published in the May 14/15 issue of ‘News Review’ in the Sydney Morning Herald)

 

Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)Depot)

Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)

The clairvoyant who enabled the spirit of my uncle to offer me advice told me, nearly a quarter of a century ago, not to be in a hurry (I was!) ‘to get to the Other Side’; it would not be different from here, he said. I did not like that.

I was, however, promised that I would continue my learning there. As to those I might meet there, all my close relatives who had died a while back would probably have been reincarnated by now. Would I be fortunate in meeting some of the ‘higher beings’ referred to by my uncle? He had explained that they had sent him to me.

It would also be wonderful to be able to talk to some of the learned men and women of recent times. Throughout my life, I have tended to seek out people who are interesting, especially immigrants and (genuine) refugees in Australia offering their diverse experiences. Great insight into the human condition is thus available.

I would also like to meet in the Afterlife some of those religious leaders who had practised control over their ‘flocks,’ including separating them from being contaminated by ‘foreign’ ideologies. In this context, I am reminded of that priest who convinced all 5 of our new neighbours not to have coffee with my wife. They ignored us after that; we were not of ‘the faith.’ What ignorance; what subservience. How un-Australian!

I would ask such priests what they thought they had done for humanity as a whole. I do not, however, expect bigotry and evil thoughts to survive Earthly death. One’s soul should be above Earthly contaminants.

The Afterlife promises to be interesting in another way. Currently I am saddened by those Christians, all regular church-goers, who have indicated to me that they do not know what will happen to them after death (in spite of what the Bible promises), or who are genuinely afraid to die. They are not convinced by my belief that we will all go to a better place. What have their priests done to them? I know them to be good people, surely not conceived or born in ‘sin.’    

I look forward to be able to say to them (and their priests) ‘Isn’t this a good place to be’? I really cannot see why the Afterlife (the Recycling Depot) cannot also be an R&R (rest and recuperation) Way Station!

There we could again re-connect as fellow-travelers, until we move on to our respective personal-destiny pathways once more. It is the journey, the objective of repeated rebirths, which offers valuable learning in the meaning of existence and non-existence!

Challenging deconstruction – Part 2

The rest of my writing is covered here.

1) The Dance of Destiny
Having been well-educated by British colonialism, buffeted (but not damaged) by ignorance in a relatively new nation set in coloured seas and surrounded by foreign but ancient and durable cultures, risen to leadership positions in both civil society (through a highly interactive and contributory life) and in the federal public service, and sporadically falling into holes which were certainly not there, and also experiencing the wheels of my life-chances cart falling off for no discernible cause, I had to ask: ‘What determines human life on Earth?’

Trekking through the maya of history, geography, sociology, significant psychic experiences and personal relations of some import, I came to postulate how a personal destiny might evolve. I drew upon Hinduism, not on the New Age modifications. Increasingly, I speculate whether, like the nested fields of force in physics, there may be a nested network of human destinies, leading to one which encompasses the Cosmos as a whole. Thus, this book is much more than a memoir.

Necessarily and intuitively, I have woven through my narrative some Eastern (mainly Hindu) spirituality. Supportive endorsements again followed. The US Review of Books recommended the book, previously supported by Kirkus Discoveries and BookRead.com.

2) Pithy perspectives: a smorgasbord of short, short stories
This book was written for fun. It was reviewed by the NSW State President of the Federation of Australian Writers. He describes the stories as “interesting,” “crazy, frightening, weird, some really lovely,” “a clever book.” The last story in the book (“quite intriguing,” “so different”) ends in a spiritual haze which envelops cats, mice, and a little girl who understands the language of animals.

The book was also favourably reviewed by the US Review of Books.

3) Musings at Death’s Door: an ancient, bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society
This is a hard-hitting, no-punches-pulled summary of my lived-through observations, gathered over more than 6 decades as an adult, culminating with a view on the place of religion in human lives, and the place of mankind in the Cosmos. Not unexpectedly, my perceptual stance is bicultural, since I was well soaked in Asia’s communitarian spirituality before I arrived in Australia, while becoming grounded firmly in the operational requirements of the Western world through more than 6 decades of a participatory life in a nation reflecting the primacy of individualism.

This book highlights what the Australian media has identified as the racket of asylum seeking (now re-affirmed by the current government), with little to no evidence that the vociferous supporters of an open door to all asylum seekers are adequately aware of the national interest. I argue for due process to enable those who have a genuine fear of persecution in their country of nationality to be granted necessary succour. The book is also critical of those who seek to retain their cultural separation even after the third generation has merged with the rest of the population; we are already an integrated multi-ethnic people. The book compares the subservience of Australia’s politicians kow-towing to powerful interests to the stand-tall stance of its workers (who could thereby be a beacon to our neighbours). I also examine empires gone and going, as well as the sham of Western democracy, and a number of other issues of societal relevance.

On the other hand, I do highlight the commendable aspects of my adopted nation, of which I am proud. We can be a beacon of tolerance and equal opportunity.

An endorsement by a professor of history and politics says “ … there is wisdom here … this book is rich, intelligent and provocative. A major contribution to Australian culture.” This book was also Recommended by the US Review of Books.

These books are available as ebooks for deconstruction or to be read for information and/or pleasure at Amazon Kindle Direct at $US 2.99 each.

Other writing
I have had a few articles relating to migrant settlement issues published in: ‘Asia Sentinel,’ ‘Malaysian Insider,’ ‘Webdiary,’ and the Multicultural Writers Association of Australia’s anthology “Culture is … “. The Eurobodalla Writers’ recent anthology “Where penguins fly” includes 3 pieces of fiction by me.

More recently, I have had 44 short articles published on http://www.ezinearticles.com on a wide range of issues, most open-ended, thereby inviting intelligent readers to reach their own conclusions.
For further background, refer http://www.dragonraj.com and http://www.independentauthornetwork.com .

Clarifying my position

I noted recently that WordPress has deemed as scam more than 150 responses to my 100 or so blogs. Why would anyone be upset because I represent a open mind sustained by a spiritual  belief? Could I have upset someone because I claim that, as my beliefs can be neither proven nor disproven – scientifically or by some other reliable process – so are their beliefs? I do not accept that atheists are that egotistical, but certain believers in institutional religions might be. I therefore challenge the right of religious institutions or political organisations and their followers not to deny my right of conscience, when I do not deny theirs.

I do support human rights (which the Australian and other Western governments preach to others) through a statute; and the highest level of human compassion (already available to family pets) through the availability of voluntary euthanasia (with appropriate constraints), while rejecting counter-arguments such as ‘killing,’ or ‘the slippery slope’ or other theocratic obfuscations. Let us not tell one another how to behave, just because someone says so. There are no infallible leaders, no chosen people. That is my belief, but I do not shove it down anyone’s neck!

And I do remind those financially and societally irresponsible supporters of thousands of asylum seekers who demand to stay, and at taxpayers’ expense, that it is far too easy to be charitable at someone else’s expense. Think first of the national interest, in all its facets! This suggestion applies particularly to certain politicians.

How about a little more tolerance please.

Asylum seeker policy – core issues

The main issues for Australia should be obvious: protecting the integrity of the nation’s border; and balancing the national interest against competing demands. The latter reflects: opportunism; a deficiency in morality; self-seeking; and a dearth of awareness of the financial costs and adverse societal consequences of a simplistic open-door approach.

The beneficiaries of this latter approach are: the legal profession; and the thousands of self-selected immigrants who will probably remain on the public teat for a long time because they are economically unviable (that is, unable to get jobs). Members of the glee club may not remain cheerful about their success to date when they are required to pay more taxes to offset the billions wasted through this seek and succour process.

Is it possible to protect the national interest against those surfing on the wash of the UN convention on Refugees? Since the convention is not legally binding, Australia could either opt out of it formally (other countries inundated by asylum seekers may soon do this); or apply it in a pragmatic manner, having regard to the societal, financial, equity, or other consequences.

Refugee entry has necessarily to be selective. Hitherto, refugees had entered Australia after UNHCR had decreed that they are refugees under the UN Convention; that is, they came through the front door, after also being assessed by Australia as capable of fitting harmoniously into the nation. Australia has had a commitment to take is as many as possible for a long while, yet allowing space for some humanitarian entrants. The latter also entered by selection, not by self-imposition.

A 3-year temporary residence visa, which denied family reunion rights and permitted repatriation of the visa holder, would have deterred many opportunists. The foolish cancellation of this policy has produced disastrous consequences.

Australia has an undeniable right to place in detention anyone breaching its borders. Unlawful (that is, visa-less) arrivals will need to learn that uttering vehemently ‘Open sesame’ (refer the Ali Baba story) is not enough to qualify for welfare, Medicare and public housing. The treatment of boat arrivals in detention has been most generous; reportedly, they have been given mobile phones, in addition to board and lodging, and all manner of necessary services.

And it does take time to process the claims of claimants who hide their identity and, possibly, any mental health problems. Indeed, how did those officials and jurists who granted residence rights to 4 out of every 5 applicants decide that the applicant did not pose any risks to the nation in terms of security or criminality?

There needs to be more honesty and transparency.

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