Category Archives: Sociology

Civilisations clash?

A couple of days ago, I bought from the Broadway Co-Op near UTS a discounted paperback edition of Samuel Huntington’s expanded monograph The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, a seminal book which I’ve long delayed acquiring since initially I wasn’t too impressed by its triggering article. Once one takes various caveats (often introduced by Huntington himself) into account, though, in hindsight I’ve belatedly come to accord it some serviceability in rendering various inherent cultural limitations of effective statecraft palatable to practitioners.

For aught I know, I might give said work some more thought later.



Filed under Political, Religion, Sociology

Best wishes to John Murphy

I was saddenned to read that my neighbouring (and, when boundaries allowed, local) MP John Murphy felt constrained by family reasons to resign from his Parliamentary Secretariat.  As one who’s personally on the other side of the political  fence, I can say that throughout his time as an MP Mr Murphy has consistently acted for his constituents and the wider community in a principled and dignified fashion.

My own dealings with Mr Murphy have largely been through the NSW Right to Life Association (in which I am locally active).  Facing enormous pressure, Mr Murphy has stood steadfastly in defence of the vulnerable.  As such (and for various other qualities), I salute him and wish both he and his family well for the future.


Filed under Australia, Ethics, Government, Political, Sociology

Missiological assumptions? – link to post by Michael Jensen

In a post which pleasantly surprised me, Michael Jensen (a son of Archbishop Peter Jensen) herein questions various missiologically-argued practices prevalent (amongst other places) in certain Sydney circles.   In particular, he questions whether an a priori committment to apparent ad-hoc informality of services is fully warranted by missiological research.

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Filed under Religion, Religious, Scripture, Sociology

On cascades in opinions and other non-sequiturs

“Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.” [1]

While reminiscing on some occasions when my views concerning certain matters changed, it seemed apparent that the process at times involved me adopting other ancillary views prior to (or even in lieu of) their formal demonstration.  In my case, that phenomenon seems particularly pervasive concerning religious questions.

For instance, both my apostasy from Rome and my repentance in Sydney were partly occasioned by viewing my previous convictions as to some extent historically contingent (in the first case discrediting my then-understanding of natural theology and in the second case discrediting some confidence I held concerning my remaining rationality.)  Moreover, while some apparent implications of each shift in my views did seem distasteful at the time, acquiring a stiff upper-lip seemed desirable.  Over time, a number of those respective challenges appeared easier to bear as new “bonds of affection” gradually entwined me.

While my views on religious matters have undergone considerable flux, my political views hitherto have seemingly remained fairly stable.  I wonder whether those whose political views seem frequently in flux, by way of compensation, might tend to hold fast their views on religious subjects.

[1] John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (London: Longmans, Green, 1936), Chapter 12, p. 134.

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Filed under Political, Religion, Sociology

Pedigree and Patronage: class consciousness quiz

 H/T Byron.  The idea is to highlight the elements of your own upbringing that apply in bold as an exercise in social class awareness.

1. My father went to university.
2. My father finished university.
3. My mother went to university.
4. My mother finished university.
5. Have any relative who is or was a lawyer, doctor or academic.
6. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
7. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
8. Were read children’s books by a parent.
9. Had extra-curricular lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
10. Had more than two kinds of extra-curricular lessons before you turned 18.
11. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.

12. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
13. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your university costs.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your university costs.
15. Went to a private primary school.
16. Went to a private high school.
17. Your family regularly employed a cleaner.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.*
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in an HSC preparation course or study camp outside of school.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or shares in high school or university.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. Growing up, you were unaware of how much electricity bills cost for your family.
*From a relative who was an artist.

All up, it seems I have 22/36.


Filed under Sociology