Christianity and politics

The role of Christianity in politics is debated. Max Weber offers guidance when he declares that: the dominance of magic outside of the sphere in which Christianity has prevailed is one of the most serious obstructions to the rationalization of economic life…capitalism could not develop in an economic group…bound hand and foot by magical fetters…there […]

Fred Halliday

Fred Halliday died on Monday. I purchased his Arabia Without Sultans a very long time ago. It recalls a time when the forces of radicalism in the Middle East came from the Marxist-Leninist left, although Halliday was blind to their political flaws, any political force that regarded Brezhnev’s USSR as a model had little long […]

The religious right & homophobia

With the American right apparently resurgent useful to consider the balance of its components. The focus of the tea-parties on tax and debt might indicate a decline in the influence of the religious right as Dana Goldstein suggets but Sarah Posner suggests that the religious right remains highly influential. Inclined to agree with Posner here. […]

From Milne Bay to 9/11

Why might people like us machine gun drowning sailors (or torture prisoners) ? Reading Mark Johnston’s Fighting the Enemy: Australian soldiers and their adversaries in World War II which sheds some light on this question. The hierarchy of enemies is not surprising, Italians were despised, Germans respected (and postwar polls showed they were popular migrants), […]

Catholic activists and racism

Interesting to note the incorporation of Australian Catholic conservatives into the Australian conservative movement. This is apparent in the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric of Greg Sheridan and Kevin Andrews which echoes themes of less prominent Catholic activists such as Bill Muehelberg and Cory Bernardi. This is an interesting shift. Defence of White Australia was a core […]

Culture & class in NSW 1930 to 2007


Very busy with the end of semester rush but the just published analysis of the social composition of NSW state electorates based on the 2006 census provides an irresistible diversion (tip Penny Sharpe) from paperwork and St. Kilda’s defeat. I spent far too many hours on the exhausting task of assembling a similar database from […]

Sexual equality and freedom of religion

Much conservative anxiety about the proposals of the Victorian Labor Attorney-General Rob Hulls  to extend the coverage of anti-discrimination to include the ‘non-core’ activities of religious organisations such as health and Education providers. Noteworthy that religious conservatives champion a radical ‘multiculturalism’ here, although most of them are opposed to Australian multiculturalism in its customary ethnic […]