Monday, September 9, 2013

Democracy gone mad and the limits of enjoyment

After the weekend election in Australia, the Senate is going to be a strange mix of single interest parties along with the major parties. The whole issue seems to be with preferential voting, but as a result in the state of Victoria, a member of the Motoring Enthusiast Party has been elected. Apparently, a few things have been taken down of the web, some more embarrassing moments I'm guessing, but this comment caught my eye.

"We support a balanced approach towards sustainability of the environment and the use of the environment, both for the survival of mankind and for the unimpeded recreational use of the environment."

It is very clear from this that the environment is something for human use, for our survival and for our recreational use, by which he seems to mean four wheel driving, and is quoted again by the ABC as saying

"We have the RIGHT to express our individuality and freedom. Let's get a voice in the senate..... I am a Motoring Enthusiast and PROUD!"

Let's think about the worldview of Ricky Muir theologically.

Firstly, it's very clearly individualistic, as also evidenced by his view on taxation (again from the ABC)

"We are the only species on the planet who are forced to pay to exist," the post says.
"I think it is fair to say we should have the right to enjoy our existence with minimal government interference."

So governments interfere with our lives do they? Maybe so, but they fund schools, hospitals and other rights not shared in many places around the world and in many times in history. How else are the roads he no doubt loves paid for? Such hyper-individualism goes against the social contract of any society and is deeply anti-biblical. God loves the world, chooses a people, saves that people and the world with it. Too much Christianity echoes these sentiments, precisely because it has abandoned a biblical worldview. Taxation or not, governments play a role in maintaining order, something the bible affirms without accepting an unfettered mandate by human laws.

My other major observation is the incompatibility of unimpeded use and sustainability. The two words do not go together. Cars produce greenhouse gases which warm the plant unsustainably. Shifting to other energy sources and using cars less, not more, is important. The world is not our fun park. More than this, recreation doesn't have to be mechanical, it can involve many other activities that do not detract from the physical landscape or soundscape of 'wild' places. While I'm not advocating against 4WD use, having a political party where this is one of the few issues raised and where it is sought to be protected as a right shows how useless and watered down rights language has become.

It seems to me the bible promotes responsibility language far more, while providing the undergirding of rights for all humans as well as all non-humans and the earth itself. This isn't a deep green leveling of all life, but a biblical understanding that not everything is just about me, or my car.

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