Authority is a necessary evil, right? Isn’t authority intrinsically oppressive and stifling? Don’t people invoke it when they have positions of power to protect? Aren’t they simply trying to stave off challenges to their own self-interest?
Ever since I was a young man I have been obsessed with the biblical Psalms. Perhaps it has something to do with sharing my name with the archetypal Israelite king to whom many of the Psalms are attributed. Or it may be that my love of music predisposed me to a book whose contents were expected to be sung from ancient times.
In the absence of a popular consensus on an issue, there is much to be said for party leaders permitting their members to vote their conscience. Whether the controversial measure passes or is defeated, the party as a whole does not have to assume collective responsibility and can focus instead on other potentially less divisive issues. It can thereby avoid alienating potential voters.
It may be that Scots simply decided that independence was unnecessary.
For decades western opinion has been divided with respect to the ongoing struggle between Israel and the Palestinians. Few people take an even-handed view of the conflict.
This autumn I will once again bring my increasingly out-of-date globe into the classroom. But I will advise my students not to take the colours they see as a guide to what they will find if they travel the surface of the real thing. Take your passport, but be prepared for the unexpected, especially if you are heading to the Middle East or Eastern Europe.
Trudeau famously asserted that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation” and that “what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code.” As a belated recognition of the intrinsic limits of government, this statement would appear indisputable. After all, a law against non-marital sexual activity could hardly be enforced with any consistency and would necessitate something close to a totalitarian surveillance state.
Does politics have only a remedial function or are we created for political life from the beginning? Does government exist only to counter the effects of human sin, or does it play an important role in human life even apart from sin?
There is an ancient tradition tying Psalm 104 together with the celebration of Pentecost, the day the church celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit.