27th March 2008

“There is a huge difference between respecting people's right to follow their own beliefs and allowing them to excuse themselves from the rule of law.”

Nick Clegg

5 Responses to “27th March 2008”

  1. Hypatia Says:

    Nick Clegg seems to be a very promising party leader from a secular perspective. Pity the Liberal Democrats aren’t more significant in the UK parliament.

  2. Critic Says:

    Very promising indeed: from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Clegg

    In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live on the morning after his election to the leadership, Clegg stated that he does not believe in God.

    I cannot even imagine, in my wildest dreams, this happening in the good old US of A. And it is a sad thing that I cannot.

    But, on reflection, it would be even more impressive if he had made this statement on the day he announced his candidacy.

  3. Tzuriel Says:

    I like this quote. It’s a very good quote.

    It’s true that the U.S. has a long time to go before atheist leaders will be knowlingly accepted among the majority. I’ve often reflected that it’s extremely odd that the U.S. was the first to make the major jump into democracy, etc., in a radical move, yet has been behind ever since. We got rid of slavery later than everybody else. We gave women rights later than everybody else. We gave non-whites rights later than everybody else. Seems remarkably curious.

  4. Critic Says:

    Tzuriel: Unfortunately, democracy does not prevent pandering to the lowest common denominator – in fact it may promote such tactics. Demagogy, corruption and the spread of ignorance are common threads in many democratic campaigns. These things do not lead to the betterment of society.

    I think each of the items you mentioned occurred as a violent upheaval in the culture of America – each were improvements, and improvements made possible by our version of democracy, however, they were also delayed for years because of the failure of democracy to always lead us in the right direction.

    And, of course, the birth of our democracy was not without some violent cultural and social upheaval.

    Perhaps change (for the good or the bad) is rate-limited within our society.

  5. Tzuriel Says:

    A very interesting perspective, Critic. I can’t say you’re wrong. Campaigns almost always play to the basest attitudes and reactions among people, combined with out and out lying. However, the idea that change is rate-limited is an interesting one. It wouldn’t be a bad thing, either. Alexis de Tocqueville (wrote Democracy in America) said that part of America’s strength was the fact that it held so tenuously to it’s values. Of course, Tocqueville also prescribed religion in general as being the best way to help a democratic society, as he felt that democracy was inevitable, but that, while it was better than other societies, it had problems, the chief of which was a decline in moral values. Tocqueville felt that religion would curb or even solve these problems because, he believed, religion promotes moral action. I wonder what he would say to you guys. That would be a fascinating discussion. Sometimes I wish we could bring back the voice of the dead or something and have debates with them. It would be sooo cool.