Title: Comment: How not to argue Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 22nd March 2007 - 12:00pm1174521600 Article: 1642 Rights
Is the Maxim Institute deliberately throwing its chances when it comes to its formerly core Christian Right issues, so it has more time to devote to its current core centre right causes? As I recorded last year, Maxim's Paul Henderson did a paper on "Family in the 21st Century" at the Institute for Marriage and the Family Canada, so what did he have to say about civil unions or same-sex marriage? Nothing. Henderson differentiates 'socially constructed' families from the official 'traditional' nuclear family, despite the fact that family historian Lawrence Stone argues that that model itself only dates from eighteenth century Europe. However, all of these 'alternative' models are faulty, argues Henderson. You see, solo motherhood leads children to earlier sexual activity and adverse educational results, while cohabitation leads to partnering instability, child poverty, malnutrition and misbehaviour, while stepfamilies precipitate teenage families. And LGBT families? Absolutely nothing. Not in the main text, nor even in the bibliography. How do "we" counter these adverse outcomes? Despite the fact that Henderson hasn't mentioned same-sex marriage at all until this point, he argues for a same-sex marriage ban law or constitutional amendment with no grounds whatsoever for doing so. Predictably too, heremarks about welfare privatisation and throwing money at fundamentalist and conservative Catholic 'faith based initiatives' under minimal governmental accountability, as in Australia and the United States. Paul, mate? If you're going to advocate particular public policies, at least come up with some evidence-based proof to back up your case. Which, in the case of same-sex marriage bans here, he didn't. But wait, there's more. For example, it seems to be the case that the Institute has already written off the Christian Right Old Guard crusade against repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which will outlaw parental corporal punishment of children. Yes, it did provide an online copy of its select committee submission, a belated factsheet and is hawking Michael Reid's book on the subject. However, it has been nowhere near as active as it was when it came to its campaigns against prostitution law reform, the Care of Children Act and civil unions. One clue might be found on its current webpage, which prominently features a review of Marvin Olasky's book, Compassionate Conservatism (2000). To put it bluntly, this book is about privatising government social welfare services, deregulating the voluntary sector and throwing money at fundamentalist 'social service providers.' As I've argued beforehand, this will adversely impact on low income LGBT clients of these social services. And according to the US leftist Mother Jones magazine, the term 'compassionate conservatism' is belied by its anything but compassionate outcomes, as one can see below. Not Recommended: Paul Henderson: "The Family in the 21st Century" Institute for Marriage and the Family Canada (Family Policy Conference 2006):   Maxim Institute Micheal Reid: "How Did It Get to This?" Evidence 14 (Winter 2005): 20-25. Michael Reid: From Innocence to Agents: Children and Childrens Rights: Auckland: Maxim Institute: 2006 Recommended: US feminist objections to coercive marriage promotion /welfare privatisation laws. Molly Ivins: "The Uncompassionate Conservative" Mother Jones: November/December 2003: Marvin Olasky: Compassionate Conservatism: New York: Free Press: 2000. Lawrence Stone: Family Sex and Marriage in England: 1500-1800: Harmondsworth: Penguin: 1982. Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz: How Does the SexualOrientation of Parents Matter?" American Sociological Review: 58: 2 (April 2001): 158-183. Craig Young - 22nd March 2007    
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