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Comment: Bruce Logan - Who Needs Him?

Mon 15 Jan 2007 In: Comment

Remember Bruce Logan, disgraced former Director of the Maxim Institute? Courtesy of ex-ACT List MP and social conservative Muriel Newman, he's ba-aack... The article is an opinion piece by Logan, who is described as 'former Director of the Maxim Institute.' It does not mention that his 'retirement' was preceded by serious questions raised about copyright and intellectual property, related to his apparent plagiarism of several Anglo-American social conservative columnists over several years, which led to the closure of the Maxim Institute's Christchurch offices and the shutdown of the Institute's former magazine, Evidence. Why did Newman see fit to provide him with column space, given this sorry recent record? So, what does Logan have to say for himself? It turns out to be one of his usual attempts to solder together New Right welfare slashback policies with Victorian era social conservative nostrums, attacking the welfare state. Now, this is a fraught enterprise. For one thing, Victorian England didn't have a particularly rosy record in terms of infant and maternal mortality, opium abuse was rife, and the age of consent was set at eleven to twelve years of age. For that matter, it was evangelical social reformers like Shaftesbury and Wilberforce that protested against exploitation of child labour and child prostitution, so Logan is kicking himself in the backside. For another thing, he relies far too much on ridiculous nostrums of his own, about fortitude, thrift, chastity, self-reliance and so on. Why should this matter to LGBT communities? As a leftist gay man, I support the continued existence of a comprehensive welfare state. For PLWAs, it is always possible that once medication access meets one of its periodic regulatory bottlenecks and new combination therapy access stalls as a result, there will be some necessary dependence on income support and maintenance. Added to which, social inclusion fosters prosocial behaviour. And welfare slashbacks? Merely because the United States engaged in savage welfare cutbacks of its meagre government assistance programmes a decade ago, must we mindlessly emulate them? Wouldn't the consequences be exactly what they were in the United States- runaway homelessness, family fragmentation, youth crime, youth substance abuse and other tragic indicators? If it weren't for the Iraq War, things would be even worse, one suspects. And as for "charity," Logan needs his head examined if he thinks that LGBT New Zealanders are going to accept 'faith based initiatives' here, which is sock con speak for throwing money at fundamentalist Christian preacher outfits that provide negligible actual social services to those in need. It has failed in the United States, and it will also fail here, if we are foolish enough to adopt it. One hopes this resurrection will be momentary. Recommended: Bruce Logan: "Welfare- Who Needs It?" NZCPD (26 September 2006) Craig Young - 15th January 2007    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Monday, 15th January 2007 - 12:00pm

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