Friday, January 25, 2013

"There is no alternative" is not an argument.

While he was talking about austerity as a failed economic and fiscal policy, the former head of the Canadian public service, Alex Himelfarb, could have as easily been talking about the undead failure which is the Anglican Covenant when he said:
When our leaders tell us that there is no alternative, it is a safe bet to assume that there is indeed an alternative and one that we would prefer were it on offer.

There is an alternative to the failed policy of austerity. Prudent fiscal spending on things like infrastructure replacement and improvement will "prime the pump," while responsible tax policy (ie, not "lower taxes uber alles") would both ensure adequate revenue while also ensuring the wealthiest pay their air share of the costs of a civilized society.

Similarly, there is an alternative to the failed Anglican Covenant. A commitment from all sides to stay at the table as a family even when we disagree - especially when we disagree - is how we should be functioning as faithful Christians who honour our Lord's desire "that they all may be one."

But there is one other point which Himelfarb makes about austerity which also applies to the Anglican Covenant.
What became increasingly clear was that austreity had never been driven by fiscal policy or economics or evidence. It was driven by ideology. Market fundamentalism. A desire to make government much smaller, eliminate or reduce, as much as politics allowed, so-called entitlements, create a “pro-business” climate of less regulation, less government, and, above all, lower taxes.
In the same way, the Anglican Covenant was never about creating structures to hold the Anglican Communion together in the face of disagreement.  It was always about centralizing authority in the Communion, to replace a family of Churches with one international and quasi-curial (if not quasi-papal) structure controlled from the centre.

In both cases, the proponents of radical change tried to stampede a consensus by claiming, "There is no alternative."  Of course, what they really meant was, "We don't want you to look at the alternative because we know the alternative is better for you and for your interests and it doesn't satisfy our desire for control."

"There is no alternative" is not an argument.  And it is virtually always a lie.


Lionel Deimel said...

A few random comments—

It sounds like Canadian politics is much like U.S. politics. For your sake, I hope that isn’t true.

Jesus did not say, “that they all may agree.”

What is the Anglican Communion really for? Those who want it to be more like a single church seem most concerned about being able to brag that 80 million people—or whatever inflated number one wants to cite—agree with them. That would give them more power, both locally and ecumenically.

Bernard Rumbold said...

I agree with Lionel, being Anglican is about bottom up democracy, not top-down autocracy. It shouldn't concern an archbishop in the tropics if the Vicar of Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh believes that the NT is consistent with a faithful same-sex relationship, rather he should be concerned with persuading his own politicians in thew ways of democracy and welfare.