About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

John Milbank on same-sex marriage

I'm not going to comment much on this intriguing piece by theologian John Milbank on the ABC Religion and Ethics Portal. Make of it what you will (try to be fair to it and at least see if you can make sense of the argument, as a lot of thought has obviously gone into it, so it's perhaps worthwhile to try to figure it out). It is obviously making all sorts of assumptions that I would not accept. But that's all I plan to say for the moment.

Quite independently - I have only just seen Milbank's piece and am not writing in reply to it - I have a piece on the subject of marriage on the same site appearing very soon, perhaps tomorrow. I like to think that my piece will be a little easier to follow, but who knows what people will think?


David Duffy said...

Your piece was discussed along with Milbank's on RN Drive. Waleed Aly described you as the radical libertarian ;). Scott Stephens thought both articles were useful additions to the debate, which he thought had been a bit "thin" so far.

Russell Blackford said...

Thanks for that, David. I guess the more exposure in the mainstream media the better!

It doesn't particularly bother me if I'm thought of as "libertarian" on these issues, I suppose, although as I've said in the past the word is misleading in that it usually implies a political philosophy (there is a natural right to property, taxation is theft, etc.) that I actually reject. What passes for political libertarianism might better be called "propertarianism". As far as economic issues go, I am a social democrat.

Also, the conclusions I reach should not be considered all that radical. They follow pretty much from ordinary liberal thought once we stop and think about it, and once we stop viewing the world through theological lenses (Milbank's piece would be more useful if it explained clearly why someone should accept the policies he proposes if they don't believe in his God, etc., or why it is legitimate for the state to adopt policies that are based on a particular theological system, and why the state is an appropriate (set of) institution(s) to be deciding theological questions in the first place).

Anyway, y'all can soon see for yourselves either by seeing my own piece on the site tomorrow or by reading the book (or preferably both!).

Russell Blackford said...

And I see that my piece has just appeared.

Eamon Knight said...

I dub this the Argument From Petulance:

Thus heterosexual people would no longer have the right to enter into an institution understood to be only possible for heterosexuals....

Sean Wright said...

Intriguing is very generous :)