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Indoctrination blinds and binds us

In my role as an executor for a deceased estate, I was recently asked to swear on the bible (I took the option to ‘affirm’ instead) and it struck me how silly that all is.

Our politicians swear an oath before they take their seat in parliament.

I, ___, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law. SO HELP ME GOD!

They are given an option to do an affirmation instead.

I, ___, do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law.

The Parliament of Australia website offers some advice about the use of the bible.

“The oath of allegiance need not necessarily be made on the authorised version of the Bible, although this has been the common practice. A Member may recite the oath while holding another form of Christian holy book, or, in respect of a non–Christian faith, a book or work of such a nature. The essential requirement is that every Member taking an oath should take it in a manner which affects his or her conscience regardless of whether a holy book is used or not.”

My question is why the hell are we swearing allegiance to a tourist attraction in the UK and what the hell the bible has to do with it.

Archaic obeisance and indoctrination are no way to run an independent social democracy.

We must liberate ourselves from the rituals of monarchy and church and become a nation who puts the well-being of its citizens first and foremost.

It is not only in religion and homage to the queen that we see the perils of indoctrination. Adherence to economic doctrine also has a stultifying effect on the ability to judge and react to changing circumstances.

Coalition governments will always say that taxes must be reduced. They think if the rich pay less towards the upkeep of the society that provides the environment that created their wealth, this will translate to benefit for all.

The only way to uphold that belief is to ignore all evidence of current economic reality and adhere to the belief that lower taxes are, in themselves, a good thing regardless.

There is a renewed push by the business lobbyists who control the government to reduce company tax rates because Donald Trump did.

Aside from the fact that thinking anything Trump does is worth copying, the evidence shows that our lack of coherent policy is a much greater deterrent to investment than our tax rate.

Clinton Fernandes, Professor of International and Political Studies at UNSW, analysed the ownership of Australia’s 20 biggest companies a few days after the 2019 federal election in May. Of those 20, 15 were majority-owned by US-based investors. Three more were at least 25% US-owned.

…all four of our big banks are majority-owned by American investors. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest company, is more than 60% owned by American-based investors.

So too are Woolworths and Rio Tinto. BHP, once known as “the Big Australian”, is 73% owned by American-based investors.

With all the concessions available to companies in Australia, our tax rate is pretty irrelevant.

Indoctrination, whether it is religious, monarchist, or economic, has no place in government which must be able to react to the changing needs of our society and a rapidly moving global context.

Praying for solutions or going to state dinners or having your photo taken being an Alfie Langer water boy is not what governing is about.

Indoctrination confers a certainty that rejects calls for transparency and accountability, rejects questioning, resists change.

We can’t afford that any more.

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  1. Jack sprat

    Australia has never really grown up and shaken off its colonial past always subservient to the mother country and it’s monarchy . Durring ww2 when britian could no longer protect it from Japan like a discarded orphan Australia adopted the USA as its new foster parent and as a insecure toddier attached itself to it tit which it refuses to detach from even to this present day . Fear and insecurity are the orders of the day which prevents Australia from maturity and reaching adulthood and thus becoming a fully independent country .

  2. Miriam English

    Australian politicians have been systematically killing off our science, education, and industry, relying solely on low-level resources. This indicates they intend for us to be merely a colonial appendage to USA, rather than an independent country.

    It is a real pity. We have a lot to contribute to the world… or rather we did. Every week, in the science news, I used to read multiple examples of amazing, world-leading research done here. I still do read of very cool work done here, but less and less. I’m also struck by the level of superstitious nonsense from many Australians who should know better. We’re still doing better in this respect than people in many other countries (especially USA), but it is nevertheless disappointing.

    One good thing here is the rate at which religion is dying, at long last. Australia is one of the front-runners among the non-religious countries. The non-religious people here outnumber every other religious group. In fact I was reading just the other day that our young people are considered to be the least religious people in the world. That’s gratifying. When our feeble-minded generation dies off things should improve considerably here… if creeps like Morrison have not succeeded in fatally damaging secular education. Our education system already limps along, greatly damaged by both Labor and LNP politicians over the decades. Thank goodness for the internet.

    Here is a bit of encouragement:

  3. Miriam English

    Thanks for the link, Kaye… depressing though it is.

    I remember reading somewhere that private and public Australian investment in engineering has fallen to the lowest ever under the LNP government. Ah… found it:

    Australia’s construction continues to decline, taking net worth with it

    Some time back I made a meme image out of it to encourage people to share it over social media:

    We desperately need engineering to sustain a good standard of living. It is very scary that it is being destroyed.

  4. corvusboreus

    The absurdity of politicians, by default, swearing a religious oath on an Abrahamic bible (or other objects of fetish) with the option of taking a secular affirmation shoehorned in as an afterthought, has parallels in the NSW public education system.
    Due to an archaic concession to the power of the churches, there is a written obligation that secular education include a period allotted for religious ‘instruction (aka indoctrination).
    Non-religious students had the option of playing dominoes in the library.
    Eventually after protracted lobbying, and despite the strident objections of religious fanatics, secular students were granted the option of using this period to study ‘ethics’ (ie how to behave decently within civil society).
    Yes, you read correctly, religious politicians and advocates objected to the idea of young people being instructed on ethical behaviour. Think about that the next time you see footage of drunken youths in private school blazers bawling sexually offensive ditties on public transport, or hear accusations of ‘value neutrality’ in the public education system.
    Of course, the this option to opt out of religious indoctrination in favour of ethical instruction is presented as an addendum on enrolment forms, and, unless specified, students will be, by default, the be subjected to proselytisation.
    For example, a daughter of friends attends a local high school. When the local council mandated a 1/2 day off in honour of a local horserace (now there’s another story) this young teenager was, against her parents express wishes, bundled off into scripture class, where she was advised to reconsider her friendships with any non-Christians. In response to the resultant official complaint, the principal expressed ‘regret’.

    That the default setting for both education and politics is adherence to absurd mythology that glorifies atrocity in preference over logical rationality gives a little clue as to why our society is ignoring the strident warnings of educated scientists and gleefully hurtling towards self-induced extinction.

  5. Wobbley

    Now I know why I’m not in parliament, apart from the fact that no one would vote for me, there is no way I could pledge allegiance to the queen and or god, not on any book.

  6. Zathras

    Politicians waving Bibles around as if they are some sort of magical talisman that gives them special powers and unchallengable privilege doesn’t stop them from distorting the truth or bearing false witness, just as it never prevented the clergy from molesting children. We’re steadily sliding backwards toward a Theocracy and the zealots are ramping up their campaign.

    From the introduction to an atheist podcast – “When I swear to tell truth I simply intend to do so – not just because I put my hand on a book and make a wish”.

    The notion of “thoughts and prayers” are a form of acknowledgement with no obligation to take action. It’s meaningless.

  7. Pete Petrass

    They should only be swearing allegiance to Australia and its citizens. Screw the queen and screw religion.

  8. Annette Spendlove

    I totally endorse Pete Petrass and his wonderfully succinct remarks. Perfect!

  9. New England Cocky

    @Jack Sprat: A little hard perhaps, but definitely accurate. Churchill was only interested in defending mainland UK, using every asset at his disposal,including Australian troops.

    @Kaye Lee: It is most important to restrict and inhibit any colonial development that might demonstrate that Australians do not need, desire or deserve a pro-European cultural cringe extended to a pro-USA (United States of Apartheid) cringe for a war-time strategy designed buy US General Macarthur to island skip into Japan making Australia the dial form up point for the ultimately successful invasion.

    The sooner that Australia is a Republic with a Head of State who is an Australian citizen, preferably Australian borne, the better. Then we can start dismantling the cultural cringe, expand our military forces to provide our own protection and civil defence capability, and use our own natural resources for the financial benefit of Australian voters rather than corporate shareholders resident overseas.

  10. Win Jeavons

    MiriamEnglish, I disagree about religion’ s effect. The least religious young and even middle aged I know have substituted superstition, astrology for religion so got the silliness with ALL the ethics removed! I know there is a lot of bad religion around, but
    there are still faithful folk quietly doing good. I believe in avoiding generalisations as dangerous . Generally, of course!

  11. David Stakes

    If we dumped the Queen bit of the swearing, that could be like a referendum on whether we become a republic or not. If all New citizens dumped the queen part of the ceremony.

  12. Anarchy rules

    Famous Athiest quote ” never trust a preacher who tells you how to vote or a politican who tells you how to pray “

  13. Miriam English

    Win Jeavons, yes, there are a lot of good religious people, just as there are a lot of good non-religious people. There are also a lot of bad religious people too. Religious people believe their religion makes them more moral, but they’re wrong; religious people actually get their good morals from secular society (for example their dislike for slavery certainly doesn’t come from their religion). The problem is that religion is an easy rationale for letting people behave wickedly. Also, almost all the superstitious people I have met (believe in ghosts, witches, demons, and so on) have also been religious. Off-hand, I can’t think of any superstitious people who were not religious (I include new-age spiritual beliefs with religion).

    On balance, religion is a force for bad behavior, not for good. As Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg said, “Religion[…] With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

    (I’d actually substitute “dogma” for “religion” in Weinberg’s quote — I see religion as simply the most widespread, most damaging dogma.)

  14. Miriam English

    Michael, I notice one of the site updates has broken the ability to display links to pictures as the images themselves. I also tried using the <img> html tag directly, but that simply got dropped from the post.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Hi Miriam, the plugin we used for that facility is no longer available, or has not been updated to make it compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

    I’ll hunt around in the morning for a replacement.

  16. Miriam English

    Not a problem really… just thought you’d like to know. 🙂

  17. Fred

    Famous Athiest quote ” never trust a preacher who tells you how to vote or a politican who tells you how to pray “

    Maybe that’s why the electorate is making bad decisions as they have left formal religion to follow a Gas-lighting expert like our Prime Minister.

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