Here are the results of our recent survey. The response rate was slightly below 20%, a very good result that will help us adjust our output to suit people’s needs better.
28 NOVEMBER 2018
The Dawson Centre determinedly avoids political alliances. To conservatives in the Christian tradition terms like left wing and right wing are meaningless distractions from the deepest realities of human existence. We are proud to have among our readers and supporters people whose political backgrounds have been in both poles of the political spectrum, but whose priorities centre on the proper functioning of a civilized and humane state.
You will therefore not take it amiss, I hope, when I say that the recent decision of the Tasmanian lower house to amend the Births, Deaths and Marriage Act to reflect drastic changes in societal attitudes is deeply deplorable. True, its passage through that house has been ensured by an alliance of Green and Labor members, with one government defection in support, but many Liberal politicians have been less than energetic in opposing it, and many good Labor men and women exasperated by that once great party’s almost total submission to the fad of social engineering.
The proposed changes will remove the category of sex from birth certificates. They may yet be defeated in the upper house (the Legislative Council). My own submission to the members of the Council (sent in my own name, not in the name of the Dawson Centre) makes the following points:
In my view the removal of biological gender from birth certificates should be opposed for the following reasons:
A simple provision allowing persons who have attained the age of majority to alter their birth certificate to a third option would fully meet the needs of any who have ‘transitioned’.
Such legislation is an abuse of good Government and Law, and is completely at variance with the common experience of humanity. Young couples will continue to hope for a boy or a girl: older people will long for grandsons or granddaughters. Nothing will change. The gulf between theory and practice is already gaping; it will be further widened.
A birth certificate is a snapshot of a person at birth. It does not preclude a transgender change later, but it captures the reality at a particular time. People are entitled to claim their gender as a feature of their unique person, and they should not be deprived.
The suicide rate for transgender individuals is inordinately high. To blame the ‘straight’ community for that is to take an easy but dangerous option. It misses the point, which is that the impulse to change sex is – at least in many cases – not so much a manifestation of victim status as neurotic in origin and deserving of therapy rather than unquestioning acceptance.
Cases of genuine uncertainty about the assignment of gender at birth are extremely rare. Some doctors never see a case in the course of their practice. Young people are extremely susceptible to ‘copy-cat’ fads (an even more appalling instance is the occasional ‘epidemic’ of suicides in certain communities) and it is the duty of older people to touch the brakes. Not to deny genuine cases, but to apply reason and to avoid undue haste. We must be strong enough to disallow premature life choices that many will regret in later life.
Are these matters the proper business of the Dawson Centre? I raise them here because I insist that they are, for they have to do with the very fabric of a Civilisation that has survived any number of threats and contributed richly to the total good in the world, but is now in mortal danger in its own heartlands (if not in those nations that have been its beneficiaries). We must demand of our politicians that they be strong and brave.
With best wishes to all,
We are about to send you a link to a survey to learn more about our readers’ opinions and to seek your advice. DO PLEASE TAKE A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO TELL US WHAT YOU THINK. You will receive the link in the next day or two.
THE 25TH ANNUAL LATIN SUMMER SCHOOL, 14-18 January 2019, Hobart.
The emphasis is on reading Medieval and Ecclesiastical Latin, including patristics and poetry, both religious and secular. Some prior experience highly recommended.
GREEK SUMMER SCHOOL, 21-25 January 2019, Hobart.
Continuing the work of the past two summers, we shall read excerpts from one of the Gospels and one of the Epistles of St Paul. Beginners willing to work hard on basic grammar between now and January could join the course.
LATIN INTENSIVE RESIDENTIAL WORKSHOP, 7-20 July 2019, Rome, Italy
Both a ‘boot camp’ for beginners and a rich reading party for the more advanced, but with free interchange between the two streams. The goal is to examine two millennia of Roman and Italian culture – art as well as literature – through the medium of the Latin Language which is common to the whole tradition. We shall reads pieces by the major writers of the Classical Canon and by their successors in Medieval and Renaissance times. Genres will include Epic Poetry, Oratory, Philosophy and History.
Full information about all three Schools is posted here. Any proceeds from these schools will go towards the work of the Dawson Centre.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
THE 2019 COLLOQUIUM – 28-29 JUNE – DETAILS AND CALL FOR PAPERS SOON