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Wednesday, 07 April 2021 02:41

Australian Parliaments Abrogate Their First Duty as Governments

Written by Fr John Fleming


Why do we have governments? The World Economic Forum has put the first duty of government quite succinctly:

The oldest and simplest justification for government is as protector: protecting citizens from violence.[1]

The Social Contract

Thomas Hobbes, writing in the context of civil war, was appalled at what he saw.  People lived in fear of their lives with no one in a position to guarantee their safety.  People were afraid of warring armies and even of their neighbours who, too, did everything they needed to do to survive.  As a consequence, the economy was destroyed, and each was left to look after himself or herself.  In such a situation said Hobbes, “the lot of man is nasty, poor brutish, and short.” 

Human beings, observed Hobbes, act in a self-interested manner and are inclined to "a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death."[2]  With the breakdown in the old political order, what could be the basis of a political order that would guarantee peace and stability?  It seemed that no dogma or political beliefs could withstand scepticism.  In any case, he said, traditional philosophy had failed to deal with scepticism.  Hobbes believed that the only way to come to come to terms with the truth contained in a scepticism which persisted despite all attempts by dogmatism to overcome it, was to give full range to scepticism.  Whatever "survives the onslaught of extreme skepticism is the absolutely safe basis of wisdom."[3] The only fact about human existence that survived the full blast of scepticism was the impulse to self-preservation.[4] From this fact Hobbes deduced the natural right to live, the right of individuals to use their own power for their self-preservation. The law of nature, he said,

... is a precept or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved.[5] [Emphasis added]

Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan describes a world of unrelenting insecurity without a government to provide the safety of law and order, protecting citizens from each other and from foreign foes. Given the natural right of persons to protect themselves, Hobbes then attempts to restore the moral principles of politics, the natural law, "on the plane of Machiavelli's 'realism.'"[6]

Even when human persons act in a virtuous way, says Hobbes, they do so for advantage to their passions. It is the desire for honour, for praise that "disposeth to laudable actions".[7] But reason compels human beings to preserve themselves. In the state of nature the individual is justified in doing anything that conduces to self-preservation.[8] But one cannot survive in such a state of nature, in the war of all on all, by sitting idly around doing nothing. It is a logical error to imagine one has a better chance of self-preservation in a time of war than in a time of peace. So it is that individuals contract with a sovereign, (be it king or parliament), to give up their rights to do everything to the sovereign, in return for peace and the hope of commodious living. In a time of war there is neither security of life nor prosperity. It is in one's self-interest to seek peace.

The social contract is based, then, upon a consensus about the natural right to life which all have, and which can best be preserved and protected by the Leviathan or sovereign power, who may use all necessary force to preserve peace and to promote the security necessary for individuals to work safely to make their own prosperity.

In the Australian context, by democratic vote citizens choose their parliamentary representatives who in turn pledge themselves to make laws for peace, order and good government.  This is so because it is the duty of parliamentarians:

to make, ordain and constitute, Laws, Institutions and Ordinances for the Peace, Order and good Government of His Majesty’s Subjects and others within the said Settlements.[9]

Australian parliamentarians couldn’t give a monkey’s

Notwithstanding their obligations, their first duty as governors, the majority of contemporary Australian politicians are proceeding to break the social contract by derogating from their obligation to protect the lives of their citizens.  Laws permitting abortion-on-request and euthanasia are flagrant examples of government withdrawing protection from vulnerable citizens, and this will not end well.

It does not matter what contrived opinion polls say, the duty of politicians is to do the right thing.  No matter that some people, even a majority of citizens, want abortion and euthanasia, the politicians are there to maintain the social contract.  Politicians are willing to do the unpopular thing when it comes to capital punishment.  They won’t allow it even for the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes.  They will defend the right to life not of the innocent but of those guilty of killing innocent citizens.  But when it comes to protecting the right to life of the innocent, the majority of politicians are not only missing in action, they are the active promoters of it for reasons of self-interest.

So it is that Hobbes’ “war of all on all” begins again, this time initiated by the Leviathan, by the government whose duty it is to protect the lives of their citizens, by politicians who have long lost their moral compass and even seek to restrict or cancel the untrammeled rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.  These are politicians who are the enemies of the democratic social contract, destroyers of Western values and culture, and promoters of the killings of people who are deemed to be a “waste of space”.

Do not abandon the vulnerable, do not kill

Australia has, through its Federal Parliament, voluntarily taken membership of the United Nations by freely committing the nation to the UN Charter.  The UN Charter contains the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) which in turn has been further specified by, among other instruments, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Notwithstanding those commitments, Australian State parliaments have become promoters of genocide (abortion) and flagrant abusers of human rights.  Our moral credibility has been found wanting, not so much because of the people, but because of the majority of parliamentary representatives.

Consider the right to life.  What does the UDHR say about that? The Preamble begins:

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, [Emphasis added]

What are these “equal and inalienable rights”?

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.[10]

What is an inalienable right?

It is right of which I must not be deprived, and nor may I deprive myself of it.  It is not able to be alienated, given away or taken by force.  Nothing could be clearer.  Or as Hobbes put it, “a man is forbidden to do that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved”.

The right to liberty is an inalienable right.  I may not be sold into slavery and nor may I sell myself into slavery.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.[11]

Even if I have a compassionate reason for wanting to sell myself into slavery the State CANNOT allow me to do that.  Suppose I am penniless, and someone will buy me as a slave.  The money could be given to my wife and children to help with their sustenance.  Notwithstanding that situation or any other, the State cannot, according to international law, allow that to happen.

It is the same with the right to life.  It is why we spend so much time and energy on preventing suicides.  We quite rightly do not punish persons who survive a suicide attempt since suicide is almost always connected with psychological disturbance.  That does not mean suicide has been legalized.  On the contrary, forcibly preventing a person from killing themselves is an exception to the felony of assault and battery.

The manic embrace of euthanasia by the “guardians of peace and protectors of life”

Notwithstanding our horror of suicide in most circumstances our morally vacant politicians proceed to authorise by legislation the killings of innocent men, women, and children.

They pay no regard to the inalienable right to life.  They authorise the killings of innocent unborn babies.  They will allow doctors to kill their patients or to provide the means of suicide to their patients.  The advocates of euthanasia speak of a non-existent “right to die” which really means a “right to be killed”.

Reasons given for allowing these killings is that they are “mercy killings”, that the patient is suffering.  The patient may not be suffering physically, it is enough that the patient has decided he is suffering psychologically and no longer wants to be here.  It is what the Dutch describe as being in a state of a “completed life” with nothing more to live for.

Even though it requires doctors and nurses to kill, our parliamentarians (majority) do not care.  They (politicians) do not have to do the killings.  Better those killings are done by others in an antiseptic environment and out of sight and mind.

Why should it be doctors and nurses do the killing?  Why not have a separate class of executioners just as we used to do for capital punishment?  Note also how medical organisations forbade doctors and nurses participating in the killings of the guilty, and also oppose the killings of patients by doctors and nurses.  But the politicians know best don’t they?  Ignorant of their obligation to protect citizens they rush to provide for the killings of the very people they are pledged to protect.

Never mind the mountain of evidence which shows that you cannot control legal euthanasia, that as many if not more will be killed without their knowledge and consent, most politicians do not care and do not feel any need to engage with the first duty of government, to protect the lives of citizens.

Politicians as cultural vandals, as immoral barbarians bent on destruction

Listen to the euthanasia debates on Parliament.  Key features are these:

1.       Every politician must emote about a hard case to prove their “compassionate” credentials, a case they say they know about and for which they offer no independent corroboration as to its truth.

2.       See how they embrace the proposition that hard cases make good laws.

3.       See how all evidence showing that legalised euthanasia cannot be controlled must be ignored.

4.       See how they also ignore the mountain of evidence showing legalized euthanasia always carries with it non-voluntary euthanasia.

5.       See how they ignore the warnings that in future years the groups of people to be euthanased will be increased even to include children.

Just as in the abortion debates, truth becomes the first casualty.  We want what we think we want, and we are determined to get it. And the devil take the hindmost.[12]


[1] World Economic Forum, 3 responsibilities every government has towards its citizens,

[2] Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiaticall and Civil, edited by M. Oakeshott, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1960), 64

[3] Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), 171

[4] In this matter Hobbes followed the scepticism of Justus Lipsius and Michel de Montaigne who both "condemned public spiritedness and patriotism, for such feelings exposed their possessor to great danger", a conclusion which Hobbes did not endorse. cf Richard Tuck, Hobbes, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 6-11.

[5] Thomas Hobbes, op. cit., 84

[6] Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, op. cit., 179

[7] Thomas Hobbes, op .cit., 64. John Aubrey recalls that Hobbes himself "was very charitable to those that were true objects of his Bounty. One time, I remember, goeing in the Strand, a poore and infirme old man craved his Almes. He, beholding him with eies of pitty and compassion, putt his hand in his pocket and gave him 6d. Sayd a Divine that stood by, Would you have donne this, if it had not been Christ's command? Yea, sayd he. Why? quoth the other. Because, sayd he, I was in paine to consider the miserable condition of the old man; and now my almes, giving him some reliefe, doth also ease me." John Aubrey, "Thomas Hobbes", Aubrey's Brief Lives, ed. Oliver Lawson Dick, (London: Penguin Classics, 1987), 236

[8] Hobbes did not think that human beings in the state of nature have a right to do everything they want to do. Benedict de Spinoza thought that the right to do anything to preserve oneself was a special case of a general right. Hobbes did not agree. In De Cive "he observed that it would be impossible ever to justify drunkenness or cruelty ('that is, revenge which does not look to some future good'), since they could never be seen as conducing to our preservation. (III.27)" Richard Tuck, op. cit., 60

[9] An Act for the better Government of Her Majesty’s Australian Colonies, 5th August 1850.

[10] UDHR, Article 3

[11] Ibid., Article 4

[12] Everyone should (or does) look after their own interests, without regard for the fate of others. "Full speed ahead and the devil take the hindmost".