/ Farron Quits - says God made him do it

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winhill - on 14 Jun 2017
Tim Farron has said he is to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats, less than a week after the election.

In a statement, he said he was "torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader".

He said he should have dealt "more wisely" with questions relating to his faith during the election campaign, including his views on gay sex.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40281300

Vince Cable maybe?
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Crewey-Rob on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

Sorry to see him go, he was the solitary voice of the 48% for some time and he has in some way brought about the hope of change regarding Europe.
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RomTheBear on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:
> Tim Farron has said he is to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats, less than a week after the election.

> In a statement, he said he was "torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader".

> He said he should have dealt "more wisely" with questions relating to his faith during the election campaign, including his views on gay sex.


> Vince Cable maybe?

Please no !
I'd vote Jo Swinson ! She's great, super smart, has been engaged in politics from a young age, great personality, and she's got some teeth when needed.
Post edited at 20:04
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Jon Stewart - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

I like the guy, and while he might hold some bonkers religious beliefs, his treatment of these in his political life - that sought to be allowed to hold them but not to impose them on others - was in my view spot on.

The party needs a leader whose face, accent, mannerisms, etc are better suited to television audiences so on balance it's probably a good thing that he has stepped down. But I think he's a decent, sincere guy with sound political principles.
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bouldery bits - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I agree Jon.

Tim's my local MP and I'm sad to see him step down as leader but happy that he'll be able to do even more good work for the local community.
He's very good and comes across as a lovely bloke.

Hopefully they find someone who can take the Lib Dems from strength to strength. I think the party provides good balance.

BB
Coel Hellier - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> ... his treatment of these in his political life - that sought to be allowed to hold them but not to impose them on others - was in my view spot on.

Though his evasion on the gay-sex question didn't do him any favours. But it raises the question, suppose he had answered: Yes, I think gay sex is sinful according to God's law, but our party's policy is that it should be entirely legal and a matter for each individual, I wonder how people would have reacted.
Jon Stewart - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Though his evasion on the gay-sex question didn't do him any favours. But it raises the question, suppose he had answered: Yes, I think gay sex is sinful according to God's law, but our party's policy is that it should be entirely legal and a matter for each individual, I wonder how people would have reacted.

They would have reacted worse than they did to him being evasive, so he did the right thing! I'm not sure what point you're making?

I would rather politicians didn't hold bonkers - and potentially toxic - views. But given that many do, Tim Farron should be held up as an example of how to hold such views sincerely while not allowing them to contaminate your politics.
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icnoble on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Though his evasion on the gay-sex question didn't do him any favours. But it raises the question, suppose he had answered: Yes, I think gay sex is sinful according to God's law, but our party's policy is that it should be entirely legal and a matter for each individual, I wonder how people would have reacted.

They would have respected him more.
Stichtplate on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> They would have reacted worse than they did to him being evasive, so he did the right thing! I'm not sure what point you're making?

> I would rather politicians didn't hold bonkers - and potentially toxic - views. But given that many do, Tim Farron should be held up as an example of how to hold such views sincerely while not allowing them to contaminate your politics.

Personally, I'd rather our potential political masters kept all their beliefs, wacky or otherwise, out in the open. Nobody wants to elect a 'strong and stable' leader only to find that they're convinced it's the end of days and Gods been telling them to speed things up a little.
Post edited at 21:17
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Jon Stewart - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

I'm not sure exactly what he's meant to have hidden. Do we even know if he himself even has a clear view on whether or not gay sax is a sin? Everyone seems angry that he didn't "come out" as hating gays - but does he, or does he just have completely vague nonsensical unspecific views on the subject?
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Stichtplate on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Sorry if I've misunderstood you, but you seemed to be suggesting that if politicians hold toxic or damaging views, then they should keep them separate from their politics. I just don't see how this is possible. Beliefs inform actions.


Edit: gay sax is surely a sin
Post edited at 21:34
Jon Stewart - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:
> Sorry if I've misunderstood you, but you seemed to be suggesting that if politicians hold toxic or damaging views, then they should keep them separate from their politics. I just don't see how this is possible. Beliefs inform actions.

What's important is that politicians push forward policies that are lead to good social outcomes. Religious views are by definition bonkers, so I would prefer if possible not to have religious people in politics. I don't really trust them to be able to make rational judgments, because deep down, they don't actually respect rationality and evidence. But realistically we don't have an excess of suitably talented people in politics and religious people can and do make good contributions: Tim Farron showed how this is possible. If you're going to be religious, then you need strong liberal principles to stop your bonkers religious views contaminating your work.

The situation is peculiar to religion. I can't see that other types of toxic views can be held by politicians without them informing their political work.
Post edited at 21:49
Stichtplate on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

No argument from me on that basis. My point isn't that people should be excluded from office because of their peculiar beliefs, just that the voter should be afforded the courtesy of full disclosure. Our democracy is fragile and murky enough as it is without having a tacit agreement with potential leaders, that they can sweep any inconvenient ideas they hold under the carpet.
Tom Last - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

Spent an hour or two with him photographing him down here one time. Nice bloke I thought, anyway good luck to him.
Stichtplate on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>

> The situation is peculiar to religion. I can't see that other types of toxic views can be held by politicians without them informing their political work.

Just re-reading your post and the full implications of this last paragraph hit me. You seem to be implying that religious politicians are uniquely able to square personal hypocrisy? And this is a positive? Have I over thought this?
Coel Hellier - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

> Vince maybe?

Running on a campaign slogan of "Strong and Cable" perhaps?
GRUMPY MONKEY - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

Jo swinson is my constituency mp and as a former member of the lib dems I wouldn't vote for her. She was a terrible local mp. She refused to meet with constituents about issues of concern to them when it suited her. The local Catholic primary school was facing closure and whilst I personally believe all state funded education should be non denominational, as the local mp she should have met with the parents to discuss their concerns. She point blank refused to meet with them. I think she is an ambitions woman who has no loyalty to her constituents or to liberal democracy.
kevin stephens - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Though his evasion on the gay-sex question didn't do him any favours. But it raises the question, suppose he had answered: Yes, I think gay sex is sinful according to God's law, but our party's policy is that it should be entirely legal and a matter for each individual, I wonder how people would have reacted.

Or more accurately how people would have reacted to the way the tabloids would have spun it?

captain paranoia - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> he was the solitary voice of the 48%

He missed an opportunity to capitalise on that 48% by not coming out and saying explicitly he would revoke article 50.
Michael Hood - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart: Can't see that there's a problem holding personal views that are different to policy as long as you're open about it - saying that you're a practising Christian and therefore from a religious viewpoint you think gay sex is wrong and that it's a sin, but also saying that society isn't governed by religions and so you believe that gay sex etc. should be accommodated (that might not be the best word) without prejudice in today's society would be an acceptable position to take IMO.

captain paranoia - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I like the guy, and while he might hold some bonkers religious beliefs

He seemed to be complaining that he had been subjected to treatment that wasn't liberal or tolerant. A bit rich considering his illiberal, intolerant views on some matters.
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Big Ger - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But it raises the question, suppose he had answered: Yes, I think gay sex is sinful according to God's law, but our party's policy is that it should be entirely legal and a matter for each individual, I wonder how people would have reacted.

I'd have reacted by thinking; "Well we now know that at least 1 out of 9 of your existing MPs is a religious fruitcake/bigot."

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Jon Stewart - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Just re-reading your post and the full implications of this last paragraph hit me. You seem to be implying that religious politicians are uniquely able to square personal hypocrisy? And this is a positive? Have I over thought this?

It's a weird and interesting question.

Religious people, it seems to me, are often able to compartmentalise their religious beliefs so as not to conflict with the common sense and rational thinking that they use in every other aspect of their mental lives. This is how come religion continues to exit in the modern, scientific world. I think there may well be a neurobiological explanation for this: that the neural circuits involved in religious belief operate somehow independently from those involved in everyday rational thought.

Anyhow, many people who have religious anti-gay views are illiberal: they promote policies which seek to infringe . upon the rights of gay people (and probably lots of other people outside their specific in-group too). But Farron is a genuine liberal - he promotes equality and does not seek for his personal religious views to be imposed on others. Of course, there is an internal conflict for him, and as he has said, this is no good in the public eye. But I don't see that he has been hypocritical: quite the opposite in fact, he's been explicit about his liberal politics and said squarely that these principles apply every bit to him and his religious views.

And as I say, I don't see that he has necessarily hidden anything. Perhaps he didn't say "I think gay sex is a sin" because as well as being unpopular, that might not represent his views. Perhaps it isn't really such a binary "sin or not sin" question for modern, liberal evangelical Christians. They've somehow got to square their craziness with modernity, so probably, believing outright that bumming is sinful is maybe just not his style?
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jkarran - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Sorry if I've misunderstood you, but you seemed to be suggesting that if politicians hold toxic or damaging views, then they should keep them separate from their politics. I just don't see how this is possible. Beliefs inform actions.

Farron's don't appear to have done so in this case if he even holds strong views he has voted and campaigned as a liberal democrat, not a religious fundamentalist. We could use a few more like that willing to put others first, he'll be a loss but at least he kept his seat.
Jk
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ThunderCat - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Running on a campaign slogan of "Strong and Cable" perhaps?

Just. Yes.
Stichtplate on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It's a weird and interesting question.

> Religious people, it seems to me, are often able to compartmentalise their religious beliefs so as not to conflict with the common sense and rational thinking that they use in every other aspect of their mental lives. This is how come religion continues to exit in the modern, scientific world. I think there may well be a neurobiological explanation for this: that the neural circuits involved in religious belief operate somehow independently from those involved in everyday rational thought.

This ability to rationalise conflicting drives and desires isn't confined to the religious. Nor do I think it's pure hypocrisy, more a bunch of complicated personality traits that boil down to wanting to have your cake and eat it. The passionate animal lover that eats meat. The devoted family man who's a serial adulterer etc.
The rest of your reply I'll have to think over, too chewy for this time of night.

Stichtplate on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:
> Farron's don't appear to have done so in this case if he even holds strong views he has voted and campaigned as a liberal democrat, not a religious fundamentalist. We could use a few more like that willing to put others first, he'll be a loss but at least he kept his seat.

> Jk

I understand his position. I just can't understand why an obviously intelligent and seemingly decent bloke would align himself with evangelicals. Even if you accept that some people need or are predisposed to religiosity, there are far more palatable creeds out there. Quakers , for instance, seem fairly nice, even to a rabid atheist.

Edit: dangers of late night posting. Scratch the 'I understand his position' bit . I really don't.
Post edited at 00:29
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Jim C - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Perhaps it isn't really such a binary "sin or not sin" question for modern, liberal evangelical Christians. They've somehow got to square their craziness with modernity, so probably, believing outright that bumming is sinful is maybe just not his style?

Makes you wonder what the problem is.
Are they against two males having anal sex with each other, but happy with males having anal sex when the genitals of the recipient are female ? What exactly is it they don't agree with ?
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FactorXXX - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Running on a campaign slogan of "Strong and Cable" perhaps?

Which would soon get changed to "String and Cable".
lummox - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

You think TV audiences would have been distracted by his accent ? Or repelled ?
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Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to lummox:

I think they considered it "not the accent of a leader". Just speculation!
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duchessofmalfi - on 15 Jun 2017

In a statement, he said he was "torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader".

The problem here is not being a faithful Christian but being a faithful homophobe. Dressing it up as religion and tarring all of [Christianity|insert alternate faith here] with homophobia is an annoyingly common excuse by some people who think that [insert religon] should be permissible as a politically acceptable synonym for homophobia.
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lummox - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Wow. I had no idea 1950's RP was still a necessity.
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Pete Pozman - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

Nobody challenged Tim about his beliefs regarding heterosexual sex out of wedlock. They missed a golden opportunity to outrage another tranche of"liberal minded" people. If Liberalism has no place for a principled Christian, a man demonstrably a fighter for truth and justice, it has no place for an awful lot of other good men and women/women and men...
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Coel Hellier - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Speaking in favour of Tim Farron a bit:

Farron recognised that his religious views were minority ones, and thus quite genuinely did not seek to impose them on others or on society. (That is the tension that he pointed to in his resignation statement.)

That is much preferable to someone like May who thinks that her religion is mainstream and so does let it influence her politics, indeed she uses her position to promote Christianity in society and protect its special privileges.
Big Ger - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Seems like his Xstianity gave him much pause for thought, if his voting record on gay rights and abortion are any indication.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/june2017/2017/04/election-2017-what-tim-farron-s-stance-gay-rig...

Pids - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Xstianity - is that a word?

Never heard/seen it before - did you just make it up - are you too lazy to type out the proper word?
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Coel Hellier - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Pids:

> Xstianity - is that a word? Never heard/seen it before

It's a long-standing shorthand for "Christian". Indeed it dates back to the early Christians themselves. The X represents a Greek "Chi", and the first two letters of "Christ" in Greek were "Chi, Rho". Thus Chi,Rho symbols date back to early Christian catacombs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi_Rho
L DanielByrd - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

Vince Cable has got to be the best man for the job
Pids - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Cheers, just never seen/heard or Xstanity before - only the abbreviation of things like Christmas becoming Xmas
skog on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to DanielByrd:

> Vince Cable has got to be the best man for the job

Reckon so, but Jo Swinson seems like a better person for the job.

It'll be interesting to see who the Lib Dems go for, but I think they may have already squandered their best chance for a proper revival. I suppose we'll see...
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Rog Wilko on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:



> Religious people, it seems to me, are often able to compartmentalise their religious beliefs so as not to conflict with the common sense and rational thinking that they use in every other aspect of their mental lives.

Tim Farron is my MP. Over the years it has become apparent that he has been an exemplary worker for his constituency. While the local paper reports his local doings faithfully I can never remember reading anything about him thrusting his religious beliefs down the throats of others, or using it in any way to self-aggrandise or improve his image. His public persona has in my view never been "churchy" and indeed it is, I think, only in the last few years that his beliefs have become common knowledge. He has been quite the antithesis of the typical US politicians with their religious flag-waving. It is perfectly possible for him to be politically liberal while holding views about "sin", a concept which many non-religious people do not accept. It is only when sin becomes the (hidden) motive behind political ambitions that there is a danger.
This ability to compartmentalise is widespread in life and that includes politicians. We can all hold two mutually incompatible beliefs at the same time. There is an oft-repeated belief that the Church of England is The Tory Party at Prayer, but for the life of me I cannot see how anyone can square what the Tories have done in the last seven years with the teachings of the New Testament. The Old Testament (NOT a Christian document), well, that's another matter.
I have met Tim Farron once and heard him speak at a Lib Dem social event (despite not being a LD Party member). He spoke very passionately for 20 minutes without any notes at all and, to quote a well-known instruction, without hesitation, repetition or deviation. He didn't once mention his religious beliefs but it was abundantly clear that he says what he believes (politically) and believes what he says, and if his religious beliefs inform his political stance then I don't care about that. He talks in real words with no mealy-mouthed slogans, and faces up to the implications of what he says. If only there were more like him in politics this country would be a much better place.
As for his Lancastrian accent, I cannot believe that this would have an effect on voters. A Yorkshire accent didn't seem to do Harold Wilson any harm.

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wercat on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:
I think there have been some pretty idiotic suggestions on here about Tim and his faith. For those bigotted folk who continue the witchhunt can I point out the example that older folk will remember of David Steele and his support for the Abortion Act (A christian and the son of a church minister iirc) which he clearly separated from dictates of "trad" christianity. The Liberals are what they say on the tin and there are those here who simply will not give credit where it is due, those who continue Laura Kuenssberg's work for her


This thread is definitely not one of UKC's finest, how about letting it rest and beginning another anti christian rant thread?
Post edited at 10:36
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claire14 on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:
It's an interesting notion but I think people should be elected because of their beliefs non dispite them.

I think the modern trend for politicians is appalling I.e say what you need to be elected and attempt to stay in power by gauging what public opinion is and attempting to mimick it.

They are suppose to lead and inspire not just say what they need to to maintain office. True statesmen exhibit independent thought and I would offer Enoch Powell and Sir Winston Churchill as examples of this.
I don't endorse or agree with much they said but the point is you choose the person based on their belief, not on how closely they can copy yours.
Post edited at 10:43
Stichtplate on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to wercat:
I've posted that Farron seems an intelligent and decent man , but evangelicals hold core beliefs that are in direct opposition to basic science, common sense and western moral values.
Surely you can see how holding such beliefs has a bearing on people's judgement of your fitness to lead?

Edit: we don't give public figures a free pass on their moral or political beliefs, why should religious beliefs be treated any differently?
Post edited at 10:59
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Coel Hellier - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to wercat:

> For those bigotted folk who continue the witchhunt ...

We should bear in mind that it is *Tim* Farron* who is saying that he sees his religious faith as incompatible with his position as leader of the LibDems. It is *he* who has decided to resign because of it.

I can't recall anyone in the media who had called for his resignation on this issue.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

Whilst I quite liked the chap and I thought his policies were quite sensible, I didnt vote for him due to his beliefs and that he couldnt state clearly that he didnt think gay sex was a sin. I would have respected him more if he had done that although he would have been even less vote-worthy.

Whilst my views on these things are unrealistic and somewhat black and white, I genuinely think that those who hold strong religious views should not hold office as there will always be a tendency for these views to affect the way that they think. It probably narrows down the pool from which I can select though.
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TobyA on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The situation is peculiar to religion. I can't see that other types of toxic views can be held by politicians without them informing their political work.

Religion is just one ideology among others, I support the vast majority of the current Labour Party policies, but find some of Corbyn and Macdonnells views on foreign policy troubling. Not so different is it?
Jim Lancs on 15 Jun 2017
I heard him speak in a debate about homosexuality organised by the churches in Ambleside. I was left in no doubt about the strength of his conviction in opposing aspects of homosexuality. I was stunned he could even consider being involved with the party such as the Lib Dems.

But it was actually the squirming and duplicity in his defence of his position since being leader that people didn't like, not his opinions that have been well known for years. He saw his majority drop from over 8000 to 777 in only two years and that was in a constituency that voted overwhelmingly to remain.

His resignation will at least go someway to restoring locals' faith in his integrity. This is a strong Quaker area. They may not support his evangelical narrow mindedness, but they sure as hell despise any whiff of duplicity.
Jim Fraser - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

> Vince Cable maybe?

Might have to be.

Vince is better as the back-room economic thinker and could we please have him in No 11 sooner rather than later?

National Government anyone?
1
Si_G - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Pids:

> Cheers, just never seen/heard or Xstanity before - only the abbreviation of things like Christmas becoming Xmas

It's a cross, innit? Crossmas. Crosstians.

Our local church got upset and ran a "don't cross out Christmas" campaign one year when I was a kid.
RomTheBear on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

To me, his resignation shows that he has been honest until the end. I wish we had more like him.
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Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> Religion is just one ideology among others, I support the vast majority of the current Labour Party policies, but find some of Corbyn and Macdonnells views on foreign policy troubling. Not so different is it?

Yes, it's vastly different.

Religion isn't just any ideology, it's whole philosophical underpinning of what the world consists of and why it is there. If you are motivated by fantasies about god watching you, or being rewarded in the afterlife, or worst of all being on the right side while others are wrong, then rational decision making - if you really take your religious philosophy seriously - goes immediately out of the window. When it comes to making important decisions about policy, we need experts in rational thought: people who know that it's only the real outcome that matters, people who don't trust anything unless they've seen the evidence, people who can cut through the illusions of human expectations and assumptions to make decisions that really achieve the best outcomes in society. I'm sorry, but if you've got a fundamental misunderstanding about what the entire world is at the heart of your worldview, then I'm afraid there's a problem.

There is no contraction in agreeing with some of what John McDonell believes, but not everything. On the other hand, if when asked the question, "what is life" you are prepared to throw away all the evidence, and believe something that's barking mad purely on the basis of tradition, then it is a deep philosophical contradiction if you then claim to base all your decisions on evidence.

But as I've said upthread, Tim Farron was a rare example of someone who seemed able to keep the bonkers bits of his brain although alive, well in check, while operating in his political life on strong, rational principles.
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Stichtplate on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Careful John, verging on a call for utilitarianism there. ;-)
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Careful John, verging on a call for utilitarianism there. ;-)

Yes, and what's wrong with that?
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Stichtplate on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes, and what's wrong with that?

Without resorting to google, I think it has all sorts of unsavoury links to eugenics and extremist politics.
TobyA on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Religion isn't just any ideology, it's whole philosophical underpinning of what the world consists of and why it is there.

Well, just like other ideologies then. From the fuzzy, not very serious through to the extreme.

> or worst of all being on the right side while others are wrong, then rational decision making - if you really take your religious philosophy seriously - goes immediately out of the window.

Trumpian "alternative facts"? True-believer Corbynistas? Supply-siders holding on to their Hayekian holy texts?

> When it comes to making important decisions about policy, we need experts in rational thought: people who know that it's only the real outcome that matters, people who don't trust anything unless they've seen the evidence, people who can cut through the illusions of human expectations and assumptions to make decisions that really achieve the best outcomes in society.

Is that your ideas of what is the best outcome for society or mine?

I'm not sure if this is a hugely naive description of how policy is made or an optimistic cry for how policy should be made? Auguste Comte in the early 19th century argued that sociology was the rational science of humanity and that sociologists would become the secular priests explaining how society worked and then changing it for the better - but of course all you get is competing ideological perspectives trying to exert power, sometimes ending in violence or totalitarianism. Who are these secular priests, these paragons of rational virtue who can tell us whether we should renew trident, what should public housing policy be, where to source sufficient nurses for the NHS once we no longer have free movement from the EU, what percentage restriction in growth would be acceptable in order to meet our commitments to the Paris climate treaty, etc etc?

> But as I've said upthread, Tim Farron was a rare example of someone who seemed able to keep the bonkers bits of his brain although alive, well in check, while operating in his political life on strong, rational principles.

I'm sure Farron would tell you that the morality that underpins his politics comes directly from his faith, doesn't stop atheists from having suspiciously similar politics, but I think I've heard him say how his faith informs his politics.

1
TobyA on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes, and what's wrong with that?

In it's simplest form it denies the moral validity of human individuality and makes the idea of human rights illogical!
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> Well, just like other ideologies then. From the fuzzy, not very serious through to the extreme.

> Trumpian "alternative facts"? True-believer Corbynistas? Supply-siders holding on to their Hayekian holy texts?

I didn't say that starting with a religious world view was the *only* way to throw rationality out of the window.

> Is that your ideas of what is the best outcome for society or mine?

If you're going to make some rational policy decisions, then decide what your measures are and state them upfront. If they're sensible, like "reduce numbers of people dying from curable disease" or "reduce number of children suffering malnourishment" then it's unlikely anyone will argue.

> I'm not sure if this is a hugely naive description of how policy is made or an optimistic cry for how policy should be made?

The latter.

> Who are these secular priests...

Academics, civil servants, politicians, professionals representing their fields... Policy making should ideally be a broad collaboration of people working towards an outcome that's objectively useful (see example measures above), along the path that the best evidence suggests is most efficient.

> I'm sure Farron would tell you that the morality that underpins his politics comes directly from his faith, doesn't stop atheists from having suspiciously similar politics, but I think I've heard him say how his faith informs his politics.

I'm sure he would see it that way, and quite how it worked in his head will I'm certain forever remain a mystery.
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Without resorting to google, I think it has all sorts of unsavoury links to eugenics and extremist politics.

It's been given a bad name, there's nothing inherent in the philosophy that connects it to eugenics (although that's a common perception). It has other problems though...
Stichtplate on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It's been given a bad name, there's nothing inherent in the philosophy that connects it to eugenics (although that's a common perception). It has other problems though...

I'd love a bit more rationality in how the world is run, but 'the greatest good for the greatest number of people' risks all sorts of terrible outcomes for minorities and the marginalised.
TobyA on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If they're sensible, like "reduce numbers of people dying from curable disease" or "reduce number of children suffering malnourishment" then it's unlikely anyone will argue.

Of course they're going to argue. That arguing is EXACTLY what politics is. From a brute utilitarian point of view we should of course just junk the entire military and give all the money to third world development (perhaps we could keep trident as an existential guarantee!)

> The latter.

> Academics, civil servants, politicians, professionals representing their fields... Policy making should ideally be a broad collaboration of people working towards an outcome that's objectively useful (see example measures above), along the path that the best evidence suggests is most efficient.

I don't mean to be mean, but your use of the word "objective" here seems stunningly naive. This is politics! It's entirely subjective - ideologies that believe they have objective truths within are by their nature totalitarian - whether they be religious or not. I presume you watch Yes Prime Minister, and the Thick of It, and maybe Veep? That's how policy gets made! By idiots, jobsworths, swivelled eyed loons, kind hearted exhausted civil servants trying desperately to stop the swivelled eyed loons, etc.

1
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I'd love a bit more rationality in how the world is run, but 'the greatest good for the greatest number of people' risks all sorts of terrible outcomes for minorities and the marginalised.

What other types of principles avoid those consequences?
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:
> Of course they're going to argue. That arguing is EXACTLY what politics is. From a brute utilitarian point of view we should of course just junk the entire military and give all the money to third world development (perhaps we could keep trident as an existential guarantee!)

The hope is to keep the arguing within sensible boundaries. I think it's reasonable to expect that once you've elected a Parliament, they may disagree about the relative priorities and methods within primary education, but they'll all agree that the state will provide primary education for children.

You can't apply a brute utilitarian reorganisation of the whole of policy, it's a ridiculous idea, and not remotely what I have suggested or implied. But you can take each decision as it arises and apply evidence for which option will generate the best outcomes, on measures that we can come to a democratic consensus are desirable. This is what I'm suggesting, and it's perfectly sensible.

> I don't mean to be mean, but your use of the word "objective" here seems stunningly naive. This is politics! It's entirely subjective - ideologies that believe they have objective truths within are by their nature totalitarian - whether they be religious or not. I presume you watch Yes Prime Minister, and the Thick of It, and maybe Veep? That's how policy gets made! By idiots, jobsworths, swivelled eyed loons, kind hearted exhausted civil servants trying desperately to stop the swivelled eyed loons, etc.

You can't just sweep away the entire notion of objectivity by saying that people's views differ and they have parochial -or worse - motives. Are you arguing that reducing the number of deaths from incurable disease, and reducing the number of children suffering malnourishment *aren't* objectively useful? That there is no consensus on these matters nor any other, that we should try to achieve them? You might think my view is naive and idealistic, but you appear to be putting forward an entirely nihilistic vision of pure chaos, and that simply doesn't reflect even the current Tory government - does it?
Post edited at 23:19
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Stichtplate on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> What other types of principles avoid those consequences?

With an increasingly educated, informed and connected population, coupled with technological advances, I'm increasingly in favour of some form of direct democracy. This has plenty of problems of its own though.
TobyA on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

It's not nihilistic, it just accepts there are no objective measures. We need ideology, be that religiously based or entirely secular (although I would argue your supposed rational, objective non-ideological ideology is far more the product of the Christian cultural background of the UK than you might like to accept).

I'm not actually sure that I would say stopping children from suffering malnutrition is "objectively useful" but it is a moral good. But which ever description we go for, surely we should stop spending money on things like the military, art, culture and sport in order to alleviate famine in South Sudan or Niger, but we don't. I don't think you are arguing that objectively British children are more important than Sudanese children are you? And if not, is spending money on the British olympic team objectively evil when there is malnutrition in the Sahel?
summo on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> Religion is just one ideology among others, I support the vast majority of the current Labour Party policies, but find some of Corbyn and Macdonnells views on foreign policy troubling. Not so different is it?

But your views may differ because of different real experiences, background, education etc.. Tim's view is based on totally unproven imaginary beings. I consider them worlds apart.
winhill - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to winhill:

Obviously there was some build up of pressure before the election, capped off with his poor performance under interview.

Brian Paddick (who he?) resigned before Farron, so may have precipitated some sort of Liberal rebellion and possible challenge.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/14/lib-dem-peer-brian-paddick-resigns-over-farrons-vie...
Jon Stewart - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I just typed out a pretty detailed response about how utilitarianism, and moral codes generally clash with our evolved nature, leading to the insoluble moral conundrums you pose. Then my internet connect died and the whole thing has been lost.

I might try to re-write it tomorrow as it's a favourite topic of mine!
TobyA on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I just typed out a pretty detailed response about how utilitarianism, and moral codes generally clash with our evolved nature, leading to the insoluble moral conundrums you pose. Then my internet connect died and the whole thing has been lost.

But if you just type "God exists and provides us with moral codes" it will save you an awful lot of time. ;-)




Stichtplate on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> But if you just type "God exists and provides us with moral codes" it will save you an awful lot of time. ;-)

And yet, cause humanity endless conflict and suffering. ;-)
captain paranoia - on 17 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I think 'empathy' covers most of that. And empathy is a useful tribal evolutionary trait. As is the ability to suppress empathy towards 'others', or out-tribe members.
Jon Stewart - on 17 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:

He's not terribly helpful with those moral conundrums is he? Seems to me he doesn't even know whether bombing school children is right or wrong....

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