A pseudo-religion claim to neutrality deeply foolish


ACT leader David Seymour argues that those who oppose the End of Life Choice Act are doing so purely on religious grounds.

He is ignoring the repeated clarification that this is not the case.

However, that being said, there is another more fundamental issue;  Seymour appears to belong to what Professor Robert George calls a “pseudo-religion”, variously known as secular progressivism or expressive individualism.

“It functions like a religion,” George says, “it is a source of meaning, it has got a set of dogmas; indeed it has a lot of the other indicia of religions. Saints and demons and holy days . . .

He says the idea that secular progressive ideology counts as neutrality is “deeply foolish.”

One of the dogmas of this pseudo-religion is that “competing ‘comprehensive views’, be they secular or religious, certainly religious ones like Christianity, Islam, Judaism . . . must be restricted to the private precincts of the home or house of worship”.

As with militants and fundamentalists in any religion, it brooks no dissent.

“They can’t allow for freedom of conscience or freedom of speech or any other basic civil liberties. They want conformity; they want ‘group-think’.”

“Now why should anybody of any competing faith accept those terms?” George asked.

“We compete fairly in the public square with you… you have no authority to shut us down.”

“You make your arguments, we will make our arguments and then we are going to use the processes of deliberative democracy to resolve the questions until they get opened back up in the ordinary institutions of democratic governance for reconsideration, if, indeed, they do.

George is director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

He was speaking in a Facebook interview with New Zealand’s Brendan Malone of Left Foot Media on September 7.


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