“Progressive consensus has become a bullying term” warns renowned philosopher

"I’m going to get the bad news out of the way first," said Dr. John Haldane at the Family Education Trust’s annual conference in London, "things are going to get worse. We’re not going to recover the lost ground, at least not in our life time…"

A renowned Scottish philosopher has told an audience of experts gathered in London for a pro-family conference that “the term ‘progressive consensus’ has become a bullying term, it’s become a cover for intimidation.”

Professor John Haldane, of the University of St Andrews and Baylor University, Texas, made the comments at this year’s Family Education Trust annual conference in central London, during his lecture on “The philosophical foundations of the family.”

The day brought together bioethicists, lawyers, academics, medical experts, and campaigners, to hear Professor Haldane and Professor Kathryn Ecclestone of the University of Sheffield UK, who spoke on “Mindfulness and the continuing rise of ‘therapeutic education.”

I’m going to get the bad news out of the way first – things are going to get worse. We’re not going to recover the lost ground, at least not in our life time,” Professor Haldane told a packed room.

He noted how campaign groups and voices in the media say that society shouldn’t stigmatise certain types of family arrangement or privilege one type of family arrangement over others. Yet these same voices become very stringent about equality, health, and the environment, and refuse to recognise that there is a variety of views about these alternative family arrangements.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in England and Wales in July 2013, with the first same-sex marriages taking place in March 2014. Scotland legalised same-sex marriage in March 2014, with their law taking effect in December of that year.

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, there were a total of 1,409 same-sex marriages between 29 March and 30 June 2014.

The ONS also states that the fastest growing type of family in the UK is cohabiting couple families, which grew 29.7% between 2004 and 2014, with around 1.9 million children raised in this arrangement.

The statistics also reveal that in 2014 there were 2 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK, with mothers accounted for 91% of lone parents with dependent children.

An ONS report by Oliver Dormon, “Childbearing by Registration Status in England and Wales, Using Birth Registration Data for 2012 and 2013” revealed a shocking 48%, or 485,329 children, were born to unmarried cohabiting couples, couples not married or living together, or to lone mothers.

Diversity has become a comforting affirmation,” said Professor Haldane, “and we see how societies move from toleration, to approbation, to celebration.” He noted that there comes a point when it’s not enough to only tolerant various family arrangements, one also has to celebrate it, and failure to do so is seen as being intolerant.

Corruption of language becomes a corruption of thought, deliberately done by some to confuse us,” he added.

Citing English journalist and author G.K Chesterton, Professor Haldane told listeners, “We have to find the cure before we can identify the disease. We have to know how things ought to be, in order to recognise when things are wrong.”

Professor Haldane has authored numerous books on philosophy, society and religion, and is a consultor to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture.


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About Daniel Blackman 5 Articles
Daniel Blackman is a journalist who has written for New Blackfriars, Catholic Herald, Catholic Times, Pro-Life Times, SPUC blog, Humanum, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Human Life Review, MercatorNet, Christendom Awake, The Remnant, Regina, Catholic Voice, Thomas More Institute, LifeSiteNews, Aleteia, and Israel Affairs.