Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Blair’s religion, and politics

Joe Knippenberg considers Tony Blair’s major address on religion and public life. He notes the similarities and differences between Blair--a man of deep religious faith--and Bush on matters of faith and politics:

While Bush, for example, speaks frequently about love as the emotion that takes us outside ourselves—we are enjoined to love one another as we love ourselves—Blair does not so much enter into the moral psychology of the individual. I am tempted to argue that Bush’s approach to community is "theological," while Blair’s is "sociological." And where Bush speaks of the "ownership society," whose goal is to help individuals become self-reliant (but nonetheless loving), that sort of language seems to be absent from Blair’s lexicon.

Joe notes that Blair is silent on the issue of abortion, and thinks that the way the Brits (both Labor and Tory) handle the issue of abortion, may be something the Democratic Party should look at here, and even emulate.

Abortion [in Britain] is regulated by law, not a product of judicial interpretation, and abortion law is a matter of conscience, not of party. All three major parties are "big tents" on abortion and leave their members free to vote their consciences on abortion legislation. (Indeed, one of Blair’s cabinet ministers responded that he would support an even more restrictive abortion law than the one proposed by Michael Howard.) No governing party ties its fate to a stance on abortion, and hence none would regard a parliamentary vote on abortion as a vote of confidence or no confidence in the government.

Joe’s piece is serious and well crafted. Do read it.  

Discussions - 1 Comment

Good analysis. It’s a little surprising that Blair avoids moral psychology since he’s influenced by Scottish theologian John MacMurray’s personalism. I’ve blogged on Blair here:
http://www.thepolitic.com/archives/2005/03/05/liberals-blairite-shift/

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