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Maxim Institute real issues.

Maxim Institute real issues.

this week: No. 103 25 MARCH 2004

Contents: --------- * PC debate demand serious analysis

* Charities Commission threatens advocacy

* New Publication: Political Correctness - the theoretical struggle

* Charity Golf Tournament April 16 - enter now!

PC debate demands serious analysis

- Political correctness has become such a joke that many people dismiss it as simply the latest example of bureaucratic lunacy or a bad idea. Humour is a useful tool to resist PC, but a deeper understanding of it reveals that it is no laughing matter. PC developed from a communist form of party control, into a modern way of controlling expression. Media analysis needs to take a closer look at how and why language is being manipulated and diversity is being promoted, rather than focus on fringe examples of PC.

In today's New Zealand Herald Peter Wood examines the doctrine of diversity and its threat to building national identity. Dr Wood says, "In short, diversity is a way of evoking an image of society as starkly divided between victims and victimisers. To celebrate diversity is, in effect, to coerce from the supposed victimisers a collective apology to the supposed victims, and to offer a programme of economic and political restoration."

Peter Wood is associate professor of anthropology at Boston University; he is speaking at Maxim's 2004 Forum this Saturday in Auckland. To read the full article visit: www.maxim.org.nz/ri/diversity3.html

Charities Commission threatens advocacy

A Government bill establishing a Charities Commission tabled in Parliament on Tuesday is a threat to public debate and advocacy. Green MP Sue Bradford says there is a danger that community groups performing advocacy will not be eligible for charitable status. She asks, "Is this an attempt to control or kill off groups who carry out lobbying alongside their service function?"

The Commissioner's role will be to approve and register charities; receive annual returns, monitor charitable activities and educate and support charity officers. Registrations will be required from mid-2005 and all charities must be registered by mid-2006.

Commerce Minister, Margaret Wilson says the bill is about transparency. Perhaps so, but it may also be about control, particularly those charities which may be considered to be involved in advocacy contrary to government policy. Moreover, is such a bill necessary? The "Charities Sector" as it is referred to, works best when it is independent of government. It requires only a broad regulatory framework to ensure accountability.

Sue Bradford is right, 'any non-profit worth its salt should be involved in advocacy.' Advocacy is a natural consequence of charity. It always has been. The "fence at the top of the hill" as well as "ambulance at the bottom of the hill" are of equal importance. Advocates are always in the business of making recommendations to improve people's lives and society.

It is worth observing that the primary and still quoted legal definition of charity is the famous Pemsel case of 1891. An organisation can be registered for a charity "if it is for the advancement of religion, the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or other public benefit." That is a broad and wise definition worthy of preservation.

The role that charity plays in civil society is critical. As a voluntary service for people in need, it is a much more effective agency than state welfare. Citizens also need to be aware that whenever the state moves to control any aspect of charitable institutions it must not encroach upon the advocacy role of those groups.

New Publication: Political Correctness - the theoretical struggle

PC is strangling western society. It is being used to shut down debate, and marginalise opponents of any social reform by branding them 'bigots', 'racists', 'sexists', and the like. It is destroying language and culture and making it difficult to critique what is going on.

A new book by Dr Frank Ellis - Political Correctness: The theoretical struggle from Lenin and Mao to Marcuse and Foucault - shows that PC has a history much longer than is generally recognised, going back to Lenin in Soviet Russia.

By the end of the 1920s, the notion of "correct thought" was dominant in almost every aspect of Soviet society, including, education, law, psychiatry and entertainment. It was used to justify terror, torture, and man-made famine, first by Lenin and then Stalin, as well as his successors, and later by Mao Tse Tung in China.

One of PC's underlying themes is that if you change the medium of expression (language), you can then change the way people behave and thereby shape culture and society. Ellis demonstrates how, by promoting its ideas of what is and what is not PC, the New Left throughout the English-speaking world is capturing cultural institutions, especially the news media and universities, while its devotees are using the state to re-order the thoughts and lives of ordinary people as well as academics.

The ideas are being promoted through human rights legislation, hate speech laws and government promotion of "diversity" and "tolerance". To combat this, Ellis suggests we recapture language, challenge the PC concepts and be prepared to speak out in defence of reality.

Political Correctness is available from bookshops nationwide for $19.95. Maxim Partners can order directly from Maxim Institute at the reduced price of $15.00 including GST and postage. To order a copy email katrina@maxim.org.nz

Charity Golf Tournament April 16 - enter now!

In association with Rotary of St. Johns, the inaugural Golf Classic on 16th April at Titirangi Golf Club will be a fun way to support Maxim. The event is sponsored by Mike Henry Travel Insurance Specialists and the day will be a brilliant opportunity for corporate hospitality and networking, and there are lots of prizes to be won.

To enter a team of four, or inquire about sponsoring a hole, please call David Youngson Tel. 09-627 3261 or email David.Youngson@maxim.org.nz

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - John Stuart Mill

The most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power.

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