Thursday, March 29, 2012

The crazy world of Bob Brown

Another belated post. In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the world's first Greens party, last weekend saw Senator Bob Brown give the third annual Greens oration in Hobart. The reader of this blog is invited to read Senator Brown's speech in full, if you feel so inclined, and in so doing gain a deeper insight into the man and his worldview.

Senator Brown's address makes two valid points. I agree with him that it's unjust that millions of people live in poverty when billions are spent on armaments every year. Secondly, perhaps he is right in saying that some multinational corporations appear to exert undue influence over governments when the voice of the ordinary citizen is often ignored.

After that Senator Brown and I depart company. This first came to my attention in a 2011 address to the National Press Club in Canberra, but for a long time he has advocated the establishment of a global Parliament. It seems to be one of his most cherished goals. He envisions it working along similar lines to the United Nations General Assembly, with one difference being that it would be an elected body.

Every nation in the world would have one delegate in this global Parliament, regardless of their population. Would China's 1.5 billion people accept being treated in the same way as the 70 citizens of the Pitcairn Islands? He is distrustful of the power and influence of non-state actors such as multinational corporations in international affairs, but he sees no problem with nation-states ceding their sovereignty to a supranational body.

He envisions the nations of the world working harmoniously alongside each other to address ecological and political challenges. I do not share Brown's optimistic appraisal of human nature. Apart from some vague references to "Eternity" there is no room for God. Instead, humanity will harness its potential towards collectively striving for an ecologically sustainable and just world through strength of will. Others have tried to unify the world before, but whether they have used conquest or cooperation, they have failed.

The doctrine of total depravity holds that the default setting of the human heart is towards evil and not good, and the record of history bears this out. To the extent that human beings are capable of being or doing good, it is only because the grace of God enables them to do so. We do not have unlimited capacity to better ourselves by own efforts. Christians believe that only Jesus has the power to change the human heart.. Ultimately, the only hope for humanity is God's promise of a new heaven and new earth, in which suffering and evil will be completely vanquished.


kris said...

As unworkable as Brown's ideals may be I still admire the desire to do so and the hope he has that we can better ourselves and that we can responsibly care for this world. I think that's what God would want us to do. Yes human nature is the major obstacle.

If climate change is real (I for one take the scientists at their word) then it is a global problem and it needs a global response. Our dismal efforts at Copenhagen and Tokyo just go to show that National interests will always trump Global interests and until we have a structure in place that prevents it...Self INterest is king.

Ludicrousity said...

I tend to agree that the idea of a global government is overly optimistic and will never actually work. It would be wonderful if it did, but the nature of humans to be selfish and corrupt means that this will never ever work.
I think I might agree with Bob Brown a little more than you do, but I still don't agree with his balance of things a lot of the time.

Ross said...

Now that the Greens are in a position where they can see at least some of there agenda implemented, at least until the next federal election, we will finally be able to see how much of it is actually workable in practice.