Western Fundamentalism: Democracy, Sex and the Liberation of Mankind
Have you ever felt out of step with your own culture? Or even simply wondered where the tensions in our world are going to lead us, and if there is still time for the West to help shape the direction?...
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Have you ever felt out of step with your own culture? Or even simply wondered where the tensions in our world are going to lead us, and if there is still time for the West to help shape the direction? Events over recent decades have brought 'fundamentalism' - both Islamic and Christian - to the fore. Yet when I was a doctoral student at Oxford, I noticed that the debaters at the Oxford Union seemed not to question their own basic beliefs - something fundamentalists are often accused of. Eventually it was explained to me that the Oxford debaters uncritically believed in democracy, free market liberalism (i.e. economic rationalism) and sexual freedom. This seems important, because environmental degradation and the Global Financial Crisis speak of the limits of the free market system. You might also feel, like I do, that the sexual revolution has left victims in its wake.
I have a deep interest in basic assumptions we all have about life, and am regularly inspired to discuss them with others. This book aims to articulate my views in a thought-provoking yet respectful way whilst also providing/offering an appropriate amount of personal disclosure. For example, I can see the sexual revolution from both sides - the increase in women's rights helped my mother escape an abusive relationship with my father, yet it also encouraged the end of many tolerable-yet-challenging relationships that could have provided an adequate relational world for the children and spouses involved.
In this book Dr Gordon Menzies invites us to examine the freedoms we seek through democracy, market economics and sex. These freedoms are so fundamental to our thinking that we don't even question them, yet they determine much of how we see the world and shape it.
Are you prepared to challenge your fundamentals?
'When I came to live in Australia from Bangladesh, I expected to find a society with diverse viewpoints. Instead I found a highly religious society where the religion was secular.' Australian PhD student.
Gordon Menzies is an Associate Professor in Economics at UTS and hold numerous teaching awards along with an international research prize in economics.