Back to first principles…

The United States of America’s Preamble to the constitution is generally regarded as a masterclass of statutory word craft.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” is a magnificent humanitarian dictum.

Taken on merit alone, without regard to context, history or the identity of its authors, it truly is and, no doubt was meant to be, an inspirational appeal to humanity’s better angels.

Digging just a little deeper or taking it “back to first principles” if I may, reveals that most of the authors of the preamble owned, bought and sold slaves and were opposed to female universal suffrage. In other words, the phrase “all men” pertained only to white men. Excluding one half of the citizenry (women) and a good portion of the other half (black men) from this lofty ideal, reveals the preamble to be nothing more than vile chauvinist hypocrisy.


Marriage, the bedrock of most human societies, has been a legally binding union between a man and a wife for two thousand years or more. For the overwhelming part of this time, marriage was a strictly patriarchal affair; reducing women to mere chattels, legally prohibited from making decisions on all important aspects of their lives. Unable to vote, denied, for the most part, a higher education and the proper pursuit of their creative, intellectual and professional proclivities.

Granted, the last 50 years or so have seen positive improvements in the status of women in general and female spouses in particular. However, given the devastating statistical fact that over 99% of domestic violence is perpetrated by men, it is particularly galling that a good portion of them like to claim that the “marriage equality pendulum”, stuck firmly on the male side for thousands of years, has now swung to far to the female side. 

Basing ones opposition about the Australian same sex marriage plebiscite on a two thousand year old notion of marriage, that is marred by devastating female inequality and oppression reveals this position to be, once again, nothing more than vile chauvinist hypocrisy. 

The Voice

“The Voice” to parliament, another recent Australian referendum, was roundly opposed by conservative political parties, the Murdoch press and a motley crew of  citizens. Apparently, they were concerned for the integrity of Australia’s “sacred” constitution and other assorted reasons; none of them grounded in racism, of course. The Australian constitution was authored by a previous generation of white, privileged, chauvinist and racist male hypocrites, who proudly pledged their ultimate allegiance to the United Kingdom. The same kingdom that had declared Australia to be “Terra Nullius”; a nonsensical notion invented to “legally” steal the continent from a sizeable number of humans who had thought themselves to be Australia’s rightful owners for over 40,000 years but were unable to produce a title deed. 

The other 40% of Australians, the ones that voted “Yes” to the referendum question, had the equally nonsensical notion that the “Voice to Parliament” would have a tangible positive impact on the lives of the surviving indigenous population. At least though, this progressive cohort passed the “empathy test”, voting “Yes” not for rational reasons, but because of “the feel of the thing” and a desire to escape the stultifying negativity of conservative troglodytes and ignorant racists.