Where My Journey Began

"The Oxford Union is one of the worlds most prestigious debating societies. So when I was a student there, I wanted to cut my teeth in these debates. To my surprise however, I soon found myself getting bored because they seemed to boil down to political-legal superficialities. When I asked one of the leaders about this he immediately recognised my observation and noted that everyone who came to the university believed uncritically in three things: democracy, free markets and sexual freedom. So here were these people who despised “dogmatic fundamentalists”, themselves holding certain uncritical fundamental beliefs! And since Oxford stands as one of the great founts of Western thought, it seemed fair to apply this diagnosis to rest of the West..."

- Interview with the Centre For Public Christianity

Recent Press

Recent Academic Publications

October 21, 2020 |

Recent Academic Publications   Edwards, M., Brown, P., Benn, S., Bajada, C., Perey, R., Cotton, D., Jarvis, W., Menzies, G., McGregor, I., and K. Waite, (2019), Developing sustainability learning in business school curricula – productive boundary objects and participatory processes, Environmental Education Research.   Menzies, G., Hay, D., Simpson, T. and D. Vines, (2019), Restoring Trust…

The Common Goods of Public Health and the Environment

October 21, 2020 |

The common good The Climatized After submitting a piece on environmental inaction, Dr Gordon Menzies and co-author, Dr John McClean, are back to dig further into the dynamics of environmental action and inaction,  using the economic theory known as ‘common goods’.    “We’re all in this together”, is not a bad motto for the worldwide…

A tip for bankers ahead of the royal commission: be more like doctors

October 21, 2020 |

A tip for bankers ahead of the royal commission: be more like doctors The Conversation The financial services royal commission resumes for its final round of hearings on Monday, and reappearing before Justice Hayne will be the chief executives each of the big six institutions he has in his sights: the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, AMP, Macquarie, ANZ,…

On Covid & The Economy (The Conversation)

October 21, 2020 |

It is necessary to worry about health, but pessimism about the economy will hurt us During this pandemic, our twin health and economic crises require two different types of concern, and they operate differently. For the health crisis, a high level of concern is necessary. Saving lives demands nothing less than full compliance with unprecedented…

Does working with money make us worse people? (The Guardian)

October 21, 2020 |

Does Working With Money Make Us Worse People? Everyone likes a good royal commission – watching normally unaccountable people give an account of themselves. With all the anger about inequality now, it is especially appealing to see the spectacularly paid elite getting their comeuppance. But if academic research into the impact money has on ethics…

Fear & Greed

October 21, 2020 |

Fear & Greed Description In Fear and Greed’s Sunday feature interview this week, Sean Aylmer speaks to Associate Professor Gordon Menzies from the University of Technology, Sydney. In a wide-ranging conversation, Sean and Associate Professor Menzies discuss self-fulfilling prophecies in the current economic environment, and how economic principles apply to everyday life. Order Your Copy…

Discussion With ‘Destiny’ (YouTube)

October 21, 2020 |

Discussion With Destiny My second appearance on Destiny’s stream was a joy.   84,000 Views and counting…   Timestamps: 00:00 – Introductions 01:45 – Capitalism vs. Socialism 04:50 – Economic Markets 10:10 – Behavioral Economics 15:16 – China and Central Planning 21:09 – Focusing on Outcomes 28:44 – Response to COVID-19 32:40 – Democracy 40:05…

Fear & Greed (Podcast)

October 21, 2020 |

A Discussion With Paul VanderKlay (YouTube) YouTube Shownotes: Dr. Menzies says most Westerners are fundamentalists without recognizing it. They have an unquestioned belief in democracy, free markets and sexual liberty. He’s written a book on this subject which we discuss. He is an economist with a degree from Oxford University and lives and works in…

Restoring Trust in Finance, Oxford, UK (Video)

October 21, 2020 |

Restoring Trust in Finance: Moral obligation meets Econ 101 Oxford Martin School Dishonest practices brought to light by the 2008 crisis have raised questions about the incentives faced by bankers, and about their training. Unfortunately, the remedy of using market discipline through competition policy to make bankers ‘behave’ is problematic. So there have been many…

What Makes Taxes Moral? ABC (Podcast)

October 20, 2020 |

What Makes Taxes Moral? The Mindfield / ABC Radio What makes taxes moral? Hosted By Waleed Aly on ABC’S The Minefield Taxes have always been politically fractious. Indeed, anger over unfair and extractive taxation fuelled much of the revolutionary fervour of the eighteenth century. But these days, aspirational individualism and the near total dismantling of…

Reviews

There is much to like about Western Fundamentalism.  While it will interest seasoned readers of political philosophy, the book is also an ideal gift for someone only beginning to explore the foundations of our contemporary world.  Breaking the mould with the use of cartoons, diagrams, and photos throughout, the book is readable enough for a thoughtful high school student.  But the book’s accessibility does not prevent it from being a source of new knowledge and insight for advanced readers, as it was for me.

The book’s tone is balanced and winsome.  Many of Menzies’ observations are driven by his Christian perspective: a perspective that he offers, perhaps, as a completion to what is lacking in our contemporary worldview.  But he offers his thoughts humbly, with honest acknowledgement of his own uncertainties throughout.  I thoroughly recommend!

 

Dr Emma Wood, Fellow, Simeon Network, PhD, Philosophy (Victoria University of Wellington)

"Our conversations often struggle to discuss the things which really matter. The central claim of this book is that underneath our opinions and beliefs are core convictions which are more assumed than argued.

Such "fundamentals" are often thought only to be operating in religious faith, but actually, all human beings operate from a set of unprovable presuppositions. Unless these core assumptions are identified and discussed, our capacity to listen to each other, and to change our mind, becomes seriously impaired. Because this text is written by an economist, but one who is philosophically astute and historically informed, it offers an angle that you likely have not heard before. "Western Fundamentalism" works well both in diagnosing the assumptions operative in Western culture, but also proposes how we might discuss these with both rigour and charity."

Mark Stephens, Centre for Public Christianity
"Three reasons I enjoyed this book so much:
 
A) It explores topics I rarely think about or examine - like a democratic political system, or seeing marriage as a “market” - and from a perspective I am not used to, that of an economist. 
B) It addresses heavy topics (lots of philosophy) in really digestible ways, including wit & humour, comics, graphs, personal sharing, different genres mixed in, but mostly prose that is easy to follow and clear.
C) it examines and critiques the “unthoughts” of western  worldviews from a Committed Christian position but in a posture that is relaxed, inquisitive and even, at times, generous to opposing viewpoints."
 
Paul Winch, AFES

If you want to feel smart, read this book.  Gordon Menzies is one of those rare people who is both thinker and teacher, with enough of a grasp of philosophy, economics, and political theory to understand why you think the way you think, but able to explain it so that you can understand as well.  Western Fundamentalism is a conversational exploration of the unspoken fundamentals that lie at the core of our western thinking.  Just like scientists assume the order and intelligibility of nature, so the denizens of western liberal democracy share a common set of presuppositions about ourselves and our world that shape our thinking and ethical intuitions.

The aim of this book is not to evaluate western liberal democracy, but to bring those core assumptions to light, so that we can better understand ourselves and more calmly and confidently interact with others.  Even the smartest navigation software can’t tell you how to get where you want to go, if it doesn’t know where you are right now, so, as we seek to bridge gaps of culture and morals and politics in our increasingly globalised and polarised world, we need to know where we are before we can constructively reach out to others.  Read Western Fundamentalism.  Your fellow travellers will thank you.

Lewis Jones, Simeon Network

"Dr Gordon Menzies has written a very helpful book.  

It is to some degree a reaction against the easy critique of Christian faith which represents all Christians as fundamentalists.  Conversely, Menzies suggests that in the West, we are all fundamentalists, having implicit trust in the virtues of democracy, free market liberalism and sexual freedom as unchallengeable givens.  Indeed, he asserts ‘the West believes it has an implicit “right to continual sexual enjoyment”’.  Menzies unpacks the thinking behind fundamentalism in its various guises. 

This short text will be very useful for Christians facing the often challenging cauldron of ideas and worldviews in contemporary society. It would also be a very helpful resource for Christian groups in schools of all sectors and for youth leaders in churches.  

It deserves to be widely read."

Dr John Collier Headmaster, St Andrew's School, Sydney

"It's not often you come across a book that so effectively challenges the underlying beliefs of human thought.

In Western Fundamentalism, Dr Menzies presents a systematic review of Western thought in a manner that is sure to reshape the readers understanding of fundamental beliefs."

Geoffrey Miller, UTS Graduate

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