Interview with Ian Hodge - EC395

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Interview with Ian Hodge
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 87
Length: 0:54:03
TapeCode: ec395
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 395, September the 30th, 1997.

This evening Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin, Mark Rushdoony and I have the privilege of visiting with an old friend. Ian Hodge is here from Australia and Ian has been an active worker in terms of Christian Reconstruction in Australia, has accomplished a great deal there and this is our opportunity to bring you up to date on things in Australia.

Now to me Australia is one of the most important countries in the world, because of its potential. A hundred years from now it can be a major force on the world scene given its potential and, if it has the right kind of Christian, direction. More than one person feels that way. People who are students of the economic scene and of the natural resources of Australia.

Ian, it is good to have you here with us again. I know that like us Australia has its problems. But it also has its potentials, more than most countries. Do you want to give us a brief introduction to the world of Australia?

[Hodge] Thank you, Rush, and thank you for the words of welcome. Some comedian said once that the problem with Australia is that it is full of Australians. So I am not sure that that is the right answer.

I think on the economic front Australia is pretty well known for its... its resources. It has huge mineral reserves of various kinds and it is rich in farming land. In terms of land to people ratio we are under populated with about 18 million people there. So we have enormous potential for growth.

Economically at the moment Australia is like many countries around the world, hurting. We have had enormous... we had during the 80s and the 70s and preceding that enormous inflation reaching rates of anywhere up to 28 to 30 percent.

[Rushdoony] Oh, my. That high.

[Hodge] That high. And after the stock market crash in 87 they pushed it up to about that 28 percent level and then in 1990 they cut it drastically down to about one to two percent. And that was the Prime Minister at the time said, Paul Keating, said, “This is the recession we have to have.” And it was a severe recession. The money supply was turned back on for a while in about 1994 about three years ago, about the time I was here last. And then they have moved it up and down. So the recession there is still severe and it is causing a lot of economic hardship for many people. [00:03:30]

And we have put that into its global context...[edit]

And we have put that into its global context. Australia, I think, to some extent has had its wealth at the expense of its Asian neighbors. We have had high tariff protection. We have had high unionism that has helped protect local industries that are, in terms of outside foreign competition, inefficient. And, in fact, I was driving around today in Andrew’s vehicle a little envious of the fact that he can buy a superior vehicle to what I would buy at less than... than half the dollar cost. Now I appreciate there is an exchange rate in there as well. They are the kind of differences.

Well, in the current market environment, we are seeing a globalization of the market, so Australian consumers are like consumers everywhere want cheaper. So our manufacturing industries are suffering and hurting. Our farming is somewhat devastated by now a fairly lengthy drought. It was turning around for about seven years so huge portions of the nation, of the country that have been declared drought and remain that way at the moment. And then we have had the other difficulties associated, for example, with subsidized wheat from America hitting the market and taking away our traditional markets. So we are in a country that is going through, I think, enormous transition.

[Rushdoony] Well, I think it is interesting that Australia, which is roughly the size of the continental United States has a population of only 18 million. Now you have to go back to the early years of the last century in the United States to find a comparable correlation, because let’s say in the first quarter of the last century our population was somewhat similar to Australia’s and we didn’t have the whole continent then. We did not have the west coast nor the Oregon Territory. And Australia has all of that in its size today and with a population that is only 18 million. So its future is a tremendous one if its economics and its religious faith are on keel. [00:06:07]

Now tell us a little bit about the church scene there...[edit]

Now tell us a little bit about the church scene there so that we can assess the picture from that point of view.

[Hodge] Well, the church scene is one, again, in transition. We have seen the traditional denominations in the country which have been Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and the old school Methodist and Baptist denominations have declined somewhat in the marketplace or at least in the protestant side of that. The other side of that has been a growth in the Pentecostal and charismatic movement within the country. However, the number of people in the census that say they are believing God or attending churches remains roughly the same. And so on any given Sunday about 20 percent of the population claim to be in church.

I am not sure that it would be that high. I don’t think we have enough buildings to house 20 percent of the population on any given Sunday. So I would expect that our active church going community is lower than that.

In terms of Evangelicalism, the numbers would be even smaller again, because we have had Liberalism in most of the denominations. The only well known stand against Liberalism theologically has been the Anglican Church and, more specifically, the Diocese of Sydney, which has produced some...

[Rushdoony] Bishop Leonard was very powerful there in standing up to Modernist forces. Is his successor equally strong?

[Hodge] Yes, I think the Anglican Church there has still maintained that... that stand very well. But the great complaint about the church generally in Australia, of course, is that it is irrelevant. And I think generally speaking that that does put the... the Christian Church in Australia in its right position. We have not had the answers to the great issues of the day either today or in the past and so people will view the Church that is something that is necessary for our baptisms and funerals and, you know, confirmation or... or something like that and weddings.

[Murray] Is this because they .... the Church has retreated and allowed government to take over some of the functions that the Church used to perform?

[Hodge] I think ... I think that is part of it, Douglas. The... our... our church history would be more aligned, I think, with what is coming out of England. And I think we can trace a decline in conservative theology in the Protestant churches in England following the Reformation. We have been fortunate enough in Australia to have head Brian Abshire there with us in the past week. And I said to Brian, I said, “I think it is illustrative of the situation that if we walk into a Christian bookstore and ask for good Christian books, most of them are coming out of the United States of America.” [00:09:20]

Now that is a generalization, but...[edit]

Now that is a generalization, but... but I think the generalization stands. We don't see good, conservative, theological books in mass numbers coming out of places like England or Australia.

So I think our churches there have helped their own demise by heading towards a... a working relationship with the state that have helped put Australia into a more socialistic framework. For example, most of our denominations, the support agencies would be financed by the government. They have paid a price for that, because now they can’t, for example, the old people’s homes they are no longer able to keep their hands confined to any people within their own denomination. They will have to take whoever the government says they... they might take.

[Sandlin] What about Christian schools and the state of Christian education there, Ian?

[Hodge] Well, the Christian school market is... is fairly small. I am a little out of touch with the figures in terms I haven’t been active in the... in the traditional school market for a couple of years, Andrew, but we only had in total about 40,000 students in Christian schools about two years ago. Now I would think in a population of 18 million that is a pretty small number. The home schooling market, again, it is a growing portion of the Christian school movement. Nobody is certain exactly how large it is, but I was involved enough to say that a fairly accurate account would only put somewhere between five to 7000 students in the ... in the home schooling market. And then there would be a Catholic portion in addition to that that may... may be another four or 5000 students.

[Sandlin] You were mentioning earlier today, were you not, that most of the ... or all, perhaps, of the Christian schools are state subsidized or virtually all of them? Is that right, or...?

[Hodge] Most of them are to the extent that the government will finance land and... and ... or at least capital equipment and then there are funding allowances they can get, you know, on a per capital basis as well. So, by and large, the churches there do believe that they have a right to... to have the government sub... you know, pay for... for the education. After all, we do pay for it in our taxes.

[Sandlin] Is there any counter trend to that like starting truly independent Christian schools or...?

[Hodge] There have been some people that have tried to do it and, in fact, there has even been a movement to start a Christian university there that wouldn’t take government funding and encourage the students to stay away from... from receiving government funding for the tuition, but by and large they have been unsuccessful because the parents really are not prepared to pay the true cost of tuition. [00:12:17]

New Zealand, if I can throw a comment in there, went...[edit]

New Zealand, if I can throw a comment in there, went a step further when a couple of years ago the government in New Zealand introduced what they called interrogation and the New Zealand government effectively said, “We will finance the operation cost of your school. You are not allowed, therefore, to charge tuition fees for... to cover teacher salaries and, you know, pens and paper and whatever else the school might... might purchase.”

They are able to charge for capital costs, buildings and land. And while integration is optional, it has helped take some... some schools that wouldn’t agree with their thing out of the market place. I know, for example, in New Zealand, one ... in Christ Church in New Zealand one school there didn’t want to integrate, but the competitors around the corner...

[Sandlin] You mean racial integration?

[Hodge] No, no. Integration in terms of what the government called...

[Sandlin] Oh, I see.

[Hodge] ...coming into part of the... the government system, where the government financed the operational costs.

So this school held out against integration. The competitors down the road went for it and the fees dropped in the competition... competing school from somewhere around the two and a half grand mark down to eight or nine hundred dollars. So the parents, of course, took the choice and went down the road and paid eight or 900 dollars instead of two and a half thousand dollars.

So we are facing... we are facing a much broader issue in the sense that in Australia the parents are not prepared yet to finance out of their own pocket.

[Sandlin] And it is a vicious cycle, because they are probably over taxed anyway, right?

[Hodge] That is correct.

[Sandlin] Ok.

Speaking of money, what is the spirit of... of Christian business or Christian businessmen in Australia? I mean, you yourself are a businessman. What is the ... is there a real entrepreneurial free market spirit among them or just... ? Talk about that for a few minutes.

[Hodge] There is very little organizational in ... {?} amongst Christians. You know, there are a few odd organizations. I am involved with Christian Businessmen of Australia and... but they don't really bring the Christian community, the business community together in terms of business. They are really bringing the business community together as a form of outreach and provide a vehicle to... for... for outreach. Apart from that there would be odd groups meeting. Some of the charismatic Pentecostal type churches with your... probably got two or 3000 members might be doing and some of them would be doing things to... to encourage a little more entrepreneurship, Christian businesses. Whether that is translating, of course, into specific Christian business practices is ... is another question. As we talked today, one of the areas of real potential in... in reconstruction is to develop materials for, you know, Christian business, Christian management, et cetera.

[Murray] How much does the Government involve themselves in dictating curriculum and subject matter in the schools that the government supports? [00:15:24]

[Hodge] That varies a little state by state...[edit]

[Hodge] That varies a little state by state. In Queensland, which is my state, the government effectively leaves private schools alone. There is no requirement in terms of curriculum. In New South Wales there have been all pressures there to conform to curriculum requirements. Both states have a registered school policy so all schools must be... must be registered and so it depends a little on the bureaucratic mentality in the different areas just how much the regulations are being enforced.

For example, the schools in New South Wales right at the moment are facing the issue of corporal punishment where that has been prohibited by state legislation and that includes the ... the... the Christian schools that have accepted, you know, registration status. So in order to maintain the registration they will have to conform to the no corporal punishment requirement.

[Sandlin] I noticed when I was in England, when I was in England last, there is not only the socialistic economy, but also socialistic mindset even among Christians that somehow we can’t survive without government funding or government benefits. Is that basically true also in Australia?

[Hodge] Yes. We... I think, basically, we ... we... we can trace the connection between England and Australia to say that the Christians have increasingly turned to this... to the political state as a means of ameliorating man’s condition. So we have had the state come in to control education. We have had the state come in to control welfare. We have had the state doing this. We have the state doing that.

[Sandlin] So you... what you stand for is to them ... would seem revolutionary or how do they look at what you are...?

[Hodge] Well, I think to some extent American ... the American version of Christianity is often perceived in Australia to be a little over the top, we would probably say. And that would come down very much in this economic area. The ... the real basis of free market economy which is the ability to own and posses property, we don’t really have. Land in Australia belongs to the crown. We have this façade of ownership, but it really doesn’t exist.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Hodge] And that is historically connected to our founding, of course, being a... you know, effectively a penal, you know, colony for the... oh, a penal colony for the... of the English after you guys tossed them out. [00:18:13]

[Rushdoony] This matter of land ownership, the land...[edit]

[Rushdoony] This matter of land ownership, the land belongs to the crown. Explain specifically what that means.

[Hodge] Well, effectively it means that the ... the... the land ultimately is owned by the crown and, therefore, though they give you a title to ownership, the crown can take back the land any time it likes.

[Sandlin] So it is really eminent domain.

[Hodge] It is really eminent domain. Now it is not stated in those terms. You can get a ... a certificate of title of the land. But when you ask the lawyers, they will tell you pretty clearly that that... that is the way it exists.

In Canberra which is our national capital you cannot purchase the land at all. All you get is a 99 year lease on your property or something like that and that would be more clearly demonstrated... the real nature of... of what goes on there.

[Rushdoony] Is there a reason for that?

[Hodge] Just historically. Rush, I think that is the way it has always been and no one has ever changed it.

[Sandlin] In your estimation, if a real Christian reformation is to come to Australia, what are some things that are going to have to happen? What are the chief areas that have to change?

[Hodge] Oh, that is a big question. The temptation in that is to pick your pet topics and... and say this is where I think it happens. I ... I think if we went ... went through a number of areas such as the home, then it clearly means a reformation in the... in the home, which, for me would be restoration of family worship, the restoration of the headship of the man into the family and...

[Sandlin] ... the problem with Feminism and ...

[Hodge] Oh, yes.

[Sandlin] That is a big problem.

[Hodge] Yeah. And the Christian home.... the... the home schooling movement, I think, is part and parcel to that reformation that is taking place.

When I moved to Queensland about three years ago I had to help one of the Christian curriculum suppliers... curriculum suppliers in Australia. One of my first activities was to visit with the state deputy director general of education. And his words to me at the time were that home schooling was the fastest growing aspect of education in the western world, not just Queensland, not just Australia, but in the western world. And he was determined that the Queensland education department would have a significant portion of that market would in the continent. And that is historically because Queensland is such a huge state that they have quite a lot of what we formerly called distance education, students learning at home through government correspondence type schools. So they had the practical expertise to help run remade education. And I am not sure how far they have progressed in obtaining portions of that market in other states, but they were certainly aiming to do that. [00:21:15]

[Murray] Where do you think the chief influence of...[edit]

[Murray] Where do you think the chief influence of Feminism came from in Australia?

[Hodge] I am not sure I know the ... the answer to that one, Douglas.

[Murray] I mean, was this culturally absorbed from the United States or from England or...?

[Hodge] I don’t think I could I answer that. Traditionally we tend to absorb a fad from... from the United States and also England, perhaps more so, you know, the... the U S. So I wouldn’t be surprised if that is where the strong influence came from. Whether we produced a very famous Feminist in the 60s, Germane Greer who wrote a book, I think, it was called The Female Eunuch which was, at the time, a very popular book on the feminization {?}. She has since somewhat backtracked from some of those statements she made in those lists, a Feminist of what she would have been 30 years ago.

[M. Rushdoony] In what way is Australia influenced by the United States? Through what means? Is it education, entertainment?

[Sandlin] Media?

[Hodge] Media, primarily. And then I think there are increasingly a lot of business contacts across the Pacific. America still produces fantastic marketing and many of the ... the ... the business concepts, especially in the franchise area have made their way to.... their way to Australia. We have the McDonalds stores, the Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Pizza Huts, the Sizzler store. Burger King is over there with a different name, but ... so quite a few of those chains have made their way to America and therefore there is the transference of, you know, American business practices.

[Sandlin] Do American movies...? I noticed even in Africa when we were in Zambia, American movies contribute to the cultural decadence there. Is that a big factor as you see it?

[Hodge] I would think so. Yeah. I mean, we don’t have a ... we don’t really have a film industry of our own. So the film industry is very much an imported job.

[Murray] So they import the, for instance, television programming?

[Hodge] Yeah. Most of the TV programs are ... are imported.

[Sandlin] You have state TV basically or do you have a lot of independent?

[Hodge] No. We only have basically four channels in most capital cities. Five now with... with ethnic or TV coding for different nationalities.

[Sandlin] But probably satellite is coming in, cable and satellite, or...

[Hodge] Well, cable is starting to come in. So we are starting... but that is still early days and most of them are losing money at it quite rapidly. So they haven’t even got themselves to break even point.

[M. Rushdoony] What do ethnic groups... are becoming prominent in Australia?

[Hodge] Well, we have absorbed quite a few of the ... the Vietnamese are the... the end of the war, because of our involvement in... in Vietnam. We have a growing Middle East population and therefore we are seeing the rise of Islam within the nation as well. I think the last figure I heard was something like 250,000 Muslims in the country which for a population of ... of 15th, you know, the size of the this continent, we put it at 15 times, quarter of a million is there. I guess, nearly what? Four million people. So... four million... four million Muslims. [00:24:43]

I am not sure that you would have that many here, would...[edit]

I am not sure that you would have that many here, would you?

[Murray] There is around five million, I think.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] ...is the last number I heard in the...

[Rushdoony] Five million in the United States.

[Murray] ...United States. Yeah.

[Hodge] Ok. So then proportionately we are not... not far different.

[Murray] Is there a net increase or decrease in population in Australia? What is the immigration situation going and coming?

[Hodge] The immigration is... is not large. The government controls it fairly well. And in the economic climate the foreigners are often seen as the cause of ... of the economic problems. They are taking jobs from ... from Australians even though most of the immigration laws only provide access, access for people who have particular skills and they are usually the ones we don’t have within the nation.

In terms of birth rate within the country, I think we are running at about 2.1 or 1.9, somewhere around there. We need to be at 2.2 for replacement. So any growth we are having is essentially coming out of the, you know, immigration policies of the country.

[Murray] Speaking of birth rates, what is the abortion like there and what are the... any laws against any abortion or abortion throughout the three trimesters or... what?

[Hodge] We have basic abortion laws there, but they aren’t... they aren’t enforced. So abortion is one of those issues that should preoccupy people’s attention more, but doesn't. Again, even within the Christian community a large portion of them would accept a woman’s right to determine, you know, what happens within her own body.

[Sandlin] Is the conservative Church like the one basically here very anti theological and anti intellectual? Basically, godly goose pimples, good feeling religion. Is that basically a... an accurate assessment of conservatives and...?

[Hodge] Yeah, that would also be... I think to some extent a cultural issue as well. I would... my own feeling would be that or my own understanding would be that Australia generally is not an overly intellectual type nation. We are more pragmatic. We are more interested in if it works, than in ideas. And I think that causes a, you know, problem for us in m any areas. [00:27:06]

So we don't have the kind of analysis within the country, for example, that, you know, Dr. Rushdoony or yourself are doing or even if we moved away from the reconstruction movement and say, you know, you have some very conservative type, you know, political organizations doing economic analysis, political analysis, et cetera.

To get back to your question, Andrew, that you asked on the other side of the tape which is to do with, you know, the areas that need reform. I mentioned the family. We can certainly move into the church in... in our country and say that I think we need to seriously rethink what is going on within our evangelical churches and especially our reformed churches.

By and large we are declining in number and that is really because we have no evangelistic program.

[Sandlin] Is that conservative churches or all churches?

[Hodge] I am talking now specifically about the reformed churches which would tend to be conservative by number, although that obviously can be divided between somewhat liberal and ... and more conservative. But by and large the reformed churches are not successful at evangelism. While I am cautious about using those sort of word successful with evangelism, I think there is a place that unless we grow, we decline. And we are certainly declining both in numbers and influence.

I think there are a number of reasons for that and I think, you know, the type of men we are attracting into the ministry are not the type who are good at going out and knocking on doors, meeting strange people. They are more pastoral type, et cetera and things like that. But that is an area that ... that ... that clearly needs to be addressed.

Our Christian schools which often attach to the churches are, again, while we say we have Christian schools, I think we have a long way to go in the development of a Christian curriculum. Most of the specifically Christian curriculum that came into Australia in the last 20 to 30 years would be American in origin and there would be a very selective process in taking portions of it and leaving portions of it out. You know, for example, the more conservative economic materials that often come attached with the school curriculum out of ... or curricula out of America would be omitted from... from the traditional classrooms.

[Murray] Why would... why would Australia want to absorb curriculum from the United States? Why not either generate its own or recognize the fact that America’s educational system, public education system is failing and ... and go in a different direction?

[Hodge] Well, I think as a generalization the Socialism tends to... to inhibit entrepreneurship which is what you need to develop something new. So I don’t see in our country the same kind of entrepreneurial get up and, you know, and create something new that the... that I would find in this country.

[Sandlin] We are talking about the Church. Now can we move on or continue talking about the Church in a maybe outward from the Church what is needed for reformation? [00:30:26]

[Hodge] What if we go out from there into the business...[edit]

[Hodge] What if we go out from there into the business {?} or the business area is... is one enormous potential for reform. And I would think that ... that remains true here as... as well as my own country, both in terms of, you know, products that are being, you know, brought into the market. We have the same kind of pornography heading into the country that... that is produced here to be on... on the one extreme. But then there is the ... the simple fact of human relationships that go on so much in a business. How do we create an environment for man to fulfill the gifts that God has given him in a way that becomes meaningful for the person without the ... the... rather difficult, you know politics that often go on within a business organization. And even the many Christian organizations are now for... beset with the same kind of problems.

But, again, I think that is the area of opportunity for us to develop specific Christian answers to these... to these areas. What does it mean to have Christian management? How would they... how would we work that out in practice?

[Rushdoony] Some of the more conservative Australians that I have met have come from the far west. Is that just an accident or is there a difference there?

[Hodge] There would be a difference there, Rush. Three are more than 2000 miles of separation and virtually nothing in between means that the people over there tend to... tend to be less influenced by what happens in the... on the east coast. But in terms of population, the whole of western Australia has about 1.2 million, something like that, one and a quarter million. So it is statistically not that significant in terms of Australia generally, which is why the people in the west actually would like to secede and start their own nation, but ...

[Sandlin] What about politically? Are there ... is the political situation there somewhat analogous to the US where you have a sort of a moderately conservative party and then you have a multi party system, is that right? Is there any Christian influence in politics or...?

[Hodge] Well, we have Christians in... in politics, but I don’t think we have...

[Sandlin] Christian politicians.

[Hodge] ...Christian politicians who could... who would really stand up and say, “These are some of, you know, the issues.” The... the obvious areas, abortion, would be criticized from... from some quarters. We recently had the northern territory which is still under federal government control to some extent, passed a law legalizing euthanasia. And there were movements in the federal parliament to pass a law, which they did, which prohibited that... that law remaining in force. So there are odd samples of it. But if we took the generality of what the politicians do, which is down to economics, we really don't have a Christian view {?} within the nation. [00:33:34]

[Sandlin] Is there a recognition among the Christians...[edit]

[Sandlin] Is there a recognition among the Christians for a need for this or is there just sort of an apathetic spirit?

[Hodge] Oh, I think, by and large, because we are ... our... our political system is much more influenced by the party structures, we ... I don’t see in our nation the same independence amongst politicians, say, within our liberal party that I would see here amongst the southern Republicans. And certainly as one state politician said to me some 20 years ago when I asked him, you know, why he didn't vote against certain issues, he ... his response is... or was, “Ian, I can only cross the floor so many times.”

So he would lose party endorsement which would be necessary to stand on the party... party ticket.

Now what we are seeing is the rise of more independents, independent candidates that by and large they are still not statistically significant to make a difference.

In my own state we have one independent who is a woman and a fine Christian lady, a good supporter of Christian schools and stuff, things like that, who holds the balance of power between the two parties. So whichever way she votes is the way that, you know, that the legislation goes.

In New South Wales they had, in the upper house they had Fred... reverent Fred Nile and his wife who similarly held a balance of power there and could make a difference between, you know, some of the issues. And in some cases they have been able to stop, you know, some bad legislation going through or at least, you know, water it down to ... to a more tolerable level.

[Murray] What is the situation with inheritance of property from father to son or intergenerational?

[Hodge] We were.... we did have inheritance taxes that it... at various levels, most of those have been abolished and whether they remain so, I guess, only the future will hold. But right at the moment the ... the... the inheritance laws are very generous for us, providing we have a generous inheritance, I guess.

[Sandlin] Can we talk about you and your ministry? I know you have told me, Ian, that for years your... you have published a newsletter. What are some other things that you and your ministry are... are accomplishing or trying to accomplish there in Australia? [00:36:11]

[Hodge] Well, we haven’t done ...[edit]

[Hodge] Well, we haven’t done ... done really much more than that, Andrew. We... our real ministry has been more a ... a vehicle for bringing materials in from America, such as the Chalcedon materials which we distribute and... and things like that.

[Rushdoony] Also take into Australia a whole series of Reconstructionist men to lecture across country and in various institutions. And I think that has been an important factor.

[Hodge] Oh, I think, yeah, a big problem there is we have no full staff at all. And so anything that gets done is done on a part time basis. And since I am pretty well driving whatever happens, if I get preoccupied in business or something like that, which I tend to do from time to time, not a real lot happens. As I said, we just had a conference there in the past week with Brian Abshire and that was really as the result of encouragement from other folk, you know, subscribers who are feeling a little neglected over the ... over the time because we had a previous conference. Whereas five years ago when we brought, you know, Rush out for our 10th anniversary.

[Sandlin] So in your estimation, what are some practical things that Christians can do whether here or in Australia to put into ... into practice the ideas that Chalcedon is disseminating?

[Hodge] Well it is a little hard for me to ... to... to talk about his nation here in the ... in the United States, but certainly in Australia I think we still have got to get our ... our foot on the first rung of the latter which is really having people being prepared to listen to us. And I don’t think that comes from shouting our message louder. I think that comes from building the necessary relationships in such a way that people will give us the time of day to maybe hear what we want to say.

[Sandlin] In other words, deserve to be listened to in the first place.

[Hodge] Yeah.

I also think that ... that there is a pragmatic side of that in that in order to move people from where they are to where you want them to be, you have to find out what are some of the... the issues that they are prepared to listen to and maybe, for example, how the free market economic issue isn’t the one that...

[Sandlin] Right.

[Hodge] ... that we should be concentrating on.

[Sandlin] When you find out what the strategic issues are, you...

[Hodge] Yes, yeah. And I think maybe for us that ... that may even come down to... to simple things like how do we have the existing evangelical reformed church which some of us have become part of in the reformed community, how do we influence that so that that it can become a growing force? And that may be just, you know, practical little steps like helping with evangelism to find out ways to ... to do that or how to train the pastors a little better, perhaps to teach a more comprehensive message from the Bible, you know, to the people in the... in the pew. [00:39:19]

[Sandlin] So you support the technique of working within...[edit]

[Sandlin] So you support the technique of working within existing structures for the most part or whenever possible.

[Hodge] Well, about 10 years ago I ... a little longer in the mid 80s I struggled with the question of ... of denomination hopping, which I have done a little of. And mainly as I was, you know moving in... into different geographical locations. And all of us would like to be in a church that...

[Sandlin] The perfect church.

[Hodge] Yeah, the perfect church. And we don’t believe that we will ruin it when we get there. But I realize something that, you know, I can walk out of this denomination and go to that denomination, but it is very hard to do it to my own family or it is very hard to do it to my own nation. I mean, which nation would you go to today if you wanted a Christian nation? You walk out of Australia or America it is probably not much better. Maybe Zambia is looking for... for 100 years time, but right now you... you know, you ... you know, we are not going to pack up our goods and go there.

So I realize that at the end of the day to be a Reconstructionist you have to stay there and learn how to reconstruct the place that you are in. And that takes time.

[Sandlin] So you would really counsel patience.

[Hodge] I would counsel patience and ... and a lot of it. One of the things I appreciate are the fact is that I didn't... I... it took me maybe three to five years to work though the issues that moved me from where I was to... to basically what I would believe is a... as a... as a Calvinist. And I came from a non Calvinistic background. And many of the people we are talking to, even within traditional reformed circles have... probably don't understand Calvin’s institutes any better than the non Calvinists. So we have a terrific depth between where they are and where we would like them to be. And they are not going to {?} over night. None of us have.

[Rushdoony] The political scene in Australia is a rather strange one because of its compulsory voting law and the strange way of counting votes. Is there any likelihood of that... explain it and is there any likelihood of change?

[Hodge] To explain our... not only our compulsory system, but our preferential system of voting is... is ... is a little difficult to do in one or two minutes, but I will try in 30 seconds instead.

[Rushdoony] Take... take your time, because I think it is important that you do since I have heard references in the media here to that as a desirable system for the United States. So I think people should know about it.

[Hodge] Well, first of all, we have compulsory voting. I... I hesitated before I said the word voting, because in actual fact it is only compulsory to turn up and have your name marked off the roll. You can actually pick up the ballot paper and not put a mark on it and everything will be fine. So the compulsory, you know, like school attendance laws. You know, you have got to attend the ... the polling booth on... on the.... on election day. [00:42:53]

If you vote, though, and they have ameliorated this...[edit]

If you vote, though, and they have ameliorated this to some extent now, it was necessary to mark in order of preference all names on the ballot paper. And when the counting takes place they then allocate the votes in terms of the preferences that you mark on your ballot paper. So if I have five candidates I mark them one, two, three, four, five. So my first preference is number one. However, if he has the lowest number of votes in the electoral, they will then take my voting paper and say, “Your first preference now becomes person number two.” And so they have a process of elimination of those five names until only two remain.

[Sandlin] And then they have a run off between the two?

[Hodge] No, no, no. When the two remain, whoever has got the most number of...

[Sandlin] Oh, of those two...

[Hodge] Ok?

[Sandlin] Oh, I see.

[Rushdoony] A complicated...

[Hodge] ...will be...

[Rushdoony] ...computation.

[Sandlin] Yeah.

[Hodge] That is right. Interesting enough, I have just spent the last three months writing software for the electoral commission in Queensland that would help as recording and do some of these computations. But effectively we are a two party preferred system and we will eliminate everybody’s ... or not eliminate, we transfer the vote down to the next person until everyone except the two people are eliminated.

Now it might not be the parties at the end of the day. It might be an independent that gets the ... that gets the numbers. But... so it makes counting quite... quite complicated.

[Sandlin] Is it just on the federal or national level? Or is that...

[Hodge] All levels.

[Sandlin] All levels.

[Hodge] Yes, federal and state.

Your system here of non compulsory voting, of course, is a... is a ... entirely different. When you say they want to change, Rush, is it compulsory voting they want to bring in or is it the preferential system? [00:45:05]

[Rushdoony] I have heard references to both...[edit]

[Rushdoony] I have heard references to both. If it were compulsory voting a very large number of people who are welfare people, drifters and the like would vote. And they would vote for whoever offers them the most. So it would have a shattering effect on the entire structure of this country.

[Hodge] Well, I guess the real question here would be under your system of non compulsory voting who does the voting.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Hodge] And I guess some of the poorer classes tend not to turn out. That would be a guess.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Hodge] Yeah.

[M. Rushdoony] Just like the... you know, the poorer your politicians, the poorer your government. Well, the poorer your voters the… the results on election day. And there are... and there are ... liberals are constantly upset that conservatives have better turn out at the polls, people who really care have... have a better turn out. So their idea is we get more people out things will go our way a little more easily.

[Rushdoony] Yes. That is an impetus to change. And one of the things that has happened in Australia is that a basically conservative country moved rapidly to the left when it adopted this type of voting, because Australia was a rather conservative old fashioned country before.

[Hodge] I think it is conservatism, though, has to be seen in its historical context of, you know, British conservatism as well. And I am not an historian of my own nation or elsewhere or good enough historian to be able to comment too deeply, but I would think that the origins of our... of our country, where we have {?} effectively from the beginning had a centralized system of control. There was the British appointed governors who dictated what went on, you know, within the colonies. And I think you find that with the... the Christian concepts that came out of Britain in the 18th and 19th century, returning to the state, you know, the compulsory education movement, the movement to welfare, the whole movement to... to a broader franchise, again, were issues that were argued by non Christians and they turned to the state to draw their agenda through and the Christians didn’t really have a response for them, because too often our church was still a national church as an ally of Great Britain. [00:48:07]

And many of the issues, for example, I spoke the other...[edit]

And many of the issues, for example, I spoke the other day on ... on education in Australia and was quoting some of the people who saw last century the... the... the... that the rise of state education would ... would... would make it very difficult for the.... for the... for the Christian gospel in the country. And it has.

But many of these arguments are in the framework of that they didn’t like the government favoring the Anglicans and so the Presbyterians are trying to get their share of government funding and the Catholics are trying to get their share. So as more an inter...

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Hodge] ...inter denominational, you know, grab for ... for government funding...

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Hodge] ... than it was a real issue of lets keep together and ride out of it, kind of...

[Rushdoony] Yeah. What do you see happening in Australia? Are there any favorable signs of a change?

[Hodge] Oh, I think the Christian school movement, Rush, is the obvious sign that is going on there. I think it is too early for us yet to be ... to see what kind of... of results it is going to... to bring. But if this country is any indication where you have had it for a longer period of time, then I think out of that we will start to see a different character in the young men and women that we produce out of the Christian school movement. And I think that is our hope.

[Rushdoony] Certainly your family is evidence of that. And Matthew is remarkable, your oldest. He is a sign of a very different coming social order.

[Hodge] Well, he is... the encouraging thing is, Rush, is that he is not the only one there. There are, maybe...

[Rushdoony] Yes, good.

[Hodge] ... a handful of them that the ... young men still in their teens. They are reading your books. They are reading books by other good conservative Christian scholars. They are even reading Calvin’s, you know, commentaries and things like that. And these are, you know, young men, as I say, still in their teens who are reading material, for example, that I never knew existed until I was in my 30s. And I think you are going to produce...

[Rushdoony] Wow.

[Hodge] ...you know, a... a number of superior young men for the future.

[Rushdoony] Earlier this year we, oh, just a couple of months ago we had from Australia a friend of yours, Nicholas Aroni, a graduate student, brilliant. His thinking is tremendous portent of the future for Christians the world over. And it is exciting to see men like that coming forth even in an... an otherwise dark scene. [00:51:02]

[Hodge] Well, we have some good men there...[edit]

[Hodge] Well, we have some good men there. And, as I say, they... they... they have been working for the last 20 or 30 years in... in some... some... some key areas, but we are not large in number. That is probably proportional the influence of conservative Christianity in the nation.

[Rushdoony] Well, I...

[Hodge] So I still see that evangelism has to be one of the keys to our...

[Rushdoony] Well, you have had an important part in beginning the change there, because the work you carried on, all the speakers you brought in, the seminars you have held and tomorrow Brian Abshire will complete his tour there that you set up and return home. So hopefully in a couple of months we will have Brian on an Easy Chair to ask him about his general impressions.

[Hodge] Well, we have certainly enjoyed having Brian in the country. And, you know, apart from the fact he talks with funny accent for some of us, he ... he was certainly well received. And he... he was really able to communicate, I think a... a critical message in the nation to encourage Christians there to think in a much more comprehensive manner about the faith. And so they encouraged us and challenged us to ... to a wider ...

[Rushdoony] Speaking of Brian’s funny accent—he is an American—Bob tells a story about what a bison is in the US and in Australia. And in the US it is what is known as the western buffalo. In Australia a bison is something you wash your face in.

[Hodge] Well, Bob has always seemed to have a problem with his language. So we will ... we will forgive him.

[Rushdoony] Well, our time is about up. Does anyone have a last question they would like to ask? If not, Brian, again, it has been a pleasure to have you here.

[Sandlin] Ian.

[Rushdoony] Ian. Excuse me. And we hope your trip here will be a successful and a blessed one and that you return home greatly encouraged in the prospects for your work there. And we hope it won’t be too long before you come back again.

[Hodge] Thank you again and thank you for your hospitality for my time here. So always appreciate it.

[Rushdoony] Well, thank you all or listening and God bless you.