Debating with the No movement

The setting up of a ‘no to divorce’ movement is good: debate is essential in a democracy.

As chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika – to date the only political party with a position on divorce, and a positive one at that, I must say that I am pleased that a ‘no to divorce’ movement has been set up. Debate is essential in a democracy.

As expected, however, I do not agree with the fundamental thesis of the No movement.  Basically, the movement believes that the introduction of divorce will bring about an increase in marriage breakdown and cohabitation.

Such an argument is ridiculously fallacious because in Malta there is no divorce, yet separations and cohabitation are on the increase.

Hence there must be another reason why such changes are taking place, and this has nothing to do with divorce.

One factor which is influencing such change is economic stress and related situational factors. Economic hardship – for example long-working hours and lack of income in an age of precarious employment can be very stressful to couples. So could unrealistic expectations, however. This could include reasons such as having unsustainable bank loans for an unaffordable residence. Malta’s saving-spending ratios are clearly showing that we are moving towards the latter.

Yet another important reason – which is heavily undervalued by the ‘no’ camp -  is the fact that people are becoming increasingly reflexive and individualised in advanced modern societies. More and more people are less tied to the traditions they inherited – whether related to religion, class, or culture – and are becoming more predisposed to construct their own biographies.

In such a context, there are reasons associated with ‘family breakdown’, such as infidelity and violence, which, though being in existence for ages, are dealt with differently in our times. In short, one is freer to move out of a relationship in such instances. Even in Malta – where there is no divorce. 

In a context of reflexivity and individualisation, one might also choose not to marry, or to marry at a later age. One might have an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) identity. One might be cohabiting with someone else. And one might be in a marriage in which happiness has simply disappeared. In all cases, the right to happiness should never be undervalued.

The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ positions are basically at loggerheads when it comes to the right for separated persons to be given another chance to marry. From a ‘yes’ perspective, divorce can be seen as being pro-family because it permits couples to regularise their relationships. The alternative is having thousands of couples living in a legal limbo without rights and obligations. The ‘no’ perspective is against this, but, what is its stand on annulment (whether granted by the State or Church) and on people who live together after separating?

If there is to be a point of convergence between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ positions, I suppose this will have to do with responsibility for children. Maybe sociologist Anthony Giddens can inspire us all here. He suggests that as a global society we should move towards ‘emotional democracies’ in which the protection of children becomes the primary feature of legislation and policy. Parents should be legally obligated to provide emotionally and economically for their children until adulthood, no matter what the living arrangements happen to be.

Ultimately the divorce issue symbolizes whether Malta is to form part of the cosmopolitan world of diversity, respect and choice, or whether we are to remain the backyard of Europe, allowing political, economic and cultural elites to usurp our individuality.

Michael Briguglio is chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika.

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@ Porrige: Liema "ideas" tieghi huma tal-biza? U (ha nghaffeg bl-Ingliz u l-Malti jien ukoll) can you tell me fejn I am telling gideb?
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@ Andrew Farrugia: Re-read my posts, and this time, try to understand them. If need be, seek help.
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NO TO DIVORCE - NO TO ABORTION I do not trust the liberals. They will push for abortion after divorce.
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Aw Kenneth, ghandek some ideas that are veru tal biza gbin. You talk of truth but have no truth to tell. Tajba din.
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Did you note the various errors in spelling and sentence structure? The wounds i picked up, the state of confusion; you left me dazed and gasping for breath. Great strategist, your employers must be proud of you. Andrew Farrugia.
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Now, to answer your comments; 1. TOTAL BREAKDOWN of communication: Who said you had made a mistake in word-formation? I used that comment as a dig to show you that there is a difference between condemning the ACT and the actor. Again i repeat i described the writing as delinquency, you wanted to entrap me to say that i described a person as a delinquent. You shift grounds. PERIOD> 2. THREATENING ME WITH COURT ACTION: Glad to hear that you admit it: shows honesty on your part: "I wasn't referring to that." 3. ME MENTIONING COMMERCIAL INTERESTS> FALSE. "Susceptibility to influence, even with an advertising and marketing company of ....." can take various forms: emotional, psychological, etc., etc., I NEVER EVEN USED THE WORD COMMERCIAL: you came up with it. 4. Thanks for excusing me BUT i was not tired at all: you see, like i said previously, i have been humble enough to admit that i have honed my sjkills in verbally jousting with you. Took me a while to suss you out, in an objective and positive sense, but i have benefitted enormously as a result. 5. I also have to thank, wonder of wonders, this blog as they put contenders on an equal footing, unlike what happens/ happened on other blogs. On this thread readers(?) might note who has used offensive and unpleasant words about others and no censorship has taken place. This ensures a FAIR fight and i will grant you the pleasure of winning it as you are truly a master of this game. But, deep down, though you will never admit it, you realise i gave you one heck of fight. Waiting to read your final word. Andrew Farrugia
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@ Kenneth Cassar Was hardly surprised to read your last post; as i have explained previously, you're a master of spinning, weaving, sophism, wriggling and shifting. And i am this time i am using these terms as compliments and not in any derogatory way. It is an integral and crucial part of your strategy, constantly, repeatedly, inexorably shifting grounds, goal posts, premises, subtly twisting what others write. You are a master at your art, and you apply this strategy until you wear "your opponent" down , until you leave them dazed and confused about where to start to rebut your claims/allegations/ non sequiturs/etc. and so they give up and you manage to shut them down as if they were some automaton that self-destructs. This is after all your profession and you are extremely good at it. In the world of marketing and advertising what counts is the aggressive attack, constant switching of focus, manipulation of language and having the last word. You are brillliant at this this. Let me also hazard a guess; you must be good at playing chess too. Really, i am expressing my admiration for these skills, not approval. Definitely not approval. In your world these skills ensure success but i have reservations about their ethical and moral underpinning without IN ANY WAY judging your strategy. You would have made a great commander on the battlefield though you are most definitely against armed violent conflict. (contd) Andrew Farrugia
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@ Andrew Farrugia: "Even having problems with word formation (morphology, you know)? Delinquency = Crime = Wrongdoing; DELINQUENT = CRIM(E)INAL = WrongdoER. Or to give you the benefit of the doubt you MUST be tired. Go to sleep". Wrong again. I have written them correctly. Check again. It must have been you who were tired. You should have gone to sleep. "The moderator facing a fine? Why not me? Hey, i claim copyright over whatever i post!". Copyright has nothing to do with libel. You clearly have no idea. In libel suits, both the editor and the person writing the comment (if it is published) carry responsibility. "Even then, so you were merely BLUFFING ( ok, i am in a good mood, let's say KIDDING) when you threatened ME with court action". I wasn't referring to that. I was referring to posts that were actually deleted after a few minutes due to their libelous content. "Did anyone here mention COMMERCIAL INTERESTS? Intriguing?" Intriguing? Not at all. Did anyone mention commercial interests? Well, here's what you wrote: ""The moderators here may not be so susceptible to influence from internationally renowned marketing and advertising companies!". You must have been tired. Excused. "Someone must have contacted the moderator and put undue pressure on him". Alternatively, someone might have contacted the moderator to save him from getting summoned to court and being fined together with the one making the libelous posts. It is within everyone's rights to demand that libelous comments be removed. Look up the word libel this morning. You may be surprised. "Must get to the bottom of this!". Please do.
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Jeeez! I am slacking too! I missed that! Did anyone here mention COMMERCIAL INTERESTS? Intriguing? And how did the moderator want to avoid being summoned to court ....etc.? Someone must have contacted the moderator and put undue pressure on him/ her! It's getting curiousER and curiousER! Must get to the bottom of this! Andrew Farrugia
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The moderator facing a fine? Why not me? Hey, i claim copyright over whatever i post! Even then, so you were merely BLUFFING ( ok, i am in a good mood, let's say KIDDING) when you threatened ME with court action. Oh well, i always knew you wouldn't be so dastardly, just as i once wrote that in spite of all our verbal jousting i will always defend your (and others) right to freely express your views. Andrew Farrugia.
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Oh my Geee! You MUST be slacking! Even having problems with word formation (morphology, you know)? Delinquency = Crime = Wrongdoing; DELINQUENT = CRIM(E)INAL = WrongdoER. Or to give you the benefit of the doubt you MUST be tired. Go to sleep. PS Note that i used MUST as it is a DEFINITIVE conclusion arrived at on the basis of INCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE. (Sorry for the tautology, but it does need to be emphatic seeing that you are a bit tired.)
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@ Andrew Farrugia: "OOOPS! Forgot to sign off; he'll thrash me for this oversight, just you wait". I didn't, and I won't. Proved you wrong once again.
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@ Andrew Farrugia: "The moderators here may not be so susceptible to influence from internationally renowned marketing and advertising companies!". Your libelous posts that were deleted elsewhere had nothing to do with commercial interests. They were only deleted because the moderator, understandably, wanted to avoid being summoned to court and possibly face a fine. And he'd have you to thank for that.
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OOOPS! Forgot to sign off; he'll thrash me for this oversight, just you wait. Andrew Farrugia alias
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@ Andrew Farrugia: "Delinquent : NOUN refers to person. Delinquency: NOUN refers to ACT of wrongdoing, a CRIME, a MISDEED". True. As it is also true that you cannot call a person a wrongdoing or a crime. However, you can call a person a wrongdoer, or a criminal. Your sophistry won't work with me. A wrongdoer is someone who does a wrongdoing. A criminal is someone who performs a crime. And what do you call someone whose writing is delinquency? No prize for guessing. By calling someone's writing "delinquency", you are by definition calling him a delinquent. Good night.
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Once again, i will let readers judge who is the one who calls people names! Though i have strong reservations about this paper and some of its journalists, i actually like the fact that they do not practice censorship: i grant them that. The moderators here may not be so susceptible to influence from internationally renowned marketing and advertising companies! Ta, ta.
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So, our hero is back for more! What a miserable shot that was, sailed miles over the bar, as if only poor little me has ever confused the oft interchangeable duo, you and Kevin. Well, i am in good company: JdB, DrFS, PL(admirer of Baldrick), JX. You will of course note that i am being discreet in providing clues to names which only you, I and a few others will understand. Still, whose time it is to go to bed? WRONG AGAIN! Delinquent : NOUN refers to person Delinquency: NOUN refers to ACT of wrongdoing, a CRIME, a MISDEED. Now i know and i hope you will agree that j'accuse is a CLASS ACT ( i admire him really) but you cannot ever call a person a wrongdoing or a crime or a misdeed. Told you that you need to revise your grammar. BTW You cannot imagine how grateful i am to you; jousting with you verbally on the blogs is a great experience as i am benefiting immensely from your superior, highly complex reasoning. You are really helping me to hone my skills Thanks.
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@ Andrew Farrugia: "Tsk, Tsk! Caught telling untruths again, Cassar Kevin (sic). I called no one a delinquent on that thread; i described the writing as delinquency. Great difference". Not at all. Someone whose writings can be describes as delinquency is by definition a delinquent. No difference. No untruth from me. Go to sleep. You're evidently too tired. You can't even get names right. Good night.
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@ Andrew Farrugia: Might as well give it a last shot. 1. To say that "all married people who are afraid of divorce" do this or that, is as much a generalisation as saying all babies are in their mother's womb before being born. Not at all. 2. The claim that something is unquestionably true has nothing to do with being supported by authority. It is unquestionably true that water is wet, and yet this is not supported by authority. It is simply self-evidently true. I need not brush my knowledge of tenses, and you will not impress me with fancy words. 3. Regarding circular reasoning, you have yet to explain where I used it. Quoting part of one sentence, such as "People who fear their husband/wife leaves them ......", will not do. In any case, you got the definition of circular reasoning wrong. Circular reasoning is when the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises. 4. I used no faulty analogies since I did not use analogies to divorce. My Person A, Person B examples have nothing to do with divorce and are not even analogies. They are examples of how simplistic minds work. CONCLUSION: I only call liars people who are evidently liars. Same applies to "inferior minded" (although I don't recall using that phrase). As for "envious", I never called anybody envious (and I challenge you to point to where I called anyone envious - of course, as usual, you'll ignore the challenge). As for offensive, have I called anyone anything worse than "delinquent", something you chose to do to someone else without any provocation? ( http://www.akkuza.com/2010/07/18/breaking-news-god-has-no-vote/ ) One thing's for sure. Unlike you, I have never had libellous comments deleted by any moderator. Have a good night! BYEEEEEEEEEE!
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Errata Apologies to one Kevin Cassar; my mistake, a thousand apologies; it should read CASSAR KENNETH.
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"I am at least lucky enough you have not called me a delinquent yet ( http://www.akkuza.com/2010/07/18/breaking-news-god-has-no-vote/ ). " Tsk, Tsk! Caught telling untruths again, Cassar Kevin. I called no one a delinquent on that thread; i described the writing as delinquency. Great difference, which you as "an atheist/secularist/humanist/ whatever who is much better informed about the Bible than Christians" MUST know: ie we condemn the act not the actor, just as i stick to debunking your false assertions rather than react to your insults: eg SLANDER IS AFTER ALL YOUR HOBBY.
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My, my, my: losing your cool huh? Have some nice tea and read on: 1. USE of GENERALISATION: MANIFESTLY true as in "Married people who are afraid of divorce" as subject of declarative sentence; Subject identifies ALL married people who fear divorce. 2. The implication that it is an unquestionable TRUTH, thus implying that it is supported by authority: MANIFESTLY true, as the use of the present tense - are (afraid), are - refers to general truths. (You need to brush up your knowledge regarding use of tenses, and while you are at it i suggest some revision of speech act theory and implicatures). 3. CIRCULAR REASONING: MANIFESTLY true: circular reasoning means simply repeating the same assertion by modifying words in 'PREMISE' as in "People who fear their husband/wife leaves them ......" 4. FAULTY ANALOGIES: MANIFESTLY true; re-read your example of Person A and Person B. (No need for me to waste space.) CONCLUSION: One Cassar Kenneth needs to learn the proper meaning of words and much much more besides, such as not calling others LIARS, INFERIOR MINDED, ENVIOUS, and a whole range of other offensive epithets which would take me ages to list. You said you give up; good, best thing you have done for quite a while. Have a good night! BYEEEEEEEEEE! Andrew Farrugia alias
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@ Andrew Farrugia: Here's where you're wrong. 1. No logical fallacy since I have made no generalisation and have not supported it with any authority. If you disagree, please quote the authority I used. 2. I have not made any circular reasoning. If I did, please point it out. 3. I have not even made any analogies, let alone faulty ones. My dates in Australia examples were examples of sophism, not analogies about divorce! I give up. Before using words you believe to be sophisticated and learned, please learn their proper meaning. Good bye. I shall waste no more time on you. Enjoy yourself saying more nonsense. I am at least lucky enough you have not called me a delinquent yet ( http://www.akkuza.com/2010/07/18/breaking-news-god-has-no-vote/ ). Feel free to do so. Slander is after all a hobby of yours.
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So in addition to spinning, weaving and sophism we can now add WRIGGLING and SHIFTING, as in how "Married people who are afraid of divorce are in a weak marriage" (Note LOGICAL FALLACY: through sweeping generalisation whereby the writer asserts an unquestionable truth by implying that it is supported by authority) suddenly shifts and changes into "People who fear their husband/wife leaves them as soon as divorce is introduced, are in a weak marriage" (apart from the fact that some elements of the PREMISE have changed or been qualified, this is STILL a logical fallacy for the same reasons stated earlier and it also includes CIRCULAR REASONING). BUT according to one Kenneth Cassar this is the unquestionable truth! We are also aware of another type of logical fallacy which is the FAULTY ANALOGY, that is the example concerning dates in Australia etc. But according to one Cassar Kenneth this is slandering or else the outbursts of an inferior mind. Hahahaha!
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Now here's how a true sophist would argue. I'll keep the simple "January 1" example so that Andrew Farrugia will understand. Countries like Australia are in a different time-zone to Malta, and are "ahead of us" timewise. But time is static, and different time zones are a human construct. When Australia celebrates the new year at midnight, it would still be December 31 in Malta. So the sophist argues that the first day of the year is both December 31 or January 1. Of course, this would be silly, but by the sophist's logic it would appear to be true. And in a certain sense, it perhaps is. But the key words are "in a certain sense". For general purposes, and in the sense generally understood, it most certainly isn't. Now, I have a strong suspicion that Andrew Farrugia will say that even coming up with such an example proves I'm a sophist, because the argument at face value seems "clever". Oh well...I can live with that. I'm no genious, but I understand that there are degrees of cleverness and intelligence, and envy sometimes makes people denigrate others, calling them names such as "sophist", just to appear cleverer themselves. Of course, this only works on their equals or inferiors.
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Here's how the mind of some people, who think any mildly complex reasoning is sophism, works. Person A says: "It is unquestionably true that the first day of the year is January 1". Person B tells him: "Ah, unquestionable truth is the exclusive domain of Person A. Person A is a sophist. Next we expect him to shuffle the dates on the calendar to make us believe that January 1 is indeed the first day of the year". Come on, call me sophist another time. I'm sure it makes you feel very clever.
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@ Andrew Farrugia: Unquestionable truth is not my exclusive domain. Truth is the exclusive domain of itself. It is unquestionably true that if one is afraid that as soon as divorce is introduced his/her spouse will leave him/her, then that marriage is unquestionably weak. Instead of ad-hominem attacks, I would appreciate it if you attempt to defeat that argument. I challenge you to show where I have said that Teresa's marriage is weak. But as usual, you will ignore the request for evidence. All you are interested in is slandering those you consider your opponents. Grow up.
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Oh Tereza, i also forgot to mention one other thing: you cannot take issue with the "unquestionable truth" which is the exclusive domain of one Cassar Kenneth! You see, he knows the unquestionable truth about the marriages of ALL those who in some way or other have reservations concerning divorce legislation. Please do not ask for proof; it is the unquestionable truth according to Kenneth Cassar, so if it offends you, TOUGH, you must be in a weak marriage. It is that SIMPLE.
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@ Andrew Farrugia: By the way, to the simple minded, alll logic and complex reasoning is sophism.
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@ Andrew Farrugia: I don't fear divorce because I am confident in my marriage. People who fear their husband/wife leaves them as soon as divorce is introduced, are in a weak marriage. No tactics, spinning, weaving or sophism necessary. Just simple and unquestionable truth. If the truth offends, tough.
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Correction: "to wriggle out of the fact that his comment WAS offensive in your regard" Andrew Farrugia alias
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Watch it Teresa; i am very familiar with the tactics of this guy from other threads. He is a master of spinning, weaving and sophism. He thinks of himself as some kind of guru of debating but does not disdain roughing it up as in "Married people who are afraid of divorce are in a weak marriage". Just watch this space to see how he will wriggle out of the fact that his comment was not offensive in your regard! Andrew Farrugia alias
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@ Teresa: Ah, so divorce is unnatural. So is marriage. It takes two to keep the marriage vows. You somehow conveniently forget that. Teresa, the way you reason is very childish. It is the sort of immature way of debating we get in 4th form boys. How immature. Behave yourself.
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Kenneth, they way you reason is very childish. It is the sort of immature way of debating we get in 4th form boys. How immature. Behave yourself
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Hardly Kenneth, divorce is unnatural, it is no solution to anything. To opt out of a marriage after proclaiming the vows, 'forever, till death do us part' is real weakness my friend. If people do not grow up and mature about what marriage is, they are destined to be forever unhappy in marriage. Divorce is for those who have not got the guts to hold up to their end of the promise and so to commit to their spouse no matter what. Divorce is for the weak who don't want to
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@ Teresa: Married people who are afraid of divorce are in a weak marriage.
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divorce weakens marriage as a whole.
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ttruth seeker I think you are confusing me with someone who cares about the lies vomited out from ALL political parties. You obviously will be voting for the AD, good for you. Just know, I really don't care about the supposed imaginary difference you see in one party of the next. As far as I am concerned, many of you obsessed with politics are in for a shock as the voter turnout will be low next time round. The damage done is too great. Mark my words
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the anti-divorce or No movement are just a bunch of hypocrites- politcians within the no movement- prepare to see your votes numbers in the next election-
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eleonoray86cws Ca?uana
@Logodesign Considering the difference between the two parties represented in Parliament is negligible, AD is the only true Alternative to the "stuck in a rut" situation we find ourselves in. PS: Not Voting = tpaxxihom. After money, the only thing the PNPL party care about is votes. If you can't at least "threaten" them with that, for them yuu are simply non-existent!
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The AD are better off just being a lobby group. They are far better at it and more effective
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@logodesign When one give up his right to vote, he is giving away his right to the democratic process and his voice to be heard. In other words you are urging your political opponents to take charge because you have deserted with your tail between your legs. VIVA TUNESIA WHERE THE REAL OPPOSITION THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN
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@ Logodesign: And who do you think would legislate for divorce (or choose not to, as the case may be)? No prize for guessing. So how can politicians be expected to keep away from the divorce debate? Your position is untenable because self-contradictory.
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Three of my friends agree with me. We have had it with the way politicians are running the country and the way that the opposition has not offered any alternative and are just as hopeless as the PN. Whoever wins the next election, will not have our vote of confidence, they may be Satan or Michael the Ark Angel but never again.
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I never voted AD, I have generally voted PN and once for PL when Sant was elected. No more, for anyone.
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"Ultimately the divorce issue symbolizes whether Malta is to form part of the cosmopolitan world of diversity, respect and choice" what a load of lark coming from the wannabe MP. I am sorry but to try to gain any capital politically by riding on the issue of divorce is just plain wrong. It is reprehensible and to be avoided at all costs. I think that the principle mistake made by the no to marriage camp is the fact that they have allowed the most un-trusted segment of society, that is, the politicians, to head the divorce movement in Malta. Never, in our history, have politicians from all sides been so un-trusted. I will NOT be voting for anyone next time round. I have had enough of these scoundrels taking us for a ride. The PN, the LP and the AD should never have got directly involved in this matter. It should have remained clean of this interference. I was out last weekend and spoke to a few of my friends who all feel the same way. Some agree with divorce, a few do not, but we all agreed that politicians generally from all sides have taken the biscuit once too much now and it is time to make our votes count by not voting.