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Whose Blog and Why?

(John, Michael, DvG, Jane, Robert)

CONTACT: davidvangend.com@gmail.com


This Blog is mainly about my engagement in certain public issues of the day – by no means all the issues of importance, but those that, for me, justify giving up spare time. Since the early 1990s I have been irresistibly drawn into the most controversial battles of the culture war, the bioethical and family-related issues that a GP is well positioned to hold an informed opinion on. These are the ‘matters of life and death’ that typically come to a conscience vote in our parliaments. The issues range from euthanasia to cloning, late-term abortion to RU486, and most recently ‘homosexual marriage’. These subjects, and related ones, are covered in the first three Blog Categories: Small lives; Old lives; Mum/Dad/Kids.

Of course, the assault by the political left on ‘family and freedom’ goes much deeper than these few matters; hence the section “Price of Freedom” facing the broader threats to freedom of speech and conscience – as well as to national freedom in the sense of preserving our civic model of democratic self-government. I concentrate on the three most serious threats: the prevailing political ideology of ‘global governance’ with its pin-up issue of global warming; the Islamist ‘death cult’ as distinct from the religion of Islam; and the leftist ‘human rights’ police. Strange polyamorous bedfellows, but all with the shared instinct to view opponents as bad people who need to be beheaded (metaphorically or actually), not as fellow citizens to be argued with…

Underlying this cheerful end-of-civilisation analysis is what Malcolm Muggeridge, back in the 60s, called ‘the great liberal death wish’: close to a century of sustained self-mutilation of our Western culture by those who now control the high ground of education, media, and mass-entertainment. Degradation of cultural character makes for citizens dependent on Big Government’s ‘bread and circuses’, and such unearned largesse hastens the insolvency of Western welfare-states. Bankrupts, whether individuals or nations, have given up the freedom to make their own way through the world; as money drains from the West so will power, and that vacuum will be filled by far less congenial powers. 

So, the ‘price of freedom’ involves vigilance on the political implications of global developments. It requires diligence in the socially conservative task of defending core civic freedoms and protecting vulnerable lives / shoring up the natural family in all its vital functions, and also the economically conservative task of defending the vitality of the market place against the dead hand of the hyper-regulators. We have a duty to be as rich and strong as we need to be – because only a rich country can look after its environment, care for the sick child needing sophisticated surgery, and defend itself if the need arises.

And above and beyond all of this we must uphold the highest freedom of all: the freedom for us transient and confused beings to seek the truth and beauty of things; to learn how we should live. That I leave to the category ‘Ultimate Matters’.

For many of us, our activities in the public square are an extension of our role as father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, even uncle and aunt if we have no children of our own. We feel a responsibility – a primal one – to pass on a world that is at least as free and beautiful as the one we were given by our parents and grandparents. In this Blog I will defend what I consider worth defending; I will try to get to ‘the heart of the matter’ as I see it, and hope that is of some interest, and perhaps encouragement, to others.


This is the sort of blurb that goes out before a speaking engagement on one or other controversial matter:

Dr David van Gend is a family doctor and frequent contributor to national debates on bioethics.

David lives in Toowoomba, Queensland, with his wife Jane and three teenage sons. He was born in Zambia, central Africa, into a pioneer family of missionary doctors and farmers going back to Robert Moffat and David Livingstone, and in his early years lived in seven Commonwealth countries – mostly in New Zealand – before studying medicine at the University of Queensland. He undertook postgraduate training in palliative medicine at Brisbane’s Mt Olivet hospice and the University of Melbourne. He now serves on the medical advisory committee of the Toowoomba Hospice and the Queensland Health Working Group for Paediatric Palliative Care. He is a Senior Lecturer in palliative medicine and has produced an interactive programme (“A Doctor’s Bag for the Dying”) for Rural and Remote Medical Education Online.

Since 1994 David has been Queensland secretary for the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life, an international association of doctors defending the traditional Western medical ethic. Since 1996 he has been a spokesman for TRUST, an association of doctors, lawyers and prominent citizens opposing euthanasia but promoting palliative care. Since 2002 he has been national director of Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research, which opposes embryo destruction and cloning. Since 2010 he has been a spokesman for the Family Council of Queensland on same-sex marriage and surrogacy, and since 2011, President of the Australian Marriage Forum.

David has debated bioethical issues on national television programmes such as ABC Lateline, The 7.30 Report, and SBS Insight, and has published dozens of articles in major Australian newspapers and journals.

David has testified on seven occasions before Senate Committees – against human cloning and embryo experimentation, against the abortion drug RU486, in defence of pro-life pregnancy support services,  against euthanasia and homosexual marriage. He has given parliamentary briefings in five States and federally on a range of subjects, and in May 2006 he spoke to the United States Senate Values Action Team on stem cell research and cloning.

Also in 2006, David was featured in the medical newspaper Australian Doctor as one of the country’s “50 most intriguing GPs”…

NOTE on Blog content:

My two blogs on behalf of Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research cover the issues of embryo experimentation and cloning, and are incorporated as posts on this site (excluding guest posts) – hence the references at times to ‘our association’… The first blog “Conscience v con science” covered the year leading up to the cloning vote in 2006; the second, current blog is alive and well (although off the boil at the moment) HERE and celebrates the demise of that inhuman and unnecessary science and the rise of the ethical alternatives in iPSCs and adult stem cells.

I also draw on a few posts from another blog I help maintain: Australian Marriage Forum. I don’t think there is any material posted here for which I cannot be blamed…

This Blog was created using Artisteer, an inexpensive product available online, one that even I can manage; any errors of website function or content are entirely mine.

All the best,

David van Gend.

Afterword / Trivia

The photo at the top of this page was taken at ‘Pemberley’ (actually Lyme House in the Peak district of the UK) in 2009. If that name does not ring a bell with readers, it is time to get the old video of Pride & Prejudice out again. This was the scene, below, greeting Elizabeth Bennett (Jennifer Ehle) as she arrived at the Darcy’s ancestral home – the moment, she says, when she first began to see the good side of Mr Darcy. This photo features a couple of good-looking Australian understudies… (double-click to enlarge).

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