Among the many considerable services Tony Abbott has rendered Australia, one was to persuade the late Paul Ramsay to endow a centre to promote the study of Western Civilisation to be achieved, innocuously and with impeccable propriety, in partnership with universities.
Had this been done in my youth, it would have been applauded enthusiastically from the ABC to Fairfax and by university dons, teachers’ unions and politicians across a grateful nation .
But that was before the elites succumbed to the Marxist philosophy of cultural hegemony and then, following both Gramsci and Dutschke, cleared all obstacles for the neo-communists’ march though the institutions. While few were surprised when humanities departments fell to this bacillus, who would have thought that captains of industry and even the armed forces high command would succumb, and that under a government led by a direct successor to Sir Robert Menzies?
The fear of the neo-coms of even a minuscule Ramsay redoubt in their ivory towers was well-grounded. As IPA visiting lecturer Professor Mark Bauerlein recently pointed out, the elites are mortally terrified of competition. They know that our great books, our great art, our great music and the very notion of freedom would prove overwhelmingly attractive to the nation’s youth, tired and bored as they are with self-righteous victimology and endless virtue-signalling all in passionless Orwellian Newspeak and always with the mandated absence of both common sense and humour. And should anyone doubt the latter, remember that a mere joke could merit a life sentence in the gulag and that today’s Beijing communists have banned puns, knowing how they can subvert authority.
Aware of these difficulties, the Centre has wisely appointed an executive director of exquisite diplomatic skills, Professor Simon Haines, to negotiate some presence in our university system.
But one unintended consequence has been to smoke out and expose the extent to which our institutions of higher learning have fallen under alien neo-com influence.
Paradoxically exercising the very right that only Western Civilisation ensures, free speech, the neo-coms noisily insist that everyone meticulously obey every one of their diktats. Like Sleeping Giants, who terrorise uncourageous captains of advertising and business, they are small in number. But sadly, in the presence of such noise and fury, the gutless and prudent surrender and refrain from pushing their heads above the parapet.
Add the fellow traveller phenomenon, Lenin’s useful idiots, forever seeing greater virtue in evil, forgetting they are invariably first for the guillotine.
In the meantime, the Centre has inaugurated a series of public lectures, the latest being by Greg Sheridan. A rara avis, he is a journalist who is a Christian and unafraid to say so. His theme was that Australians need to be better educated not only about the role Christianity played in securing our democratic freedoms but also why it must remain an important continuing influence.
He is right. One of the pillars of this nation, which came with Arthur Philip, is that of a civil society based on Judaeo-Christian values. This never meant that everybody had to be Anglican or even Christian, as the Rev. Richard Johnson explained in the very first sermon delivered in Australia, under a large tree, on what is now the corner of Sydney’s Bligh and Hunter Streets.
Not only have Judaeo-Christian values and principles contributed significantly to the development of Western Civilisation, they are crucial to its core and its continuation. Remove them and Western Civilisation, already teetering, will collapse. This is because, in words attributed to G. K. Chesterton, when a man stops believing in God it is not that he believes in nothing, it’s that he will believe in anything. And that anything includes the bacillus that is Marxism in whatever form it takes, including the current vogue of cultural Marxism or, to put it bluntly, neo-communism.
Without those Judaeo-Christian principles, Western Civilisation could never have achieved its greatness in the arts, in the institution of the family, the concept of private property and above all, in the breathtakingly great political settlements which emerged in the last half millennium.
The first was the Glorious Revolution, study of which has been excised from our neo-com curriculum. This was the achievement, after a long struggle, of a truly virtuous constitutional system centred on limited government, significant, successful checks and balances and in providing an independent judiciary operating under a separation of powers. This was a unique rejection, based very much on reformed Christianity, of the increasingly fashionable absolute monarchy based on the Versailles model designed around Le Roi Soleil, Louis XIV.
The second great and immortal achievement came from a revolutionary interpretation of Judaeo-Christian principles by the Anglican Clapham Sect. This was truly extraordinary, persuading the greatest power in the world to give up the wealth that flowed from the slave trade, to abolish it, to employ the Royal Navy in enforcing that worldwide and then, to abolish the very institution itself throughout their vast empire. That Lord Sydney and Governor Philip were disciples is now sadly ignored in the curriculum, even though they had ensured that Australia would be the only continent never to have suffered this moral taint.
The third great achievement came from those thirteen British colonies huddled along the North American Atlantic coast, paradoxically the freest the world had ever seen. Their achievement was in the Founding Fathers’ affirmation of the essence of Western Civilisation in their Declaration of Independence of what would be a truly exceptional nation. This was that they held certain truths to be self-evident, ‘that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
The result over the last three centuries has been a world led by and defended from extreme evils such as neocommunism and its Nazi variation by an Anglospheric succession of, whatever their failings, the two most benign and generous powers the world has ever seen, Great Britain and the United States of America.
May Western Civilisation and its study prevail.
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