Uncivilised

From Wikipedia: under the heading University:

The word “university” is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly means “community of teachers and scholars. While antecedents had existed in Asia and Africa, the modern university system has roots in the EUROPEAN medieval university, which was created in Italy and evolved from Christian Cathedral schools for the clergy during the High Middle Ages.

Meanwhile, the Ramsay Centre finds it cannot even give away millions of dollars to a university to set up a program in Western Civilisation, the very place where universities began. First the ANU and now this. From The Australian: Sydney Uni hit by backlash while looking to the West, that is, while examining the possibility of setting up a course of study under the heading Western Civilisation.

University of Sydney academics have reacted furiously to the news, with more than 100 — including refugee and pro-Palestine activist Nick Riemer, fellow boycott Israel campaigner Jake Lynch and Tim Anderson, who courted controversy by defending Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad — signing an open letter signalling that they are “strongly opposed to the university entering into any arrangement with the Ramsay Centre”.

The letter, written by Dr ­Riemer and history professor Adrian Vickers, refers to “political leanings” of the Ramsay Centre board, chaired by former Liberal prime minister John ­Howard and including Tony ­Abbott. It accuses it of propagating a “conservative, culturally ­essentialist, and Eurocentric ­vision” and claims its program embodies “chauvinistic, Western essentialism”. “We are deeply disturbed by the possibility of Ramsay Centre courses being part of our institution, to say nothing of the significant and justified reputational damage that the university collectively, and its academics derivatively, would incur as a result,” the letter says. “We belong to a multicultural and hybrid society in a world traversed by serious geo­political and social animosities. Collaborating with the chauvinistic Western essentialism that the Ramsay Centre embodies would be a violation of our crucial role in promoting a ­society of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect.”

As for finding a society that promotes “diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect” I hope they have a list of places from which these sorts of things can be learned.

PERVERSE OPINIONS: A number of commenters mentioned PVO’s article in The Oz today so thought I would have a look. Here are the top comments starting from the first and working my way down. I agree with all of them, although they are a bit temperate for my liking.

I read this article with mounting disbelief. For a man who claims a belief in the virtues and benefits of Western Civilisation, his argument boils down to one simple fact. Abbott should not have exercised his right to speak because it would upset an angry nest of bull ants. Claiming that Abbott gave them the excuse to do what they intended to do anyway is as peurile as it is immature. In essence PVO’s argument crystallises into the undergraduates plaint that ‘Abbott made us do it’. Give us a break. The NTEU and the SRC simply used Abbott as an excuse. They had no intention of letting the Ramsay proposal go ahead. And, if it had they would have white anted it anyway. Our universities are publicly funded institutions. They are not personal fiefdoms. Each and every one of us has an interest in them and and a right to speak about them that includes those who the Left choose to dislike.

The Left’s fear of Abbott borders on the unhinged.

‘It was Abbott wot done it.’ Yep, undergraduate stuff, once again. This stuff is lightweight.

Well of course it’s Tony Abbott’s fault! It just had to be. PVO is utterly laughable.

The weather here on Lake Como has been unseasonably wet & stormy. I am sure that with a little imagination this ‘journalist’ could find a way to blame Tony Abbott. If he did a good enough job maybe I could sue!!! To think that people are being paid to write articles such as this defies description. Tony Abbott must be very sore after the kickings which this man has managed to give him.

Gee that man Tony Abbott is mighty powerful! Supposedly because of just one sentence in his erudite article published in a conservative-leaning magazine , a University knocked back millions of dollars. In reality, its VC didn’t have what it takes to stand up to bullies who want to limit intellectual boundaries. However there is an excellent outcome – passionate PUBLIC discussion about Western Civilisation, and Tony Abbott has hit the spot yet again.

If Abbott is blame for the rejection of Western Studies supported by the Ramsay Centre how do you explain the established hate of all things western and conservative in our universities, that is so sensitive that one Statement is used as an excuse to reject the studies. The problem is not Tony Abbott, the problem is entrenched and generational anti western academics riding roughshod over weak and like minded administrations. Government should defund these state universities, pay funding assistance to students to use at private universities that provide diverse studies without political bias.

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54 Responses to Uncivilised

  1. Roger

    From the beginning the notion that an Australian university would welcome the Ramsey Centre was a doomed model. Australian universities are beyond redemption. With all that capital they should be looking to establish their own, alternative institution.

  2. A Lurker

    Taxpayer funding should be directed only to the universities that promote unfettered freedom of speech, and extol and teach the virtues and benefits of Western Civilization.

    That would narrow the field to one or two institutions.
    It would be a huge saving for the taxpayer.
    Mind you, you’d need a halfway decent Government to enact such a reform.
    Can’t see it happening with the current lot.
    No will to upset the apple cart.

  3. Confused Old Misfit

    And where is the leadership of the country to which these intellectually castrated ponces so strenuously object? Why they, the political elite, the leaders of thought and action, are pulling down their trousers and/or bloomers, bending over and slavering to have it shoved up ’em.
    Their pusillanimity knows no limits. No sacrifice is too great to make in the effort to maintain their status.
    I do not think they know the magnitude of that sacrifice.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  4. Some History

    The word “university” is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly means “community of teachers and scholars.

    Gone, replaced by the Puniversity – community of “learning designers” and wankers.

  5. nemkat

    With all that capital they should be looking to establish their own, alternative institution.

    PVO says in today’s Weekend Australian that the Bequest isn’t large enough to fund that.
    So, it’s Universities or bust.

  6. Jannie

    Meanwhile, the Ramsay Centre finds it cannot even give away millions of dollars to a university to set up a program in Western Civilisation, the very place where universities began.

    That has to mean they don’t need the money. First they get plenty from taxpayers, and secondly their “private” donors are middle eastern oil caliphates.

    Taxpayer’s funding for universities is not only wasted, it’s dangerous.

  7. Roger

    PVO says in today’s Weekend Australian that the Bequest isn’t large enough to fund that.

    They don’t need to set up their own university but a centre for the study of Western culture.

    The small American liberal arts colleges set up by church bodies, many with very good reputations, provide a model for that.

    And if they can’t manage that with a bequest of $3bn they aren’t serious.

  8. calli

    Very nice, Misfit. Brings to mind another:

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

    I now aspire for my grandchildren to do trades. Uni will ruin them.

  9. Jo Smyth

    The purpose of Universities over the past few decades has been to indoctrinate the students to the point that freedom of thought is an unknown pleasure. People of a certain age grew up and experienced the education system when teachers were respected, lessons were listened to and different points of view were encouraged. We are the ones who have witnessed the decline of the University system. Those who have been educated over the past few decades haven’t got a clue what they missed out on because their minds are so full of inconsequential crap.

  10. Confused Old Misfit

    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless

    And it is past time, long past time, that we no longer did so.

  11. Up The Workers!

    Pot, kettle,black?

    Sounds to me more like a case of a dog-turd referring to a rose, as a “noxious weed”.

    Why are we funding such offensive, anti-semitic wastes of space and breath?

    Close the sheltered workshop for unemployable pseudo-academics down and boot all the freeloaders onto the arse-end of the dole queue.

  12. H B Bear

    PVO says …

    Well there’s your problem.

  13. Infidel Tiger

    PVO’s column blaming Abbott is one of the funniest of the year.

    Obsession isn’t just a shitty fragrance for poofs.

  14. Leo G

    The letter, written by Dr ­Riemer and history professor Adrian Vickers, refers to “political leanings” of the Ramsay Centre board, chaired by former Liberal prime minister John ­Howard and including Tony ­Abbott. It accuses it of propagating a “conservative, culturally ­essentialist, and Eurocentric ­vision” and claims its program embodies “chauvinistic, Western essentialism”.

    Australian universities on the other hand could be accused of propagating an anti-essentialist vision, demiurges working to form chaos from order.
    As a taxpayer, I deny the need to posit such nonsence. Universities which teach, for instance, the anti-essential doctrine that men are no different from women, in my view are non-essential in the wider sense.

  15. nemkat

    PVO basically says Abbott isn’t an honest person and it suits his agenda for the Ramsay Centre to go tits up, therefore they shouldn’t have brought him on board in the first place if they were serious about their stated intentions

  16. Dr Fred Lenin

    This is excellent news ,University has enough money to refuse a donation , I am assuming Australia’s hundreds of other universities are equally rich ,so now we can withdraw all funding ,to them ,they obviously don’t need it . Be good to see them surging off into the glorious globalist commmuniist future with their own money, and our taxes can be put to real use improving our country.
    I just love it when clever people show us how resourceful and financially independent they are , Good on Yez Comrades.

  17. refugee and pro-Palestine activist Nick Riemer, fellow boycott Israel campaigner Jake Lynch and Tim Anderson, who courted controversy by defending Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad

    That’s enough to give a clue to which university – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem should establish a satellite campus in Australia. The Australian Friends of the University organisation has been active here since establishment in 1936.

  18. John Constantine

    The only contact initiated by a man towards a wymynsys that is not literally rape is when a smoulderingly hot, imposingly tall, impeccably presented Latino multi-billionaire tango world champion presses substantial Diamonds upon her.

    [ Or if she is reading the 50 shades of grey bestsellers]

  19. candy

    I live in a multicultural hybrid very ordinary “working” suburb, and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of a university academic enjoying this diverse society.

  20. with a few exceptions too much credit is given to the academic “elites” in implying they have some higher goal in mind, like some juvenile fairy tale believer, that everyone can living happily ever after by banishing capitalism and socialistically floating all the boats. If only.
    Having worked in a large bureaucracy I can tell you what the real story is; the Peter Principle. An internecine almost incestuous battle amongst mental pygmies to climb up the pay scale and to maximise their super. counting off the days until they have reached the nirvana of an indexed pension equivalent to final pay, often while still in their fifties. People who have gone straight form school to uni, to the some form of public ‘service’ – no pun intended. Often with the assistance of some form of nepotism because of the recruitment procedures. Having gained entry to the never ending gravy of the public purse they quickly learn all that is required for a life-long sinecure is don’t steal, don’t kill anyone, toe the party and if you want promotion be a sycophant. In a forest of stunted mallee trees their are no western red cedars.
    That is the fetid environment that rules in places like universities. People with a vastly exaggerated idea of their own opinions because they have never been exposed to the real world. If you met them outside of their own cosy little world and didn’t know what they did you would dismiss them as boring clueless naive cardigan wearers incapable of an original thought. the higher the food chain they go the more stilted,regimented, and subject to groupthink they become.

  21. nemkat

    It may turn out that Tony has realised that his career in Parliamentary politics is cactus, and he has his own plans for that dosh, which don’t include Universities.
    That still won’t stop him throwing a few bombs that fuck Turnbull over for the by elections.
    I wouldn’t put it past him to ally with Barney Joyce to bring the Government down in July.

  22. George

    Ironic that the people who complain about Western Civilization are the beneficiaries thereof. If you’re so dead set against teaching Western Civilzation, why are you living in a Western Civilization country?

  23. Boambee John

    Tell all the Australian public universities to fcuk off, and set the Ramsay Centre up as a stand alone (truly) liberal arts institution.

  24. manalive

    Looking at the senior staff at the ANU Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies it is clear that they know their subject.
    Looking at the courses and staff at the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences it’s all race and gender, race and gender, race and gender — there would be no-one on staff capable of teaching Western civilisation.

  25. refugee and pro-Palestine activist Nick Riemer, fellow boycott Isra3l campaigner Jake Lynch and Tim Anderson, who courted controversy by defending Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad

    That’s enough to give a clue to which university – The H3brew University of J’rusalem should establish a satellite campus in Australia. The Australian Friends of the University organisation has been active here since establishment in 1936.

    PS – A first version of this went into moderation. perhaps due to correct spelling of H3brew or Isra3l.

  26. Ubique

    PVO says in today’s Weekend Australian that the bequest isn’t large enough…

    Since when was PVO an authority on anything? I wouldn’t trust his take on the winner of a one horse race. The bequest need not fund an entire institution on its own.

  27. Ubique

    Here’s a list of Conservative US universities that the Ramsey Centre could start with. Texas A & M University looks like it may get fit the bill.

  28. Boambee John

    That is the fetid environment that rules in places like universities. People with a vastly exaggerated idea of their own opinions because they have never been exposed to the real world.

    Their real problem is that they see tradesmen and businessmen (and women) being paid much more than they get. They resent that they do not get the recognition and respect that they believe they deserve, and hate society for that. This flows over into society’s background, Western Civilisation, hence the visceral rejection of the Ramsay Centre.

  29. JohnA

    “We belong to a multicultural and hybrid society in a world traversed by serious geo­political and social animosities. Collaborating with the chauvinistic Western essentialism that the Ramsay Centre embodies would be a violation of our crucial role in promoting a ­society of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect.”

    The authors should avoid the Comedy Club. They would not last 5 minutes.

  30. Boambee John

    Collaborating with the chauvinistic Western essentialism that the Ramsay Centre embodies would be a violation of our crucial role in promoting a ­society of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect.”

    Whereas collaborating with chauvinistic Islamic essentialism or the Chinese chauvinism that the Confucious Centre embodies would not be a violation of our crucial role in promoting a ­society of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect?

  31. James Hargrave

    On a smaller scale, a problem currently faced by the executors of a long-retired academic who left most of his estate to a UK university with which he had a 60-year connexion is to get the donation accepted on the conditions he set (i.e. to prevent the perversion of his intentions by dim university apparatchiks). I wish them luck, but… the institution in question wrote itself out of my will 20 years ago.

  32. JohnJJJ

    Who are the 100 from Usyd? Anyone find the list?

  33. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare #2732162, posted on June 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    * I think Macbeth is in his hundredth decade, our oldest commenter.

    Quite a feat indeed!
    Methuselah only made it to the 97th decade.

  34. max

    The Messianic Character of American Education

    The robe in the Bible is a robe of judicial office.

    Robes are a symbol of authority in the West. The man who wears a robe as part of his profession has been invested with a degree of formal authority that other men do not possess. In the West, three groups wear robes: judges, university professors, and ordained ministers.

    University professors are adamant in their insistence that they possess academic freedom: judicial independence. The doctrine of academic freedom, invented in Prussia as a way for professors at the University of Berlin to immunize themselves against the state bureaucrats who funded the university, has been transferred from universities down to the states’ system of compulsory education.

    This means academic freedom from the taxpayers. This means academic freedom from parents. In most cases, it means academic freedom from the Board of Trustees, who are laymen.

    The heart, mind, and soul of the doctrine of academic freedom can be summarized in one brief sentence: “He who pays the piper does not call the tune.”

    Those who provide the funding are not allowed by the rules to determine either the input or the output of the process. This separates responsibility from funding. In the case of tax-funded education, it separates the teachers and administrators from the taxpayers. Tenure adds to this separation.

    Academic freedom is a self-serving philosophy of those who want funding, preferably derived from state coercion, for whatever they want to say, to whatever group of captive students they have under their authority.

    They possess almost total authority over the students by way of grading. They possess almost total immunity from the taxpayers by way of the legislature, the Board of Education, the Board of Trustees of the University, the heads of the department, and the legal doctrine of academic freedom.

    The separation of funding from authority is more blatant in the field of higher education than in any other area of life, with the exception of the Federal Reserve System.

    with the exception of the Federal Reserve, no other institution rivals the academic community from the judgment of those who pay their salaries.

    The politicians are willing to go along with this, because it buys the silence of the professors.

    Pick up any university level economics textbook for freshmen students. Try to find a single chapter or a single paragraph on the economics of oligopoly, as it applies to higher education specifically and to state funding of education in general.

    There is no such sentence, let alone a paragraph. No matter how committed to the doctrine of the free market that the textbook author appears to be, when he gets to two subjects, he remains strangely silent with respect to his economic analysis of oligopolies. One subject is the Federal Reserve System. The other subject is education.

    https://www.garynorth.com/public/11822.cfm

  35. Senile Old Guy

    Their real problem is that they see tradesmen and businessmen (and women) being paid much more than they get. They resent that they do not get the recognition and respect that they believe they deserve, and hate society for that.

    Utter unhinged BS. Most are good people who do not deserve this sort of derision.

  36. Norman Church

    This latest debacle follows on from the Bjorn Lomborg Consensus Centre outrage.

    I agree with those who argue that taxpayers have a right to insist that publicly funded universities must guarantee the freedom of speech, freedom of academic discourse and exploration of a plurality of view points. If that is too much to expect from lily livered Vice Chancellors who are unprepared or unwilling to stand up to a noisy leftist rabble then their institutions need to be defunded forthwith.

    Of course, this would require a belief in freedom and the courage to take a stand on an issue that would generate a lot of heat – particularly from the ABC (for obvious reasons).

    So, count out out the Diet Labor party.

    And the Labor Party has the sense to protect and promote the interests of its base – unlike the Diet Labor party.

    This could be a good totemic issue for the Australian Conservatives. It’s not like all the loopy lefty types will ever be put off from supporting the party because of such a policy. And average punters may well get their backs up if somebody explains how a hard core extremist cabal are holding the country to ransom.

  37. Delta A

    Abbott made us do it

    A convenient cop out indeed. But as manalive said above, there would be no-one on staff capable of teaching Western civilisation, so why bother with the ANU?

  38. stackja

    Universities exist today for what purpose?

  39. Confused Old Misfit

    Universities exist today for what purpose?

    Sheltered workshops for those who cannot cut it in the real world. Barring very few exceptions.

  40. NB

    Senior academics much prefer controlling the purse strings in relation to research objectives. It is upsetting when a perspective other than cultural marxism is required of them.

  41. Mak Siccar

    From The Oz. Comments are in support.

    JOHN CARROLLThe Australian12:00AM June 9, 2018

    The Australian National Univer­sity has just backed off hosting a course on Western civilisation on the grounds of it being somehow in conflict with what the university stands for. What does it stand for, we might ask.
    One further step in the demoral­isation of the academy has just taken place, care of ANU senior management caving in to a minority of noisy radical students, one which, while small in itself, can count on background support from most of the academic staff in the humanities. There is a long history behind how we, as a society, have let this come to pass. At issue is what has transpired in the ­humanities and social sciences, not in the rest of the university.

    The Western university as we know it today was founded in the Middle Ages as a Christian ­institution. It was predicated on ­unquestioned and unifying faith. Within the faith, its central task was theological, to explain the works of God to man and to train minds for that interpretative work. The university was transformed by the Renaissance, and later the ­Enlightenment, into a humanist institution. In this, its second phase, culture replaced God as the transcendental force that welded the unifying vision. We are now well into a third phase in which the university has a confused idea of ­itself, and inasmuch as it has ­direction, it is to be found in ­pockets still under the influence of the ghosts of the old beliefs.

    This history is best clarified by a closer look at the humanist era. The humanist university drew its lifeblood from three related ­ideals. One was aristocratic, that of the gentleman, a character ideal. The assumption was that the good society depends on a social hierarchy led by a cultivated elite, one with a strong sense of civic duty. That elite was defined by the character of its individuals.

    The second ideal was that of “civilisation”, which was ­imag­ined as the pinnacle of human achievement. It depends on the most intellectually and ­imaginatively gifted, in trained ­application, producing great works. Civilisation has created the gothic cathedral and the steam engine, Hamlet and the Sistine ceiling, Newton’s laws of ­motion, graceful town planning, hygiene, democracy and codified law. The works of civilisation show humans at their highest, trans­cending mundane everyday life; making of themselves something immortal and godlike; and creating both powerful tools for the conquest of necessity and objects of supreme and edifying beauty.

    The third ideal was a utilitarian one, that culture and knowledge are useful. In Matthew Arnold’s formulation, deriving from ­Socrates, knowledge will make a person better and happier. Ignorance is the source of misery and evil. Humans who have knowledge will find it more difficult — in the extreme version, impossible — to do ill. They will be more rational about their lives and therefore make them more pleasurable and fulfilling. These qualities applied to society will result in it, too, being reformed and improved.

    This humanist optimism had gone by the end of World War I, as German sociologist Max Weber reflected in a 1918 lecture ­titled “Knowledge as a Vocation”. Weber’s question was whether the university is possible in a godless and prophetless time, a time in which the traditional ultimate values had lapsed and no new ones had appeared. Weber observed that many were looking to the university to provide the meaning that had gone out of a dis­enchanted world. However, knowledge cannot provide meaning in the ultimate sense of answering Tolstoy’s questions: “What should we do and how shall we live?” Nor, according to Weber, should it try. Prophecy does not belong in the lecture halls.

    What then remains? Weber finds three functions for the university: the advancement of knowledge, the teaching of methods of thinking, and the imposing on ­students of a clarity and consistency of thought within the framework of already given ultimate values. At this point, Weber’s ­defence of the university collapses in unacknowledged contradiction. The one function that preoccupies him is the third, but it depends on already given ultimate values, the lack of which is the problem that stimulated his lecture in the first place.

    Weber concludes by defending the virtue of intellectual integrity, founded on the individual teacher’s own conscience. The implication is that rigorously dis­­ciplined scholars dedicated to their own branches of knowledge will communicate enough moral authority to their students to fill the metaphysical void.

    Behind this flattering absurdity, Weber has ­described the modern university: where there is authority, it is in ­individuals obeying their own consciences, usually in isolation, an odd dispersion of one-person sects to be found sprinkled thinly through an ever-expanding ­bureaucracy.

    In the US, there were examples of the survival of the old education, especially in the liberal arts coll­eges, often centring on courses teaching the great books of Western culture. Chicago and Columbia were notable. The Ramsay initiative at the ANU sought to ­revive this noble tradition.

    In the 20th-century wake of the humanist university, there was one quite different strategy: to create a politically active institution. In the ashes of the last “idea” grew the university as training camp for political and social reformers. Here the university again followed the church, in compensating for a lack of belief in itself with political activism. Weber knew the phe­nomenon in the German univer­sities of the 1890s. It reappeared in the 1930s with the sacking of Jewish professors, the burning of books and Heidegger’s rectorial address at Freiburg in which the eminent philosopher urged commitment to Hitler.

    In the 30s it also appeared in other countries, England for ­instance, where a Marxist socialism became the fashion among ­intellectuals. The political motivation returned in the 60s and has continued ever since, this time pioneered by leftist students ­demanding that radical social ­reform replace learning as the main activity of the university.

    Activism was energised by a displacement of religious zeal into politics. With the death of God and the marginalisation of the churches, salvation came to be sought in social crusades and ­highly charged moral causes, loosely guided by Marxist ideology. One might have imagined that the main historical lesson of the 20th century would provide a cautionary tale, that redemptive politics — whether communist or fascist — leads not to utopia but to a human wasteland strewn with a hundred million corpses. The universities, free from any constraining reality principle, were blind to this lesson.

    The politicisation of the university continues unabated. For ­instance, until a decade or so ago, courses teaching Shakespeare and Jane Austen remained common. Today, if the creator of the classic novel is to be found in any English literature department, it will probably be because of her picture of colonialism — in reality, so ­trivial amid the magnificence of her work as needing a microscope to find.

    The demoralisation of the ­humanist university was compounded by a profound attack launched by Friedrich Nietzsche in the 1880s, in a castigation of ­intellectuals, and indeed of the ­entire Western ascetic tradition of scholars and priests. Sorel, Spengler, Benda, Rieff, Allan Bloom and other later critics of intellect­uals have been much under his ­influence, although their work is pale by comparison. Weber’s 1918 lecture is troubled precisely because it accepts Nietzsche’s case and cannot get around it.

    Nietzsche’s argument contrasts instinct and knowledge. The history of civilisation is the history of increasing repression, of steadily proliferating checks on the ­instincts. This development is against nature. Healthy, strong, admirable human individuals are decisive, they see things clearly and can act on what they see — their instincts are good, and they obey them.

    The high level of ­repression concomitant with civilisation produces people, by contrast, whose passions are tepid, who dither, who are ineffectual and who take to moralising in compensation for their inability to decide and to act. Hamlet is the literary exemplar. He lost the ­instinctive sense of what is good and bad, what is worth doing and what is not, and lived under the delusion that he could reason himself into action. It follows that the celebration of knowledge, epitomised in the phil­osopher and the university, is not a mark of progress, not the banner under which human life will be made better and happier.

    In effect, Nietzsche makes two points. One is about the human types who pursue knowledge; the other about the function of knowledge itself. The first point is that it is the worst people who become ­intellectuals, types who are devious, inhibited and rancorous. Not only is repressed emotion sublimated into thinking but the overcharged intellectual faculty is then commandeered to manufacture tortuous justifications of bad ­motives as good ones, of bad acts as reasonable ones.

    The recent politicisation of language in the universities exemplifies this. In diametric opposition to the principle of free speech, ­students are discouraged from saying what they think lest they transgress ­approved usage and risk being damned as a “racist” or whatever the current target for righteous ­indignation. It is as if they are being trained in political inhibition.

    Nietzsche’s second point is that knowledge has helped us become more comfortable, not better or happier. The best societies have strong cultures. Culture is rooted in myth, not knowledge. Indeed, the pursuit of knowledge is a sure sign that the sacred myths have lost their authority. In particular, academic history is an abstract ­endeavour and only appears once real ties to the past have withered — family ties, tribal ties and communal ties. Our own Anzac Day illustrates this in its revitalised mythic force.

    The last part of the argument is that the increasing repression of the active individual, combined with the canonisation of knowledge, has killed God. There are no transcendental powers left in a ­rational world. Where comfort is the highest value, it is the stomach, not the sacred, that rules. However, without belief in a ­higher order of some kind, human life becomes meaningless, losing purpose and direction.

    Weber’s defence of the university is against modern culture as interpreted by Nietzsche. The task of the university is not to restore the spirit or revive the heart. In any case, Weber is too pessimistic to believe in that possibility. His modest claim is that the university allows specialist disciplines and that they have a virtue as long as their practitioners obey their ethos, that of intellectual integrity.

    We know, early in the 21st century, that Weber’s uncertain defence of the university does not work — as a conglomerate of specialist disciplines vaguely unified at the individual level by an ethic of intellectual integrity.

    Nor is a polytechnic a univer­sity, and, in any case, it only suits the natural sciences and perhaps such in-between studies as business and the various professions. A university draws its sustenance from the ultimate questions about the human condition, and therefore it centres on the humanities (including the social sciences). It always has.

    The university requires a unifying and guiding vision. Experience in the past century proves that, without such a vision, it becomes demoralised, and those teachers who are not completely listless in their vocations tend to become rancorous, teaching against the authorities and truths of the inherited culture in what they themselves often celebrate as a “critical” or “radical” manner. This is not criticism in the sense of open-minded scrutiny of a text in order to gain access to some truth.

    A university depends on collective belief in universals of goodness, beauty and truth — and that they carry with them some kind of transcendental value. When that belief fails, all that remains is to tear down and to shock — what the contemporary academy has unselfconsciously legitimised as “deconstruction”. The high priest of modernism, Marcel Duchamp, entered a urinal in an art exhibition in New York in 1917. His intention was to shock but also, more seriously, to challenge that there are no standards left by which to say that my porcelain urinal is less beautiful, good or true than any of the works of the old masters. Duchamp has carried the day, both in contemporary art and in university arts faculties.

    A further cost of the collapse of confident belief in the university has been the failure of academics in the past two decades to resist ­bureaucratisation, to their own further detriment. Fifty-five per cent of those employed in Australian universities today are administrators. This is not the place to go into what they all do, or don’t do, in an institution devoted to teaching and research. Academics have joked, borrowing from Yes Minister, that the perfect university for the new order of management is one in which there are no academics and no students. Indeed, there is little chance that these vast structures of senior and middle management, with rare exceptions, will have any sense of the higher purpose of the institution they run. Recent events at the ANU are, given this context, ­unsurprising.

    The humanist university has run down. The Christian univer­sity, founded in medieval form, is too culturally alien to the contemporary West to be revived. The church, the one institution that could replace the university as the master teacher of eternal truths, is in a state of hopeless disrepair. Yet the university is here to stay, for a bureaucratically organised society will, of its nature, maintain an educational hierarchy, with the universities at the pinnacle.

    Nietzsche saw that cultural demolition will start with ascetic individuals, ones subject to high levels of instinctual repression, complexity of psychological disposition, given to thinking, those very individuals to fill the ranks of the priesthood, the academy and the caste of artists, writers and ­musicians. When they begin to lose their faith, they turn on the gods that have failed them.

    It is commonplace that the most virulent critics of the pope and the Church of Rome are priests with faltering belief or laity in the process of defection. There is a sense of betrayal, a rage against the ­sacred walls that have crumbled, against the past authorities that still roam around uneasily in the individual unconscious but no longer command.

    And “rage” is not an overstatement. George Orwell lamented ­towards the end of World War II that the whole left ­intelligentsia in Britain had been secretly pleased whenever the Germans won a battle. Orwell called himself a socialist at the time, and while he no doubt exaggerated, the visceral intensity and irrationality of national self-­hatred is exemplified here — ­preferring Hitler to your own people. There is very little left at any level in the universities with the spine to resist this kind of cultural self-loathing.

    The rage against a culture that has lost authority has percolated more and more widely through left-green political culture, if usually in more mellow tones. Generations of students in schools and universities have now been subjected to Marxist ideology, teaching them about the West’s cap­italist exploitation of other peoples, of its own minorities and of the disadvantaged in general. That the West is evil has become the default reading for much of the tertiary-educated upper middle class. Yet only a small, noisy minority are rancorous. For most, a vague reflex view of the world has come to prevail, ignorantly held and often naive, while occasionally grounded in genuine empathy for those who are less well-off.

    It is, of course, true that Western history has its negative episodes, but which society or civilisation hasn’t? Realist comparisons show the modern West, especially since 1945, in a very favourable light in terms of quality of life, fairness and respect for universal human rights.

    The hatred of Western civilisation that has arisen in the cultural elites draws on one further motivational strand: power envy.

    The very success of the West, in creating the most prosperous, the most powerful and the most just society the world has ever known, creates its own irritant. Those who are unhappy with their lives, ­insecure in their identities and anxious about their future may come to resent the extraordinary privilege, comfort and opportunity into which they have been born. Their society is successful and powerful; they are not.

    What follows is identification with the “wretched of the earth”, those victims who are helplessly disadvantaged. This first appeared among radical university students in the 1960s, in a ludicrous inversion of the reality that they were a ­uniquely privileged generation of spoiled rich kids.

    University rancour has commonly surfaced in a condescending disparagement of ordinary people and popular culture — for cheap taste, crass materialism, jingoism, xenophobia and syrupy values. The reality is that Western popular culture, by contrast, has retained a healthy belief in universal moral laws, in the value of the beautiful and in the ultimate significance of truth.

    Power envy is linked with a paranoid reflex, which holds that if I can destroy what has power and persecutes me, then I myself can gain that power. Hence the radical hostility to the main power on our side, the US, and, increasingly on the left, to Israel — as the one prosperous, democratic and successful country amid the wretched stagnation of most of the Middle East.

    Where to now? Central to any viable idea of the university, whether Christian, humanist or other, is a retelling of the human story as a kind of epic, with gravity and dignity, following the diverse ways it plays out its fateful tragedies. This requires interpretations of the story that reveal that life is more than an egoistic performance governed by power struggles.

    All humans want answers to the big questions of where they come from, what they should do with their lives in order to make sense of them and what happens when they die. Deep engagement with the best literature, art, music and philosophy of our own Western culture is fundamental. Today’s students crave just this sort of education.

    Here is the aim of the Ramsay Centre for western Civilisation, which will almost certainly have to set up its own independent institution if it is to prosper.

    It is vitally important for the country that it succeeds.

    John Carroll is professor emeritus of sociology at La Trobe University.

  42. Mak Siccar

    From The Oz. Comments are in support.

    JOHN CARROLLThe Australian12:00AM June 9, 2018

    The Australian National Univer­sity has just backed off hosting a course on Western civilisation on the grounds of it being somehow in conflict with what the university stands for. What does it stand for, we might ask.

    One further step in the demoral­isation of the academy has just taken place, care of ANU senior management caving in to a minority of noisy radical students, one which, while small in itself, can count on background support from most of the academic staff in the humanities. There is a long history behind how we, as a society, have let this come to pass. At issue is what has transpired in the ­humanities and social sciences, not in the rest of the university.

    The Western university as we know it today was founded in the Middle Ages as a Christian ­institution. It was predicated on ­unquestioned and unifying faith. Within the faith, its central task was theological, to explain the works of God to man and to train minds for that interpretative work. The university was transformed by the Renaissance, and later the ­Enlightenment, into a humanist institution. In this, its second phase, culture replaced God as the transcendental force that welded the unifying vision. We are now well into a third phase in which the university has a confused idea of ­itself, and inasmuch as it has ­direction, it is to be found in ­pockets still under the influence of the ghosts of the old beliefs.

    This history is best clarified by a closer look at the humanist era. The humanist university drew its lifeblood from three related ­ideals. One was aristocratic, that of the gentleman, a character ideal. The assumption was that the good society depends on a social hierarchy led by a cultivated elite, one with a strong sense of civic duty. That elite was defined by the character of its individuals.

    The second ideal was that of “civilisation”, which was ­imag­ined as the pinnacle of human achievement. It depends on the most intellectually and ­imaginatively gifted, in trained ­application, producing great works. Civilisation has created the gothic cathedral and the steam engine, Hamlet and the Sistine ceiling, Newton’s laws of ­motion, graceful town planning, hygiene, democracy and codified law. The works of civilisation show humans at their highest, trans­cending mundane everyday life; making of themselves something immortal and godlike; and creating both powerful tools for the conquest of necessity and objects of supreme and edifying beauty.

    The third ideal was a utilitarian one, that culture and knowledge are useful. In Matthew Arnold’s formulation, deriving from ­Socrates, knowledge will make a person better and happier. Ignorance is the source of misery and evil. Humans who have knowledge will find it more difficult — in the extreme version, impossible — to do ill. They will be more rational about their lives and therefore make them more pleasurable and fulfilling. These qualities applied to society will result in it, too, being reformed and improved.

    This humanist optimism had gone by the end of World War I, as German sociologist Max Weber reflected in a 1918 lecture ­titled “Knowledge as a Vocation”. Weber’s question was whether the university is possible in a godless and prophetless time, a time in which the traditional ultimate values had lapsed and no new ones had appeared. Weber observed that many were looking to the university to provide the meaning that had gone out of a dis­enchanted world. However, knowledge cannot provide meaning in the ultimate sense of answering Tolstoy’s questions: “What should we do and how shall we live?” Nor, according to Weber, should it try. Prophecy does not belong in the lecture halls.

    What then remains? Weber finds three functions for the university: the advancement of knowledge, the teaching of methods of thinking, and the imposing on ­students of a clarity and consistency of thought within the framework of already given ultimate values. At this point, Weber’s ­defence of the university collapses in unacknowledged contradiction. The one function that preoccupies him is the third, but it depends on already given ultimate values, the lack of which is the problem that stimulated his lecture in the first place.

    Weber concludes by defending the virtue of intellectual integrity, founded on the individual teacher’s own conscience. The implication is that rigorously dis­­ciplined scholars dedicated to their own branches of knowledge will communicate enough moral authority to their students to fill the metaphysical void.

    Behind this flattering absurdity, Weber has ­described the modern university: where there is authority, it is in ­individuals obeying their own consciences, usually in isolation, an odd dispersion of one-person sects to be found sprinkled thinly through an ever-expanding ­bureaucracy.

    In the US, there were examples of the survival of the old education, especially in the liberal arts coll­eges, often centring on courses teaching the great books of Western culture. Chicago and Columbia were notable. The Ramsay initiative at the ANU sought to ­revive this noble tradition.

    In the 20th-century wake of the humanist university, there was one quite different strategy: to create a politically active institution. In the ashes of the last “idea” grew the university as training camp for political and social reformers. Here the university again followed the church, in compensating for a lack of belief in itself with political activism. Weber knew the phe­nomenon in the German univer­sities of the 1890s. It reappeared in the 1930s with the sacking of Jewish professors, the burning of books and Heidegger’s rectorial address at Freiburg in which the eminent philosopher urged commitment to Hitler.

    In the 30s it also appeared in other countries, England for ­instance, where a Marxist socialism became the fashion among ­intellectuals. The political motivation returned in the 60s and has continued ever since, this time pioneered by leftist students ­demanding that radical social ­reform replace learning as the main activity of the university.

    Activism was energised by a displacement of religious zeal into politics. With the death of God and the marginalisation of the churches, salvation came to be sought in social crusades and ­highly charged moral causes, loosely guided by Marxist ideology. One might have imagined that the main historical lesson of the 20th century would provide a cautionary tale, that redemptive politics — whether communist or fascist — leads not to utopia but to a human wasteland strewn with a hundred million corpses. The universities, free from any constraining reality principle, were blind to this lesson.

    The politicisation of the university continues unabated. For ­instance, until a decade or so ago, courses teaching Shakespeare and Jane Austen remained common. Today, if the creator of the classic novel is to be found in any English literature department, it will probably be because of her picture of colonialism — in reality, so ­trivial amid the magnificence of her work as needing a microscope to find.

    The demoralisation of the ­humanist university was compounded by a profound attack launched by Friedrich Nietzsche in the 1880s, in a castigation of ­intellectuals, and indeed of the ­entire Western ascetic tradition of scholars and priests. Sorel, Spengler, Benda, Rieff, Allan Bloom and other later critics of intellect­uals have been much under his ­influence, although their work is pale by comparison. Weber’s 1918 lecture is troubled precisely because it accepts Nietzsche’s case and cannot get around it.

    Nietzsche’s argument contrasts instinct and knowledge. The history of civilisation is the history of increasing repression, of steadily proliferating checks on the ­instincts. This development is against nature. Healthy, strong, admirable human individuals are decisive, they see things clearly and can act on what they see — their instincts are good, and they obey them.

    The high level of ­repression concomitant with civilisation produces people, by contrast, whose passions are tepid, who dither, who are ineffectual and who take to moralising in compensation for their inability to decide and to act. Hamlet is the literary exemplar. He lost the ­instinctive sense of what is good and bad, what is worth doing and what is not, and lived under the delusion that he could reason himself into action. It follows that the celebration of knowledge, epitomised in the phil­osopher and the university, is not a mark of progress, not the banner under which human life will be made better and happier.

    In effect, Nietzsche makes two points. One is about the human types who pursue knowledge; the other about the function of knowledge itself. The first point is that it is the worst people who become ­intellectuals, types who are devious, inhibited and rancorous. Not only is repressed emotion sublimated into thinking but the overcharged intellectual faculty is then commandeered to manufacture tortuous justifications of bad ­motives as good ones, of bad acts as reasonable ones.

    The recent politicisation of language in the universities exemplifies this. In diametric opposition to the principle of free speech, ­students are discouraged from saying what they think lest they transgress ­approved usage and risk being damned as a “racist” or whatever the current target for righteous ­indignation. It is as if they are being trained in political inhibition.

    Nietzsche’s second point is that knowledge has helped us become more comfortable, not better or happier. The best societies have strong cultures. Culture is rooted in myth, not knowledge. Indeed, the pursuit of knowledge is a sure sign that the sacred myths have lost their authority. In particular, academic history is an abstract ­endeavour and only appears once real ties to the past have withered — family ties, tribal ties and communal ties. Our own Anzac Day illustrates this in its revitalised mythic force.

    The last part of the argument is that the increasing repression of the active individual, combined with the canonisation of knowledge, has killed God. There are no transcendental powers left in a ­rational world. Where comfort is the highest value, it is the stomach, not the sacred, that rules. However, without belief in a ­higher order of some kind, human life becomes meaningless, losing purpose and direction.

    Weber’s defence of the university is against modern culture as interpreted by Nietzsche. The task of the university is not to restore the spirit or revive the heart. In any case, Weber is too pessimistic to believe in that possibility. His modest claim is that the university allows specialist disciplines and that they have a virtue as long as their practitioners obey their ethos, that of intellectual integrity.

    We know, early in the 21st century, that Weber’s uncertain defence of the university does not work — as a conglomerate of specialist disciplines vaguely unified at the individual level by an ethic of intellectual integrity.

    Nor is a polytechnic a univer­sity, and, in any case, it only suits the natural sciences and perhaps such in-between studies as business and the various professions. A university draws its sustenance from the ultimate questions about the human condition, and therefore it centres on the humanities (including the social sciences). It always has.

    The university requires a unifying and guiding vision. Experience in the past century proves that, without such a vision, it becomes demoralised, and those teachers who are not completely listless in their vocations tend to become rancorous, teaching against the authorities and truths of the inherited culture in what they themselves often celebrate as a “critical” or “radical” manner. This is not criticism in the sense of open-minded scrutiny of a text in order to gain access to some truth.

    A university depends on collective belief in universals of goodness, beauty and truth — and that they carry with them some kind of transcendental value. When that belief fails, all that remains is to tear down and to shock — what the contemporary academy has unselfconsciously legitimised as “deconstruction”. The high priest of modernism, Marcel Duchamp, entered a urinal in an art exhibition in New York in 1917. His intention was to shock but also, more seriously, to challenge that there are no standards left by which to say that my porcelain urinal is less beautiful, good or true than any of the works of the old masters. Duchamp has carried the day, both in contemporary art and in university arts faculties.

    A further cost of the collapse of confident belief in the university has been the failure of academics in the past two decades to resist ­bureaucratisation, to their own further detriment. Fifty-five per cent of those employed in Australian universities today are administrators. This is not the place to go into what they all do, or don’t do, in an institution devoted to teaching and research. Academics have joked, borrowing from Yes Minister, that the perfect university for the new order of management is one in which there are no academics and no students. Indeed, there is little chance that these vast structures of senior and middle management, with rare exceptions, will have any sense of the higher purpose of the institution they run. Recent events at the ANU are, given this context, ­unsurprising.

    The humanist university has run down. The Christian univer­sity, founded in medieval form, is too culturally alien to the contemporary West to be revived. The church, the one institution that could replace the university as the master teacher of eternal truths, is in a state of hopeless disrepair. Yet the university is here to stay, for a bureaucratically organised society will, of its nature, maintain an educational hierarchy, with the universities at the pinnacle.

    Nietzsche saw that cultural demolition will start with ascetic individuals, ones subject to high levels of instinctual repression, complexity of psychological disposition, given to thinking, those very individuals to fill the ranks of the priesthood, the academy and the caste of artists, writers and ­musicians. When they begin to lose their faith, they turn on the gods that have failed them.

    It is commonplace that the most virulent critics of the pope and the Church of Rome are priests with faltering belief or laity in the process of defection. There is a sense of betrayal, a rage against the ­sacred walls that have crumbled, against the past authorities that still roam around uneasily in the individual unconscious but no longer command.

    And “rage” is not an overstatement. George Orwell lamented ­towards the end of World War II that the whole left ­intelligentsia in Britain had been secretly pleased whenever the Germans won a battle. Orwell called himself a socialist at the time, and while he no doubt exaggerated, the visceral intensity and irrationality of national self-­hatred is exemplified here — ­preferring Hitler to your own people. There is very little left at any level in the universities with the spine to resist this kind of cultural self-loathing.

    The rage against a culture that has lost authority has percolated more and more widely through left-green political culture, if usually in more mellow tones. Generations of students in schools and universities have now been subjected to Marxist ideology, teaching them about the West’s cap­italist exploitation of other peoples, of its own minorities and of the disadvantaged in general. That the West is evil has become the default reading for much of the tertiary-educated upper middle class. Yet only a small, noisy minority are rancorous. For most, a vague reflex view of the world has come to prevail, ignorantly held and often naive, while occasionally grounded in genuine empathy for those who are less well-off.

    It is, of course, true that Western history has its negative episodes, but which society or civilisation hasn’t? Realist comparisons show the modern West, especially since 1945, in a very favourable light in terms of quality of life, fairness and respect for universal human rights.

    The hatred of Western civilisation that has arisen in the cultural elites draws on one further motivational strand: power envy.

    The very success of the West, in creating the most prosperous, the most powerful and the most just society the world has ever known, creates its own irritant. Those who are unhappy with their lives, ­insecure in their identities and anxious about their future may come to resent the extraordinary privilege, comfort and opportunity into which they have been born. Their society is successful and powerful; they are not.

    What follows is identification with the “wretched of the earth”, those victims who are helplessly disadvantaged. This first appeared among radical university students in the 1960s, in a ludicrous inversion of the reality that they were a ­uniquely privileged generation of spoiled rich kids.

    University rancour has commonly surfaced in a condescending disparagement of ordinary people and popular culture — for cheap taste, crass materialism, jingoism, xenophobia and syrupy values. The reality is that Western popular culture, by contrast, has retained a healthy belief in universal moral laws, in the value of the beautiful and in the ultimate significance of truth.

    Power envy is linked with a paranoid reflex, which holds that if I can destroy what has power and persecutes me, then I myself can gain that power. Hence the radical hostility to the main power on our side, the US, and, increasingly on the left, to Israel — as the one prosperous, democratic and successful country amid the wretched stagnation of most of the Middle East.

    Where to now? Central to any viable idea of the university, whether Christian, humanist or other, is a retelling of the human story as a kind of epic, with gravity and dignity, following the diverse ways it plays out its fateful tragedies. This requires interpretations of the story that reveal that life is more than an egoistic performance governed by power struggles.

    All humans want answers to the big questions of where they come from, what they should do with their lives in order to make sense of them and what happens when they die. Deep engagement with the best literature, art, music and philosophy of our own Western culture is fundamental. Today’s students crave just this sort of education.

    Here is the aim of the Ramsay Centre for western Civilisation, which will almost certainly have to set up its own independent institution if it is to prosper.

    It is vitally important for the country that it succeeds.

    John Carroll is professor emeritus of sociology at La Trobe University.

  43. Mak Siccar

    Tried twice to post the text of this article but the spaminator didn’t like it. Here are some extracts. Almost all comments in support.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/human-epic-is-about-more-than-university-power-struggles/news-story/b5ef1ef49b2bd69910b0bd1b70524169

    JOHN CARROLLThe Australian12:00AM June 9, 2018

    The Australian National Univer­sity has just backed off hosting a course on Western civilisation on the grounds of it being somehow in conflict with what the university stands for. What does it stand for, we might ask.

    One further step in the demoral­isation of the academy has just taken place, care of ANU senior management caving in to a minority of noisy radical students, one which, while small in itself, can count on background support from most of the academic staff in the humanities. There is a long history behind how we, as a society, have let this come to pass. At issue is what has transpired in the ­humanities and social sciences, not in the rest of the university.

    University rancour has commonly surfaced in a condescending disparagement of ordinary people and popular culture — for cheap taste, crass materialism, jingoism, xenophobia and syrupy values. The reality is that Western popular culture, by contrast, has retained a healthy belief in universal moral laws, in the value of the beautiful and in the ultimate significance of truth.

    Power envy is linked with a paranoid reflex, which holds that if I can destroy what has power and persecutes me, then I myself can gain that power. Hence the radical hostility to the main power on our side, the US, and, increasingly on the left, to Israel — as the one prosperous, democratic and successful country amid the wretched stagnation of most of the Middle East.

    Where to now? Central to any viable idea of the university, whether Christian, humanist or other, is a retelling of the human story as a kind of epic, with gravity and dignity, following the diverse ways it plays out its fateful tragedies. This requires interpretations of the story that reveal that life is more than an egoistic performance governed by power struggles.

    All humans want answers to the big questions of where they come from, what they should do with their lives in order to make sense of them and what happens when they die. Deep engagement with the best literature, art, music and philosophy of our own Western culture is fundamental. Today’s students crave just this sort of education.

    Here is the aim of the Ramsay Centre for western Civilisation, which will almost certainly have to set up its own independent institution if it is to prosper.

    It is vitally important for the country that it succeeds.

    John Carroll is professor emeritus of sociology at La Trobe University.

  44. iain russell

    In one sense I find this whole Abbott666-phobia deeply satisfying. It is wonderful to know that he still tortures the fluffers and scum buckets of Leftterd World.

  45. Mak Siccar

    P.S. Greetings from Bourke, NSW.

  46. Entropy

    Delta A
    #2732399, posted on June 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm
    Abbott made us do it

    A convenient cop out indeed. But as manalive said above, there would be no-one on staff capable of teaching Western civilisation, so why bother with the ANU?

    When you think about it, the poor old bugger must have lost his ability to think clearly.

    As if you could teach western civilisation at an Australian university. Even if the troglodytes that infest those Dawkined and Gillarded halls ‘allowed’ such a school, they will have it so colonised and infested within five years for its thought to be indistinguishable from the rest of their -deconstructed to the point of irrelevance-pap they, or more likely their postgrads, churn out now in an effort to publish their way to the next promotion.

  47. I agree with most of the comments above.

    However, let’s get to the core of the issue, which is that green-left fascists are now dictating what other people may or may not study (or think). And gutless university administrators are letting them get away with it. Contemptible is not a strong enough word.

    Of course, these are the same people who have a long history of trying to shut down anybody who says something they dislike (Lynch, Riemer) or who are just so profoundly inadequate (PVO) that nobody cares what they say anyway.

  48. Boris

    Senior academics much prefer controlling the purse strings in relation to research objectives

    Academics usually have zero say about those matters. They can write letters but administrators usually pay little attention. And administrators love ANY money. If they refeused this funding, maybe they are concerned of a wider backlash rather than their own staff.

    Sad.

  49. Boris

    This latest debacle follows on from the Bjorn Lomborg Consensus Centre outrage.

    Yes but it is much much much worse. Lomborg was a highly controversial figure, while John Howard is our most distinguished PM in living memory. And study of western values is not even controversial, but except in the minds of a few extremist academics. It is hard to believe they found 100 people to sign anything.

  50. Dave of Reedy Creek, Qld

    Maybe it’s time to start really recognising what the left and universities are really up to and name it. It’s not political correctness only, not Marxism only, not Islamic only, not anti western civilisation only. Let’s just just call it Communism. Being hand in glove with Islam, both of whom want western civilisation destroyed, they are now attacking everything that a democracy used to hold dear. Both want world wide control, both have been instrumental in untold millions of deaths to subjugate various countries over the centuries to their ideologies. Both ideologies hold their people with an iron fist in the countries they rule, yet in the west it’s supposedly about equality, gender, inclusiveness etc. Can someone tell me if those elements are in the forefront of any communist or Islamic country. How about China, Cuba, Venezuela or perhaps Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey? What are they offering to the gullible and naive. Think about it!

  51. Dr Fred Lenin

    The universities in the ole Soviet Union were bastions of free speech , as long as it was party propaganda it was free, anything contrary to that had a price to pay. The present academics would love that regime .

  52. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Quite a feat indeed!
    Methuselah only made it to the 97th decade.

    Open thread correction, and taken, thanks Pubbler and also Calli and others. Sorry I accidentally moved the column over too far. Although Macbeth by continuing to comment here deserves the upgrade. 🙂

Comments are closed.