Claire Lehmann and Padraic McGuinness

This is a story of two editors. Claire Lehmann is a rising star or even a risen star in cyberspace with her online magazine Quillette that is a space for civilised conversation about controversial cultural issues. Have a look!

Last night she spoke at the Centre for Independent Studies on the theme of Cultural Marxism. This movement that was set in train by the Frankfurt School (Marcuse et al) now dominates the humanities and social sciences in the universities of the West. The framework of the talk was the contrast between the Mistake or rational investigation and compromise model and the Conflict model of politics and social reform. This is the whole event.

Freedom of speech is sacrosanct in the former and it is anathema in the latter. This situation on campus and in progressive “discourse space” has been coming for some time and the writing might have been seen on the wall in avant garde faculties like Sociology at the Uni of NSW in the late ’60s. It has spiralled out of control in the last decade or two.

After the talk came conversation between Claire and Jeremy Sammut who is involved in the new Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society program. The event was well attended including a number of Cats who kindly introduced themselves. There was a bracing question and answer session and the last question or comment came from your roving Catallaxy correspondent.

Moving on to Padraic McgGuinness (1938-2008.) He was an outspoken commentator who was capable of stirring up strong passions. In the words of Paul Keating:

He was a fraud. He was not just a fraud, he was a liar and a fraud. McGuinness’s journalism did not add up to a row of beans. He held more political, philosophic and economic positions than would have the Kama Sutra had it been a philosophic text. It was a prejudiced, capricious and intellectually corrupt mind that was all over the shop depending on what suited his miserable purposes at the time…McGuinness was a shocker. In journalistic terms, he had the morals of an alley cat.

Tell us what you really think Paul.

After a long and varied journalistic career he became the editor of Quadrant Monthly. This is a selection of his editorials. He had a room in the guest quarters at the Rathouse before Quadrant had a web presence of its own.

Our paths crossed in strange ways. A century ago, early in my time in Sydney circa 1970 I gave a talk “In Defence of Reformism” in a series run by the Red and Black (Anarchist) Society in Bob Gould’s Goulburn Street bookshop. About two paragraphs into the address a burly, bearded figure at the back of the room stood up and stamped out loudly in hobnailed boots. He didn’t go far and we caught up with him in the pub nearby at the end of the lecture. We were not introduced but years later in a book about the Sydney Push of the 1950s there was a photo of this young man and it was Padraic.

A century later, actually in the next millennium during his editorship of Quadrant he accepted a book review that I wrote of the conference about the work of Geoffrey Blainey, published as The Fuss That Never Ended. Before the review appeared he sidled up to me after a booklaunch in Elizabeth Street Tattersalls, possibly a Keith Windschuttle production. “Comrade, I’m yanking that Blainey review”. “Why so Padraic?” “I wont have that stuff about the Austrian economists!”.

The things that I wanted to say about the antecedents of the Blainey Fuss were more important than my comments on the Austrians so the piece went to press sans Austrian references. They are restored in the web version.

In conclusion, follow Quillette and the CIS Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society Program.

Quillette is a platform for free thought. We respect ideas, even dangerous ones. We also believe that free expression and the free exchange of ideas help human societies flourish and progress. Quillette aims to provide a platform for this exchange.

Quillette began in Claire Lehmann’s living room in 2015. Claire had recently dropped out of her graduate program in psychology and wished to create a space for academics to publish their ideas. Quillette’s first contributors included Associate Professor Brian Boutwell and documentary film-maker Jamie Palmer.

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16 Responses to Claire Lehmann and Padraic McGuinness

  1. Cassie of Sydney

    Rafe, I was there last night. The talk by Claire was excellent. Quillette is marvellous reading and deserves to be supported. She is our equivalent of Brendan O’Neill and his equally good “Spiked”.

  2. Roger

    Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Cassie of Sydney

    “In the words of Paul Keating:

    He was a fraud. He was not just a fraud, he was a liar and a fraud. McGuinness’s journalism did not add up to a row of beans. He held more political, philosophic and economic positions than would have the Kama Sutra had it been a philosophic text. It was a prejudiced, capricious and intellectually corrupt mind that was all over the shop depending on what suited his miserable purposes at the time…McGuinness was a shocker. In journalistic terms, he had the morals of an alley cat”

    Well at least McGuinness had some morals even if they were of an alley cat. Paul Keating has none and I am sure that Anita Keating would agree with me.

  4. Nerblnob

    I found Quillette on a websearch for something else.

    I was struck by the quality of writing and thought, and the variety of views it hosted.

    Next time I looked, I found that the left was already on the attack:

    CONSERVATIVES LOVE PLAYING THE VICTIM

    The website Quillette is trying to convince people conservatism is subversive

    So in the era of fake news Quillette is where bigots go and hide

    Always worth a look.

  5. Infidel Tiger 2.0 (Premium Content Subscribers Only)

    Lehmann has made great traction in the US.

    Largely ignored in this befouled backwater.

  6. George Huwell

    Quillette is boring and unoriginal af. just regurgitated doctrinaire liberal talking points. don’t waste your time.

  7. Egor

    Bwaaa….
    Is this indicative of the concerns of cafe society in Sydney?
    Laugh my arse off.

  8. Rafe

    Egor, your point is….?

  9. Egor

    My point is laughing my arse off , wankers.

  10. .

    Paul Keating has none and I am sure that Anita Keating would agree with me.

    Did not Trump teach you anything? Or that after Lewinsky, Clinton was more popular than either Bush or Gore?

  11. Mique

    The thought of Paddy McGuinness in hob-nailed boots makes me giggle. I never met him but saw a lot of him at Sydney University and I never saw him in anything other than a very scruffy pair of thongs. As for Paul Keating’s opinion of him, it confirms my high opinion of McGuinness as a journalist and a person. Anyone capable of exciting such an explosion of bile from Keating is ipso facto of the highest character and repute.

  12. Norman Church

    Wow, with Egor we have reached new heights of erudition and analysis. We stand in awe of his evident intellect and mastery of the written word.

  13. .

    Egor is “Alfonso”, a fake conservative who hates gun rights.

    Another troll to ignore.

  14. Rebel with cause

    Claire also happens to be super hot. What an awesome lady.

  15. Tombell

    keating seems fixated with alley cats.

  16. Confused Old Misfit

    Jonathan Kay — Senior Editor, Toronto

    Suspect.

Comments are closed.