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.