Lionel Shriver at the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilization

How did I miss this event, am I living under a rock or just watching the wind too much? The talk was on the 6th.


This is the site for the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilization.

The real purpose of the Ramsay Centre, as suggested by Michael Oakshott, reported in a remarkable enlightened piece from the Religious desk at the ABC, of all places!

The champions of the Ramsay Centre would do best not to defend their program on the ground of preserving and transmitting a civilisation ― do we and the Greeks and Romans form one continuous civilization? ― or even for the much-vaunted reason of ensuring we will “understand our past” or “know where we have come from.” These justifications are shallow and utilitarian and only invite the attacks the Centre has suffered. A much deeper understanding is expressed by the British political philosopher Michael Oakeshott in his essay “A Place of Learning”:

“[T]he humanities … are directly concerned with expressions of human self-understanding and their place in liberal learning is assured and central: languages recognized, not as the means of contemporary communication but as investments in thought and records of perceptions and analogical understandings; literatures recognized as the contemplative exploration of beliefs, emotions, human characters and relationships in imagined situations, liberated from the confused, cliché-ridden, generalized conditions of commonplace life and constituting a world of ideal human expressions inviting neither approval nor disapproval but the exact attention and understanding of those who read; histories recognized, not as accounts of the past focused upon our contemporary selves purporting to tell us how we have become what we are and containing messages of warning or encouragement, but as stories in which human actions and utterances are rescued from mystery and made intelligible in terms of their contingent relationships; and philosophy, the reflective undertaking in which every purported achievement of human understanding becomes the subject of an inquiry into its conditions. If any of this has got driven off its course it is by the winds which forever blow around the engagement of liberal learning, menacing its seclusion from the here and now or driving it upon the rocks of abstract aptitudes or socialization.”


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13 Responses to Lionel Shriver at the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilization

  1. HGS says:

    A little rarified and pure, and so not quit accurate;

    ‘…ideal human expressions inviting neither approval nor disapproval…’

    Has anyone, ever, done anything with this god like distancing from being human.

  2. David says:

    Might give The Ramsay Centre a bit more respect and credibility if they could organise something better than a cheapo VGA camera and rig some decent sound.

  3. Ben says:

    Brutal, frightening…motivating.

    I’ll be buying The Mandibles. Sounds like it will suit my current mood.

  4. luke says:

    Anyone know how to get a copy of this article (the one mentioned)

    Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza
    Thomas V. Inglesby, Jennifer B. Nuzzo, Tara O’Toole, and D. A. Henderson
    Published Online: 18 Dec 2006

  5. Luke says:

    other than by paying $51 US?

  6. billie says:

    doesn’t look good for the yanks does it, neither side is going to be happy with the election result if they don’t win

    worse, the left will want revenge and “changes” if they win, somewhat like they did here when PM Kevin Rudd won the election in 2007. I well remember the ABC’s Jon Fain demanding to know why Murdoch outlets would not reduce staff because the election 51/49 clearly showed people rejecting “his” government

    civil war, I don’t know, but I think some states will become battle zones and those particularly with BLM prevelence in numbers. If they win they will demand changes, and if they lose they will demand changes

  7. Annie says:

    I hope she is wrong, but fear she might be right.

  8. one old bruce says:

    Thanks for linking the more thoughtful article by Andrew Gleeson, Rafe.

    ‘ABC of all places’ – the other articles listed below Gleeson’s include some good stuff too,
    ‘Was the Enlightenment really opposed to religion?’
    ‘Can the modern university foster moral growth?’

    Of course these good offerings are buried on the main ABC religion website among stuff such as analysis of Taylor Swift’s latest song etc. It is reassuring that there are still serious scholars spread around our universities and the ABC is promoting them, although they are being drowned out by faddists (of both left and right as Gleeson laments). Gleeson himself is retired and that says something.

    Peter Harrison is a favourite of mine, and he is still working it seems:

  9. bespoke says:

    Very good summery of what’s going on.

  10. Rob MW says:

    Very thought provoking.

    Bottom line, those anarchists seeking the potential will be the least prepared for the inevitable.

  11. Jonesy says:

    I was going to post something long winded but….I feel that western kaos will win out in the end. This “order” of the new improved marxist dogma still smells the same.

  12. Jessie says:

    and the Ingelsby paper on “Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza” last paragraph
    An overriding principle.
    Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.

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