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.”