It seems that the academic left in Australia, the same New Class left that captured the Australian Labor Party and the union movement during the years of Gough Whitlam’s leadership and have only cemented their power since, has emerged yet again to take a stand against the Ramsay Centre’s plan for a university degree on Western Civilisation.
The Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, took to the pages of the Australian newspaper last Friday to castigate the left-wing academic unionists at the ANU who rallied to “deny Australia’s history and culture, including freedom of speech that’s supposed be a facet of our universities.” Unfortunately, he showed an appalling lack of knowledge of the fundamental difference between culture, history and what Western civilisation actually meant. …
Australian universities, like their British counterparts, are captives of the twin methodologies of positivism and historicism. The former assumes that all moral choices are subjective and incapable of objective proof which contradicts the express purpose of Western Civilisation; the latter assumes that all moral values are relative to their time, an assumption which logically leads to nihilism and the complete repudiation of Western Civilisation.
The Western Civilisation course which the Ramsay Centre proposes was once known as a liberal education, an education in literacy and books which cultivated an open-mindedness, freeing a person from false opinions. In his 1959 lecture, What is Liberal Education, Professor Leo Strauss explained both the purpose and the meaning of a liberal education: that it consists in studying with the proper care the great books which the greatest minds have left behind. He explains that “Liberal education is the antidote to mass culture and to its corroding effects” which explains in part why it is so hated by the left. Anything which examines the premises of their lifestyle is a danger to their existence.
hat-tip Stephen Neil