Monday, 5 November 2018

Western civilisation is most definitely under threat

Although Van Badham is right that the places Pauline Hanson thinks the threat is coming from – the cultural elites such as university academics – are largely useful, in fact, Badham is wrong to say there is no threat. The threat has never been greater since 1989 and is increasing with each year that passes.

The project proposed by the Ramsay Centre will probably go ahead, to start things off on a side note. Of the academics surveyed about the proposal, about one third were against it, one third were in favour of it, and one third were unsure about it. The University of Sydney has sent a counter proposal to the centre and is waiting for their response.

But the bigger problem is that there are so many threats to our way of life now that China has started to grow economically and that Russia has shown an inclination to disrupt the processes that govern our lives. In many countries around the world representative government is not practiced, such as Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Syria, Egypt and others. Several eastern European countries, and now Brazil, are starting to show cracks in their governmental processes as autocrats there start to view democracy as an unnecessary and messy and obstructive, guided in their obsessions by China and Russia.

During the Wentworth by-election a woman named Jodie Salmon tweeted a photo of her hand in the voting booth before she had filled out her ballot. The comment in the tweet was, “The pen is mightier than the bonesaw.” The comment was a reference to the alleged Saudi killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, and was especially apposite as he had been killed for wanting to encourage more transparency in government in the Middle East. Salmon is alive to the implications of China’s reluctance to allow its citizens to vote for their leaders, and wanted to show what she thinks of autocrats wherever they exist. Saudi Arabia is hardly alone.

I wrote on 6 September about how we got to where we are, and I plan to write about it again in the near future. That earlier blogpost takes in the emergence of everything that we value today, from antibiotics to jet engines and from ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ to the secret ballot. What it also notes is that many countries have perversely decided to take the good things (antibiotics and jet engines) but not the things that compromise their complete control of the power that is at the command of those who hold the reigns of government (‘Finnegan’s Wake’ and the secret ballot). Van Badham is being dishonest, but what do you expect of a committed ideologue, who more closely resembles the people she puts herself opposite, than she does those whose fire she borrows to animate her harangues: the writers and thinkers who have fed the engine of the growth of western civilisation.

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