‘PC’, Orwellian censorship, official lies and the perils of modern ‘democracy’

Many from the ‘Left’, progressives, Cultural Marxists and activists keep trying to stymie democracy with their shrill, often illogical, Orwellian and ideological views. The following articles provide evidence.

How universities are betraying Australia

How universities are betraying Australia By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 21 June 2018

We are funding our own demise. A country that is the product of Western civilisation has a death wish when it sends billions of taxpayer dollars to a swag of fancy universities, few of which teach students the tenets of Western civilisation. Each year the federal government — meaning we taxpayers — sends $16.8 billion to universities because educating the next generation is a fine way to spend our money. Except for this: a detailed history audit conducted last year by the Institute of Public Affairs found that few Australian universities teach the core subjects about the history of Western civilisation.

More university subjects cover the history of film than democracy, more focus on identity than the Enlightenment.

It’s bad enough that the Australian National University, which received $632.8 million from taxpayers, isn’t teaching the great books of Western civilisation to its students. That it turned down a generous donation from the Ramsay Centre to do that, along with an offer of scholarships for students, points to the sly anti-Western virus infecting our universities.

The rearguard attack from ANU academics yesterday that they have Western civilisation covered is laughable. For starters, their course outlines are skewed to what’s wrong with our history, not what’s admirable about Western civilisation. If they truly offered what Ramsay offered, anti-Western students and union activists would presumably be protesting against their content in the same way they protested against Ramsay’s proposal. More to the point, the ANU would not have sought a partnership with Ramsay, nor proceeded so close to sealing the deal, if ANU history academics had Western civilisation covered.

And it’s not just the ANU that lets students down. Using the most recent available data, the five Australian universities ranked worst in the history audit received $1.6bn from taxpayers in 2016. La Trobe University receives $465m from taxpayers and students can study Food for Thought: Discovering the World Through Commodities. But of the 20 most significant topics in the history of Western civilisation, La Trobe offers students just one. When universities draw on the public teat to teach humanities yet do not teach the basic foundations of Western civilisation, it is, frankly, a two-fingered salute to taxpayers, to our history and to our future.

On that front, here are some more pertinent numbers. This week’s Newspoll revealed that two-thirds of those surveyed want university students to have the chance to study a serious course in Western civilisation just like the one proposed by the Ramsay Centre. The common sense of Australians contrasts with the hysteria from academics, a nincompoop branch secretary at the National Tertiary Education Union in the ACT, and some misguided students who are so drenched in politics and ideology that they oppose a course that introduces students to books by Aristotle, Linnaeus, Shakespeare, Plato, Socrates, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Goethe, Kierkegaard, Joyce, Jung and more, minus the myriad political filters of left-wing academe.

Another set of numbers offers more evidence that we are funding our own demise. Glance at Tom Switzer’s piece where the executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies sets out the results of a CIS/YouGov poll. Fifty-eight per cent of millennials have a favourable view of socialism, while almost 60 per cent think that capitalism has failed, even as socialism fails to feed the people of Venezuela. And where, by the way, do millennials think their iPhones come from? Alas, having a university education doesn’t change this figure among millennials: 62 per cent think workers are worse off today than four decades ago, pointing to a problem that stretches from school to university.

The CIS/YouGov poll coincides with the latest Lowy poll, released yesterday, which confirms once again a stubborn majority of 18 to 29-year-olds do not believe democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.

Staying with the state of rottenness in our universities, Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam last week highlighted something that deserves far more policy attention: Australian university students lack choice because a small number of very big universities wield oligarchic power — and that is set to get worse with the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia in merger talks.

When the University of Sydney has 60,000 students in contrast to Harvard University’s 22,000 students, it’s time to talk about breaking up our big universities. And Roskam explained why: a student in the US seeking a solid left-wing education can enrol at a progressive university such as Evergreen State College, which kicked out a science professor last year for daring to say that a “Day of Absence” — where whites are told to stay home — is racist. An American student with different ambitions can choose a very different education — maybe a course in the great books at Boston College or the University of Chicago or Columbia. “No such opportunity exists in the insular and parochial world that is humanities teaching in Australian universities,” wrote Roskam. Only the small, liberal arts Campion College offers something close to this great tradition.

Summing up these dismal numbers, we are not getting bang for our buck from our universities. And it became a teachable moment when the ANU turned down money to teach the great books of Western civilisation but readily takes money from the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Turkey to fund a Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies.

Actually, two teachable moments: first, about the fact we are funding our downfall by using taxpayer funds to spread an anti-Western virus. On this front, a few Liberal ministers have made fine remarks about defending Western civilisation. Josh Frydenberg deserves kudos for saying it is critical for the next generation of students to understand where the rule of law came from, where democracy came from, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, women’s suffrage too. He’s right to say this is a new fault line for Australia. “This is not a cultural war,” he says. “This is about … where Australia (is) heading. And in order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you come from, and we come from the Judeo-Christian ethic. This for me and for my colleagues is absolutely vital. We need to fight on it, we need to make it well known that our position is not for changing.”

But with respect, as someone else once said, if your actions don’t live up to your words, you have nothing to say. That raises the second teachable moment about the only real antidote to the anti-Western virus on Australian campuses. We need to disrupt and dismantle Australia’s small group of very large universities so that students are given more choice, perhaps through financial incentives to encourage the rise of new universities and funding cutbacks to existing ones. We need a whole new model of tertiary education.

The prospect of dealing with more, not less, vice-chancellors won’t thrill an education minister. But imagine the legacy of giving students the choice of a truly liberal education at universities willing to teach the reasons Australia, a land that millions of migrants have flocked to, is a product of Western civilisation.


Melbourne University encourages extreme racism

Melbourne University encourages extreme racismBy Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 12 June 2018

On Saturday afternoon, about 30 people waited to enter a theatre in the centre of a big, cosmopolitan city for a matinee session of a modern dance performance. A voice in the lobby invited people of colour, brown people, indigenous people and members of the Asian dias­pora to enter the theatre. The white people were forced to stay behind, denied entry on the basis of their skin colour. The same people were then harangued for their skin colour by four young women aiming a volley of accusations at them about their white privilege.

After this, the people with white skin were invited into the theatre, but only if they first signed something acknowledging agreement with a particular set of views.

Some did so and entered the theatre. Others walked away. One man and his partner, bewildered by what was happening, decided to wait for later dance performances that did not involve a colour bar or ideological bullying.

This is not dystopian fiction. This is Melbourne, Australia, on June 9, 2018, according to the ­bewildered man who went along to watch Where We Stand. It is part of the Victorian College of the Arts’ 40th anniversary of dance, at Space 28, a theatre on its Southbank campus. He considered contacting Melbourne University, which is respon­sible for the VCA, and the Australian Human Rights Commission because, surely, this is ­rac­ial discrimination that infringes some of our laws. Then he decided against butting up against turgid bureaucracies, choosing instead a quick dose of sunlight as a better disinfectant.

Fresh from being shamed for his skin colour, this is what he told me on Saturday evening: “We were both fascinated and appalled to be living in our own episode of the Chinese Cultural Revolution experience.” The man, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of a backlash, described the performance art that occurred in the lobby where “each girl would then take it in turns to declare her racial pedigree, somewhat reminiscent of the Nuremberg (race) laws, and then her preferred pronouns ­before ­declaring her attempts to overcome her white privilege and what these teenagers thought we should be doing to overcome our privilege”.

Apparently, if you are not ­actively overcoming your privilege, then you are an oppressor.

“I don’t blame the girls involved in the piece, they are young and self-righteous,” he said of the ­humiliation heaped on white people in the lobby.

“I do blame the University of Melbourne for ­allowing racial selection on campus in any shape or form. I am gobsmacked that any university would preside over an event where entry is based on skin colour. I naively thought this was a line that even the regressive left wouldn’t cross.”

He also noted the irony of those young women in the lobby laying unfounded accusations against others while The Crucible was playing upstairs at the VCA theatre. It’s a play by Arthur Miller about young women accused of witchcraft, a modern take on the dangers of fundamentalism and ideological bullying.

The man mentioned an older lady, maybe 70 or so years of age, in the lobby who also refused the offer of admission on condition of signing the acknowledgment. He thinks she was Dutch, possibly a grandparent who had come to see someone perform. “She was visibly shaken by the ­experience,” he said.

Isabella Whawhai Mason, the creator of the show, provided a long explanation to The Australian, saying, among other things, that this “ritual” in the foyer is part of the performance. “Realistically, there are simply 2 different shows for 2 different audiences.” Add some missing detail — one show for people of colour, one show for whites — to understand what’s wrong here.

Alternatively, turn it around: a show that ­excluded people of ­colour from entry while whites took their seats would be correctly condemned as racism. But here it’s just art? That is not a rational ­position.

This new form of artistic apartheid is not an unintended consequence of identity politics. Divid­ing people according to skin colour is an entirely deliberate pursuit by academe, bureaucracies and sections of Australian politics. Worse, identity politics isn’t just an anti-intellectual pursuit that stops us challenging a stubborn ­orthodoxy.

Decades of race-based policies and politics are harming indigenous people, and indigenous children in particular.

The woeful outcomes are measured each year in the Closing the Gap report. There are tiny ­improvements in some places, to be sure, but a stubborn gap on basic life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous people surely means we must admit that race-based policies are failing the most vulnerable.

Child protection should top the list of colour-blind policies to protect young children from neglect, violence and sexual abuse. Yet on the weekend, Bill Shorten promised more race-based politics and policies here too. Note that the Opposition Leader and the elites whose votes he is chasing live far, far away from indigenous people leading Third World lives in a First World country.

Race-based identity politics in the 21st century is toxic because it is untethered from the fine aims of the civil rights movement of the 20th century. Back then, activists fought for equal rights for people regardless of colour, creed or sexuality. Today we have returned to a dark place of defining people ­according to inherited characteristics such as skin colour. Isn’t that what racists do?

Those young women at Southbank on Saturday afternoon used skin colour and one set of ideas to determine who entered that theatre and who remained in the foyer. And their embrace of race and ideological conformity in the 21st century is hosted by Melbourne University and the Victorian College of the Arts. Shame on them.



Australian democracy needs to learn the lessons from Hungary’s House of Terror

Australian democracy needs to learn the lessons from Hungary’s House of Terror  By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 11 June 2018

Andrassy Avenue is a long, tree-lined boulevard in the heart of ­Budapest boasting high-end shopping and dining and grand neo-­renaissance mansions, many of which are now embassies.

Amid such refinement and beauty one building, No. 60, is renowned not for its architecture but for the unspeakable ­cruelty of its former occupants.

Known today as the House of ­Terror, it was the headquarters of the Nazi-affiliated Arrow Cross fascists and, after World War II, the Soviet-aligned communists. Hungary’s state security agency and the hated secret police, much feared for their brutal interrogations and murders, also were based there.

The House of Terror is now a museum. Hungarians hope it will play an important role in reminding the present generation of the past. Critics of the museum say its purpose is to tarnish the image of the present Socialist Party with its communist past and that the House of Terror is a “sleight of hand — equating fascism with communism”. They maintain that the ideology of the communists was the complete opposite to the fascists. Yet, in reality, terror served them both extremely well, with one person from every third family seized, mistreated, crippled or executed during their collective reigns. The ultimate left may differentiate itself from the ultra-right, but if you are snatched from your bed in the dead of night by agents of a totalitarian state the subtlety may elude you.

Apologists argue that Hungary is a special case, a victim of two world wars and foreign intrusions. But it was Hungarians who ­reduced people to subjects, not foreigners. The system had no difficulty sourcing citizens who, in the name of ideology, were prepared to do what it took to oppress the freedom of others. The history may be Hungarian but the message is universal.

Fast forward a mere 60-odd years and a complacent West ­ignores the lessons of 60 Andrassy Avenue. Incredibly, even one of Hungary’s most successful sons, George Soros, a multi-billionaire Jew who luckily escaped deportation and death, seems not to have learned any lessons from advocating the ideology that so terrorised and impoverished his birthplace.

Perhaps only Soros can explain this perversity, but ­according to The Australian columnist Jennifer Oriel: “Soros-affiliated organisations follow a well-worn political and rhetorical strategy, updated for the digital age. Like the socialists and communists of old, they attack liberal democracy by delegitimising the classically liberal values of individualism, free speech, logical ­argument and public reason.”

Soros is powerful in European political circles, influencing elections, using human rights ­networks to push open-border policies and providing financial support to climate change advocates.

For a Jew, he is surprisingly pro-Islam and at odds with today’s Hungarian government which, on the grounds of “cultural incompatibility”, opposes the EU’s mass immigration policy. Hungary’s recently re-elected Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is targeted as “racist” for his stand. That said, restricted access to social ­security means fewer migrants and an ­unemploy­ment rate of 3.9 per cent compared with 7.3 per cent for the EU overall.

Soros is a new breed of anti-Western elite. In Australia his Open Society Foundation funds the radical left GetUp!, which Oriel says is “engaged in an effective reframing of politics by ­rebranding conservatives as the hard right while recasting the left as moderate or progressive. Many sections of the media have uncritically adopted GetUp!’s rhetoric.”

Accordingly, almost every idea, theory and view that fails to conform with today’s socialist ­orthodoxy is regarded by someone with access to a megaphone as hostile. Anything from gender to traditional holidays is politicised. If speaking the truth collides with ideology, an apology, if not ­harsher sanction, is demanded.

While older heads may resist indoctrination, eager young minds from kindergarten on are force-fed with a loathing of traditional values and Australian history.

New “unlearning” (brain­washing centres) are being established on university cam­puses intended to ensure that once students believe in nothing, they will fall for anything. In the quest for ideological purity, the Australian National University, among others, has rejected a fully funded Ramsay Centre for the study of Western civilisation ­“because it is not compatible with university autonomy”.

The Australian’s foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, observes: “Confucius centres funded by the Chinese government abound, our universities have taken money from Arab governments to sponsor Middle East studies and the various peace studies centres are comprehensively involved in advocacy. But a centre to study Western civilisation is beyond the pale.” Belatedly, a timid prime minister has sought an explanation. But what’s to explain?

Meanwhile, the Turnbull government works with the opposition to ­increase the size and reach of government while diminishing the role for markets. The popular media happily lend support, adopting the anti-capitalist cues organised labour and assorted green non-government organisations provide.

Collectivist concepts such as “social licence to operate” are accepted doctrine. Crony socialists and capitalists have become willing extensions of government policy seeking approbation from those who personally can benefit them or their activities. Patronage and privilege are surer ways to success. This has widened the wealth gap and progressively lessened faith in free market ­capital­ism. Ordinary people see the deck as inexorably stacked against them. Public humiliation and fear of retribution have helped to silence protesters. If that fails, legal remedies are increasingly at hand.

Marx, Lenin and Gramsci would be pleased with this pro­gress. The long march through the institutions is all but complete, with even the military and the judic­iary captured.

Inevitably, linking Hungary’s past to contemporary Australia will be seen as a bridge too far. Yet Australia and other Western ­democracies are a long way down Andrassy Avenue. Repeated ­attempts to turn back have failed. While Hungarians have shown conclusively that ­supreme sacri­fices made in the name of freedom are never futile, the longer we delay, the more ­brutal the journey and the greater the sacrifice.


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About Peter Senior

I'm a very experienced and pragmatic management consultant. I've reviewed and led the restructuring of many organisations - large and small corporations and Government Departments, much of the time as President of the New Zealand Institute of Management Consultants. Before that I was General Manager of a major NZ newspaper; earlier, an analyst for IBM UK. I gained an honours degree in engineering at London University, and studied management at Cambridge University. This wide range of experience has left me frustrated: I continue to see too many examples of really bad management. Sometimes small easily fixed issues; sometimes fundamental faults; and sometimes really tricky problems. Mostly these issues can be fixed using a mixture of common sense, 'management 101' and applying lessons from years of management experience. Unfortunately, all too often, politics, bureaucracy and daft government regulations get in the way; internal factors such as poor culture and out-of-date strategies are often evident. So what's gone wrong, and why, and most importantly, how to fix 'it'? I hope there are like-minded people 'out there' who will share their thoughts enabling 'us' to improve some significant management failures that affect the general public. If you just accept bad management, you don't have the right to complain! If you'd like to share thoughts on any aspects of management, send me an email to petersenior42@gmail.com . My latest project has the interim title 'You’ve been conned. Much of what you were taught and read is largely irrelevant, misleading or plain wrong – this is the REAL story of life: past, present and our possible future.' The working paper so far comprises 105 pages, many listing references and interim conclusions. The main problem is finding sufficient credible evidence, and realising the more Iearn, the more I realise I don't know!
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