reform of higher education

There can be few more important issues than the left’s stranglehold over education systems in virtually all western countries. It’s an issue that conservative political leaders seem strangely frightened of. No conservative political leader has ever had the courage to propose genuine reform of higher education, to return universities to being centres of learning rather than centres of left-wing activism and political indoctrination.

So it comes as a pleasant surprise to see at least one would-be presidential candidate in the US finally putting the issue on the agenda.

a world without schoolteachers

Personally I can’t think of anything better than a world without schoolteachers. Finally, a means of defeating political correctness, of returning control of education to parents, of breaking the power of teachers’ unions, and making homeschooling an option for everybody.

I suspect the author of the article is being a bit optimistic about the usefulness of the Kindle and the Nook but the fact remains that technology does hold out the promise of making homeschooling a more and more viable option. And if nothing else I like the idea of telling left-wing schoolteachers that they won’t be needed much longer.

The Fabrication of Aboriginal History Vol. 3: The Stolen Generations

One of the most emotionally and politically volatile issues in Australia over the past few decades has been the so-called “stolen generations” – the legend that Australian state governments pursued a policy of genocide against Aboriginal Australians during the first half of the twentieth century. This has led to an orgy of white liberal guilt and has now become accepted dogma in our leftist-dominated universities.

In his monumental and exceptionally thorough The Fabrication of Aboriginal History Vol. 3: The Stolen Generations Keith Winschuttle comprehensively demolishes this theory.

According to the theory thousands of Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their parents as part of a grand scheme to destroy their sense of Aboriginal identity and thus to destroy the Aboriginal race. The self-flagellating academics of the Left have tried to paint this as being a crime equivalent to the Holocaust.

He points out that the numbers cited by leftist historians simply don’t add up. The institutions to which the children were supposedly sent could have housed no more than a fraction of the numbers usually cited. Statements by various government officials have been taken out of context. Evidence that contradicts the Stolen Generations theory has been ignored or suppressed.

In fact small numbers of children were removed from their families and put into care, for exactly the same reasons that white children at that time were put into care because they were orphaned, because their parents would not or could not care for them, because they were neglected (often to the point of suffering from malnutrition). Girls were put into care in situations where they were being sexually abused or forced into prostitution.

The policies pursued by state governments from the late 19th century up to the 1960s were sometimes paternalistic and often ineffective due to woefully inadequate funding but on the whole they were motivated by a genuine desire to help Aboriginals. Missionaries and other welfare workers who devoted their lives to helping Aboriginals have in recent years been shamefully defamed by politically motivated attacks on their integrity and their motives.

And of course the Stolen Generations has now become an accepted part of the dogma of Political Correctness in Australia. And this is in a country where political correctness is now legally enforceable.

Needless to say Windschuttle has become the subject of vitriolic attacks by the Left.

It is a terrifying example of the lengths to which leftists and academics (and in Australia if you’re not a leftist your chances of becoming an academic are very very slim) will go in denigrating their own country and their own culture in an orgy of self-loathing combined with self-righteousness. It is an even more terrifying example of the power of the leftist media to turn wild accusations into official dogma.

Stridency as a sign of weakness

I’ve been involved in a discussion elsewhere on the growing aggressiveness of the pro-abortion movement and their increasing tendency to present abortion as something to celebrate.

What strikes me is that very often the more strident someone is about their beliefs the more uncertain they really are. I’ve noticed that over the years with political lesbians. Many of the most militantly radical political lesbians end up turning straight. So their militancy was merely a means of covering up the disturbing little seeds of doubt that were growing inside them all the time.

I’ve also noticed it recently among the advocates of climate change hysteria. As the number of climate change sceptics grows, and as the evidence for man-made climate change becomes ever more elusive, so the proponents of this dogma become ever more shrill and enraged.

You can see it with radical Islam as well. The fear of the radical Islamists is that more and more young Moslems will end up like the average westerner, paying at best lip service to their faith but in practice being more interested in iPods and Facebook than in jihad.

I suspect it’s the same with abortion, that those who are trying the hardest to convince us that abortion is a cause for celebration are probably secretly tortured by doubts, by the awful fear that abortion is in fact murder and is utterly indefensible.

political correctness and popular culture

One of the problems of bring a recovered leftist is that one finds oneself completely cut off from contemporary popular culture. I just can’t watch modern Hollywood movies or modern television any more. The relentless pushing of the politically correct agenda, of the gay agenda, of the cultural relativist agenda, just gets too annoying.

On the other hand one of the few good things about this wretched century is that it’s not necessary to watch any of this garbage. There are so many old movies and old TV shows available on DVD that it’s possible to cut oneself off entirely from the world of today. Which is what I find myself doing more and more.

And thanks to the internet it’s also possible to find other alternatives. Books that tell the truth about nonsense like climate change and other leftist ideologies, books that expose the lies of the Left, are easily obtainable.

Websites and blogs (like the excellent Oz Conservative blog) provide another means of retaining one’s sanity. Although of course it’s only a matter of time before the Left starts cracking down on such alternatives. Already we’re seeing censorship by stealth of old books – new editions of many books from the past are being censored to remove passages that are deemed to be culturally insensitive. This Orwellian practice is one of the more worrying manifestations of the Left’s determination to enforce political correctness.

Can We Trust the BBC?

Can We Trust the BBC? is Robin Aiken’s devastating expose of leftist bias at the BBC. Of course every thinking person already knew the BBC could not be trusted, but Aiken provides the evidence from the inside.

Aiken worked at the BBC for many years and he gives us the inside dirt on the systematic and institutionalised bias. The bias is not merely unconscious, a product of the silly left-wing ideologies that journalists seem to be drawn to, it is calculated and deliberate. A political agenda is being pushed shamelessly and ruthlessly.

The vindictiveness with which political opponents are pursued by the BBC is one of the more terrifying aspects of the book.

Most worrying of all perhaps has been the unwillingness of conservative governments in Britain to confront this problem.

The parallels between the BBC and Australia’s ABC are all too obvious, an all too depressing.

Highly recommended.

The Man Who Would Be King

Rudyard Kipling might be deeply unfashionable these days but I have a weakness for unfashionable writers. He was something that is almost unimaginable these days – an enormously popular writer who also won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He’s also the sort of writer the PC Thought Police would like to stop us from reading.

Kipling was one of the grand masters of the art of the short story and The Man Who Would Be King and other stories gives us five splendid examples.

I’ve been meaning to get round to reading the title story for years, ever since the first time I saw John Huston’s magnificent 1975 film adaptation. It was a remarkably faithful adaptation, but then it’s such a great story and so perfectly suited to cinematic adaptation that there was really no reason to change anything.

A newspaperman in British India in the late 19th century encounters two somewhat disreputable British adventurers. They tell him their plan, which is a simple one. They intend to journey to a remote valley on the borders of Afghanistan and set themselves up as kings. They have pooled their financial resources in order to buy twenty Martini rifles. With their own military backgrounds (they might be rogues but they’re trained soldiers with an appreciation for the virtues of military discipline) and these guns they will teach the inhabitants of the valley the art of modern warfare, whereupon they will undoubtedly be acclaimed as kings.

The journalist takes a certain liking to these two adventurers but there’s not the slightest doubt in his mind they he will never see them alive again.

A couple of years later a broken wreck of a man shambles into his newspaper office and he learns the strange fates of Peachy Carnehan and Daniel Dravot.

Of the other stories in the collection The Phantom Rickshaw is an effective ghost story whilst The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes is a bizarre but excellent piece of weird fiction concerning the place where the dead who aren’t really dead end up.

Without Benefit of Clergy is a tale of a relationship between a British colonial official and an Indian Muslim woman that demonstrates Kipling’s complex and subtle understanding of the problems of colonialism for both sides.

Kipling was an intelligent, humane and perceptive writer who deserves to be more widely read. The Man Who Would Be King and other storiesis a pretty good place to start.

the politics of surrender

I’ve become more and more convinced that the greatest threat to civilisation comes not from the Left, but from “moderate” conservatives. Conservatives who are prepared to compromise their principles.

The culture wars cannot be won by a policy of retreat. No war can be won by a policy of retreat. When conservatives allow the Left to control the political agenda defeat becomes inevitable. Surrendering the initiative is a guarantee of defeat.

Unfortunately conservative political leaders worldwide have retreated so far already that any further retreat is tantamount to surrender.

Gay marriage is one excellent example. When you’re prepared to compromise so far as to accept the liberal argument that homosexuality is natural and healthy then you leave yourself with no grounds on which to oppose gay marriage, and no grounds to oppose any sexual behaviour whatsoever.

When a policy of compromise is pursued on issues such as imaginary climate change then, once again, ultimate surrender is the only possible end result.

Choosing “moderate” conservatives is always a fatal choice. Conservatives need to regain the initiative, and it’s important to remember that the best defence is always a good offence.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and audience perceptions

Interesting article by Steven Kates at Quadrant Online on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The author points out that audiences invariably see R. P. McMurphy as the hero and Nurse Ratched as the villain whereas it’s more accurate to see McMurphy as a completely destructive anti-social force.

Kates wrote the article after seeing a stage production but it’s the 1975 film version that has become a cultural icon and his observations apply equally to both the movie and Ken Kesey’s original novel.

The rise of the anti-hero was one of the first serious signs western civilisation was beginning to fall apart. It was also one of the first manifestations of the culture wars in popular culture.