Thursday, May 17, 2018

Kevin Donnelly: Our 21st century tragedy - how the west was lost

Douglas Murray argues in The Strange Death of Europe that ­“Europe is committing suicide”, as proven by the mass immigration of thousands of young Islamic men and the failure by many ­within academia, the media and politics to acknowledge and ­defend the unique strengths and benefits of Western civilisation on which Europe is based.
Such is the dire nature of events, Murray concludes: “By the end of the lifespans of most of the people currently alive, Europe will no longer be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place in the world we had to call home.”
While the situation in Australia is not as extreme, the reality is that our institutions and way of life are also threatened by immigration, especially by migrants committed to Islamic fundamentalism, and a campaign by the cultural left to ­denounce and undermine Western civilisation.
Illustrated by the Holsworthy Barracks terror plot, the Lindt cafe siege, the murder of Curtis Cheng outside the Parramatta police ­station and the Anzac Day plot to kill police at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, Islamic terrorism is an ever-present danger.
The rise of ethnic enclaves in western Sydney and metropolitan Melbourne and the violence and destruction caused by North African street gangs further highlight the dangers of allowing those to immigrate whose beliefs and values are inimical to our way of life.
The reality, similar to Europe and Britain, is that Australia’s non-discriminatory immigration policy and celebration of multi­culturalism, as historian Geoffrey Blainey warned some years ago, is leading to Australia becoming a nation of tribes.
Instead of immigrants accepting our way of life and supporting the institutions and values that bind society and ensure peace and prosperity, too many assume that their customs and beliefs must be given priority. At the same time, Australian society is being undermined by a myopic celebration of multi­culturalism and a flawed immigration policy. The bedrock that makes Australia unique and such a peaceful and prosperous nation is also threatened.
Instead of supporting Western civilisation, the cultural left since the late 1960s has taken the long march through the institutions to overthrow a society it condemns as inequitable, racist, classist, ­sexist, misogynist and heteronormative.
As argued by the former British secretary of state for education Michael Gove, beginning with the Frankfurt School, sympathetic ­academics have “revised Marxism as primarily a cultural rather than an economic movement. In place of anger at traditional capitalism, scorn was directed at the reigning values of the West.”
Gove goes on to say “the ­broader left moved its arena of struggle increasingly away from economic arguments and towards cultural ones”. Having realised they could never win the revolution by storming the barricades, the cultural left’s strategy is to ­infiltrate key institutions and win the battle of ideas.
Positive discrimination for victim groups, identity politics, virtue-signalling, trigger warnings and political correctness are all key weapons in the cultural left’s battle to overthrow the status quo and to bring about the much-sought-after socialist utopia.
Schools and universities are key battlegrounds for the culture wars. Australia’s national curriculum prioritises indigenous, ­environmental and Asian perspectives instead of the heritage and ­ongoing significance of ­Western civilisation and Judeo-­Christianity.
As argued by Perth academic Augusto Zimmermann, our political and legal systems are imbued with Christian morals and ethics, and to deny such a reality is to jeopardise the rights we often take for granted.
The Bible’s teaching that we are all made in God’s image explains the commitment to the inherent dignity of each individual and the right to what the American ­Declaration of Independence calls the “unalienable rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
Knowledge of historical events like the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, and the ability to weigh and evaluate different truth claims based on logic and rationality, are also being lost.
Best illustrated by the Safe Schools program, where gender is fluid and limitless, the cultural left’s long march also involves a radical redefinition of marriage and traditional views about what it means to be a woman or a man.
One of its founders, Roz Ward, gives the game away when she ­argues “only Marxism provides the theory and practice of genuine human liberation” and that the “Safe Schools Coalition is about supporting gender and sexual ­diversity, not about stopping bullying”.
Instead of endorsing merito­cracy and competition, cultural left groups like the Australian Education Union argue all must be winners and that equality of outcomes beats equality of ­opportunity.
Proven by how history, literature, sociology and politics are now taught at the tertiary level, it’s also clear how successful those committed to radical “theory” have been in overthrowing what they condemn as a liberal education.
Knowledge, instead of being impartial and inherently worthwhile, is part of the capitalist state’s “ideological state apparatus” and guilty of oppressing and marginalising so-called victim groups. As a result, education is no longer centred on what T.S. Eliot describes as “the preservation of learning, for the pursuit of truth, and in so far as men are capable of it, the ­attainment of wisdom”.
The works of Shakespeare and other Western literary classics, great and ­enduring art and music like the Sistine Chapel and Bach’s Mass in B Minor simply disguise power ­relationships involving the new trinity of “gender, ethnicity and class”, and teachers are told students must be re-educated in terms of group-think.
The attack on liberal education is also illustrated by the argument that a curriculum drawing on Western civilisation is guilty of promoting “whiteness” — ­described as leading to “different forms of domination and marginalisation — such as racism, sexism, classism, historical injustice and prejudice based on religion”.
The irony, of course, like Lenin’s useful idiots, is that those in education deconstructing and undermining Western civilisation are destroying the very institutions, beliefs and values that guarantee their freedom to mount a critique in the first place.
Kevin Donnelly is author of recently published How Political Correctness Is Destroying Australia (Wilkinson Press)


Brian Arrandale said...
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Is the West Lost, or merely lost its way?
Kevin Donnelly has painted a gloomy, but truthful picture of the position Western Civilisation now finds itself in. It is in this fix because our politicians, bureaucrats and a public seduced into a sort of embarrassing colonial induced trance that they are responsible for any errors or injustices’ of the past.
This situation has been fuelled and used for political ends by the extreme Left, adopted by the moderate Left, and by a lip service of the Right; in the vain hope that they themselves will avoid any blame.
It has become standard fair in our schools, churches, academia, a bias media and has also infiltrated business; it could be described as a sort of modernised Medieval Flagellation; in a remorseful moral beating of themselves into a piety stricken confession.
In his book “Civilisation” Niall Ferguson puts forth the six killer apps of Western Power, which forged Western advancement, together with the Protestant Work Ethic that placed it ahead of the rest after the 15th Century.
1. Competition
2. Science
3. Property Rights
4. Medicine
5. The consumer society
6. The work ethic.
All these are challenged by the socialist society, yet they form the basis of a recovery of the West both in principles and leadership.
“Great Nations and small minds go ill together”!

Howard Milne said...
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Kevin is correct in his analysis, but he leaves out a key point. Western civilization was not just built on the insights of biblical Christianity, but on a society which actually believed those insights to be gifted by God. Until NZ society is again populated by folk who actually embrace not only 'Western values', but the values understood to be sourced in the God of the Bible, the demise will continue. The leftists do control the academic world and the political world. This will only be reversed when society genuinely turns back to God and His values.

Unknown said...
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I think there is a right way and wrong way to deal with this. If we make a case that things are really bad (which is true) that is demotivating.
People need a picture in their heads of a balancing rock that can/could be toppled. To get to that point we need a contemporaneous picture of how interest groups and media operate; how polls can provide false feedback and alert people to what is happening. That means (for example) relating it academic work and providing a running commentary.

This work thus suggests that for multiculturalism to succeed identities need to be transformed. And, importantly, as Kymlicka suggests, this transformation applies not only to the minority but also to the majority. Indeed, perhaps the major identity transformation is required from members of the majority as their attributes are, as a rule, the same as the ones that define the national identity. Minorities need to be written into the self-definition of the national identity such as to imbue them with existential legitimacy as citizens in parity with the majority.
. Moreover, there needs to be an nstitutionalisation of the public discourse as in line with terms outlined by Parekh (2006).
Another means is through initiating a public debate about what it means to be, let us say Australian, where representatives of the citizenry are given a voice. The UK is an case in point where political figures have initiated a debate about the meaning of Britishness (Uberoi & Modood, 2013)

People should be thinking “ah ha – I see what they are doing”

We should link up with groups in other Anglo countries and share resources.
We need a positive vision plus remain fair and circumspect.

On The Panel today Michelle d'Arcort who doesn't believe in the state. Yearsterday Josie Pagani who is a fan of open borders yet she is the spokes person working people. If you listened every day you could easily show that these people don't represent the public.

Anonymous said...
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@Howard Milne
Your analysis though historically accurate is perhaps now too simplistic in my veiw. References to a personal God is fraught with problems. All religions refer to their God as the omnipotent creator of the entire universe (as we understand it). The ethics of human conduct based upon the 'word' of God as passed on by various prophets, is being questioned even ridiculed by agnostic & atheistic academia on all sides. Why is this and how could it be addressed?

Well my also simplistic response is this: 'Given that the 10 commandments are not a bad rule of thumb for a coherent & respectful society to conduct itself, (and that certain parts of the Bible do appear to be metaphorical)- the part which says "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", seems a balanced way to live amongst your fellow man/woman..

Anonymous said...
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“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn, 1881

“Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told - and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. “ -- Michael Crichton, The Lost World

““It is not difficult to deprive the great majority of independent thought. But the minority who will retain an inclination to criticise must also be silenced …” -- Friedrich Hayek

Capturing the Academy in order to use it as an indoctrination factory for the views and values of the political and lifestyle Left has allowed a relative handful of West-Hating Communist traitors to multiply their effectiveness many thousand-fold. This could be likened to dropping a stone into a pool and watching the ripples spread in ever-widening circles.

Society’s future opinion-shapers are fed a pre-determined set of views and values then told that all educated, enlightened people think this way. This readymade world view then become part of the warp and weft of our culture through the principles of mass marketing described below, which turn our universities into a transmission belt, and our public discourse into a giant propaganda machine, for ideas that were deliberately crafted and deployed to white-ant our existing society.

Though these ideas and associated value shifts appear to have arisen spontaneously from the culture, they in fact represent a totalitarian form of intellectual coercion. Our universities are no longer committed to free speech or open debate. Only Leftism is allowed, a trend that has become increasingly evident in the Western Academy over several decades. Universities are meant to be an open forum for all ideological viewpoints. Yet Leftism is not only dominant, but unchallenged.

Leftists loudly proclaim their commitment to “diversity,” but when it comes to the most important diversity of all, the diversity of ideas, they see no irony in deliberately excluding competing value systems. “Since all teaching is ideological,” they reason, “it may as well be our ideology that is being taught.”

Canadian author, Mark Steyn, warns of the consequences of this mind-set: “Universities are no longer institutions of inquiry but ‘safe spaces’ where delicate flowers of diversity of race, sex, orientation, ‘gender fluidity’ and everything else except diversity of thought have to be protected from exposure to any unsafe ideas.”

As Friedrich Hayek reminds us: “Collectivism means the end of truth. To make a totalitarian system function efficiently, it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the ends selected by those in control; it is essential that the people should come to regard these ends as their own. This is brought about by propaganda and by complete control of all sources of information.”

In the modern Western university, intolerance of opposing ideas is not only openly extolled, but held up as a virtue. In many tertiary disciplines, especially those specialising in the study of society, it is now possible to go all the way from undergraduate to PhD. level without having been exposed to a single conservative or libertarian professor.

As a simple illustration of this point, if you were known to hold conservative or libertarian views, outside of the hard sciences and practical professions, would you apply for a teaching position at any Western university? And if you did, do you think that you would be accepted?

This Leftist stranglehold on the Academy means that by default a whole spectrum of ideas doesn’t exist. Or if peripherally acknowledged, they are put up only as a straw man to be rubbished, with nobody able to robustly defend them at hand to do so.

Anonymous said...
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Capturing students at a vulnerable point in their intellectual development and isolating them from competing information sources means that their core values can be readily reshaped in the desired direction. Appropriately programmed graduates then remain in the university system as wholesalers of the views and values that originated with their Marxist-Leninist professors, or after completing their degrees, go off to retail what they have been taught to the wider community.

To convince the retailers to sell enthusiastically, the wholesalers must ensure that their unwitting minions are firewalled as much as possible from the source of the ideas they have been conditioned to peddle. After all, Communism still has a bad name with most people, and nobody likes to feel that they are someone else’s glove puppet.

Ideas can be marketed in exactly the same way as any other product, but with a few added twists. The most powerful tool for marketing ideas is the persuasion theory developed by Richard E. Petty and John Cacioppo in the early 1980s, and known to marketing experts as the Elaboration Likelihood Model (“ELM”).

Petty is currently Professor of Social Psychology at Ohio State University, while Cacioppo is Director of the Social Psychology Program at the University of Chicago, as well as the Director of its Centre for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. High-powered credentials indeed!

Anonymous said...
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Antonio Gramsci would have immediately understood the application of the theories developed by these men to his vision of “the long march through the institutions, until socialism and relativism are complete. “

The ELM proposes a dual process theory about how attitudes are formed and changed. It evaluates persuasion strategies based on where they might fall on a continuum between two information processing routes: central (high elaboration) and peripheral (low elaboration).

Central route processing is a high elaboration persuasion strategy requiring detailed intellectual scrutiny of the marketing message to determine its merits. A convincing argument is likely to result in attitude change even if it is at odds with the recipient’s original position. If the argument is seen as unconvincing, the message is likely to be rejected. For the message to be centrally processed, the recipient must have both the ability and motivation to do so.

As one might expect, central route attitude change is likely to prove strong, enduring, and very hard to turn around.

Peripheral-route processing is a low elaboration persuasion strategy best understood as a gut level or emotional response to the marketing message, with little or no intellectual consideration of an argument's merits. Recipients rely instead on a message's environmental characteristics: perceived source credibility or attractiveness, a slick presentation, a catchy sound bite, or a desire not to appear out of step with one’s fellows.

Low elaboration strategies are typically used when an argument is weak or lacks evidence, or where a high elaboration message is too complex for the target audience to process. The marketer provides recipients with a mental shortcut to the desired conclusion, meaning the message is accepted or rejected based on external cues supplied by the marketer, rather than conscious thought.

Peripheral route persuasion seldom results in strong or lasting attitude change unless subject to ongoing reinforcement by the marketer.

The Elaboration Likelihood Model when applied to the marketing of ideas intersects with another persuasion model known to marketers as “exaction pricing.” Exaction pricing is the price paid by the target market for not purchasing the product.

In marketing, say, baked beans, it would be very difficult to paint someone as a bad person for preferring one brand over another. But when it comes to marketing ideas, imposing exaction pricing is like shooting fish in a barrel. The socialist capture of the culture means anyone swimming against the tide in the prevailing leftist intellectual sewer can expect to be thoroughly demonised.

In the marketing of ideas, exaction pricing works not just on intellectuals who centrally process information, but on the great mass of people who peripherally process it. It threatens the core identity of its targets, forcing them to accept the programming or risk being labelled as bad and evil.

Excluding competing ideas from the West’s universities means that for society’s future opinion-shapers, central route processing occurs in an intellectual vacuum. The arguments presented have apparent merit because students are provided with no yardstick against which to compare them. This is reinforced by low elaboration processing based on the source credibility of lecturers who appear to know what they are talking about. Graduates are chained still further to received dogma by being told that only “correct” views and values will make them card-carrying members of the intellectual community.

Those who don’t go on to higher education are mostly too busy making a living to centrally process social and political questions, find the issues too complex to process, or both. They can be readily induced to adopt the views and values of the intellectual class via peripheral route persuasion based on perceived source credibility. The programming is then locked in by the same fear of being marginalised for not sharing group-approved attitudes that binds the intellectual class.

Anonymous said...
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In social psychology, “pluralistic ignorance” describes a situation where a majority of group members privately reject a received norm, but wrongly assume it is widely held, and pretend conformity so as not to appear out of step with everyone else.

Most people, whatever their level of intelligence, want to hold “correct” beliefs and attitudes. Their overriding drive is to belong and conform. In order to do so, they will overwhelmingly internalise received dogma without applying intellectual scrutiny to it.

Robert Arthur said...
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I find many photos of WW2 Allied servicemen incredibly sad. Groups of fine looking men, often the selected most able, who gave their lives in vast numbers in an effort to preserve the sovereignty of their country, the continuation of their way of life and the hope of better. Ironically in Europe, whilst the political design of the enemy was an anathema, the enemy combatants and citizens killed in millions were at their individual level of the same descent and basically same culture as the Allies. Yet now we allow and encourage incompatible cultures and persons with alien political agenda who, in a democracy will very quickly breed to dominant power. If WW2 soldiers could have anticipated the situation today I suspect few would have risked their lives so resolutely.

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