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Reincarnation of the elites

Theme of The Speccie’s first decade: the long march resumed

8 September 2018

9:00 AM

8 September 2018

9:00 AM

Compliant always with John O’Sullivan’s First Law that all organisations not actively leaning right will, over time, become left-wing, The Spectator Australia has always been among the nation’s small but valiant  band of defenders of Western civilisation.

The path of the Marxist bacillus into the minds of the young has been greatly facilitated by Canberra’s politicians moving into areas beyond their constitutional and administrative competence, and in particular, the schools.

In this, despite the taxpayers’ billions, the politicians are destroying a school system painstakingly built up over generations, with Australian students now outperformed by Kazakhstan’s.

Canberra has inadvertently provided the answer to the dilemma that so concerned the great Sir John Glubb, that the only thing we learn from history is that men never learn from history. The political elites answer to this dilemma is simple: just stop teaching history.

Otherwise the young would marvel at the sturdy alliance between Sir Robert Menzies and B. A. Santamaria against old-style communism and how this delivered a golden age to our nation. Or they would relive the heroic alliance between Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and John Paul II in the knowledge that this led to the collapse of Soviet communism and the liberation of countless millions.

If the young had known these things and of the glory of Western civilisation, they would have been better prepared to withstand the cultural Marxist juggernaut and its facile dogmas which gradually replaced their Judeo-Christian beliefs. And we would not now be witnessing the serious undermining of Western civilisation.

Unleashed in the Whitlam interregnum, the rise of the cultural elites in Australia had been brought to a grinding halt by three events.


The first two were the landslide election of the Howard government in 1996 and then the 1999 rejection of the Turnbull-Keating politicians’ republic designed to endow the prime minister with near-dictatorial powers, breaking the golden thread that goes back to before the Magna Carta. Seeing that from the engine room of the campaign against this constitutional monstrosity, what was surprising to me was the gullible support for this among more than two thirds of the politicians, almost all of the mainstream media, with a list of celebrities and against the ominous silence of big business.

What was especially disappointing were the experts who understood and condemned its constitutional flaws but then who later campaigned for it. Fortunately, the rank and file were too smart, with the No case winning nationally, in every state, and 76 per cent of electorates, a result achieved by a military style campaign with a lean command and almost 60,000 loyal foot soldiers.

The third event was in 2004 when John Howard was returned with a majority approaching that of 1996. It seemed that the elites could well and truly have been routed and that this was another golden era. Nevertheless, in a book that year, Twilight of the Elites, I did ask whether this might only be a partial eclipse.

Tony Abbott, who had suggested to Paul Ramsey his magnificent bequest on Western civilisation and who wrote the foreword, emphasised that this civilisation is foundational for Australia and for all Australians. To my surprise, he centred this on my outsider status. To the ‘Paddington republican set’, he said, I should have been one of them. ‘Weren’t people like Flint supposed to be victims of a racist Crown and the boring conformist Australia which flourished under it?’

‘White Australia in its heyday’, he wrote, seemed to ‘have given “Flint’s family the same welcome” as had been “widely extended to people from Asia since the 60s”.’ He said that as a ‘non-Anglo’, I was far from oblivious to Australia’s flaws. But neither did I take its strengths for granted nor feel compulsory guilt about its institutions. I was, he said, a ‘ living refutation’ of the cultural determinist argument that ‘the monarchy somehow stops people from other backgrounds feeling at home in Australia’ tackling ‘some of the other big issues in the culture wars: philosophical relativism, the Judeo-Christian heritage, the victim mentality and Australia’s place in the world.’.

A generation ago, he wrote, what would have been remarkable about my views was my ‘moderation and urbanity’, but what was remarkable now was my ‘courage in tackling so many topics from the perspective that the traditional values and practices at least  deserve a fair trial.’

By 2007 it was not so much, as the mainstream media claimed, that Australians were tired of John Howard’s sound government and moral certitude over the preceding eleven years. Rather, it was the mainstream media who had never wanted him and were lying in wait for the opportunity to get him.

Just as they are now trying to destroy Peter Dutton for bringing down Turnbull by converting leaked au pair trivia into scandal, so the media undermined Howard by exaggerating minor matters, just as they later did to Abbott and just as the American mainstream are now doing to President Trump .

The mainstream also pushed the fiction that Kevin Rudd was just a younger and more able Howard, a fiscal conservative.

Despite his record in Queensland and the likely reversal of the industrial law reform they had championed, even the Australian jumped on the bandwagon and campaigned for Rudd. But on his retirement, the then editor, Chris Mitchell, apologised for ‘his greatest mistake’, persuading Rupert Murdoch to support Rudd.

So just as The Spectator Australia was being conceived by its UK publisher, the great Andrew Neil, the twilight came to a sudden end in 2007 with border control soon abandoned, extremist global warming theory the state religion, education standards set to fall, massive debt incurred for frivolous reasons and traditional institutions undermined.

By a constitutional sleight of hand, Australia was cheated of a conservative government in 2010. But when one was actually installed in 2013, this was undermined and eventually overthrown by the treachery of the LINO’s (Liberals In Name Only) in alliance with the mainstream media.

But as The Spectator Australia goes into its second decade, it is reassuring that it remains one of the few which continue to comply with O’Sullivan’s immutable First Law.

May it long continue.


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