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Western Civilization, the media, and political irresponsibility

By Dirk Moses - posted Monday, 18 June 2018

While Malcolm talks of treason, John worries about Arab "infiltration" and the "eventual Islamisation of our country":

Of course the ANU didn't respond They are the promoters of Islamic studies funded by Arab nations This is all you need to know Our learning centres are being infiltrated These courses are the forest scouts, the pioneers to pave the way forward for the eventual Islamisation of our country Meanwhile, they ENJOY all the benefits of western civilisation

Rick employs military and totalitarian metaphors in his interpretation of the messages he is getting on the pages of The Australian.


These abuses of so-called academic freedom are turning universities into forward operating bases in a psychological war on Western civilization. Brain washing techniques learned from Hitler and Stalin are being employed to achieve inversion, perversion and conversion.

Peter joins the dots: "The enemy is in the camp. It's hand to hand from now on."

Treason, infiltration, Islamisation, the enemy among us, war to the knife: this is Breivikian reasoning, and it need not end well. It only takes one. When will The Australian draw the line?

Kenny's analysis of poor institutional governance is also self-serving. Child sex abuse in churches, the mounting sins committed by banks and the fleecing of wages by businesses cannot be laid at the feet of an undefined "green-left Utopia"; neither can the messes in the Middle East from Libya to Afghanistan. If anything is utopian, it is the conceit that democracy could be exported to these countries by force of arms.

Despite their DLP origins, he and most colleagues at The Australianhave forgotten other kinds of conservative analysis. B.A. Santamaria's political Catholicism, though unapologetically religious and anti-communist, was nonetheless deeply concerned with human and worker rights and shared with Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum a sharp critique of both atheistic socialism and unfettered capitalism. There is no telling what Santamaria would have made of the moral collapse we are witnessing in the private sector and sections of the churches, but it seems clear to me that the prevalent lust, cupidity, and greed infesting conservative institutions cannot be attributed to green-left utopianism. These vices predate the 1960s - the beginning of the end of "Western Civilization," according to the culture warriors - and metastasized in the context of the deregulation and privatization since the 1980s.

Compared to Santamaria's conservatism, the political movement of that name is today a thin, materialist creed, constituted by little more than support for mining, climate change scepticism, attacks on unions - Rerum Novarum now long forgotten – and large tax cuts for people with bank accounts in the Bahamas (remember the Panama Papers?). This conservatism offers no vision other than a nationally situated, globalized economy marked by increasing inequality, unmanaged urban growth, rural despair, environmental degradation, new coalmines, and the coarsening of public discourse by the infiltration of Fox News -, even Breitbart-style journalism.


It violates Christian imperatives to care for Creation – “our common home” as Pope Francis puts in his encyclical Laudato Si’and reflects a triumphalist view of Western conquest, more Sepulveda than Las Casas.

By vilifying refugees and Muslims, and by raising the spectre of Chinese influence, the small elite profiting most from the economy can equate its interests with the common good. Is Trump's America the future they want?

To realise this dystopia, it wages a culture war against the two institutions that embody the West's Enlightenment commitment to scientific research and open, public debate: the universities and ABC. As in other countries, public universities and broadcasters are central pillars of the Constitution of Liberty. It is thus no accident that the conservative think tank, the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), attacks universities and wants to privatise the ABC. So now, too, does the Liberal Party. Climate change scepticism is a central pillar in the denialist complex, because once global warming is acknowledged, energy production based on coal and gas extraction loses its long-term viability. Powerful interests with tentacles throughout conservative politics naturally resist this recognition. So they say it is political correctness to deny them the right to wilfully ignore hard science. Like in Erdogan's Turkey, academics and the media must be brought to heel so the government's nationalistic and mining-friendly economic policies can be implemented without public scrutiny.

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About the Author

A Dirk Moses is Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney. He is the author of German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past, the senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research, and co-editor of The Holocaust in Greece.

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