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May 30th 2016 print

Jeremy Sammut

The Brazen Left’s Bid to Kill Quadrant

One by one, the institutions have been colonised and brought to heel: the press, schools, universities, public broadcasters, even police and armed forces. That same agenda demanded Quadrant's independent voice be defunded and silenced. It cannot be allowed to happen, but we need your help

q quad IIThe Australia Council’s decision to not approve the funding application of Quadrant — the nation’s oldest and leading conservative magazine of ideas and opinions — is a sign of the increasingly intolerant times. From Safe Schools to The Greens’ unholy war on religious freedom, the cultural space conservatives are being permitted to operate within is being shrunk to enforce politically correct conformity.

There is debate about the merits of public funding of the arts and letters, but that is separate to the issue of even-handed distribution of funding free of political bias.

The decision to leave the Quadrant bereft of taxpayer-support for the first time in 60 years is a grossly politicised act. It is designed to try to eliminate one of the few cultural institutions that allows dissenters to challenge Leftist thinking — despite a genuine contest of ideas being essential, or else the quality of the national debate and the resulting political and policy outcomes will suffer.

The breeding ground of the new intolerance is, of course, the universities, through which the Left has long marched and captured since the 1970s. Humanities academics across all fields present themselves as champions of diversity in everything from race to gender. But the vast majority have no time for the kind of diversity that really matters in a democratic society — political diversity.

They also like to think of themselves as pluralistic, and as critical and reflective thinkers open to new and challenging ideas. But in these circles, daring to think for oneself, to question the prevailing groupthink, is a recipe for alienation and marginalisation. The political is personal. Deviation from the charmed circled of allegedly enlightened opinion is punished with non-person status — with social and professional death

These attitudes are foreign to the culture of Quadrant and its long track record of discussing taboo subjects and disputing orthodox pieties. While its stance is broadly conservative, Quadrant hardly serves a partisan cheer squad toeing party-political lines. The real focus of the magazine and its website, Quadrant Online, is on collecting and collating heterodoxies across various of subjects. Political ‘purity’ tests therefore don’t apply, which allows for contributions to be made by writers with genuinely diverse perspectives.

Keith Windschuttle: The Australia Council’s Revenge

Take Quadrant’s influence on Indigenous affairs. This isn’t just the magazine that has published Keith Windschuttle’s work on frontier conflict and the Stolen Generations. It also published the pioneering 1994 article The Five Fallacies of Aboriginal Policy by the eminent Australian historian, John Hirst, which initiated the modern debate about the flaws in indigenous policy. Quadrant was also where Noel Pearson’s searing revisionist account of the source and nature of Indigenous disadvantage was published.

The stock standard Left view is that Indigenous disadvantage persists in Australia due to the failure to address the legacy of racism dating back to the original sins of colonisation. If we believe this, then the answer to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage is achieving symbolic reconciliation via the Recognition and Treaty movements. But this gets history the wrong way round. The true sources of the worst Indigenous disadvantage lies in the impact of the policies of Aboriginal Self-Determination of the 1970s. These policies were specifically designed to address the historic wrongs of dispossession by enabling Aborigines to live in the ‘homeland’ communities. But the result has been that these communities have become bywords for the welfare dependence, social dysfunction, and appalling gaps in health and welfare outcomes.

The real answers to Indigenous disadvantage lie in practical reconciliation — and in heeding the central message of the work of the ‘Quadrant school’ of revisionists, which includes not only Hirst and Pearson, but also, among others, Gary Johns, Helen Hughes, Anthony Dillon and Kerryn Pholi.

The broader question to consider: where would the Indigenous debate be if the Left is able — as it wants — to get away with shutting down alternative points of view. The answer is that the wrong solutions to the wrong problems would be pursued, at the expense of the perpetual suffering of the most disadvantaged Indigenous people.

Genuine political diversity is the only way to ensure error is detected and corrected, especially when the stakes are so high for the nation. The de-funding of Quadrant will make the task of correcting Leftist error even harder. Intellectual life in this country must consist of more than just a festival of Lefties talking to themselves in furious agreement.

Jeremy Sammut is Senior Research Fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies. His article, Not So Black and White: Stan Grant’s Nostalgia for Injustice, will appear in the June edition of Quadrant

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Comments [23]

  1. Egil says:

    The political/philosophical contributions of Quadrant is well worth supporting
    and I would happily do so.
    The poetry is, in my opinion anyway, much less support worthy.
    If the fees for poems, that I suspect not many read, are substantial and times are tough, then a rethink may be warranted.
    Maybe a poll for subscribers?
    Keep, reduce or eliminate the poetry?

    • Patrick McCauley says:

      Egil … do you ever read poetry anywhere? .. if so can you name the mag which publishes the best poetry? Though I declare to have published poems in Q – I think the good poems in it are very different and very worthy of a read, You will always find some poems that do not turn you on, but for the committed reader of poems , Q is a must read – particularly for the poems of rural poets, and for the international connections. If I compare the poems I read in Q with the poems I read in Overland/ Meanjin/Westerly … I find a very different form/focus of poem. Q is connected to more ordinary concerns, than academic acrobatics… and it can be read by the ordinary person. It is a must in my Q reading, and has saved me from despair on more than one occasion. There is plenty of philosophy if not politics in it from quite a different point of view. I suggest you try it again and place your mind half way between the poem and your judgement of it ( much the same way as a painter would place his eye half way between the subject and his painting … so as to allow the peripheral vision) .. let the images wash over you … and many of the Q poems will enlighten. Keep the poems.

    • LBLoveday says:

      I never read any poetry; indeed seldom read any of the magazine. Hence my reading is almost exclusively restricted to articles like this which I can read without subscribing – I typically print them and read in a more convivial situation, like sitting on the verandah with a glass of red.
      I subscribe pretty well as a donation (although, it does allow me to post an occasional comment like this).

  2. Egil says:

    Thank you, Patrick,
    for advice
    and guidance!
    I gave it a crack,
    but as a hopeless hack,
    I’m left….
    still bewildered!

    I think it is fair to say that poetry’s influence/popularity peaked a long time ago.
    For Quadrant’s subscribers to keep supporting it, may well be the right thing to do.
    But Quadrant, like any other organization/enterprise, needs to make ends meet.
    Raise taxes/donations or cut expenditure is a familiar theme these days.
    A poll/election would be the consultative/democratic way to go about it.

    [ I did enjoy Peter Jeffrey’s “Nipples”! :-} }

    • Patrick McCauley says:

      There, you see – you found ‘Nipples’.. and if you persisted you would also find the poems of Hal Colebach; John Whitworth; Rod Moran;Rissell Erwin; Susanne Edgar; Phillipa Martyr etc.You even started to arrange your own words as poem … allowing something to create within. Either we are all hopeless hacks, or none of us are. You do not need to be a cultured genius to enjoy poems.However, as with all educated thinking, poetry has been completely over-run by the left wing… and now only pumps out sub-liminal code (lists; war cries and purple prose) demanding more refugees and global warming … gender dystopia etc. Poetry has been decimated by the universities teaching creative writing courses in which all students are not given a pass until they are writing exactly like their lecturers. Allow the poems as an act of faith in the face of economic boredom. It maintains proof that we are all human.

  3. Ian MacDougall says:

    Er… Ahem…
    May I draw everyone’s attention to the double standard operating here? We have right on the front page of this worthy online journal a window to a rant by Bob Carter headed The Best the IPCC Can Do
    .
    If a slick video and the IPCC’s latest inaccurate and untruthful arguments are the best it can do to demonstrate a dangerous warming problem, its advice should be ignored and funding withdrawn.

    .
    Carter proceeds to summarise his case:
    Given the general absence of evidence for dangerous global warming after 25 years of focused research, the expenditure of breathtaking amounts of money, and at a time when there has been no warming for at least 17 years, such a nonsensical statement should prompt derision.
    I contend, as do many others, that the increased heat content of the oceans and atmosphere is showing up as the ongoing sea level rise of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO) rather than as thermometer readings. But that is by the way. My contention here is simply that it is pure hypocrisy for this journal to complain about being defunded by certain strategically-placed antagonists, while simultaneously calling for the defunding of the IPCC: on the grounds that the IPCC does not endorse the Quadrant preferred posture of ‘scepticism’ on anthropogenic global warming.
    It brings to mind the famous dictum right at the heart of liberalism, and attributed to Voltaire: “I don’t agree with a word you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”

  4. Bran Dee says:

    I read you Ian but don’t subscribe to your climate-religion eschatology. The claim that the end-of-the-world-is-nigh provides an excitement and focus of meaning for some and has been used to win converts to various religions especially the two that formed after an obviously failed prediction of the end in 1844. Some people like the feeling of possessing unique wisdom with the expectation that they will be vindicated soon in the future. One group knocks on doors every 3 months or so looking for easily frightened people so frighten each other for mutual satisfaction.

    Some of us with longer memories are protected from alarmists on global warming by remembering that the National Geographic magazine of November 1976 had an alarming article on the then present signs of global cooling, yes cooling. The U.S. National Science Board, 1974, is quoted as saying”During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade”.
    Fortunately in 1974-76 we saved money by not asking big government to relieve our anxiety and fix the temperature.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Bran:

      I read you Ian but don’t subscribe to your climate-religion eschatology.

      Which is more faith-based: the AGW proposition, or its negation?
      Lack of local temperature rise does not mean that the Earth ain’t heating up. Sea level rise at 3.3 +/- 0.4 mm/yr (see :http://sealevel.colorado.edu/) means only 3 possibilities: 1. Glacial ice melt; and/or 2. thermal expansion of sea water and/or 3. both 1 and 2.
      No way out of it. The planet is warming. While ice sheets remain at the poles and on the Himalayas, air temperatures are likely to stay fairly stable. But as the ice goes, so will the planet we all know.
      3.3 +/- 0.4 mm/yr means 33 mm per decade; 330 mm (33 cm = 0.33 m) per century; 3.3 metres per thousand years. And so on…
      Call it a long thaw.
      If that rate was not confined to relatively recent history, (to the coal-fired Industrial Age we still live in) we would have had a rise of 7 metres or so since Roman times, and that would have been noticed and recorded all around the world.

      Some of us with longer memories are protected from alarmists on global warming by remembering that the National Geographic magazine of November 1976 had an alarming article on the then present signs of global cooling, yes cooling.

      Yes, and there was that cult led by the rather nonconformist cleric Charles Leadbeater, who in 1925 gathered his gullible flock at Balmoral Beach opposite Sydney Heads to welcome none other than Jesus Christ himself as He made His grand Second Coming to Earth by water-walking into Sydney Harbour. (Leadbeater was part of a theosophical consortium that built a 2,500 seat amphitheatre at Balmoral, opposite the Heads, for the welcoming, or so the story goes. It was real, and only demolished in 1951, proving that wishing is believing, and people believe according to their wishes and hopes. Like, say, the belief that the planet cannot possibly be warming: because if it was, it would be bad for established business: the source I suspect, of much AGW ‘scepticism’.)
      .
      The mob who put out National Geographic will believe what they want to believe, and no doubt change belief according to changing circumstances. Beliefs, like the conviction that the planet cannot possibly be warming, rest on many factors, some of which are just personal whim and inclination.
      AGW however, is not faith-based. It rests on much scientific data, the clearest, simplest and most direct IMHO being the satellite altimetry data on sea level.
      .
      http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/leadbeater_charles

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      I read you Ian but don’t subscribe to your climate-religion eschatology.

      Which is more faith-based: the AGW proposition, or its negation?
      Lack of local temperature rise does not mean that the Earth ain’t heating up. Sea level rise at 3.3 +/- 0.4 mm/yr (see :http://sealevel.colorado.edu/) means only 3 possibilities: 1. Glacial ice melt; and/or 2. thermal expansion of sea water and/or 3. both 1 and 2.
      No way out of it. The planet is warming. While ice sheets remain at the poles and on the Himalayas, air temperatures are likely to stay fairly stable. But as the ice goes, so will the planet we all know.
      3.3 +/- 0.4 mm/yr means 33 mm per decade; 330 mm (33 cm = 0.33 m) per century; 3.3 metres per thousand years. And so on…
      Call it a long thaw.
      If that rate was not confined to relatively recent history, (to the coal-fired Industrial Age we still live in) we would have had a rise of 7 metres or so since Roman times, and that would have been noticed and recorded all around the world.
      1. CO2 is a heat trapping gas – known since Arrhenius circa 1890. It is a major industrial by-product. Arrhenius predicted global warming because of industrial emissions
      2. Adding CO2 to the air is like putting an extra blanket on the bed. It alters the bed’s radiation balance so incoming heat exceeds outgoing, causing internal heat content to rise until incoming = outgoing: OK in winter, not so good in summer.
      3. Other industrial byproducts (eg methane CH4) are GHGs.
      It’s not rocket science.

      (Original reply still awaiting “moderation”: NB not censorship.)

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Bran: (Part 2 of response awaiting censorship, correction moderation)

      Some of us with longer memories are protected from alarmists on global warming by remembering that the National Geographic magazine of November 1976 had an alarming article on the then present signs of global cooling, yes cooling.

      Yes, and there was that cult led by the rather nonconformist parson Charles Leadbeater, who in 1925 gathered his gullible flock at Balmoral Beach opposite Sydney Heads to welcome none other than Jesus Christ himself as He made His grand Second Coming to Earth by water-walking into Sydney Harbour. (Leadbeater was part of a theosophical consortium that built a 2,500 seat amphitheatre at Balmoral, opposite the Heads, for the welcoming, or so the story goes. That construction was real, and only demolished in 1951, proving that wishing is believing, and people believe according to their wishes and hopes. Like, say, the belief that the planet cannot possibly be warming: because if it was, it would be bad for established business: the source I suspect, of much AGW ‘scepticism’.)
      .
      The mob who put out National Geographic will believe what they want to believe, and no doubt change belief according to changing circumstances. Beliefs, like the conviction that the planet cannot possibly be warming, rest on many factors, some of which are just personal whim and inclination.
      AGW however, is not faith-based. It rests on much scientific data, the clearest, simplest and most direct IMHO being the satellite altimetry data on sea level.
      .
      http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/leadbeater_charles

  5. Clive says:

    The IPCC is a dangerous political organization promoting false science.Your statement that the heat is in the oceans is in the oceans overlooks the fact that heat cannot transfer from the atmosphere to the ocean. The heat in the ocean is from direct sunlight all the way down to 100 metres. The cooling mentioned by Bran Dee occurred during a 35 year period frm 1940 to 1975 when there was an extremely large increase in CO2 emissions. Where was the greenhouse effect then?

    At the 2010 UN IPCC conference a plan for world government and a socialist world was mapped out. Using the large numbers of third world governments and left leaners in the West they have been able to push thier agenda towards wealth redistribution and levelling standards of living by committing the Western democracies to expensive , unreliable and uncompetitive energy systems.
    I suggest you read this: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/abdication.pdf

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Clive:

      … heat cannot transfer from the atmosphere to the ocean.

      That statement neglects the hydrologic cycle.
      .
      495,000 (~ 500,000) cubic kilometres of water are cycled from ocean to atmosphere and back again every year.
      As a skier, I have for a long time observed what happens when the snow melts. Much of the thaw happens thanks to direct incoming solar radiation, which is why in Australia the coldest, most skiable and most durable snow is out of it on the south-facing slopes. But also, the air warms in Spring, making it a prime time to ski. Warm air penetrates the snow mass and converts the small ice particles from solid at = 0 deg C. The heat from the slowly elevating sun and the spring air melts the snow, and that heat runs off down river together with the runoff meltwater. When glaciers warm and melt, as they are doing, heat in the meltwater then runs into the ocean. Hence the slow but steadily accelerating rise in sea level of industrial times.
      A similar heat transfer process occurs whenever water falls out of the atmosphere as rain, and also in the air-water mix in the foam of breaking ocean waves.
      .
      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Water/page2.php
      .
      PS: Thanks for the link to the Monckton rant. I reject it because sea level.

      • Clive says:

        None of that is caused by evil human carbon dioxide emissions. The IPCC is telling us that it is and for the reasons Monckton gives in his report on the Cacun meeting.

      • Meniscus says:

        For some fun at home, take a heater into your bathroom, fill up the bath tub with cold water and close the door. Without electrocuting yourself, turn the heater on to maximum power and see how long it takes for the bath water to increase in temperature. By all means, feel free to use a thermometer. Just before you die of boredom, repeat the experiment – this time, put the heater away, empty the bath tub and then refill it with hot water. Then, sit back and experience what happens to the air temperature in the room.

        I know, I know… wow.

        • Ian MacDougall says:

          Sorry, Meniscus. But there’s a bit more to the global ocean-atmosphere system than your bathroom and electric radiator can model.
          (IMHO)

  6. Bryce M says:

    The Australia Council has had its budget slashed in a big way by the government. It looks like tit for tat to me. The ladies of the Australia Council, most of the council is made up of them, are probably angry and bitter. Naturally transgender whale studies and wimmins literature will be favoured. Ive just subscribed, to help, though it hurts a bit as I am suffering from the collapse of moral values in our society, via the all too common divorce. Surely there are enough among the well heeled out there who enjoy a good read who could kick in a few grand apiece, and some a few hundred grand instead of leaving it to their ungrateful, entitlement filled, self centred and indifferent offspring.

  7. Greg Southern says:

    Another article from the seemingly lefty infiltrated CIS.
    So Quadrant lost its government (taxpayer) money. Better to stop whingeing about the Australia Council being full of leftoids – we know that. Why would you want money from such an organisation anyway? Maybe Quadrant can get some integrity at last. Why do you want taxpayers to fund Quadrant’s anything? (eh – Patrick McCauley) Lefties do it by the billions but that does not mean Quadrant should have their hand up for some as well. How can Quadrant criticise the enemy when Quadrant was doing what they do?
    In the last two paragraphs, Jeremy raises the level of the rent seeker cries to levels that lefties would be prroud of. Jeremy is going to do good – more taxpayer money is required. Is Jeremy’s “good” better than any other “good”?
    In the third from last paragraph: “The real answers to Indigenous disadvantage lie in practical reconciliation” Did Shorten say this? How about: The aborigines, who are the most advantaged group of people in the country, forget their culture, put it in a bottle on a shelf, and take up Western culture and live their lives as they see fit. There you are – all corrected for you without the pc bullshit attached and no taxpayers money.
    And read Gary Johns? Yes. Pearson? You have got to be joking.

  8. As a self funded retiree who enjoys reading the Quadrant articles I did donate a modest amount to the appeal as well as my subscriptions to help enable Quadrant continue promoting commonsense. As I wrote in Keith Windshuttle’s column – My family/I have been Quadrant subscribers for decades, it’s one of the few places where common sense is prominent and seems more important than the overly emotional soap opera/tabloid crap routinely served up on TV, radio and unfortunately [increasingly] even in the AUSTRALIAN.
    I don’t like the poetry much either, I’m so old fashioned that I still like Banjo Patterson, but I’m more than prepared to read it if only to annoy the parasitic leftists who I am forced via my taxes to support. I don’t think that any government should support ‘the arts’ in any way, let alone by borrowing money to fund propaganda outlets determined to destroy our way of life.
    To add to Jeremy’s column – What’s the converse of diversity? – University.
    I would also add that the Universities have been taken over in a Gramscian sense before the 70′s – I was at the U of Q in the late 60′s and graduated in the early 70′s and it had more than the usual fare of ‘compassionate’ would be revolutionaries at that time. Many of them have since gone into the education department and have certainly had an undue and to my mind harmful influence.
    Finally to answer all those who say that Quadrant shouldn’t get any government/tainted money, I would agree, but only if no other ‘arts’ body gets any money. I absolutely resent paying to fund those who would undermine and destroy our culture and way of life, while those who would defend are disarmed financially.

  9. Alice Thermopolis says:

    Sea-level rise catastrophists may find this post of interest:

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/05/30/antarctic-climate-confusion/

    “We’ve known for some time that Antarctica hasn’t been melting as fast as climate models predicted it ought to be, and scientists have been surprised to find the southern continent’s ice sheets have expanded in some places. Last fall a group of researchers issued a corrective to models that predicted that melting Antarctic ice could add a meter to global sea levels by the end of the century, calling that catastrophic future “implausible.””

  10. Ian MacDougall says:

    Yes. At the CSIRO’s rate of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr, at the end of the century, ie in 64 years time, at the most the ocean will only have risen 3.7 x 64 = 237 mm ~ 0.24 metres.
    Provided a factor or two remains constant, what is there to get excited about in that?

  11. Alice Thermopolis says:

    OCEAN, BE THOU STILL!

    “From the sacred shore I stand on, I command thee to retreat;
    Venture not, thou stormy rebel, to approach thy master’s seat:
    Ocean, be thou still! I bid thee come not nearer to my feet!”

    But the sullen ocean answered with a louder, deeper roar,
    And the rapid waves drew nearer, falling sounding on the shore;
    Back the Keeper and the Bishop, back the king and courtiers bore.

    And he sternly bade them never more to kneel to climate modeller clay,
    But alone to praise and worship That which earth and seas obey:
    And his golden crown of empire never wore he from that day.
    King Catastrophist is dead and gone: Parasites exist alway.

  12. Ian MacDougall says:

    About, about, in reel and rout
    The coal-fires danced at night;
    The water, like a witch’s oils,
    Burnt green, and blue and white.

    And some in dreams assurèd were
    Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
    Nine fathom deep he had followed us
    From the land of mist and snow.

    And every tongue, through utter drought,
    Was withered at the root;
    We could not speak, no more than if
    We had been choked with soot.

    Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
    Had I from old and young!
    Not Heaven’s key, but the IPCC
    About my neck was hung.

    - With apologies to both Coleridge and his Mariner