Insights from Quadrant

Conservatism stiffed

In the comments below Tony Thomas’ recent piece on woke museums, subscriber Subrosa raised some very pertinent observations and questions, a few of which are answered below

As a young person, my question to Quadrant and Quadrant readers is: What are we going to do? The long march through the institutions is succeeding, in part, because there are no/few alternative options for young, ambitious, intelligent, creative minds. Or even old, ambitious, intelligent, creative minds for that matter.

Virtually every major award, scholarship, grant and research opportunity in the humanities comes from the hard Left – with only a few notable exceptions. Quadrant offers magazine publication, sure, but little chance of a book going on to win a major award. Same/same with funding within the museum sector. It’s shallow but many are willing to “play the game” and accept wokeism just to get their own piece of the pie. Sometimes it’s as simple as paying rent and putting bread on the table. Same/same with landing great jobs. I’m sure there are non-woke employers out there, but how you connect with them is anybody’s guess.

Paying the mortgage, covering the kids’ school fees — they’re powerful incentives to keep the mouth tight shut, particularly when your pay cheque is drawn on the account of a woke entity and your woke supervisor has staffed adjoining desks with the likeminded. Consider this telling anecdote, related by last week by an old friend here in the US, from the days when the Black Lives Matter mania was at its peak. The vice-president of a large media outfit posted on an internal company web page the names and amounts contributed by her underlings? The journalist who related this story chipped in $20 for appearance’s sake and to avoid harassment, denied promotions etc. It was a culture war shakedown, but what is one person to do but suffer the consequences of acting on principle?

Closer to home, imagine the discomfort a Qantas employee, say, might have faced had they objected to the airlines’ planes being turned into flying billboards for the Voice.

The usual sectors (church, education, even science) cannot be relied upon not to force cultural Marxism down your throat anymore. Could Quadrant hold a literary prize that out-moneys the Left somehow? Could Quadrant find creative ways to reward regional museums for their balanced displays and champion them? Could Quadrant set up a real truth-telling history scholarship? This might all sound impossible, but the fact is, the Left have done it, while the centre/conservatives have put their energy elsewhere.

That “energy” is mostly devoted to survival. It’s the public purse which underwrites the citadels of wokeism, from the Australian Human Rights Commission to the ABC and so many other spigots pouring out the approved and endless narratives. Quadrant, for example, once received a trifling annual sum from what was then called the Australia Council. That funding was cut off without rhyme, reason or explanation. We’ve been self-supporting ever since, which is why taking a subscription is so vital.

Yes, many of these museums are full of woke “true believers” but they’re also full of curators who love their collections; they’re playing the game to keep the funding coming in to keep their storehouses from going to ruin. I absolutely agree with [commenter] en passant that museums should pay their way by attracting paying visitors, but a shift in the market won’t occur until there are real alternatives in the culture wars. After all, most of the time people go to galleries, museums, bookstores, etc, because they’re pleasant activities.

The average person doesn’t really know the background political story to the various prizes being handed out, they just see the “prize winning” stickers in the corners and get curious.

Again, it’s all about the Left’s access to the taxpayer dollar. Would the ABC be a viable commercial entity were its standard fare supported only by ad and/or subscriber revenues? Would dreadful plays be staged without government grants?  Would the woman who makes “art” out of her own multi-coloured excrement be producing such crap without the generous hand of government attending to her bottom line?

The key would seem to be a conservative government prepared to cut off the luvvies, to make them pay their own way, as does Quadrant.

Well, one can dream.

Subscribers are invited to share their thoughts via this link.

-roger franklin

12 thoughts on “Conservatism stiffed

  • NarelleG says:

    @Roger Franklin – I have a group on facebook who are keen to try and prevent this insidious destruction of Australia – would buying Quadrant from a newsagents help rather than subscribing?
    ‘. We’ve been self-supporting ever since, which is why taking a subscription is so vital.’

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    This situation has to be changed at the political level. For instance, when the Australia Council axed the (very limited) Quadrant funding but built up a plethora of other magazines, all leftist, for extensive funding, there should have been some political intervention from the conservative side of politics, or at least some hue and cry. There was zilch. The only thing to do is to keep complaining about this and other outrages to various politicians responsible for these awards and funding and to mount a groundswell of support for changes to the use of public monies for the arts. Simply using Quadrant’s and other scarce resources to provide alternative awards might be helpful but is of necessity limited. However I would be in favour of some token recognitions and prizes; big money doesn’t have to be involved for the winners. Some of the Sky After Dark media personalities could likely be encouraged to feature these awards. Word gets around.

    • Daffy says:

      The NSW Covid bonus mechanism should be how arts grant funds are distributed. Not by a committee of pals giving money to pals’ projects, but vouchers to each taxpayer (and ex-taxpayer, so I”m still in the loop) for ‘cultural’ purchases. A cultural provider would register as such (and be vetted) and one could use one’s $3 voucher for a selected provider. This would mean that people would choose who their funds ‘supported’ rather than the pals club.

  • Solo says:

    I very much agree with the commenter. Salvatore had a spruik of his book the other day, but its a little superfluous. We all know what’s wrong with Australia, and we know that conservatism is in decline. Kids in daycare are being indoctrinated with aboriginal fairytales and welcome to country at age 2, if not earlier, for example. Conservatives tend to be a quiet bunch, rule followers, trying to pay their way and politely navigate the eroding world without causing too much offence due to love of ‘free speech’, even if it is just for one side. Losing one’s income, reputation and ability to pay bills and look after family is a true threat for Mr John Conservative. Our country is awash in foolishness, but who is going to the pull the plug? How will this happen? I can’t afford to actively go against the mainstream gibberish in my profession, and I don’t know how many can.

  • Lewis P Buckingham says:

    Being self employed can help a bit.
    Some months ago I had already put in an extra 10000 litre water tank with roof catchment to tide against the coming drought.
    The BOM then bolstered my prediction, a pure guess, that it would be hot and dry after 3 years of rain.
    A few months ago, looking at the ocean heat in the eastern pacific, it looked as if the El Nino would be a fizzer.
    Casually I told a client that it looked as if the dog could be outside more often this Summer as the El Nino was not as strong as it was predicted.
    The look I got was that directed to an Apostate.
    The BOM really has people in thrall.
    Today BOM says on its site that the El Nino has peaked and is declining.
    Today NOAA still predicts stable for two seasons.
    You can take your pick.
    So being independent can be a path to freedom from some forms of passive intimidation.
    There is a strong case to start teaching stem sciences in a methodical way, based upon inquiry and not knowing.
    Recently a Nobel prize winner in Physics gave an unreported speech on the ABC, about honesty in science,
    He does God, although he is an Atheist. Ie he expects the physical universe to be rationally working.
    He proved entanglement occurs at a distance, the breakthrough in quantum theory.
    He knows that science involves testable experiment , not pr and models that don’t work.
    He is deplatformed now.
    Perhaps it will be in other cultures, such as Korea that the light will not go out.

  • Watchman Williams says:

    Hoping for a Conservative government to “cut off the luvvies” is a pious hope but a vain one. When, during the last fifty years, did a so-called “Conservative” government ever have the courage to face the enemy within and defend the culture? Indeed, when have we had a genuine Conservative Government since Menzies?
    John Howard was a party hireling posing as a Conservative. He was the author of middle class welfare and the PM who disarmed the Australian people, leaving arms in the hands of the criminal classes. Tony Abbott professed to be a Conservative, but spent his brief time as PM appeasing the left in his own Party. We had hoped for an Enoch Powell, but found ourselves with a Neville Chamberlain instead.
    A plague on all their houses!

  • Libertarian says:

    Or you could preference the Libertarians and both Marxists and Conservatives would have to run their own cake stalls.

  • Stephen Due says:

    Dominant Woke/Left views are the inevitable result of the induction of the middle class in vasy numbers into the corporations and the vast ‘public service’. Once people are converted from independent small business owners and employees to wage slaves in the vast hierarchical structures that dominate today’s society, socialism inevitably becomes their ideology. The fundamental problem is that people are not being taught ‘conservative values’. Neither is it that ‘conservative values’ are not getting enough airplay. Rather the fundamental problem is the destruction of the economic independence of the middle class. A ‘wage slave’ is inevitably just that – a slave to the employer and the state – and inevitably adopts the necessary ‘values’.

    • Stephen Due says:

      Apologies; Please read “The fundamental problem is NOT that people are not being taught…” Had I reviewed the above comment more carefully before posting it, I would also have avoided using ‘inevitable/inevitably’ four times in a paragraph of a hundred words.

    • Francois Stallbom says:

      Stephen, Quadrant authors and other readers. Who is the left? The woke? Elite left? Everyone always uses these vague terms. Who are the fathers of cultural marxism? What is their end goal? Nothing is hidden or a secret anymore as the marxists are openly saying what they are planning for society. We are all pussyfooting around the actual drivers of the destruction of western civilisation. Time to call them out is long overdue.

  • Paul from Sydney says:

    As someone who spends alot of time rubbing shoulders with the ‘new elite’ (Matthew Goodwin) both in the private sector and in government, and who follows the current debates and actions in the US to try to roll back left wing elite power, I can say that none of this is as easy as some think. I absolutely believe that the ballot box can be a place where the people resist the dominance of the left elite – see the Voice referendum. This can and should be reproduced, although the Liberal Party’s attempts to stay in the good books with big business means they alienate many of the otherwise anti-woke allies among the battlers (plus One Nation is incompetent at offering an alternative). But I don’t think people realise how deeply any government must rely upon a range of experts and administrators drawn from this class of people and how deeply many in this class of people believes woke causes are reasonable and compassionate, and are willing to shut down those who oppose for those reasons (not because they have been overtly converted to neo-Marxism). This comes of course strongly from the academy which influence education and the ‘culture makers’. Unfortunately, the right, often being practical people, have exited the academy. Yes there are significant power structures, and the recent UK bill to require universities to protect academic freedom is a perfect example of what needs to be done there. But the right have to start succeeding in debates with the new elite at every level. Gray Connelly has said that (believe it or not) the ABC is often looking for conservative voices and calls him up for suggestions (see his interview on the Political Animals podcast). Yet few are willing to engage. Of course, we are called racists etc if we do, which is hard to bear, and our arguments are belittled. But this is a long term battle. Ultimately, conservative views are both reasonable and compassionate, because they are actually best for everyone. It is on us to get better at making the case (‘telling a better story’ as Baroness Stroud has put it), and funding those who do if we can’t do it ourselves. Sitting in the corner playing with our own toys and complaining won’t help. In the end, we have to copy the success of the left, and that won’t come overnight. The new elite can be put in their place to some degree, but they also have to be persuaded. They are essential to the success of our society, like it or not. That’s why I’m undertaking post-graduate study in philosophy – to challenge their thinking at its source – but it’s not the only way. Many probably won’t agree with me. Kudos to Quadrant for being the standard bearer. May it continue to shine the light.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    I am so sad and dissillusioned to read these pieces and the relevant responses from your readers. I’m a 72 years old man, an ex-military man of 30+ years of service. The filth and thievery of cash and kind, of talent and stupidity, has been going on for so long that my tale of how it all started comes from 1973. An ABC news piece filmed from Hanoi, then the capital of North Vietnam and the headquarters of our vile enemy, the Viet Cong and the Communists, showed our Deputy Prime Minister, Comrade Jim Cairns descending the stairs as he disembarked his aircraft into the loving arms of the Communist Party leaders of North Vietnam. They all, and Cairns himself, wore beaming smiles of ambition, treason, comradeship, friendship, success etc., as the anchor of the report told us that he came bearing a gift of $10 Million AUD for the enemy, this while the remainder of our Australian forces and our good friends, the Americans were commencing a rear guard action against the enemy which ended in the ignominious defeat of South Vietnam in 1975 and the ensuing departure of the Americans in shame. I cannot, try as I might, find any mention of the $10 Million in Hansard, which is the written record of every word spoken in the House of Representatives, and it would seem that the money bill needed to vote the gift to the enemy was never, in fact, voted on. At the time, Comrade Cairns was also the Minister for Industry, along with the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and I firmly believe that the money was sourced from his portfolio as the Industry Minister. I also believe that Comrade Whitlam would have known of the plot. In another, more just? war, they would have both been shot for treason and as traitors. No, make no mistake, our war was lost long ago, when the people of Australia were sold a pup by the Labor Party and we drank the Kool Aid they offered and we drank it unknowingly and willingly. All that remains is for us to lower the Australian Flag, fold it lovingly and keep it safe until we can rise again to defend our way of life, if that way of life survives the long march into the darkness to come. How do I know this story? I was a young sailor, just back from Vietnam, and was in my bunk resting when I heard the words which attracted my attention. I am now in receipt of a copy of that ABC news broadcast, sourced from the Australian Archives located in the Sydney building, and the record has been amended port-broadcast to remove any mention of the gift to the enemy.

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