John Bowers is the President of the Adelaide University Liberal Club.
In the culture wars, what some Liberals would prefer to see as an ideological de-militarised zone is actually the ideological high ground. And we as a Party have allowed the radical left to map it out and occupy it by default. The result is that the radical left has taken control of all our fundamental cultural institutions and radical left values define and regulate our contemporary culture.
I do not subscribe to the view of some in our Party that Liberals have lost and/or should withdraw from the culture war in Australia. But I do recognise that increasingly oppressive and destructive left values currently dominate our everyday culture and our important institutions. The evidence of the ascendancy of cultural Marxism in Australia is everywhere. To mention just one example, Australians who are now in their twenties have been made very self-conscious and constrained in what they say and to whom at university and in their workplaces. This new sensitivity is a recent development in Australia’s history. Political correctness has shaped the way the current generation of young Australians think and express themselves. For young Australians, the culture of political correctness has been used to regulate freedom of expression in an unprecedented way. For any student in any Australian university today, saying or writing the ‘wrong thing’ has consequences. A person in this situation can suddenly have serious legal problems, political problems, or face an enrolment threat. This is how left fascism rolls out. No one is confident about where the boundaries of free expression lie, so self-censorship becomes a habit and free expression becomes a casualty of the dominant left culture.
The choices are stark. Liberals either have to fight to re-take cultural ground and institutions like schools, universities and the public media that have been colonised by the left, or allow themselves to be marginalised to the point of political irrelevance. To be successful in fighting the culture wars, Liberals have to do a number of things. One fundamental requirement is that Liberals more effectively get the message across to Australians that the culture wars are about the future of our national values and our institutions.
Source: Menzies House