QED

You Don’t Win if You Don’t Fight

The late philosopher and cultural critic Roger Scruton in his book Conservatism details the emergence of what he describes as “cultural conservatism”.  Scruton defines this as an intellectual movement centred on “exploring the roots of secular government in the Christian inheritance, and the place of religion in a society which has made freedom of conscience into one of its ruling principles.”

In response to disparate threats ranging from fundamentalist Islam and totalitarian communism to free market neo-liberalism and neo-Marxist inspired political correctness, Scruton argues cultural conservatives seek to re-establish “confidence not in our political institutions only, but in the spiritual inheritance on which they ultimately rest”. The freedom and liberties we take for granted have not arisen accidentally or spontaneously but have evolved over thousands of years and are unique to Western civilisation.   The price for freedom is eternal vigilance and unless acknowledged and defended what is most valuable soon disappears. 

Such are the threats to the West’s freedoms and way of life Scruton counsels, “We must rediscover what we are and what we stand for and having rediscovered it, be prepared to fight for it.  That is now, as it has ever been, the conservative message”.

Proven by recent events it’s clear Australia, in addition to being threatened by external forces including fundamentalist Islam, communist China and globalisation, is also under threat from enemies within.  Enemies who, instead of acknowledging and defending our institutions and way of life, consistently attack, undermine and disparage what is most precious.

Cultural-left academics committed to postcolonial and critical race theories argue Western civilisation is racist and guilty of oppressing those considered inferior.  The arrival of the First Fleet is condemned as an invasion leading to genocide and students taught to embrace diversity and difference and encouraged to see themselves as global citizens instead of proud Australians.

While the Australian national curriculum presents a black armband view of history and prioritises teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and spirituality, what we owe to Western civilisation, especially liberalism and Judeo-Christianity, is either belittled or ignored.

Freedom of conscience and freedom of expression are also under attack where anyone who dares question or disagree with politically correct ideology and mind control, with rare exceptions, is immediately condemned and vilified in the media and on social networking sites. Question multiculturalism and you are xenophobic, doubt man-made global warming and you are a “climate denier”, argue marriage involves a man and a woman and you are heteronormative, homophobic and worst of all Christian.  As George Orwell describes in his dystopian 1984, those in control have weaponised language to enforce group think. Instead of tolerating diverse views and rational debate people now lose their jobs or face being dragged before anti-discrimination commissions for simply speaking what they see as the truth.  Ignored is Orwell’s statement “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

As argued by America’s non-binary feminist, Camille Paglia, such is the dominance of cancel culture that “we are plunged once again into an ethical chaos where intolerance masquerades as tolerance and where individual liberty is crushed by the tyranny of the group”.

What’s to be done?  It’s vital to call out political correctness for what it is and what it seeks to do.  Political correctness, and it’s most recent manifestation, cancel culture, are not about ridding society of unfair discrimination; instead, both are critical aspects of the cultural-left’s long march to subvert and overthrow capitalism, Judeo-Christianity and Western society.

As argued by John Howard when prime minister, it’s also critical for cultural conservatives to enter the public square and engage in the battle of ideas.   If the field is vacated the battle is already lost.

Resisting the enemy within while acknowledging its faults requires defending what is most beneficial about nations like Australia.  As detailed in David Kemp’s books on liberalism in Australia we have inherited a profoundly liberating and empowering political and legal system that champions popular sovereignty, equality before the law and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As noted by Roger Scruton and also argued by the Perth based academic Augusto Zimmermann underpinning our political and legal institutions is the New Testament and Christian concepts like the inherent dignity of the person, the need to love thy neighbour as thyself and to promote goodness and resist evil.

While the cultural-left seeks to banish religion from the public square, arguing it has no role to play when deciding public policy and government legislation, it is also critical to point out that without a strong moral and ethical compass societies, proven by communism and fascism, soon descend into chaos and barbarism.

They are the choices conservatives face: endorse the cultural-left with silence or confront the nascent barbarism before its roots dig even deeper.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a conservative author and commentator and he edited cancel Culture and the Left’s Long March (available at kevindonnelly.com.au)

29 comments
  • J. Vernau

    If I left the letters ‘saur’ out of the word ‘dinosaurs’ I’d put an apostrophe in.

  • lbloveday

    Others would not including me:
    .
    Hippo’s? Rhino’s? Not for me, nor the Encyclopedia Britannia: “All rhinos are gray or brown in colour”; “Hippos are well adapted to aquatic life”;
    .
    From wordhippo.com
    What’s the plural form of dino?
    Answer: The plural form of dino is dinos.
    .
    Ain’t English a bugger!

  • J. Vernau

    lbloveday
    Thanks for the comment. I wouldn’t use an apostrophe in ‘rhinos’ or ‘hippos’ either, both abbreviations being in common use. Perhaps I’ve lived a sheltered life, but I’ve never heard dinosaurs being referred to as ‘dinos’.

  • Stephen Due

    Re: “underpinning our political and legal institutions is the New Testament and Christian concepts”. That is a fact of history. However there is no sign of our society returning to the Christian faith – rather the reverse is true. But without faith, the ‘concepts’ have no power. The majority of the population no longer have the “strong moral and ethical compass” that Christianity provides. The rest have no choice, in my view, but to follow this author’s advice and “confront the nascent barbarism” at every turn. We might as well begin with the cruel and tyrannical lockdowns, the dehumanising masks, the discriminatory vaccine passports, and the lethal ban on life-saving medical treatments.

  • andrew2

    I’ve been a lifelong Catholic. My intelligent growth in the faith happened with the emergence of the internet from the late 1990’s onward through which I was able to find out answers to any question my enquiring mind came up with. It didn’t come from the pulpit, though the weekly homily is necessary. Then recently I saw the emergence of online champions of Christianity who started making inroads into the minds and hearts of young men, and drawing them away from pornography and toward higher ideals. Then a few days ago I saw Maria.Zeee on instagram talk to a young aussie guy who shyly admitted that he had found Jesus recently and laughed self consciously about it. Man, I wanted to embrace this guy for his courage. It’s easy for the ethnic europeans to embrace their Christian culture but not so easy for the Anglo Australians. But if they start to consider the ideals and morals of their forefathers and listen to good sources of information about Christianity through the internet, they will find everything they need to regain the inheritance of Western Christianity.

  • RB

    Stephen Due.
    “without faith, the ‘concepts’ have no power”

    I disagree, I manage to live my life guided by the precepts contained within Christianity, without accepting I need to have faith in your god’s existence. While I am happy to mix cotton with nylon in my clothes, I avoid telling lies. While I do enjoy hoeing into a lobster I manage to do so without coveting my neighbor’s stuff.
    While I do not personally partake in the physical interaction that is on offer from women of negotiable virtue, I do not believe that those that do are in any way evil or wrong.
    There is much in Christianity of value despite not spending Sundays praying at the ceiling, equally, there is much that is appalling both historically and current that in no way reduces the value of Christianities’ teachings.

  • Stephen Due

    RB: Thanks for you comment. I see your point entirely. My argument, however, is about the power of Christianity as a social force to transform society. Obviously there are many people in your position – far more, possibly, than are church-going Christians in Australia today. Nevertheless, Christianity is not a philosophy, but a religion based on faith. Without faith Christianity ceases to be life-transforming for individuals. Without a sufficiently large number of adherents Christianity lacks the power to be an effective force for social transformation. When you say you live your life “guided by the principles contained within Christianity” I assume you mean that you are not guided by them because they Christian, but rather that they happen to be principles you agree with. That is a common view, but does not, from my perspective, refute my thesis. If Christianity ceases to be an effective force in society, the burden of social transformation will rest on you and others like you. I hope, for the sake of us all, that you are successful!

  • STD

    RB , explain this to my feeble mind. You live your life guided by the very thing you have no faith in. Are you not coveting the very existence of God by denigration therefore devaluing the value in the very thing that you still not understand- FAITH.
    As for prostitution not being morally wrong or evil , well I guess on the evidence ,we can advocate to young children that this is a harmless as it is a worthwhile lifestyle choice – disease wise at least ( corrupt path, maybe?). Surely you understand that somethings are alright and some are just not right. Ok I get it , there is no right or wrong, therefore no God and your the brightest progressive spark on the planet. Can you furnish me with the evidence that there is no God , just give me , Einstein, St Augustine and Sir Issac Newton the truth for the evidence that the truth does not exist. If you can give me conclusive truth for the non existence of truth that will make you the all encompassing embodiment of what is true and truthful , therefore because you know all , that would make you God , Lucifer.
    In the 1600s if I told you that electricity exists , I probably would have been burnt at the stake like Joan of Ark. However we all know that electricity does exist , but in the 1600s this truth remained hidden from consciousness of truth, in the horizon that is that dimension we know and call truth- the whole truth ,know, or no less!

  • lbloveday

    J. Vernau
    .
    For me, “dino” became common usage via The Flintstones.

  • RB

    STD. Who am I to argue with a personal assessment of your mental acuity.
    I respect your right to believe in whatever floats your boat, it would be ever so nice if the Christian right would return the favour, it looks like a leftie sometimes just carrying different signs.
    You are the one making the positive claim, that being your god exists so I need to provide no evidence that he does not, that’s how positive claims work, the one making the positive claim shows the proof. So prove empirically your god exists and belief will follow.
    Let me ask you this, do you believe in Mohammad? I imagine you will say no, then we agree! the point is I am just one more god along the road than you are.

  • lbloveday

    “..do you believe in Mohammad?”
    .
    Mohammad was a man who rationally indisputably existed, not a God, and the Muslims of course acknowledge that – they consider Mohammad the final, definitive Prophet of God. They also consider Jesus a Prophet of God, albeit a lesser one than Mohammad, but, unlike Christians, they deny his divinity.

  • andrew2

    RB, you like many comfortable atheists talk about religion like it is a platter at a dinner party that you can observe, sample or turn your nose up at, then return to your cosy armchair by the fireplace and resume polite conversation with the other 3 “horsemen” and together make fun of the flying spaghetti monster and his commands over shellfish, while making a mental note that you must pick up milk on the way home because the bottle in your fridge has reached its “best before date”, because “science”.
    Religion has never been such a minor topic except for the most pampered generation in the entire history of the world. This pampered generation, who are sitting on their little nest eggs and crying that their trips to Tuscany and their cruises to Fiji are being withheld from them by the unvaccinated, will doubtlessly give up their freedoms and ours in a second to get back to “enjoying the fruits of their hard work”. It is almost like they were bred for this moment, so predictable.
    Religion is the answer to what is clearly right in front of us: that might is right. That nation or empire enforces it’s control through blood and death.
    If you cannot see it, let me tell you that a new empire has emerged. They want to herald in the 4th industrial revolution where lobster will no longer be on the menu for you, though they might let you eat bugs that taste a lot like lobster. When it arrives you will hope not to get sick enough to end up in hospital because your treatment will consist of being given pamphlets on euthanasia and a lecture about how you are taking up a valuable bed.
    Christanity, of all religions clearly demonstrates the distinction between force and free-choice. Between servitude and acts of love, and between time and eternity. These concepts were intermingled in Christendom but Australia is no longer a Christian nation, so “time’s up” for that too. I’ve observed it coming for decades while debating atheists who refused to look at the overwhelming evidence for God’s existence and Jesus’s triumph over evil.
    In case you haven’t noticed, the NSW Premier has suspended the sitting of parliament and she and her Health advisers are putting us through the harshest social experiment in the history of our country. Welcome to the “new normal”.
    The only question now is which Kingdom will I choose to serve. I pray that my faith is strong enough.

  • cathryncox

    Thank-you for your article Dr Donnelly. The title “You don’t win…” made me immediately think of the Introduction to Peter Kreeft’s “How to win the Culture War – a Christian Battle Plan for a Society in Crisis”. Prof Kreeft lists 9 necessary steps to winning a war, the first of which is the actual realization that a war is waging. He proceeds to distill the Culture War down to its essence, that of a war between the culture of life and the culture of death. It is a worthwhile book for anyone concerned about the state of our society to read, whether a person of faith or not.
    This book was published in the USA in 2002. Listening to comments yesterday regarding the renewed defense alliance and submarine agreement, many were on the lines of “better late than never.” The same is true of the internal threats posed by cultural Marxism. Now is the time to think clearly about the situation and act in a directed way to protect our country and civilization in general from an internal existential threat every bit as dangerous as any foreign military power.

    Another relevant and recently published article, is by Robert Barron, and available on the Word on Fire website. It is entitled: “Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Distinction between Fact and Fiction.” As with Professor Kreeft, the fundamental philosophical truth discussed transcends religious barriers and so remains a source of light to enquiring people of any (or no) faith.

  • RB

    Good on you Andrew. I hope you are happy in your world, it’s not one for me. Yet here I am, ostensibly on the same political side and you still cannot put aside your distaste. It is palatable, and I might point out does not serve your better interests, especially if you want more people to join the right cause.
    lbloveday: Alla then, the point remains.

  • andrew2

    Cathryn Cox Peter Kreeft is an absolute legend. “How to win the Culture War” will prove to be a very helpful book for these times.

  • andrew2

    “The Left’s Long March” reminds me of the Rome’s battle approach against Hannibal in the Battle of Cannae. Rome gained tremendous confidence by making ground against a deliberately weakened centre while ignoring the flanks.

    The system needs me far more than I need the system. Many on the right are already abandoning these institutions and building new ones. In the US, they are moving to Texas and Florida, they are starting to buy goods and services only from people who uphold the ethical standards that make them trustworthy, they are abandoning Public Schools and homeschooling their kids. This will leave a big economic hole that has to be filled. It won’t take much for the debt saddled hellmouth to collapse. This of course is disastrous for the whole country and the world.

    The main problem is that there is no real Left v Right. Both are wrong. The Left represents emotion’s dominance over rational thought. The Right represents rational thought’s dominance over emotion. The true path is wisdom, that unique combination of truth, goodness and beauty which involves committing the will to “the good”, and choosing the right course of action based on what is true and for love of God of neighbour. You are seeing this coalesce with people like Naomi Wolf, Robert F Kennedy Jr and Nicki Minaj finding out that they have many things in common with their supposed political “enemies”. These are the flanks that could save us all from heading toward complete disaster.

  • STD

    _ . _ _… ,he talks above us
    RB don’t take it personally , it is better to have an open mind when at the pointy end of life, after all, life is empirically short in comparison with the empirical length involved in eternity and death , where time is the empirical expansion of the speed of light.
    Empirically we hedge our bets with regard to the odds on offer, therefore it is better to be believe more of the truth that less of it, if that’s what we want.
    RB you can think what ever you want to think , I just don’t agree with what you think, because it does not make sense to me – that is generally the case with utterances that defy (deny)all the senses and logic- to my mind your argument lacks the clarity of foresight ( I’m not sure( shore )why this is the case), it is actually an argument based in subjective thought and is lacking the objectiveness of ‘reflective reasoning’( how could I do things or understand things better- with more or greater access to better truth, maybe) embedded in the wisdom of reasoning – whilst nursing I always saw this as the hand of God that guides the healing.
    As to right and wrong it’s not a political issue from my point of view.
    However all Marxists are liars , history bares this out in oppressed people’s historical distaste for the positive proof that is the body count of distopian utopia.

    In regard to your false positive claim ( negative claim) that I am making a positive claim (+), can you provide truthful evidence to back your claim ?
    As to the existence or otherwise of God, some things cannot be proven or are not without doubt , such as in false claims.
    I cannot provide you with proof of my claim , because you do not believe in faith therefore you don’t understand the nature of faith , as a result it would appear to be an aberration from an empirical standpoint, this would be in line with the law of non contradiction whereby something cannot be both true and false – therefore God is the knower ( Noah – ark of all) of all creation( truth)
    I would add though ,that by all written accounts that Jesus did live in a place called Nazareth some 2000 years ago – so I guess from a positive claim standpoint that would be an empirical truth, however I never made mention of this initially, so how and why did you arrive at your conclusion. But I guess the real question is, does empirical belief follow?
    As for Bloveday and Andrew2 I have faith in their kindness and helpfulness to guide you to the truth . However it obviously fell less ‘willingly on your deaf ear!
    PS , you did not give Allah (God) his full due by leaving the letter h off the end of the Fathers name – without the full truth ,belief in anything amounts to nonsense.
    It is faith in the content of truth that guides us to the truth- the foundation of empirical belief ,owes its existence to both faith and truth.
    Eg : Einstein, Newton , St ‘Thomas’ Aquinas ,St Augustine and Leonardo da Vinci did not at the outset know the God given predetermined outcomes for the truths of which they sort, be it in the physics ,mathematics, theology, metaphysics or in the mechanics and theory of flight or anatomy .
    However they all shared a common goal ,a desire to know the truth, it did not matter what these guys were researching or researched, at the end of the day by pursuing their particular passion ,and in doing so not only discovered the mystery of truth but also proved the existence of ,and abstract nature of truth.
    _._ _… if you go to the bible, which is the word of God , Genesis specifically, God lays out ,in truth ,the nature of life, where he refers to the nature of truth being physical on one hand (oceans, the sky (firmament), land ,birds ,animals ect) and the nature of truth being abstract on the other hand , eg the days of the week are numbered – however numbers , such as in mathematics do not actually have a physical nature or an empirical presence till we draw them on a black board for example , by inference they actually have abstract natures, that is not to say because they lack physicality that they do not exist or that they lack legitimacy.
    For instance it is this abstract nature ( in the mind we understand truth and the heart we know that truth)in understanding mathematics , physics, chemistry and quantum that has given us the world in which we live, everything around us ,the physical, actually evolved from the abstract side of human nature – this is confirmed ,as I said ,by the contents of Truth in Genesis – the physical is born from the seemingly insignificance of the nature of abstractness.
    The abstract nature of love between our parents is what actually gives us our physical form as people. How do I empirically define love ,RB , or what it feels like?
    Just because I cannot see electricity does not mean it doesn’t exist. Just because I’m not physically seeing someone does not mean their not alive or living. Just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean it cannot be understood or known.
    All things are known by sense even nonsense.
    As for Muhammad I believe he was telling the truth but I do not subscribe to the methodology of Islam. Christianity is better at making peace.

  • STD

    @cathryncox, Your right a good man ,and one smart cookie. Thanks for the tip.

  • BalancedObservation

    Some personal observations.

    It takes a lot to rattle the political cage in Australia.

    That can be good and bad. It can lead to greater stability than in countries where people hold views more passionately. It can lead to complacency around taking a lot of what we have for granted.

    However when the chips are down on very critical issues of real importance to us, Australians will respond to protect and fight for what is truly valuable to them. The danger is loss through incremental creep.

    The right-of-centre in Australia has largely rolled over to the left-of-centre in the debates around social policy. Whether the media is a major cause of that or simply reflects what is happening is debatable. Probably a bit of both.

    Without the Murdoch group though there would have been even more rolling over. Not that I’m an unconditional fan of that group or any media group. All of them are not what they present themselves as.

    The change of ownership in what used to be the Fairfax press could now be a counter balance to what has been happening. But it’s also a little worrying how an ownership change can affect commentary and reporting, especially the latter. However realistically so called editorial independence, never really existed anyway.

    Conservatives shouldn’t be despairing altogether. The right-of-centre has held the national political power for a long time now and probably won’t lose it for a while yet.

    Our culture and our values can change for the better over time. It’s not all backwards as some imply.

    It’s never going to do any harm standing up peacefully yet forcefully for what you believe. You’ll find it’s probably very good for you personally to do that. And hopefully for the country.

    I’m not a disciple of Kevin Donnelly but he’s one person who’s been brave enough to stand up for what he believes in. We’d be better off if others who held views similar to his did that more often.

    My particular concern is the incremental creep for the worse in education outcomes overall. Not so much with how social issues are taught in schools. Though I’m aware many think that’s a key cause of the problem. But I think the problems are deeper, more structural and more widespread right from primary education through to university.

    Despite massive increases in resources over a decade or so our educational outcomes have fallen on a comparative basis worldwide. And we don’t seemed to be too alarmed about that at all. Of course Kevin Donnelly is.

  • BalancedObservation

    Some personal observations.

    It takes a lot to rattle the political cage in Australia.

    That can be good and bad. It can lead to greater stability than in countries where people hold views more passionately. It can lead to complacency around taking a lot of what we have for granted.

    However when the chips are down on very critical issues of real importance to us, Australians will respond to protect and fight for what is truly valuable to them. The danger is loss through incremental creep.

    The right-of-centre in Australia has largely rolled over to the left-of-centre in the debates around social policy. Whether the media is a major cause of that or simply reflects what is happening is debatable. Probably a bit of both.

    Without the Murdoch group though there would have been even more rolling over. Not that I’m an unconditional fan of that group or any media group. All of them are not what they present themselves as.

    The change of ownership in what used to be the Fairfax press could now be a counter balance to what has been happening. But it’s also a little worrying how an ownership change can affect commentary and reporting, especially the latter. However realistically so called editorial independence, never really existed anyway.

    Conservatives shouldn’t be despairing altogether. The right-of-centre has held the national political power for a long time now and probably won’t lose it for a while yet.

    Our culture and our values can change for the better over time. It’s not all backwards as some imply.

    It’s never going to do any harm standing up peacefully yet forcefully for what you believe. You’ll find it’s probably very good for you personally to do that. And hopefully for the country.

    I’m not a disciple of Kevin Donnelly but he’s one person who’s been brave enough to stand up for what he believes in. We’d be better off if others who held views similar to his did that more often.

    My particular concern is the incremental creep for the worse in education outcomes overall. Not so much with how social issues are taught in schools. Though I’m aware many think that’s a key cause of the problem. But I think the problems are deeper, more structural and more widespread right from primary education through to university.

    Despite massive increases in resources over a decade or so our educational outcomes have fallen on a comparative basis worldwide. And we don’t seemed to be too alarmed about that at all. Of course Kevin Donnelly is.

  • BalancedObservation

    Is there anything that can be done to improve paragraph spacing on this impressive site?

    I tried more spaces. Obviously that didn’t work.

    Sorry about the duplication.

  • STD

    @BO , we love good duplication here.

  • STD

    PS, @ OB so long as it wasn’t bought about by a obsessive compulsive form of dementia, in which case knock yourself out.

  • BalancedObservation

    The Guardian Australia had this identical problem and solved it. You never know they may be able to give you a tip how to resolve it easily.

  • BalancedObservation

    Thanks STD. No dementia here yet.

  • STD

    No thanks, as the Chinese saying goes ,keep turning right while looking left.

  • STD

    @OB ,I’m guessing their advice would be, to put it politely – Don’t comment.
    I must say in regard to forgetfulness that I suffer, not infrequently, from comma and mis- pronunciation amnesia and I think it is becoming ,the amnesia that is demented.

  • andrew2

    STD, thanks for the assumption but I’ve no intention of guiding RB to the truth. My intention was merely to point a rhetorical mirror back at RB, using the same tools he (or she) used to communicate to you and Stephen Due above. Anyway, RB regarded it as “palatable distaste” and I found the irony amusing. Atheists on the internet enjoy nothing more than thinking they can drag a Christian around on the string of hope of saving their soul. Jesus told his disciples to cast the dust of their sandals and move on. God requires humility in his presence.

  • STD

    @A2 , thanks for the heads up.

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