Sunday 22 Jul 2018 | 09:31 | SYDNEY
Sunday 22 Jul 2018 | 09:31 | SYDNEY

Breaking news: The world is not ending


Sam Roggeveen


6 August 2008 12:10

One of the least attractive facets of the Australian Right is its mix of cultural arrogance about the superiority of Western values and relentless pessimism about the future of the West. At various times, outside forces — Islamist terrorism, China — will be marked as major threats to Western civilization, but the subtext is usually the weakness of the West itself, with the argument being that the West could withstand such challenges if only it was militarily, diplomatically and culturally tougher. Blame for the West's weakness is routinely placed on 'the Left'.

Today's Janet Albrechtson column dispenses with threats from outsiders and focuses exclusively on the West's own feebleness and perfidy. It's seems our Enlightenment traditions are at threat from within:

The determination to quash inquiry and reason infiltrates just about every aspect of our lives.

...freedoms that underpinned the Enlightenment period have been curtailed.

A modern world has lost confidence in what it means to be human and therefore lost confidence in basic values of freedom, such as free speech.

Genuine inquiry is not encouraged; it is jettisoned.

But look around you, Janet. The West has never known such dominance; of language, of economic systems, of communications, of culture. And where is the evidence of this suppression of freedom? The only examples Albrechton offers are some risible but decidedly trivial instances of PC pedantry. What? The year 8 geography textbook questions the value of globalisation? We're doomed! 

The Left certainly has its share of self-flaggelators, but conservative pessimists like Albrechtson are in the thick of it too. It seems a perverse response to the evidence right before our eyes.

Photo by Flickr user Connie Ma.