Edmund Burke Conference 2016

Edmund Burke’s Club (Australia) Inc is organizing its second annual conference on the political philosophy of Edmund Burke at the Clifton Conference Centre in the Melbourne CBD for Saturday 19th of November 2016. The conference theme will be the state of conservatism in Australia seen through the framework of the thought of Edmund Burke. A dinner will be held at Melbourne’s Savage Club on the evening of the conference.

An examination of the state of conservatism in Australia is a pressing task. For some years, it has become apparent that some self-described conservatives have a deficient idea of what conservatism is as a political philosophy. The aim of the 2016 Edmund Burke conference will be to present a clear understanding of the political and philosophical issues. Edmund Burke’s historical context and the influence of his thought in Australia and on modern conservatives such as Michael Oakeshott and Roger Scruton will be examined.

The Edmund Burke Conference 2016 will be a marvellous opportunity for conservatives and those whose interest in conservatism has been recently sparked to be become engaged. Political events in Australia during the last few years – especially the demise of Tony Abbott and his government – call on conservatives to clarify their philosophical position and discuss action to counter the grip of leftist thought on Australian state and society.

For information about the conference go HERE

Conservatism Beyond Markets

Anthony Daniels

R. S. Thomas, the Welsh poet, was curmudgeonly by nature and when he saw how the Czechs used their freedom after the destruction of the Berlin Wall he was appalled, all the more so as he had detested communism. The first fruits of their freedom were precisely the things in modernity that he most disliked or despised, such as a vulgar consumerism and a militant licentiousness. In the same vein, Generalissimo Franco told General Walters that after his death there would be everything in Spain that they (the Americans) liked: democracy, pornography, etc.

Conservatives are attached both to freedom and to the preservation of a cultured tradition. There sometimes seems to be a conflict between the two, in so far as the exercise of freedom results in the destruction of a cultured tradition. In this respect, some socialists have been more conservative than some conservatives: Their ideal was the extension of the appreciation and availability of the best of civilization to those who previously had little access to it, rather than the radical destruction of that civilization that now seems to be the main aim of radicals—a destruction that market forces alone also successfully effect.

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The Philosophy Of Roger Scruton

Mervyn F. Bendle is one of Australia’s foremost conservative intellectuals. He frequently contributes to Quadrant magazine and Quadrant Online, Australia’s foremost organ for the display of conservative thought. Quadrant‘s importance is highlighted by the constant attempts of Australia’s dominant leftist class to shut it down. It is a magazine that belongs in the library of every philosophical conservative. The article below is a survey of the philosophy of the world’s foremost conservative intellectual Roger Scruton. There could hardly be a more readable survey and introduction to Scruton’s thought than this article. Lovers of the writings of Edmund Burke will recognise Burke’s deep influence on Scruton.

The Philosophy Of Roger Scruton

Quadrant May 2014

Mervyn F. Bendle

As the conservative philosopher put it, his “unacceptable” views prompted character assassination, three lawsuits, two interrogations, one expulsion, the loss of a university career, contemptuous reviews, Tory suspicion, and the hatred of decent liberals everywhere. And, he swears, it was all worth it

scrutonReality itself had been affronted. Repulsed, it had recoiled and collapsed into countless pieces, never to be reconstituted. Such is the striking image of the May 1968 French student rebellion recalled by Roger Scruton in his autobiography, Gentle Regrets (2005; all quotations are from this source unless otherwise stated). The twenty-four-year-old Scruton had completed a BA in philosophy at Cambridge and was determined to be a writer, taking Jean-Paul Sartre as his role model because the French existentialist’s prose moved effortlessly “from the abstract to the concrete and from the general to the particular [and] wound philosophy and poetry together in a seamless web, which was also a web of seeming”, as Scruton later recalled on his web page. From Sartre he learned that intellectual life need not be confined to the academy but can flourish around the creative arts like literature, art and music, “through which the world strives to become conscious of itself”. But he rebelled against the Frenchman’s conviction that such a life demanded a radical political commitment, and Sartre’s mindless embrace of Maoism in 1968 alienated him completely.

In the decades since, Scruton has established himself as Britain’s leading conservative public intellectual and as an influential philosopher in a large number of fields, publishing some forty books, innumerable articles, several novels and many other works. Nevertheless, on that May Day forty-six years ago, anarchic leftism held sway and appeared momentarily to threaten President Charles de Gaulle’s Fifth Republic.

Transfixed, Scruton watched as a violent battle between students and police unfolded beneath his attic window until abruptly “the plate-glass windows of the shops appeared to step back, shudder for a second, and then give up the ghost, as the reflections suddenly left them and they slid in jagged fragments to the ground”. In this moment, at the centre of an archetypal 1960s event, it appears that Scruton enjoyed an epiphany, a sudden intuitive insight into the advent of the nihilistic postmodern era, characterised by the collapse of representation, and the fragmentation, violence, heresy and unbelief that Scruton later claimed in A Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism (2006), provided the context for the conservative philosophical response of which he has proven to be the most articulate British proponent.

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Confronting the Marxist campaign of subversion

The introduction of the $8 million Government-sponsored program Safe Schools’ that endorses students cross-dressing and other radical sexual concepts shows just how far the Marxist campaign to totally subvert Australian society has come. Let’s not be under any illusion. Whether you want call it Marxist-Leninist, Cultural Marxism, Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School, Political Correctness, Marxist theory is the foundation of the campaign to turn traditional Australian society on its head. The Safe Schools program is a massive open assault in the campaign and targets society’s most tender and vulnerable: children. The Andrews Government in Victoria, rushing at the head of the program of subversion, has won for itself the title as Australia’s first Marxist government, a government propped up by the iron fist of Marxist unionists. If one listens to the Andrews rhetoric one can hear echoes of Mexico in the 1920s and Spain 1930s when the Marxists began murdering Catholic clergy, the first target of all Marxist campaigns. When one observes one institution after another caving in (the feminizing and homosexualizing of the Liberal Party is well advanced under Malcolm Turnbull and his treacherous acolytes), one must think it would take a foolishly brave cleric to ride out onto a battlefield littered with the fallen amid the white flags of surrender. Yet there is such an unwise cleric. Below is a letter addressed to the members of a Catholic parish in Melbourne. Its author had no intention of addressing a public audience. But his fierce uncompromising stand and utter disregard of the consequences of standing up to forces that want to crush him without mercy make it an example for all those hanging back. It is reproduced here with the permission of the author. Continue reading

Teaching cultural self-loathing

University courses make student teachers hostile towards the West

Scott Morrison is right to describe Muslim school kids walking out on the national anthem as pathetic, but he is wrong to point the finger at teachers. The problem does not begin with schools but in univer­sities where budding educators are encouraged to embrace profound antipathy towards the West.

In universities across the Western world, students training to become teachers are commonly taught critical theory or postcolonialism as a part of arts degrees in education. Both subjects inculcate in students deep hostility to the Western world, its culture, creed and citizens. They were inspired by neo-Marxism, whose forefather Herbert Marcuse was a key figure leading the revolution against Western civilisation in universities and manufacturing the rise of radical minority groups to censor non-leftist thought in public life.

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Labor goes to the gutters

In the Godfather series going to the mattresses means going to war. When the Labor Party goes to war they go to the gutters – to filth beyond the inclination of the normal person. We have seen the foremost filth-throwers many times in action:

Gutless Jason Clare

Wife-deserter and disgusting hypocrite Tony Burke

Smarmy sanctimonious Mark Dreyfus

Loudmouth bully Stephen Conroy

These lying filth-throwers see no boundaries to what they are prepared to say – no boundaries except their gutlessness.

Former High Court Judge Dyson Heydon has an unimpeachable character and reputation. Indeed, the attainment of the position of High Court Judge presumes an unsullied character and a legal mind of the highest order. Commissioner Heydon was invited to give this year’s Sir Garfield Barwick Address to a group of Liberal Party Lawyers.

The Sir Garfield Barwick Address is not at the level of the stinking atmosphere of sweat, booze and moronic grunting of a CFMEU pub where CFMEU leaders boast about calling a low-level government official a ‘piece of shit’ for merely doing his job.

Only those with the finest legal minds are invited to give the Sir Garfield Barwick address and the audience expects nothing less than intellectual refinement, legal nuance and erudition. The overriding priority is the character and intellectual status of the speaker and the content of the address. Bland political partiality has no place if the speaker wants to be taken seriously.

Whether or not the occasion is called a fundraiser is beside the point and necessarily infers nothing about the political allegiances of the speaker or his character. Questions of character and intellectual status have already been settled – empirically. That’s why Commissioner Heydon was invited to give the address.

For members of parliament who are trained lawyers and have served or are serving as Australia’s alternative Justice Minister to call a High Court Judge a ‘stooge’ and a ‘bagman’ and totally unfit to conduct a royal commission is an outrage that must not be borne – if Australian government is to maintain a semblance of moral and administrative competence.

For the same reasons, Commissioner Heydon was appointed to the High Court, asked to give the Sir Garfield Barwick Address, and to head the Royal Commission into Unions – unimpeachable integrity and the finest of legal minds. Any government of whatever colour needs people like Commissioner Heydon.

In trashing Dyson Heydon Labor’s gutless creeps are trashing Australia’s system of government. They are trashing you and me.

Of course, there is a background to the cowardly attacks that plumb depths of hypocrisy unattainable by the ordinary person. Andrew Bolt could not give a better explanation of what’s at stake for the Labor Party HERE.

Gerard Wilson

Defending the only form of marriage

INVITATION from Terri M. Kelleher, Victorian President,  Australian Family Association

You are cordially invited to hear brilliant young U.S. author, and scholar Ryan T Anderson, PhD present the strongest defence of marriage as the union of a man and a woman as you will be likely to hear. Dr Anderson is on a one-week tour of Australia organised by the Australian Christian Lobby. (Click here to view flyer)

TOPIC:   THE COST OF EQUALITYWhat comes next with same-sex marriage may not be what you think. (Includes Q & A)

VENUE: Cathedral Hall, Australian Catholic University, 20 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

DATE:    Thursday, 20th August 

TIME:      6pm

Bookings: Tickets must be purchased online: click here to BOOK NOW

 Ryan Anderson has been described as the most compelling and courageous defender of marriage in the U.S. He is the author of numerous papers and books on marriage. His latest book, Truth Overruled – The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, has just been released. Ryan was thrust into fame in America when he appeared on the Piers Morgan Live TV show with this well-reasoned defence of marriage before a hostile audience – click here to view.

Ryan Anderson’s address will make clear the emerging concern that legislating same-sex marriage will cost us our freedom, that it would not mean equality for the wider Australian community.


The sheer callousness of the death camps – we thought it could never happen again

Perhaps the pictures most seared into my mind are the photos of the Nazi extermination camps that I was confronted with as a kid in the 1950s. Children were not supposed to see them, but they were there in one way or another. The piles of skeletal starved carcases on carts and the rotting carcases scattered around merging with the muddy soil – it was unimaginably grotesque and macabre.

Few could conceive that one human being could do such do such things to another human being. The inmates of the death camps clearly meant nothing to the ideologically sick Nazis. We thought it impossible that such evil would prevail in our Western Civilization. We were convinced that our authorities would do everything possible to prevent a repetition of such bestial behaviour.

Gerard Wilson

Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts

Second Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods

Obamacare Planned Parenthood abortion fetal organ harvesting selling body parts for research

Magna Carta and Waterloo dinner

The dinner at the Savage Club to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta on the 15th of June 1215 and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th of June 1815 was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. There was a full program of toasts, readings, and discussions which resulted in the evening passing too quickly.

Edmund Burke’s Club president, Gerard Wilson, welcomed the guests in the lounge. He explained that the connection between the Battle of Waterloo and Edmund Burke was Burke’s stunning prophecy in 1790 that a military leader in France would take control of the army and become master of revolutionary France. Napoleon mounted a successful coup in 1799.  He read the passage from Burke’s Reflections of the Revolution in France where Burke was discussing the rising indiscipline among the army ranks.

In the weakness of one kind of authority, and in the fluctuation of all, the officers of an army will remain for some time mutinous and full off action until some popular general, who understands the art of conciliating the soldiery, and who possesses the true spirit of command, shall draw the eyes of all men upon himself. Armies will obey him on his personal account. There is no other way of securing military obedience in this state of things. But the moment in which that event shall happen, the person who really commands the army is your master — the master (that is little) of your king, the master of your Assembly, the master of your whole republic.

That master was of course Napoleon. Gerard Wilson spoke briefly about Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, leader of the forces that faced and overcame Napoleon in that critical battle outside the Belgian town of Waterloo. He highlighted Wellington’s prime ministership in 1828-30 and in 1834 and his lasting fame as a military commander. Significant is that Prime Minister Wellington oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act in 1829 which was to have an influence on Governor Richard Bourke’s administration in the Australian colony. Indeed, the Catholic leadership in the colony regarded the passing of the Church Act in 1836 as the ‘Magna Carta of their religious liberty’.

Gerard Wilson remarked that most boys in the 1950s counted the Duke of Wellington and Horatio Nelson (Battle of Trafalgar) among their heroes, making no distinction between them and their Australian-bred heroes. This, he said, was a demonstration of the unbroken lines of cultural continuity at that time. He then proposed a toast to the Duke of Wellington and his victory over Napoleon, pointing out that the Waterloo battle resulted not only in a military victory. More importantly, it was a victory for Britain’s social and political system of which the British Commonwealth would be the beneficiary.

The attendees then removed to the private dining room upstairs for dinner which included ‘Beef Wellington’ as the main course. The first reading took place after the entrée. Passages were read from Burke’s account of the events leading up to the sealing of Magna Carta followed by a toast to Simon Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the real behind-the-scenes organizer of the document. The second reading during dessert was from the Reflections on the place of Magna Carta in the British Constitution. To end the formalities, Fr Glen Tattersall declaimed Lord Byron’s poem the ‘Eve of Waterloo’ (below). Attendees returned to the lounge for after-dinner drinks which put a seal on the pleasantest of evenings.

Special thanks are due to Fr Glen Tattersall for making the Savage Club available to Edmund Burke’s Club for their meetings and occasions such as the Magna Carta/Waterloo dinner. It is Fr Tattersall’s membership of the Savage Club that allows EBC to enjoy such unique surroundings.

by: Lord Byron (1788-1824)

HERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium’s capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it? — No; ’twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o’er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
But hark! — that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before;
Arm! arm! it is — it is — the cannon’s opening roar!

Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick’s fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death’s prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell;
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness.
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne’er might be repeated; who would guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!

And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips — “The foe! they come! they come!”

Text of the two readings will follow in separate blogs. Photos of the evening are in the Gallery.

Waterloo and Burke’s stunning prophecy

Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) dismayed many of his Whig colleagues and infuriated his enemies, both of whom imagined the revolution ushering a glorious era of freedom. Burke’s masterpiece nerved the pen of Thomas Paine into a fury of scribbling to produce one of the most overrated works of political philosophy – The Rights of Man – taking Hobbes’s idea of the state of nature to its logical absurdity. Burke’s analyses of the Revolution’s action and theory contained a number of prophecies which in time proved accurate. The most extraordinary for its prescience and accuracy was the following:

In the weakness of one kind of authority, and in the fluctuation of all, the officers of an army will remain for some time mutinous and full off action until some popular general, who understands the art of conciliating the soldiery, and who possesses the true spirit of command, shall draw the eyes of all men upon himself. Armies will obey him on his personal account. There is no other way of securing military obedience in this state of things. But the moment in which that event shall happen, the person who really commands the army is your master — the master (that is little) of your king, the master of your Assembly, the master of your whole republic.
(Reflections, p. 342 Penguin Edition)

That man Burke foresaw was Napoleon. Napoleon mounted a coup in 1799 and with his French army attempted to take the revolution to the whole of Europe. The Duke of Wellington eventually stopped him at Waterloo. The revolution/Napoleon paradigm of social degeneration to dictatorship would repeat itself through the next two hundred years without its lesson sufficiently penetrating the consciousness of the people of Western Civilization.

Wellington greets his troops after the battle

The following links for a history of the Battle of Waterloo:

The Day that Decided Europe’s Fate

The Battle of Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo

Eyewitness to Waterloo

Edmund Burke’s Club is organizing a dinner to commemorate Magna Carta and the Battle of Waterloo at the Savage Club Melbourne for 16 June 2015. More details and the program HERE.