Report: Fourth Meeting of Edmund Burke’s Club (Australia) Inc. 12 April 2013

The fourth meeting of EBC took place again at the Melbourne Savage Club, Bank Place, Melbourne. The title of the President’s talk was ‘The Australian Conservative, Abortion, Same-Sex “Marriage” and the Exercise of Prudence’. The talk was an exploration of Edmund Burke’s ideas on the nature and the exercise of prudence in politics. It was an examination of Burke’s political reasoning and its application in a particular case. Although Tony Abbott’s alleged change of mind on the issues of abortion and IVF served as an introduction, the focus was on how any conservative politician in the Burkean mould would deal with such fundamental political issues as abortion and same-sex ‘marriage’. The talk brought to the fore an important distinction Burke made between ‘inveterate evil’ in the body politic and new policy under consideration.

A vigorous discussion followed the President’s talk which raised the question of whether caving into media-drenching propaganda on same-sex marriage was indirectly promoting the suppression of free speech. The issue of same-sex marriage is about changing the primeval understanding of marriage as the union in nature between male and female. It is not about equality unless one understands equality as a dangerous ideological levelling which characterises dissent as moral corruption. The text of the talk has been posted.

Fr Glen Tattersall once again entertained members and guests during our intermission with a reading of one of G.K. Chesterton’s poems and several pages from Evelyn Waugh’s Love Among the Ruins. Members and guests enjoyed both readings, finding them appropriate and instructive as well as entertaining. Waugh’s biting satire is unsurpassable. Waugh’s novels, and the influence of Burke on his writing, will be a subject for discussion down the track. With entertaining literary readings now a feature of EBC meetings, members are invited to contribute favourite pieces they think will amuse and instruct.

The only item of business was the status of membership. The President suggested that with our Club well established, guests to our meetings are most welcome, but that a fee should be paid after the attendance at three meetings if formal membership is not taken. Members agreed to this proposal.

EBC Secretary Richard Lyons opened the meeting with a welcome to guests and an outline of the meeting’s agenda. He closed the meeting saying that from a tentative beginning (which had its first impetus from a suggestion Fr Tattersall made to Gerard Wilson) Edmund Burke’s Club (Australia) Inc has developed into substantial discussion group with its own character, cohesion and well defined objectives.

The fifth meeting at the Savage Club is scheduled for Friday 31st May 2013.

Gerard Wilson, President