Guest Notes

Learning notes

3 November 2018

9:00 AM

3 November 2018

9:00 AM

A week or so ago my wife thought she might be losing her mind when she heard the late Freddie Mercury singing extremely loudly in the improbable confines of our laundry. She was at some considerable distance from either a television or CD player at the time and both were surely turned off. So what – other than a mild case of extraterrestrial interference perhaps – could possibly provide an answer? Our main home lies opposite the playing fields of a local high school which since few there can apparently be bothered to play organised sport any more means we normally enjoy a vast green, virtually soundless void on the opposite side of our road. The school’s main buildings are at least 200 metres away from us yet they amazingly turned out to be the source of our unreal level of noise. In the previous decade or so, quite a loud buzzer or wind-chime sound marked changeovers between lessons – usually provoking nothing worse than a bark or two from our dog. But one should perhaps never forget that like almost everything else that is utterly disastrous now in Australia, public education seeks to be continuously ‘progressive’. Very loud ‘pop’ music to mark changeovers between lessons seems to have been just such an initiative – which in the face of local complaints now appears thankfully to have lessened.  But exactly whose idea was it in the first place and what, if any, was its stated purpose? Any guesses anyone?

Do our young people learn anything at all here any more which could really be construed as remotely useful or beneficial to them and the development of their minds other than in our expensive private schools? On the strength of a large proportion of our homegrown television programs, which seem designed increasingly for the half-witted, one must assume it is widely accepted by now that we are already a nation largely of dumbos – or that a firm intention exists to convert us as rapidly as possible into precisely that. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette anyone or Game of Games perhaps?

Last week my wife – again – was talking to a highly articulate kitchen expert who hails from overseas and just happens to be a devout Anglican. That person also had a tale to tell about a local school – situated in a respectable Sydney suburb – where she politely asked a fellow mum recently about the birth of her fairly new child: ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’. ‘It’s too early to tell yet,’ her fellow parent replied. Is it just our global isolation and general lack of any lengthy history which by now gives a growing impression that Australians may largely be losing the plot? Indeed, will it shortly be only farmers who live further away from Sydney than Dubbo, say, who will be able to diagnose the sex correctly of new-born calves or lambs? Or do Australia’s weird big-city problems extend all the way already to our country’s red centre?

Long ago I did two years of compulsory military service – part of which was spent on a front line. What I can still say very confidently, however, is that servicemen were once very adept at picking the merits and demerits of their present or potential commanders. So why have we become so utterly hopeless at picking our politicians, say, in Australia? One recent such I could name would surely have made an excellent platoon commander  – or something rather more senior -– and would surely have enjoyed the instant trust and loyalty of his men in conditions which really do matter. In the meantime another, no less rightly, would never have enjoyed any trust or loyalty at all from his men.

The world in which I grew up in England was, in retrospect, so infinitely superior to post-modernist Australia – or post-modernist anywhere at all – that one is forced to assume that the post-modernist definition of ‘progress’ may simply mean travelling backwards mentally as fast as we can. Every single aspect of post-modernism from mild-seeming but always insidious ‘political correctness’ all the way to seemingly demented ‘gender fluidity’ is to my mind hopelessly misguided. But what happens if an all-embracing post-modernist ideology is all that our children know or have ever been taught?  Brainwashing has long been a favourite communist tool and remains no different today – however subtly it may seem to be employed – in our current education system, for example. Unlike the present case in Britain, it could be said that ‘our’ ALP is not in every single aspect communist-inspired. Yet ‘fairness’ is a dangerous weasel word of which we should all be constantly aware. In openly communist countries all private possessions were once equally openly seized yet we still remain for the moment a semi-democracy here – in theory at least.  Yet the politics of envy can very soon amount to the politics of oppression – especially if in the hands of an almost totally uneducated youth. Australia’s children should at the very least be brought up with a proper respect for democracy but if this fails to happen it will now probably be by design.

I have been involved in the ‘culture wars’ for at least half a century and have no excuse whatsoever to be naive. Indeed, back in the days when I worked on the national curriculum in Britain I was not just initially outnumbered but also soon recognised the unscrupulous methods of some of my colleagues: for example measures which had been agreed in plenary sessions were often substantially altered during subsequent write-ups. But such twisted people’s true allegiances were, of course, never devoted to democracy in the first place. Education provides a priceless key to Australia’s future yet I have an unpleasant suspicion that by now only an absolute moral and cultural renaissance can possibly save us.

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