Thursday, August 17, 2006

History summit

This is little that can be said about the silly 'history summit. Some argue that one should participate in such processes on the grounds that any platform is better than none, but this seems to me like assuming that a genuine pacifist would have received a fair hearing at the World Peace Council. There is a tendency for some people on the left to allow themselves to be bullied and intimidated by people who don't play by any rules. Stalin-era Communist parties demonstrated this. Then there's flattery Bob Carr flatters intellectuals and some lap it up, Carr's historical thoughts seem to derive from a dim recollection of Triumph of the Nomads. One of the tropes of American neo-conservatism is the moment when liberals capitulated to thuggish new left or black power advocates, see essays here and here. There were people in the new left who were thugs (as in any other political movement) and sometimes left-liberals did allow themselves to be intimidated. The current bullies of the right have learnt this lesson they thrive on weakness. It's a free country and they can say what they like but why engage with them? There is little point in analysing the outpourings of The Australian's Michael Sutchbury (who sadly has a B. Ec (Hons) and could once write coherently as in his critique of the Playford legend in South Australia). His musings deserve no more analysis than those of Osama bin Laden. The hoped for aspiration of some would-be academic entrepreneurs involved in this history summit shambles would seem to be the American model of survey courses largely taught from 1200 page seven pound textbooks (so large because they have to mention every group) and largely assessed by tests.


At 10:46 PM, Blogger Jim Belshaw said...


Neil(ninglun) posted a quote from you on his blog. See comments -

I too finally put up a post on the summit. See

You continue to educate me on US politics.


Jim Belshaw

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Jim Belshaw said...

Neil, I seem to be having problmes with my paste function. The correct link for Neil should be

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Geoff Robinson said...

Was in a bad mmod about the summit! But Melleusih really is a bully, from a person who was interesting he has turned into a shrill hack at least in his media stuff. Comapre him with Blainey who has said some very silly things, as did Manning Clark, but neither of them fell to the level of personal attack.


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