An Interview with Kevin Donnelly: Destroying Australia

Apr 24, 2018 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Kevin, I have just heard about your latest book. What is the title and who publishes it ?

How Political Correctness Is Destroying Australia is the title of my latest book, published by Melbourne-based Wilkinson Press, see https://www.wilkinsonpublishing.com.au/book/how-political-correctness-destroying-australia

2) What are some of the main points that you are trying to make in the book?

In the book, which is a collection of comment pieces published over the last 8 to 10 years, I argue that Australia’s culture and heritage are under attack from both enemies within and without. Within Australia, similar to other Western nations, the cultural-left has taken the long march through the institutions to undermine and attack conservative values and beliefs. A commitment to liberal-humanism, Christianity, the benefits of capitalism, rationality and the traditional definition of marriage are all under attack as a result of a rainbow alliance of theories, including: Neo-Marxism, feminism, post-colonial and queer theories and postmodernism and deconstructionism.

The impact of multiculturalism, best epitomised by Islamic fundamentalism and the terrorism spread by groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, represent the enemy without. Multiculturalism threatens Western cultures like Australia by advocating diversity and difference instead of what unites and binds a society – in its extreme form leading to cultural relativism. In addition to the death, destruction and terror spread by Islamic terrorism multiculturalism fragments society and undermines the values and beliefs associated with Western civilisation. The very way of life and beliefs that ensure the continued stability and prosperity of society.

3) The term ” politically correct” probably has different meanings world wide. How do you define it in Australia?

Political correctness represents the cultural-left’s campaign to stifle debate and to impose its ideology on society. Michael Gove, the former United Kingdom Secretary of Education, traces the rise of PC to the Frankfurt School in Germany where Marxists argued that the left’s strategy to achieve the socialist utopia should shift from economics to what has become the culture wars. PC is similar across those nations associated with Western civilisation and while there might be slight variations all are intent on imposing cultural-left group think and denying the ability to speak openly or to think independently.

4) In your book- what do you describe as the main issues impacting Australian culture and education?

In Australian universities and schools, the cultural-left has destroyed a liberal view of education, one associated with rationality, truth and wisdom, and imposed PC ideology and group think. The history and institutions associated with Western civilisation are no longer acknowledged or celebrated as students are taught that what was once beneficial is racist, sexist, oppressive and guilty of imposing inequality and injustice.

In schools students are taught they must celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait history and cultures while there is little, if any, recognition of Judeo-Christianity and epochal events like the Renaissance, Reformation or the Enlightenment.

More broadly, Australian society is being radically transformed with the rise of urban ghettos and ethnic violence and crime. Those values and beliefs that once underpinned society making it cohesive and peaceful are being lost as politicians, policy makers and most academics promote an uncritical acceptance of cultural relativism.

As a result of Commonwealth legislation (what is known as section 18c) free speech is denied and those daring to question the prevailing PC orthodoxy are in danger of being fined or imprisoned. School students as young as 8 are now taught there is nothing preferable or beneficial about marriage between a woman and a man and that they can decide whether they want to self-identify as the opposite sex or as one of the other 25 gender categories in between.

5) Where have the majority of the chapters in the book come from?

The comment pieces have previously been published in many of Australia’s print media publications, including: The Australian, the Herald Sun, the Daily Telegraph, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Some are also taken from Quadrant Online – one of Australia’s leading conservative publications.

6) Is immigration a “politically sensitive issue” in Australia?

Immigration, including the rate of immigration and its impact on communities across Australia, is a very topical and politically sensitive issue. While cultural-left advocates promote and defend high rates there is growing unease among the wider public. The adverse impact of immigration, especially refugees from northern Africa and the Middle East, is leading to the popularity of conservative political parties like that headed by Pauline Hanson.

7) Education, and what is taught always seems to be an issue- what do you see as the main concerns?

Education, as defined by Matthew Arnold and Cardinal Newman, is no longer about teaching humility, wisdom, truth and a commitment to the Western tradition. Instead the cultural-left and the PC movement have imposed radical theories like deconstructionism and gender and post-colonial theories. Objectivity and truth are simply socio-cultural constructs imposed by capitalism to oppress and disadvantage so-called victim groups. The rise of identity politics and the prevalence of trigger warnings and virtue signalling are stifling open and free debate and guilty of promoting group think.

In addition to dumbing down the curriculum and imposing a PC perspective on subjects the cultural-left has also created a situation where students no longer have a knowledge and appreciation of the strengths and benefits of Western civilisation. Students also lack a moral compass and sense of the transcendent as a result of what has become a very secular, materialistic curriculum.

8) Our world is changing- but the basics still remain important- reading, writing, spelling and some understanding of history and geography—or I am way off base on this in your country?

In 2014, I co-chaired a review the Australian national curriculum and many submissions bemoaned the rise of the PC movement and its deleterious impact. The basics are still essential and it is vital that students are taught what Jerome Bruner described as ‘the structure of the discipline’. Our disciplines and knowledge can be traced back to the ancient Romans and Greeks and to be truly educated students must appreciate what Arnold described as ‘the best that has been thought and said’.

9) I have been to Sydney, and I have visited the University of Sydney, so I feel I can ask some questions regarding education- but how do you see the educational system functioning today? And what is the prognosis for the future?

Education in Australia today, with a few exceptions, is substandard and flawed. Based on international tests including TIMSS, PISA and PIRLS our results have flat-lined or are going backwards. Despite the additional millions invested standards have failed to improve and most university’s now have remedial classes for first year students. Part of the problem is that the school curriculum adopted on outcomes-based education model (OBE) during the 90s instead of a more academic and rigorous syllabus approach. Australian classrooms have one of the highest rates on adopting constructivism instead of explicit teaching based on the evidence of what is most effective. The future looks bleak with one positive being the fact that over 34% of students attend Catholic and independent schools that generally outperform government schools. School autonomy, diversity and parental choice provide hope for the future.

10 ) What have I neglected to ask about your book?

Nothing more to add and thanks.

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