The libertarian conspiracy behind the Ramsay Centre

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Simon Haines, CEO of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation (Image via YouTube)

 An educational program with a heavily biased agenda and lack of critical thinking has come under heavy criticism, writes Ross Jones.

IN AN EFFORT to present as themselves as erudite and knowledgeable, it is common for libertarians to write and speak in preposterously flowery language.

Hyperbole and indignation are stock.

To reinforce their verbal merde, your basic libertarian will also name-drop obscure alleged intellectuals. The more obscure the better.

The libertarian’s objective is twofold — to confound the reader/listener, while at the same time asserting a bullying superiority.

As an example, let's start with a recent piece in the Sydney Morning Herald by one of Australia’s leading libertarian punces (personal opinion), ex-NSW Art Gallery director Edmund Capon.

In this Fairfax piece dated 14 September 2018, Ed wrote:

‘My experience is as ordinary and predictable as many millions of others; nothing has undermined those instincts that were instilled in me in my typical and classical education, but life and experience and, indeed, my tolerance perhaps above all, has been alerted and refined by the experience of learning of parallel cultures and their attendant values.’

Got it?  Any idea what he is talking about?


Here is a preceding paragraph for some context:

Critics of the Ramsay Centre proposal seem quite oblivious to the fact that those great “Western” institutions of higher learning in Europe, America and, indeed, Australia have over the centuries opened and enlightened the hearts and minds of millions of students from around the world to the undisputed betterment of humankind.’


I’m pretty sure there were no higher learning institutions in Australia, indeed or otherwise, until at least 1850 when Sydney Uni opened its doors, unless you’re talking higher learning in card skills or how to make alcohol from gum leaves. (Hint: you can do it, but it tastes just like you would expect.)

Now, while Capon is clearly up there in the ranks of righty know-alls, in fairness he has some stiff competition, much of which resides within the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

As you probably know, the Ramsay Centre has been dangling oodles of carrots in front of Australian universities as an enticement to let it wheedle its way into respected academia, its sole intention being to leverage any scraps of bestowed respectability into righteous confirmation of its extremist agenda.

According to Ramsay’s web site:

‘Our purpose is to advance education by promoting studies and discussion of Western civilisation.’

Just what is Western civilisation? Well might you ask.

Professor Greg Melleuish is a historian employed at Wollongong University. He is also is a poster boy for libertarians and a Ramsay go-to guy.

According to Greg:

‘The question regarding the nature of Western civilisation is not an easy one to answer, not least because of the way in which those of us who are the products of Western civilisation think about such things.’

That, Greg, is a mind-fuck.

Melleuish then had a go at clarification:

‘If one is looking for the birthplace of Western civilisation, as well as Europe, the best location is the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne.’

That’s great. Love to be there at the birth of Western civilisation.

Nothing like being a peasant in the way of the Carolingian war machine, as Wikipedia explains:

'Charlemagne's reign was one of near-constant warfare, personally leading many of his campaigns. He seized the Lombard Kingdom in 774, led a failed campaign into Spain in 778, extended his domain into Bavaria in 788, ordered his son Pepin to campaign against the Avars in 795 and conquered Saxon territories in wars and rebellions fought from 772 to 804.'

As your basic Western crofter used to say in 775, FMD, not that prick Charlemagne again!”

The thing is, the Ramsay mob are mere parvenus when it comes to dark-state workings, although, bless them, they are desperately trying to come up with their own heinous fear campaign.

They are no more than Australian copycats caught in a cultural cringe.

What started me down this article path was reading Dark Money by Jane Mayer (Scribe Publications 2016). Mayer is an investigative journalist with The New Yorker and the author of several books on U.S. politics, of which Dark Money is the most recent.

Dark Money sets out, in scary forensic detail, the duplicitous methods employed by American libertarians to subvert higher education facilities to their own base aims.

As many previous IA articles have shown, Australian libertarians are no different.

Mayer is a much better writer than me and I am sure she would not mind if we now hand things over to her:

Extract 1

According to one account, it was Hayek who spawned the idea of the think tank as a disguised political weapon. As Adam Curtis, a documentary filmmaker with the BBC, tells the story, around 1950, after reading the Reader’s Digest version of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, an eccentric British libertarian named Antony Fisher, an Eton and Cambridge graduate who believed socialism and communism were overtaking the Democratic West, sought Hayek about what could be done. Should he run for office? Hayek, who was then teaching at the London School of Economics, told him that for people of their beliefs, getting into politics was futile. Politicians were prisoners of conventional wisdom, in Hayek’s view. They would have to change how politicians thought if they wanted to implement what were then considered outlandish free-market ideas. To do that would require an ambitious and somewhat disingenuous public relations campaign. The best way to do this, Hayek told Fisher, who took notes, was to start a scholarly institute that would wage a “battle of ideas”. If Fisher succeeded, Hayek told him, he would change the course of history.

To succeed, however, required some deception about the think tank’s true aims. Fisher’s partner in the venture, Oliver Smedley, wrote to Fisher saying that they needed to be “cagey” and disguise their organisation as neutral and non-partisan. Choosing a suitably anodyne name, they founded the grandfather of libertarian think tanks in London calling at the Institute for Economic Affairs. Smedley wrote that it was “imperative that we should give no indication in our literature that we’re working to educate the public along certain lines which might be interpreted as having a political bias. In other words, if we said openly that we were re-teaching the economics of the free market, it might enable our enemies to question the charitableness of our motives.

Extract 2

What emerged was a strategy they called the “beachhead” theory. The aim, as Piereson later described in his essay offering advice to fellow conservative philanthropists, was to establish conservative cells, or “beachheads”, at “the most influential schools in order to gain the greatest leverage”. The formula required subtlety in direction and perhaps even some misdirection.

The key, Piereson explained, was to fund the Conservative intelligentsia in such a way it will not “raise questions about academic integrity”.

Happily, The Ramsay Centre’s push to infiltrate Australian universities has met and continues to meet strong resistance.

This from the Sydney Morning Herald:

'A staff-led campaign opposing the University of Sydney’s consideration of a Western civilisation degree funded by the conservative Ramsay Centre is continuing to escalate, with a department formally expressing its opposition to the proposal.'

But these Ramsay/IPA people are dogged and they have plenty of bucks, some of which came from Gina Rinehart, who is like both Koch Bros rolled into one.

Thanks to Australia’s ridiculous disclosure laws, we have no idea just how much dark money is behind the libertarian conspiracy, but you can bet it is heaps — enough to keep the tenacious ideological bludgers going for years.

Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones is a licensed private enquiry agent the author of 'Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia's Speaker'. You can follow Ross on Twitter @RPZJones.

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