In the wake of the recent mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, Nick Riemer, a senior lecturer in English and linguistics at the University of Sydney, offered up a suggestion for preventing more such atrocities by presumed white supremacists: stop universities from promoting Western civilization.
In a Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece titled, “After Christchurch universities have a responsibility: abandon Ramsay,” Riemer argues that if “Australian universities really want to combat Islamophobia after Christchurch, only one course is possible: abandon Ramsay immediately.” He’s referring to the controversial Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation located in the University of Sydney. The Centre, funded by Australian philanthropist Paul Ramsey with the biggest education bequest in the country’s history, is controversial because it dares “to foster and promote an interest in and awareness of Western civilization,” according to its mission statement. As former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a board member at the Centre, put it in an article at Quadrant, “The key to understanding the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is that it’s not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it.”
And for Riemer and the left in general, that, of course, is the problem with the Ramsey Centre. There is no community in the First World less in favor of Western civilization than leftist academics, the vast majority of whom are cultural and/or economic Marxists, multiculturalists, radical feminists, identity politics ideologues, or any combination thereof. All are committed to the deconstruction of the incomparable values, traditions, institutions, and unrivaled achievements of the West. For decades they have worked tirelessly to subvert our civilizational pride by equating the capitalist West with colonialist exploitation, the oppressive “othering” of nonwhite peoples, and the environmental degradation of the planet, among other evils. Any perspective that runs counter to their perverse viewpoint is simply demonized as white supremacism.
Riemer is alarmed that “despite all its claims of non-partisanship, Ramsay’s 2019 public lecture series overwhelmingly showcases the right.” Among his examples of right-leaning speakers are The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher – hardly an alt-right firebrand – and medievalist Rachel Fulton Brown, whom he decries as “notorious for her celebration of ‘white’ culture.” (The provocative article Riemer specifically references is one in which Brown sought “to push back against the negative image of the Western tradition that has become so prevalent in our national culture, particularly the way in which people have been talking for decades about ‘white men’ as if they were the source of everything repressive and intolerant.” For this, Riemer implies that she is a white supremacist.) It doesn’t seem to occur to Riemer that the reason a pro-West academic program might be showcasing right-leaning thinkers is that left-leaning thinkers like himself are almost uniformly anti-West, often rabidly so. Riemer himself, a member of a social justice pro-refugee organization which seeks permanent residency and full rights for refugees, has written that political neutrality in the classroom is “a fiction” and that teachers should not be “pressure[d] into hiding their convictions” – unless they are conservative, that is; that kind of thinking must be delegitimized, as he says of the Ramsay Centre.
Thus Riemer dismisses Ramsay’s academic supporters as “the self-nominated custodians of Western culture” and claims that its curriculum “validates the worldview behind Friday’s massacre” in New Zealand. That worldview, if the shooter’s lengthy manifesto can be trusted, seems largely (but not entirely) centered on white ethno-nationalism, and leftists who never let a crisis go to waste have seized on this to condemn all white supporters of Western civilization. (These are the same leftists who would never condemn all Muslims for the terrorism of Osama bin Laden). Riemer and his likeminded colleagues want the Ramsay Centre shut down lest its open admiration for Western civilization inspire more deadly acts of so-called Islamophobia.
As FrontPage Mag readers well know, “Islamophobia” is the phony, weaponized, Muslim Brotherhood-created concept that non-Muslims who have legitimate concerns about the threat of Islamic supremacism are simply bigots afflicted with an irrational fear of Islam, and therefore their concerns can be ignored.
Riemer’s justification for linking the Christchurch shooter to the Ramsay Centre is the Centre’s suggestion that texts of the European canon should be studied together in a coherent whole, a unified program of study. He finds this “separatist cultural essentialism” to be “deeply alarming” and cut from the same cloth as the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto. “There is a clear analogy between thinking that European books belong together and thinking that European people do too,” Riemer declares.
This assumption that the study of Western civilization encourages white separatism and supremacy is simply wrong. There is literally no civilization in history less racist and tribalist than that of the Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman, Western melting pot. Its individualist values and freedoms can be and have been embraced by people of every race, religion, and cultural background. It is the collectivist totalitarianism of the multiculturalist left, not the right, that foments division, racism, and group identity.
But the Marxist left sees everything through the lens of the dynamic of oppressor-and-oppressed. Muslims are always the oppressed, and so Riemer condemns the Ramsay Centre’s admiration for the oppressor West. “If society is to escape from the murderous civilisational hatred displayed on Friday in Christchurch – to say nothing of the West’s longstanding, far more deadly military campaigns against the Muslim world – universities simply must stop legitimising this kind of thinking,” he writes.
This is typical of the left’s unflagging support of Islam as part and parcel of their unholy alliance, which is centered on a mutual desire to destroy Western civilization. Note that Riemer, a pro-Palestinian supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement who has written about the purported dangers of Western “Islamophobia,” has nothing to say about the “murderous civilisational hatred” which Islamic fundamentalists have spread since the time of their warlord prophet Muhammad, all around the world, not least in today’s Europe, where terrorism, rape culture, no-go zones, sharia courts, and demands for anti-blasphemy laws are metastasizing in direct proportion to mass Muslim immigration. Note also that Riemer offers no criticism of Islam’s “longstanding, deadly military campaigns” throughout the dar-al-harb, the house of war (i.e. the non-Muslim world), nor does he mention that the West’s military actions against the ummah have always been responses to Islam’s bloody, imperialist expansions and/or terrorist assaults. And note as well that he ignores the fact that the Christchurch shooter claims to have been inspired to take revenge against Muslims not after taking a course at Ramsay, but after a 2017 Muslim terror attack in Sweden. Islamists and their apologists like Riemer cannot play the victim of Western aggression and oppression if they acknowledge these facts.
Riemer claims that the shooter’s intention “was not just to indiscriminately murder Muslims, but to reset ideas in Western countries in a way that puts European culture at the centre of national life.” The slaughter of unarmed people absolutely should be condemned, but as to Riemer’s second point: why shouldn’t countries founded upon, and by, the values, traditions, and beliefs of Western civilization place European culture at the center of their national life? Because for Riemer, the ultimate terrorism is the promotion of Western civilization, and the Ramsay Centre is seen as leading the charge. “Many academics,” he asserts vaguely, “have accused Ramsay of being the intellectual face of a Western supremacist politics, and therefore fundamentally incompatible with universities’ obligation to support multiculturalism.” Oh, so universities are obligated to support multiculturalism but not Western civilization? Let’s be clear: multiculturalism is not the just, inclusive, balanced worldview it purports to be, but an intellectually dishonest, anti-white, anti-Western ideology that has helped to corrode our purported institutions of higher learning into identity-politics indoctrination mills.
The Progressive journal Overland condemns the Ramsay Centre and its conservative supporters for what it calls their “paranoid vision of civilisational struggle.” How could it be paranoid if Islamic supremacists and their leftist allies openly call for and actively pursue the destruction of Western civilization? The truth is that we are embroiled in a grand struggle between those who want to preserve and transmit to future generations the best of the greatest civilization in world history, and those who demonstrably hate it and are hell-bent on tearing it down.
“After Christchurch,” Riemer concludes, “the urgency to accurately identify and obstruct the ideological enablers of racism in society could not be greater.” I couldn’t agree more, although where we differ is that Nick Riemer and his ilk see the supporters of Western civilization as the culprits. In fact, the ideological enablers of racism and terrorism are the leftist academic apologists for Islamic supremacism.