Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt announced the ANU is withdrawing from negotiations with a wealthy private donor, the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, over funding for a scholarship and teaching program in studies of Western Civilisation.
By deciding to pull out of a program which is favourable to Western Civilisation, it is patently clear that administrators at the ANU are not entirely committed to support an academic project that appreciates the values that make Australia so unique and special, and that makes so many non-Western people want to live in this predominantly Western nation.
Naturally, the more extreme academics in our Australian universities will think that instead of appreciating the importance of Western values – individual rights, democracy, the rule of law, etc. -, our students should embrace their own extremist ideology and to blindly believe that Western values are somehow xenophobic, oppressive and inequitable.
Taken to its extreme, such an ideological indoctrination makes it far more difficult to argue against Islamic extremists championing hatred against the West (including Australia), and even to argue that there are some important moral values we should hold in common if our society is to survive and prosper.
The situation becomes all the more bizarre when such an university (ANU) already has a centre to promote Islamic and Arab cultures and which is financially sponsored by highly oppressive Islamic regimes in the Middle East.
I doubt the students at such an Islamic centre will learn how the Islamic World “graciously” exercises its tolerance towards Christians, Jews, women, homosexuals, etc. Of course, the very word “Islam” means submission to Allah with the lack in doing so unavoidably yielding violence and intolerance.
Above all, any truly decent university should be very proud to host a centre to study the legacy of Western Civilisation. This is after all our own values and culture. If you are not teaching students the whole thing about their own civilisation, then you are not providing a complete picture of who they are, including when it comes to living in our democratic society which, by contrast to so many other cultures and civilisations, actually embraces real tolerance and human rights for all.