First published in the Christopher Dawson Centre Newsletter, July 2022. To subscribe, please fill out this form. We don’t send too many newsletters, rather fewer with content rich, thought pieces intended to spark conversation and community.
Last Saturday’s Colloquium was the big event of our year. It lived up to our expectations and indeed soared beyond: all papers were well and evenly matched in their force and relevance.
Putting to one side for a moment our due sense of triumph on the conclusion of an intensely engaging conference, I cannot fail to observe that much was said there had the power to depress and sadden us. The awful truth is that when ten experts in their several fields talk about freedom of speech and religion today, a certain gloom settles upon their audience: traditional rights of expression and even the law itself are yielding to the power of wokery in western countries.
Not only is free speech curtailed, but being merely suspected of harbouring inappropriate thoughts can be dangerous. Jobs have been lost, livelihoods destroyed, for the expression of errant ideas. ‘Sadly, you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home’, said former Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Trigg in 2017. ‘Sadly,’ mark you! Can this really be happening? Do many of our nation’s leaders and law-enforcers actually regret that intimate conversation within the family circle cannot be placed under surveillance – yet – and duly corrected or even penalized? Sadly it appears to be so. A totalitarian impulse within certain sections of western democratic society looks to be well entrenched, a longing to control, a nostalgia for the powers to which the privileged have always felt themselves entitled.
So much for sadness and depression. Confidence and optimism overwhelm gloom, and the sun shines more brightly when you can see more clearly what you have to face and have an informed hope of winning the war, even if some skirmishes don’t go our way. For a start, most of those present at the colloquium have firm confidence in the Grace of God and the certainty of final victory. Another source of encouragement was the opinion expressed by several speakers that the gulf between actuality and delusion has widened now almost to breaking point, and that the whole woke myth based on the false creed that you are what you think you are will sooner or later implode under the sheer weight of its own nonsense, as ordinary people wake up, speak out and take strength from each other.
I suppose the longing to see our dreams come true is a perfectly normal human tendency, particularly among children. But its continuation into adulthood seems to be a peculiar weakness of our own times, helped along perhaps over the last several decades by those sweet, beguiling words of Walt Disney:
‘Makes no difference who you are,
Anything your heart desires will come to you…
…When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.’
Brought up on that sort of thing, as so many of us have been, it’s easy to believe that we can be male or female, black or white, or that unborn babies are not really human, or anything else we want – and that mere wishing can make it so.
For the first time we videoed everything and will soon upload all presentations to our YouTube channel. The proceedings will also be published in book form later this year.