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Somewheres & Anywheres, Zoom calls, & Hamas
Helen elsewhere, next event for paid subscribers, discussing the "decolonisation" academic fad
First and most important: next Wednesday, 25th October at 10 am BST Lorenzo and I will be hosting our second Zoom call exclusively for paid subscribers. A bit before Lorenzo and I go live, a link will be sent out to paid subscribers, both old and new.
As previously, the call will be unrecorded and run on Chatham House rules. No information from or quotation of—and this doesn’t just apply to Lorenzo or me—is to be attributed to any participant in the call, outside the call. Once again, I’m offering 25 per cent discounts on annual subscriptions to people who sign up before next Wednesday’s zoom call.
We’ll be discussing Lorenzo’s two Somewheres & Anywheres essays (here and here)—in large part because they really hit a nerve—as well as my piece on the utility of Nazi comparisons (which also hit a nerve).
We’re also keen to broach the role of academic “decolonisation” theories in various public responses to Hamas atrocities in Israel and Gaza. I haven’t written a piece on this yet, and nor has Lorenzo, but trying out ideas verbally this way is, I think, just as useful as using Substack like a literary scratch-pad.
For this part of the chat, I plan to recruit another solicitor who also went through the same Australian dual qualification—that is, liberal arts/law—system as I did. She, too, was forced to complete a compulsory Postcolonial Theory and Literatures subject as an undergraduate.
Both of us have been watching this postcolonial/decolonisation farrago of nonsense unfold over the last thirty years with attentive concern. For that reason, we were less surprised by academic and university responses to Hamas in Israel than most.
As those of you who follow me on the Hellsite or subscribe to various British centre-right media outlets would know, this week I have been somewhat busy. Among other things, it’s often my job to explain Brits to Australians, Australians to Brits, and both Australians and Brits to Americans.
This meant I have been doing the rounds on Australia’s Voice referendum (mainly to Brits) quite a lot lately. Before the vote (which took place on October 14th) I spoke to the Spectator (on what is called SpectatorTV and targeted at a UK audience). My segment starts at the 34 minute-mark.
Immediately after it became clear the Voice would go down to catastrophic defeat, I wrote a piece on the issue for The Spectator in the UK, (although it turned up in “World” a day or two later so I’m assuming at least some Americans saw it), and then, at a bit more length, another on the same topic for the Telegraph UK.
If you’re Australian and read those two pieces, they’ll appear a bit one then two then three but UK outlets across the political spectrum didn’t even bother to explain why Australia has referendums. I felt I was duty bound to do so (as a bare minimum) in two large outlets. One can’t complain one’s country is misunderstood if one doesn’t grasp golden opportunities to explain it to people in other countries.
There will be one further piece on the Voice referendum, where I’ll be using my perch at Law & Liberty to explain Australians to Americans. Watch this space.
Apart from all the Australiana above, my monthly longread for Law & Liberty drew from discussions around here on how best to remember the Second World War, and what happens when modern folk decide to retcon the past. SS veterans get hailed as heroes in Allied parliaments, among other things. That Law & Liberty piece also emerged (in part) out of a road-trip I bolted on to some consulting and travel to and from a Liberty Fund conference outside Prague, whence the photographs throughout this piece.
Finally, I participated in a symposium organised by Fairer Disputations. I’m not sure what you’d call Fairer Disputations—it’s kind of a cross between a magazine and a think-tank—but in any case it invited several people (Holly Lawford-Smith and Robert P. George along with yours truly) to respond briefly to this essay of Louise Perry’s. Perry’s essay was originally published in another outlet, First Things, which is a magazine of the traditional sort. All very confusing.
Perry (along with some others, notably legal historian Steven Smith) argues that in certain respects, modern liberal societies are repaganising as Christianity runs out of steam. Her piece sets out this claim in some detail, drawing out the implications. Probably because I’m one of the writers Perry cites (also on a question of legal history), Fairer Disputations asked me for a response.
Hope to see many of you next Wednesday, so do sign up if you’re keen.