Yesterday on 2GB, Mr Howard said: “The Western cultural tradition, it’s not perfect, no tradition is, but essentially it’s made us who we are, it’s where we came from.

14 June 2018

Yesterday on 2GB, Mr Howard said: “The Western cultural tradition, it’s not perfect, no tradition is, but essentially it’s made us who we are, it’s where we came from.

“Western civilisation has given us parliamentary democracy, it’s given us freedom, it’s given us an enormous inheritance of literature and music and culture.

“By all means debate it, analyse it . For heaven’s sake, don’t pretend it hasn’t moulded us. I’m not using this as a platform to attack other civilisations, I’m using it as a vehicle to remind the Australian people of just who we are and where we came from.” Mr Howard said rather than look for reasons to apologise, he had “tried to live” by the belief that Australia’s achievements were overwhelmingly positive.

“We still have that in many areas of society, the determination to apologise for the past. Apologise for your own mistakes, recognise that our civilisation, like many, is flawed, recognise the blemishes but you’ve got to look at the aggregate achievement. The aggregate achievement of Australia is massive. I look at Australia’s past in positive terms, not in negative terms.”

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Nowadays, undergraduates are being taught prematurely to regard the poetic heritage as an oppressive imposition and to suspect it for its latent discriminations in the realm of gender, its privilegings and marginalizations in the realms of class and power. All of this suspicion may be salutary enough when it is exercised by a mind informed by that which it is being taught to suspect, but it is a suspicion which is lamentably destructive of cultural memory when it is induced in minds without any cultural possessions whatever. "
- Seamus Heaney