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February 12, 2005

Deja Vu all over again

Gerald Dworkin: February 12, 2005

I highly recommend, both as entertaining and informative, Corrupting the Youth by James Franklin. It is a history of philosophy in Australia. In light of recent developments it is interesting to read of the attacks on John Anderson who was a highly influential and (in his youth) radical Professor of Philosophy at SydneyUniversity. He attacked traditional religion, the idea of King and Country and said that war memorials were idols. 

He was attacked on the floor of the New South Wales Parliament in these terms: “…when a man stands up and traduces in unbridled terms institutions that are revered, and that appeal to the highest sentiments and the noblest motives in the community, he transgresses the reasonable bounds of propriety and all the canons of decent conduct.”

 The University Senate censured Andersonfor using “expressions that transgress all proper limits” and required him to abstain from such utterances in the future. Needless to say he did nothing of the sort and upon entering his logic class to sustained applause said, “I will not insult the intelligence of this class by asking it to put the Senate’s resolution into logical form.”

Update:  Some readers have asked me where to get this book.  I don't know whether it is on sale in the US. It is not on Amazon for example.  It was published in Sydney by Macleay Press.  Your best bet is a good university library.

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