Ramsay Centre stupidity

By December 20, 2018Education

As an indication of the stupidity of the people running the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, this has to take the cake. They have posted a quote supposedly from Mahatma Gandhi which they said, went:

“What do you think of Western Civilisation?”

“I think it would be a good idea”

  • Mahatma Gandhi1

Apart from the fact that Gandhi would not ask himself the question to which he replied, one of the common records of this is:

Journalist: “Mr Gandhi, what do you think of western civilisation?”

Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”2

There is debate about whether this exchange ever took place, and if it did take place, where and when it happened. The earliest appearance of this exchange is almost 20 years after Gandhi’s death2. Aside from this, the Ramsay Centre has ham-fistedly taken this exchange to mean that western civilisation is just peachy and it should be adopted by everyone. This is mistaken. As is clear from the fact that it is Gandhi who reputedly gave this answer when he was in the middle of his campaign to rid India of the British, the quote was meant to indicate not that everyone should embrace western civilisation, but that the west itself should become civilised2.

This is the idiotic ‘scholarship’ to which the University of Wollongong has signed up3. The Ramsay Centre is an organisation dedicated not to critically examining western civilisation, but its promotion. It could be construed as a white supremacist organisation, as it seemingly celebrates imperialism and colonialism by the European powers over the last couple of thousand years. It is unsurprising that the chair of the Ramsay Centre should be John Howard4 when you consider his white blindfold view of Australian history5

The University of Wollongong has made a major mistake in signing up to the Ramsay Centre drivel. It will have trouble maintaining its reputation if this travesty goes ahead.


  1. https://twitter.com/theramsaycentre/status/1075466190145896449
  2. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/04/23/good-idea/
  3. https://www.afr.com/news/policy/education/wollongong-uni-staff-want-ramsay-centre-western-civilisation-course-axed-20181218-h1995m
  4. https://www.afr.com/news/policy/education/ramsay-centre-rejects-interference-claim-by-anu-vice-chancellor-brian-schmidt-20180626-h11v16
  5. https://www.theage.com.au/opinion/australia-seen-through-a-white-blindfold-20060127-ge1n7t.html


  • JON says:

    IF it happened at all it sounds like almost perfect irony, obviousy lost on the drones at Ramsay. Shades of the Republicans misunderstanding and misappropriating Springsteen’s Born in the USA as a ‘call to arms’ many moons ago. 150 years on and JS MIll is still constantly being proved correct with his comments that while most conservatives may not be stupid people but most stupid people are conservative.

    • admin says:

      These Ramsay Centre people are seemingly of the idiot end of the Conservative spectrum. That might be stating the bleeding obvious.

  • Jim says:

    One of the criticisms of the Ramsay Centre is that an outside body may have input into the appointment of academic staff. However, one could ask how this differs in principle from a Co-operative Research Centre (CRC). When these are set up the industry partners certainly have input into the appointment of staff, and at least in part, the research activities are funded by industry and directed towards problems that industry would like investigated–in other words an outside body is at least in part directing academic activities.

    • admin says:

      However, most of the CRCs have to do with science, and look at a particular set of problems. While there are risks those could be steered in particular directions to favour the industry partners, the Ramsay Centre is simply about promotion. We have organisations which study all aspects of western civilisation; they are called universities.

  • JON says:

    CRC’s aren’t teaching the “leaders” of tomorrow and mostly involve mature, highly qualified adults. I don’t see any similarity at all Jim. This is more akin to supposedly “obligation- free” developer and union donations to political parties. UoW Council will need to keep a close on eye course content, marking, and administration/oversight AND ensure that Ramsay ideology plays no part whatsoever during the selection of staff . If UoW employs free thinking lecturers etc and makes sure Ramsay keeps its distance then it shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Jim says:

    Both the Ramsay Centre and CRCs are dependent on outside funding as far as the university is concerned.. As suggested by Jon, if the UOW employs the right people there should not be a problem with the Ramsay Centre. I was on a CRC Management Committee for about ten years back in the nineties and early 2000s–it had strong industry links. The CRC was essentially Federally government funded for the first four years, but after that the Government money dropped off and industry funding was required. Not surprisingly industry wanted research projects (at honours, masters and doctoral levels) to be directed towards real problems, with the academic standards strongly maintained. I would expect the Ramsay Centre to fund both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as done by CRCs. As stated I see little difference in principle between the Ramsay Centre and CRC funding once the initial government money for CRCs disappears.

    • admin says:

      The CRCs with which I am familiar were all science related and were not for promotional purposes. They were, as you said, to try to sort out a problem using targeted research. However, the reason the Ramsay Centre discussions with ANU broke down was because the Ramsay Centre wanted to control the ‘curriculum and the hiring of staff. They are not interested in research; it is solely about promotion of imperialism and colonialism.

  • JON says:

    Both Admin and I are very familiar with CRCs Jim.

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