“Sun Rises in the West” Conference to consider Future of Western Civilisation and Western Australia
This week’s conference is an opportunity for Perth to confound its critics. In the “Creative City index – how does Perth measure up?”, city transformation expert Charles Landry says of Perth, “The culture of Perth does not sufficiently value ‘thinking’ or being intellectual; it is more a material culture. Learning is not embedded in the culture.” But there is another school of thought – of which the Mannkal Foundation is an adherent – which says that Perth’s isolation had produced generations of travellers who have a finely honed awareness and relentless curiosity concerning cultures and values.
Addressing what some see as the bleak future of Western Civilisation, Mannkal Economic Education Foundation is hosting a number of leading international thinkers and policy makers in Perth on October 7-8, 2010 to help chart a path for the future.
Shallow, media-driven decision making by political leaders, as well as the rise of political correctness, were some of the reasons cited by supporters of Mannkal who urged the organisation to address this often controversial issue.
After considerable encouragement, I have assembled an eclectic group of leading academics, economists, philosophers and decision makers which have attracted significant interest from local business leaders, as well as national and international attention.
The use of the term Western Civilisation was heavily debated by the organising committee and was why we looked to leading Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey to help come up with a suitable title. Geoffrey Blainey suggested the tongue in cheek title “The Sun Rises in the West” due to the fact that Western Australia is a product of Western Civilisation and is seen by some to be closer to its ‘Western’ heritage than other parts of the nation.
Reflecting the movement of the sun, the Western Civilisation moment could very easily pass as it did with the fall of Rome.
I think the Conference title serves its role in forcing us to consider the journey of Western Civilisation and our collective history, but importantly, also on its future.
With Western values and traditions increasingly questioned, the decision to have a serious discussion on the future of our society was prompted by a number of private conversations and encouragement from friends and supporters of Mannkal.
I was dismayed by the low level of public awareness of the traditions which have given us such great wealth and prosperity. We seem to be systematically trashing the institutions and traditions that have allowed us to be successful and prosper.
The shrill and racist scaremongering has not allowed a serious and substantive discussion on who we are as a society and where we want to go. We at Mannkal Foundation have decided to deal with this head on.
These issues are often raised in the Western Australian media, however, aside from nostalgia and alarmist news reporting, little positive action is ever taken.
One galvanising point in this Conference has been the proposed “Ant-Mining Tax”. The mining tax debate mobilised the community.
Being no stranger from disputes with government and authorities, I saw more than simply self interested miners. Without knowing it, many of the business community and workers protesting against the tax were following in the footsteps of the Boston Tea Party participants and those in the Eureaka Stockade. The desire for liberty, idea of personal freedom along with responsibility with the concept of a representative government not overstepping its mark are all informed by centuries of the development and debate within Western Civilisation.
Yet, while the achievements of Western Civilisation used to be celebrated in classical centres of learning, such as universities, it is now shunned and seen as something to be embarrassed about. If Western Civilisation values are any good, then why can’t they be taught in our universities?
The speaker list of “The Sun Rises in the West” includes: Reverend Dr. Mark Durie, Hon. Christian Porter, Attorney General, Minister for Corrective Services, Western Australia and Mr James Bennett, author of The Third Anglosphere Century: The English-Speaking World in an Era of Transition.
After much effort and personal input, we can now have a deeper discussion than we usually experience in Perth and generate interest from current affairs programs and talk back radio. Instead of lamenting the options and neglect of Western Civilisation traditions, there is now a forum for constructive input.
However, those in the community who would like to use this for partisan, racist, or destructive purposes should take note: this conference is not about being triumphal or seeking to return to mythical glory days and, most importantly, it is not about targeting those people from non-Western backgrounds. Western Civilisation has been enriched and has borrowed from so many other different civilisations and cultures and should continue to do so.
Drawing interest from the business community is Dr Jerry Jordan who will speak at “The Sun Rises in the West” on October 8, 2010 on “Currency debasement Erodes Personal Liberty”. This presentation is drawing interest from stockbrokers and foreign exchange traders in Perth due to the US quantitative easing (printing of money) which has caused concern worldwide. Dr Jordan served as a Member of Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors before becoming President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Full conference and registration details can be found at http://sunrisesinthewest.org/. The conference will be held on October 7-8, 2010, at the Hyatt in Perth, Western Australia.
Media Contact: Ron Manners 08 9322 6777 or 0419 312 222
Note: In addition to the listed speakers, there are many international delegates attending this conference. These speakers and delegates are all ideal interviewees and are available. We would be happy to arrange an introduction.