Once upon a time

Leading article Australia

The Spectator Australia

The Spectator Australia

Getty Images

The Spectator Australia

18 March 2023

9:00 AM

Once upon a time there lived a generation who believed they knew far more about the world than their elders did and that their wisdom on all matters was far greater than that of any generation that had gone before them. Not only were they incredibly wise, but this generation also believed they were morally superior to all other generations. They – and only they! – could tell right from wrong. They – and only they! – were caring and compassionate towards others. They – and only they! – could define the laws of nature and predict the future of the physical planet we all live on.

This week our cover story by Noel Yaxley looks at the absurdity of ‘sensitivity readers’ re-writing classic fairy tales and books in order to satisfy some woke concept of what is virtuous and what is not. The key question, of course, is who sets the standards that these censors apply? And a secondary observation would have to be, did these same individuals read these so-called offensive stories as children? (Almost certainly, yes). So presumably they themselves were not irreparably damaged by these same tracts, so why should anyone else be?

This desire to meddle in all aspects of our cultural lives has surely now reached saturation point, and it is time for parents and genuine teachers to fight back against it. Parents would do well to seek out the original books and fairy tales and make a point of reading them to their kids. Non-activist teachers who do care about broadening students’ minds could make a point, if necessary, of showing both the original text and the adaptation (Discuss!). Parents should turn off the woke Disney cartoons with their gender fluidity heroes and climate-change doom-mongering and opt for the original versions. Smart, non-woke entrepreneurs could find ways to make money by repackaging traditional concepts and literature. As Noel points out, one new start-up publisher in the UK is now specialising in publishing those authors the wokerati refuse to touch.

But the poison of wokeness has gone far beyond culture. Abandoning the wisdom of our elders and the tried-and-true practices of tradition has had calamitous everyday economic and political results, as well as cultural. The collapse of a woke bank this week in the US should have canny investors worldwide abandoning any company that boasts of its ESG (equity, social and governance) credentials. Regardless of the financial intricacies of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, you shouldn’t need the Brothers Grimm to tell you that any business that values its employees’ skin pigmentation and their sexual peccadilloes above making a cold hard profit is headed for a grisly end.

Similarly, the wisdom of the ages should tell us that if you take a successful everyday attribute – let’s say, for example, cheap, reliable and abundant energy that has created every enjoyable and productive aspect of our lives to date – and hideously demonise it for decade after decade as some grotesque and evil monster, then it will eventually disappear from our lives altogether and be replaced by something that is the opposite: namely, extremely expensive, scarce and unreliable energy. And that, in turn, – just like waving a magic wand or casting a wicked spell – will transform our everyday existence of prosperity and productivity into one of spiralling poverty, economic decline and welfarism.

Speaking of Disney and Hollywood’s destruction of our once-precious fables, Judith Sloan has her own Oscars of Incompetence to hand out this week, her top gongs for government and bureaucratic incompetence on the economic and political front. It’s a tough competition, obviously, now that Labor is in power, and there is no shortage of standout performances of unbelievable stupidity to choose from. But it’s no secret that the award goes to Jim Chalmers, our Treasurer, as he stumbles from one ugly socialist economic prescription to the next like a drunk navigating his was down the lampposts and dustbins of Martin Place. Again, there are no doubt plenty of fairy tales that could have warned Dr Chalmers of what happens when you abandon reason and common sense in favour of greed, arrogance and foolishness. Call it the fable of The Man Who Re-invented Capitalism, perhaps.

Will any Australian politician ever manage to kiss the electorate on the lips and wake us up from our decades-long ideological slumber? There are some encouraging signs. Opposition to the insanity of the Voice is clearly growing, and it is increasingly likely this madcap idea will be scuppered in the referendum.

In finalising Scott Morrison’s Aukus/submarine deal, it also looks like common sense is prevailing and we might finally be heading down the path to having a credible military deterrent force sometime this decade – as well as hopefully setting the framework for nuclear energy and, perhaps eventually, nuclear weapons. Both of which are likely to be critical to the long-term defence and prosperity of this nation.

Fairy tales often teach us that common sense, caution, scepticism and thrift are the keys to our long-term happiness.

Perhaps that’s why the Left is so keen to ban them.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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