On truth, patriotism, and standing up for freedom
As we enter the third year of pandemic-driven fear, we need to take stock of the whole range of its consequences: deaths and hospitalizations certainly, but also lives broken by business failures, the cruelty of forcing isolation on dying people, abuse of authority, absurd and scientifically unfounded regulations, the craven submissiveness of most of the media, profiteering by drug companies, and the unspeakable hypocrisy and point-scoring of our political leaders of all stripes. Boris Johnson partied on, aloof from the miseries of others — an egregious abuse but by no means the only one. There will probably be a day of reckoning.
“Patriotism is not enough,” said Edith Cavell, but for many in Australia the lesson of Australia Day (on January 26) is that there’s not enough patriotism. Every year at this time we are told how horrible Australia is by citizens who have come to loath their own country, and the calls to “change the date” are redoubled. We can’t change the date: it is the anniversary of the introduction into Australia of Christian civilization, English common law, our language, our science, our music, and our art. Those who see no value in all such things write them off as worthless and undeserving of commemoration. But in praising the achievements of the West there is no disparagement of native culture, no lack of fellow-feeling for those who were dispossessed, overwhelmed, or even murdered by settlers. It happened, the bad along with the good, and the whole nation has been immeasurably enriched by the blending of cultures. A new kind of apartheid is emerging in Australia, however, that will do nobody any good. It must be resisted.
On a separate topic: The Rev. Bill Miscamble, CSC, Professor of History at Notre Dame, urges his university to do for Jimmy Lai “what Fr. Theodore Hesburgh did for Lech Walesa in 1982, when the great Polish leader of the Solidarity trade union movement was imprisoned by the Soviet-backed Polish regime. He received an honorary degree in absentia with the Solidarity flag draped over an empty chair.” Fr. Miscamble says that “focusing on Jimmy Lai’s life will tell Notre Dame students that standing up for faith and freedom matters.”
Link to Miscamble’s article in The Irish Rover: https://irishrover.net/2022/02/notre-dame-china-and-standing-up-for-human-rights/
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