The Ghost of Dr Mannix

mannix.jpeg

There seems to be some presupposition in the debates over the culture wars that once upon a time, there was an orderly, well educated and prosperous Australian society with no social cleavages and where everyone knew the 3 Rs and knew their place. It’s the hidden premise, if you like, of all these arguments about values, education, mores and so on. The Latin word Mores is a clue – a word to the wise – O Tempora, O Mores! – we’ve been bemoaning the degeneration of society and culture since Before the Common Era. PJK of course put paid to this faux nostalgia many years ago, but After the Howardian Era, we need some reminding. If we took – say, I don’t know, 1959 (I think that’s the year Howard and Flinty both finished High School) as a base line – was Australian society some white picket fence picture of consensus and strong moral fibre? Of course not.

The Arbitration Commission was wrestling with the basic wage and R.J.L. Hawke was a powerful advocate. The Doc was on his way out, but Arthur Caldwell was taking the fight up to Menzies. E. G. Whitlam was agitating for the recognition of Red China and for an updated constitution. The war in the unions between B.A. Santamaria’s NCC and the CPA raged. Australia was about to slip into a recession, and most outer suburbs in Brisbane were unsewered. Rock and Roll was causing police riots in inner city dance halls. Bodgies and Widgies were coming to blows on the streets of St. Kilda. In Queensland, the Justice Department was the domain of the Catholics and Masons ruled in the Police Department. A Royal Commission would soon be appointed into the activities of the Consorting Squad in facilitating corruption at the National Hotel. Public drunkenness, disorder and brawling was widespread with 6 o’clock closing – that’s why they had the tiles on the walls of the old pubs. The divorce rate was rising, as was the rate of teenage pregnancy. And so it goes…

If we go back even further, in the 1910s and 1920s, the world was going to end because we had the first Labour government. Imperial authorities tried to nip Queensland socialism in the bud by refusing the Theodore government a loan. Theodore responded by stacking the Legislative Council with a Labor suicide squad and voting the squattocracy in their plush red chamber out of existence. In the midst of the conscription referendum, Labor rat PM Billy Hughes tried to have Queensland Premier T.J. Ryan gaoled for publishing widely a Hansard from the Queensland Parliament opposing conscription. And the bane of the bourgeoisie, that great Irishman and Australian nationalist, Dr Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, was being denounced for treason. He needed an honour guard of VC winners in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1919 to stop “Empire loyalists” from interfering with his orderly progress. And Dr Mannix was controversial partly because he opposed the celebration of Empire Day in public schools, and partly because he opposed Australia’s participation in a war for Empire.

Cardinal Pell, you’re no Dr Mannix. No wonder the Vatican was concerned about the pesky prelate. The fights Dr Mannix had with the nuncios and the curia were legion.

For all that the conservatives bemoan the eclipse of history in favour of SOSE (and I’d be inclined to agree), it seems to me that they haven’t actually read much Australian history. And we haven’t even touched on the sort of stuff Windschuttle goes on about. All I’m talking about is an Australia which for most of the twentieth century was deeply riven by sectarian strife, where war was considered by a large part of the population most problematic, where the Labour movement often stood for nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy, where strikes brought the country to a halt, and where the influence of the Communist Party was marked.

But I guess those were the golden years…

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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C.L.
2022 years ago

One Queensland Labor judge of the 1920s had his appointment opposed by the Law Society because it was thought he’d won the job shall we say under ‘colourful’ circumstances. His son had some success as Chief Justice of the High Court, (Mabo etc).

And Daniel was once arrested on the high seas by the British. Imagine if George was taken away by police at a foreign airport over something he’d said about, say, the WOT. The end of civilisation!

What you point to is NNUTS.

(Nothing new under the sun).

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“A generation goes, a generation comes, yet the earth stands firm for ever. The sun rises, the sun sets; then to its place it speeds and there it rises. Southward goes the wind, then turns to the north; it turns and turns again; back then to its circling goes the wind. Into the sea all the rivers go, and yet the sea is never filled, and still to their goal the rivers go. All things are wearisome. No man can say that eyes have not had enough of seeing, ears their full of hearing. What was will be again; what has been done will be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun. Take anything of which it may be said, ‘Look now, this is new’. Already, long before our time, it existed. Only no memory remains of earlier times, just as in times to come next year itself will not be remembered.”

Ecclesiastes 1:4-11 [Jerusalem Bible]

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

“I, Qoheleth, have reigned in Jerusalem over Israel. With the help of wisdom I have been at pains to study all that is done under heaven; or what a dreary task God has given mankind to labour at! I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and what vanity it all is, what chasing of the wind!

What is twisted cannot be straightened,
what is not there cannot be counted.

I thought to myself, ‘I have acquired a greater stock of wisdom than any of my predecessors in Jerusalem. I have great experience of wisdom and learning.’ Wisdom has been my careful study; stupidity, too, and folly. And now I have come to recognise that even this is chasing of the wind.

Much wisdom, much grief,
the more knowledge, the more sorrow.”

Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 [Jerusalem Bible]

Verbum Dei.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Deo gratias.

“Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega. All time belongs to him and all the ages; to him be glory and power through every age forever. Amen.”

Roman Missal of Paul VI, Liturgy of the Easter Vigil

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“Per Omnia Saecula Saeculorum.”

The key to this theme is the Latin term ‘saeculum’, (derived from ‘serere’- to sow) originally meaning ‘generation’ from which the late Latin ‘saecularis’ derives, meaning “once in an age”. We then get the theme of recurrence, for instance, in the Saecular Games celebrated by Claudius.

The theology of time, perhaps exemplified by the Latin phrase which is often used in the Mass and in the Vulgate – “in illa tempore” (in that time), suggests that time persists beyond our understanding of it and change is merely froth on the surface.

Which is not dissimilar to Braudel’s distinction between the ‘longue duree’ and the history of events (fleeting…).

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

“Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam, et societatem donare digneris, cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus, cum Joanne, Stephano, Matthia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Caecilia, Anastasia, et omnibus Sanctis tuis, intra quorum nos consortium, non aestimator meriti sed veniae, quaesumus, largitor admitte.”

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem haec omnia Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et praestas nobis.”

We should stop now, Kim, you need your rest :)

C.L.
2022 years ago

I still like NUTTS : (

PS: I remembered, Yellow ; )

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

Benedicite te, C.L. :)

C.L.
2022 years ago

D’oh! NNUTS.

C.L.
2022 years ago

D’oooooooh! Bad timing.

That was a correction, not a lamentation about being blessed. Curse you comment box!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“Gratias agamus ad Deo Nostro.”

Here’s one for you, Kim –

“Though a thousand fall at your side
ten thousand at your right side
near you it shall not come.
Rather with your eyes you shall behold
and see the requital of the wicked,
Because you have the Lord for your refuge,
you have made the Most High your stronghold.
No evil shall befall you,
nor shall affliction come near your tent,
For to his angels he has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways.”

[Psalm 90]

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

Mark and C.L. :

“Now, Lord, you may dismiss your servant
in peace, according to your word;
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have set before all the nations,
As a light of revelation for the Gentiles
and the glory of your people Israel.

Ant: Protect us, Lord, while we are awake and safeguard us while we sleep, that we may keep watch with Christ and rest in peace.

Lord have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come to You.”

[Compline for Sunday, the Liturgy of the Hours]

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Amen, Kim :)

C.L.
2022 years ago

I put aside my Little Office when I became ‘lapsed’ Kim but thank you for that. Maybe I should try to find it again for just such daily delights as it – and its big Breviary brother – provide. Goodnight all.

MrLefty
2022 years ago

O, how true it is.

It’s one of the major flaws in the conservative character, I think. They pick a year (perhaps the year they enter adulthood) and subconsciously define it as the pinnacle of history, and every subsequent development as a step downhill. Therefore, change must be opposed, because it’s always dragging us away from that mythical perfect period.

My mother in particular is like that. She’s got these rules in her head for which the claim “it’s the correct way to do things” has no verifiable objective basis. We’re discovering more of these as we approach our wedding.

I’m not sure when the entire human race voted on the issue of day weddings and morning suits, but no-one who was there appears to have taken made any written records of the event, instead passing it down to my mother through word of mouth.

At least progressives recognise the flaws in our society and want to fix them. Sometimes, admittedly, our attempts to fix these flaws backfire. But if we didn’t try, we’d still be living in those metaphorical caves. In our morning suits.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

“The only thing new in this world is the history we don’t know.”

[Harry Truman]

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

Notwithstanding the spooky papist signing in the comments, this post is worth a read for the reminder of past treasons of the RC clergy.

All that the rwdbs of today are calling for is a return to the days when we were free to id the enemy. Nowadays if I wanted to run a thesis in public that the Papacy and the iternational left-footery were as hell-bent as ever on taking control of societies such as Australia I’d be howled down as bigoted.

But just look at the axis of Pell and Abbott. Why do you think Abbott opposes abortion – to breed up the numbers. And now that they’ve won gov funding of their seminaries and madrassas throughout the length and breadth of Australia – they’ll have no trouble educating them up into effective cohorts to finally achieve the eternal goal of handing the reins of power to the Vatican.

The days of the first Mick PM are not far off – mark my words.

As a child we threw stones at the kids attending the Catholic Primary opposite – nowadays kids’d be lucky to know that they were different.

Complacency. Born of ignorance, born of stifling of dissent by pomo left-wing Francophile fifth columnists that controls the academy and the media. Evidence? Look at the total lack of interest by the media in the visit of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Defender of the Anglican Faith, Knight of the Produit de Sanitaire.

That’s the work of the Roman Catholic media.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Personally I prefer
outwV gar hgaphsen o qeoV ton kosmon, wste ton uion ton monogenh edwken, ina paV o pisteuwn eiV auton mh apolhtai all ech zwhn aiwnion.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Care to offer a translation, Homer?

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

homer did you really mean to say:

“inna gadda da vida”

Seems more to your taste.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

In commenting on the fifties and the culture wars, an extract from this post over at Slatts’ place is relevant. It seems that there might be a useful side to the phenomenon of “reality television”, after all.

http://www.slattsnews.observationdeck.org/index.php?p=955

One of the more illuminating reality TV shows screening is That’ll Teach ‘Em, a British series appearing on Foxtel.

The 2004 series took 30 16-year-olds, who had just sat their GCSE exams, to a fictional ‘King’s School’, where they received 1950s-style tuition and then sat O-levels in English, maths and history.

For one month, the world of a 1950s state boarding school was re-created in almost every detail. The pupils were placed under the supervision of a headmaster, matron, housemaster, housemistress and a number of subject tutors, all former or working teachers. They confronted strict discipline, challenging lessons, cross-country runs and cold showers, while the school dinners reflected the austerity of the time.

The most revealing aspect of the series was just how woefully educated were these modern kids; none could locate the west coast of India or the Suez Canal on a map of the world, they were completely mystified by calculus and parsing and most had the reading skills of a 1950s 10-year-old.

Initially, most of the kids resented their journey into the past. But when quizzed about the experiment three months later, their response was telling.

Ryan Smithson: At times, the term at King’s was hard to cope with, but, on the other hand, there are moments I wish I could relive! I also feel real pride in knowing I had the opportunity to be taught by some of the greatest characters ever.

Alistair Unwin: Overall I enjoyed the experience and felt I learned a great deal about myself and how half-hearted and, in some ways, disappointing the current education system is.

Simon Waller: I learnt more about all the subjects (especially English and grammar!) and about myself than I have done in 16 years. It was a window into another world, and although it was hellish at times, I’m glad I did it – I look at everything differently now!

Tarot Wells: I have also learned to appreciate the kind of education system that was followed in the 50s. In my opinion, if the 50s education was placed in today’s society, I for one would learn a lot more!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

It’s not a particularly convincing experiment, EP, if only because the nature of the exercise meant that those who were teaching them cared about the results and put everything into it – not that I’m saying that teachers in the 50s didn’t but most schools (then as now) would have had a mix of dedicated and disinterested teachers, and a large range in the middle.

I’d also question why people need to know the Suez Canal’s location – isn’t being able to find relevant information and being able to contextualise it the skill you need rather than having “facts” crammed into your head?

If the British system is anything like ours, then they wouldn’t have done calculus before they were 16 anyway. I did in grade 11, failed to see the point of it, and remember absolutely nothing about it except how much I hated maths (taught by a very traditional subject master).

Nor was there any consistent evaluation of teaching done then – in schools or universities – talk to anyone who went to uni in the early 60s and you’ll hear about doddering Professors whose lectures only consisted of reading aloud from a textbook they’d written 30 years ago.

Pray tell, what necessary skills or extra enjoyment of literature is imparted by parsing?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Of course there are limits to the usefulness of rote memorisation of facts, but there are some that are so basic that everyone should know them. The ability to do simple arithmetic is useful in everyday tasks like counting change, and in more sophisticated ones such as performing a sanity check on an opinion piece without resorting to a calculator. Basic geography is essential in understanding current world events and trade.

I would also venture that the mastery of some of the basic techniques of language contributes towards the ability to communicate in general. As for calculus, its absence probably contributed to your own degenerate leftism.

While I think there isn’t much use in a student knowing the names of all the Roman emperors, there’s a lot more practicality in knowing the times table so you can work out if you’re getting overcharged when you buy four $1.20 pies for $5.40. Mmmmm, pie.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Once again Evil Pee confuses knowledge with intelligence.

The world’s never been richer or more productive. Presumably that means that despite, or perhaps because of, our frequently excoriated educational systems (and when have they ever not been roundly damned by previous generations?), smart young people are still emerging and doing stuff that makes a world of difference.

“…none could locate the west coast of India or the Suez Canal on a map of the world..”

So google it. And do you think the business model that makes Google work, for stockholders and users alike, could have emerged out of a 50s schoolroom mindset?

“… they were completely mystified by calculus and parsing…” Well I was mystified by calculus back at school in the seventies. Hasn’t stopped me from getting to a position where I can hire, wield and fire people that do understand it.

I mean how many of us actually remember what we were taught at school, as opposed to what we really learnt – or learnt how to learn ?

I suspect the biggest lesson most of us learnt at the old alma mater was how to work people and systems for muddling through and skiving off. If something really caught your interest, it was just a bonus if the school could could take you further into it, through its resources, good teachers and cirriculum.

“Don’t be smart!”
“Why am I here then, sir?”
“I’m warning you.”

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

And I didn’t grow up in Aus, and never really encountered that many Roman Catholics till I came here. So I never quite understood who Cardinal Mannix was, or what he did and meant.

But seeing the photo at the head of this post, I think I’m starting to understand what the fuss was about. He looks like a very intelligent, pretty authoritian and completely humourless git. In short, a cult leader.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

And why is he wearing a boat on his head?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Once again, Nabakov confuses the talent of geniuses with the basic competence of the general population.

Furthermore, he is a doody-head.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Jeez, Evil Pee, you really are desperate for my attention.

Say three Hail Marys and log onto “sexyleftishschoolteachers.com.” Mark this, bitch!

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Mate, you’re the one who can’t resist replying to anything I post. Except that one on Road to Surfdom — which I assume you have left alone because you can’t refute it.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Evil Pee, you are well beyond refuting.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dinner with sleek and glamourous lefty female film producers who crave my mind, for starters, as a useful tool in their undying quest to sap your precious bodily fluids.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Of course they crave your mind. It’s located between your legs.

C.L.
2022 years ago

Nab: Some random snippets respectfully offered from a Mannix tragic.

He wasn’t an ecclesiastic of the sex-obsessed, Jansenist-Irish variety. He was really quite liberal, very accessible to everyday people – he heard confessions personally at St Patrick’s well into his late 90s – and he had a good sense of humour.

Nor was he authoritarian, all things being equal – that is, erstwhile norms being taken into account. Indeed he was famous for devolving power and responsibility to others – particularly lay-leaders like Santamaria and very many others in fields like education.

Finally, he was often at odds with the Vatican over one thing or another, opposed WWI as a “dirty trade war” and supported Irish unification. It has been recorded that as a man of 99, he could sit in on a diocesan education meeting and ask several people for their opinions; then, sans notes, he would summarise everything he’d heard and make a decision.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I’m in fulsome agreement with C.L. on this one. Daniel Mannix made a massive contribution to Australian politics and society over a very long period of time. This is often obscured by the vehemence of some of his enemies – such as Frank Hardy – and also by the uncritical adulation of some of his supporters – such as B.A. Santamaria.

Sometime, I’ll write something more substantive about him.

DREADNOUGHT
2022 years ago

Oh great Mark! Mannix.turning.in.his.grave.

Mannix was never made a Cardinal Nabakov and the boat is inverted and filled with water, a rudimentary and portable baptismal font for conversions on the run.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Hey DREADNOUGHT – good to see you over here.

I did mean to correct Nabs – Dr Mannix was never made a Cardinal – and his clashes with Cardinal Gilroy were also legion.

However, and I think I speak for Currency as well, he was worth three Sydney Cardinals.

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

yeah, Dreadie, where have you been? it’s all happening over here at Troppo – all we talk about is Catholicism and being queer these days.

and where’s my prize? hey?

matt
matt
2022 years ago

oooh a forum