In lesson one we learned that our traditions of self-government, limited kingship and of trial by jury come from the Norse culture. We learned that feudalism in both church and state buried political and religious freedom for around 600 years.
In lesson two we learned that the Australian constitution sets up the machinery of Federation but does not give us individual rights. We learned that those constitutional freedoms we have come from British constitutional sources beginning with Magna Carter.
In lesson three we learned that Parliament is the supreme law making body but the government is Cabinet. We learned that Cabinet is formed by the party or coalition that has the most seats in the lower house of Parliament, and that Cabinet directs the public service. We also learned that all cabinets are always incompetent.
In lesson four we learned how to find and lobby local representatives. We learned that influence is a long term project and looked at the world through the eyes of a politician.
In lesson five we looked at the policy cycle in the public service, and how the public service both implements and drives policy change.
In lesson six we looked at some of the unseen influencers in our social system. We talked specifically about political parties and party factions, media ownership, the secret services, corporate funding and organised crime.
In lesson seven we looked at four major social trends including the trend towards androgyny, the trend towards sustainability, the take-over of society by corporations, and the commercialisation of humanity. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
In lesson eight we looked at how Western World mass social movements have changed and continue to change society.
In lesson nine we considered what social activism is, how it works, and how it differs from terrorism.
In lesson ten we considered the origins and objectives of cultural Marxism and how that is playing out in Western societies today.
Let us now end where we began in ninth century Britain. The basic conflicts then were between paganism and Christianity, State and church dictatorship versus political and religious freedom, and between the different tribes and cultures that settled Britain.
I suggest that these conflicts are still with us but in different guise. I suggest that the struggle between paganism and Christianity is being replayed in the culture wars between Judea Christian values and post-modern secular humanism. I suggest that the struggle for personal freedom is being re-played in the struggle against thought control and the corporate takeover of society. I suggest that just as Britain has been fought over by different tribes with different cultures so most Western societies are now being tribalised by excessive immigration and by foundational value shifts.
When it comes to public life truth is always something that must be sought out, not passively accepted. As someone a long time ago said:
“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”
We live today in a relatively free and prosperous country because we stand on the shoulders of giants. We stand on the shoulders of Celtic missionaries who established communities of faith in a violent pagan land. We stand on the shoulders of people whose names we do not know who first converted to Christianity. We stand on the shoulders of heretics and reformers who would not be silenced and who determined to live by their conscience. We stand on the shoulders of those who demanded limits to the power of the King and made Parliament supreme.
In Australia and Canada we stand on the shoulders of explorers and navigators, and of our indigenous brothers and sisters without whose help it would have been much more difficult to develop these nations. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who looked north across the Timor and Coral seas, and south across the English Channel, and decided they would rather die free than submit to tyranny. We stand on the shoulders of a generation of post war migrants who helped build our nation. One day someone will stand on your shoulders. Where to from here depends on you.