25 October 2019

Matt Halton recently appeared on Floodcast to discuss his recent essay for Overland about the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. He notes that a project aimed at removing Marx from the curriculum can not be taken seriously: “If there is indeed such a thing as Western Civilisation, with all its attendant signifiers, then [Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte] is right at the centre of it — pulling everyone from Caesar to Napoleon, Hamlet to Dracula, into its ideological orbit, exposing the hidden parallels of history even as it mercilessly deconstructs the idea that the West has a unified legacy.” In an amusing gambit, Halton then uses Ramsay himself to illustrate the continuing significance of Marx’s gothic imagery in understanding the world: “Ramsay is long gone, but through the medium of his money he still bends the world to his will, brushing aside the concerns of perennially underpaid and overworked researchers in blind, vindictive pursuit of his foundation’s obsolete agenda, wrapping his rotting hands around the neck of modern thought and trying to drag it down with him into the stinking grave of a past that never was. ‘The tradition of all dead generations,’ writes Marx, ‘weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.’”