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Poor fellow, my country.

This is pretty indicative of the type of ignorant twits in charge of my country now.

In the linked blog post, Orlando makes a pretty good case for the study of the arts in economic terms for our very export-orientated tertiary education sector. I would like to point out the intrinsic value of the arts in Australian society in general. Where people spend their leisure time, and money, is perhaps indicative of what they truly value. And of course, entertainment industries, including TV, books, and films, and even self-education, are generally big on people’s discretionary budgets (where they have any).

But these fools* that now run the country don’t even see that all those accountants and doctors and lawyers and mining engineers often use their spare income to do things like … install home cinemas to watch movies (for instance, movies like Gladiator – a very popular bloke’s movie); and they get cable TV subscriptions for the endless (and very poor quality) History Channel documentaries on Romans, Hitler, and Stalin (throw in the Egyptians and you have 99% of the History Channel content). But since all of those things are obviously of no interest to anybody (especially the unimaginative Craig Kelly MP), why would anyone study any of things in any depth or subtlety?

I would like to remind these education-hating barbarians now in charge of our country that no-one takes up accountancy as a hobby.

To illustrate my point, just this year a medical doctor (gasp) recently donated several million dollars to our department at my university so we could create a prestigious chair in Classics! This is a man who saves the lives of cancer patients, and what does he think about research into the Humanities? Well, this:

It is not just one faculty that makes a university. They are all important, but to forget about where you came from is bizarre.

Read Dr Eliadis’ comments and compare and contrast them to the attitude of the oleaginous Craig Kelly MP. As this is a Classics blog, a sample of the sorts of Classics and Ancient History and related topics the galahs now in charge of my Government think are wastes of money (you can read the entire odious speech here, if you can stomach it):

A cool $150,000 went into a study of the impact of locally mined silver to make coins in Athens between the years 550 BC and 480 BC

Let us not forget the $85,000 that was given to a researcher for the study of Renaissance garden statues.

This is a little bewdy, too: $164,000 for a study of magical spells and rituals from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD to achieve success in personal relations—a most important expenditure!

It goes on: $265,000 for a study to understand the context and purpose of philosophy within higher education in the eastern Roman Empire in the period 300 BC to 500 AD.

Under the previous Labor government $253,000 of taxpayers’ money also went to study archaeology in the Central Caucuses.

This last one I include because it betrays the Government’s real agenda:

It goes on: $112,000 of taxpayers’ money spent on a study on rural communities in South Australia and how they will adapt to health challenges from climate change. The only problem is that according to our bureau’s records the hottest day ever recorded in South Australia was back in January 1960.

In other words, if he doesn’t already agree with it, or if he doesn’t already understand the issue and have a pre-determined position on it, Kelly’s not interested in it. Science and the Humanities must serve his narrow ideological interests. The man, and yes in fact most of the Government, are essentially intellectually incurious people. They are, in other words, dullards. I would say the real waste of money here is the money spent paying, and feeding, Kelly and his ilk.

A pox on this Government.

* In private I use much stronger language than that to describe them. Armando Iannucci style language. They thoroughly deserve it.