The malicious fraud committed upon the magazine Quadrant and its editor Keith Windschuttle provides lessons for all of us, particularly editors.

There is no doubt that Windschuttle was negligent and left the magazine wide open to fraud. Any editor should have procedures for identification of contributors and peer review.

These sort of frauds are not the literary type of Helen Demidenko: at least her book can be read and judged (for good or bad) as a literary work regardless of who she really is. The Quadrant fraud is more like a computer virus. Any editor who does not use anti-virus software would be rightly criticised and so it is with Windschuttle. No doubt the author of the fraud would feel the same sort of satisfaction as the author of a virus: it is the pleasure of being maliciously destructive.

If the author had real talent, then she could have researched Windschuttle’s writing and attempted to prove that they were wrong or carelessly written.

Has Keith Windschuttle’s reputation been damaged or destroyed by the fraud committed upon him and Quadrant? The answer is no, because the people who care about this are the same sort of people who did the fraud: namely, the left-wing glitterati who read Crikey, The Age and The SMH and watch and listen to the ABC.

To them, Windschuttle had no reputation to be destroyed. As a serious historian who exposed the falsity of left-wing Aboriginal history, he had no credibility with them in any event. None of this fuss concerns the man-in-the-street who really doesn’t give a stuff about any of it. Historians will still judge Windschuttle’s work by its content, not by a fraud such as this.

This affair is all about the Left, successfully and publicly, punishing and humiliating Windschuttle for having written about Aboriginal history so as to destroy the Left’s Dreamtime. They will all be immensely satisfied at a job well done. Good for them.

As for Windschuttle, I have no sympathy because he needs none. He is an intellectual icon of the non-Left in a country where it is not acceptable to speak up against the Left orthodoxy in any area — and particularly in the sacred PC areas of Aboriginals, climate, Muslims and the Iraqi War.

Windschuttle should be thankful that he does not live in a really tolerant, progressive country like Holland where deviant views get you killed (as were Theo van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn).

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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