Ramsay Centre

One of the best things about Western civilisation (a list of debatable length) is its obsession with spectacle. Another is academic freedom. So it was thrilling to see both these traditions collide on Tuesday in Brian Schmidt's explanation of the ANU's decision to walk away from the creation of a Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

The vice-chancellor of the ANU gave us something rare in Australian discourse at the moment: honesty. Speaking both on Radio National and through The Australian, Schmidt defended his organisation and his decision in language without compromise.