Sunday, March 21, 2021

Free Kiwis! A flicker of light in the gloom

I recently recorded a conversation for the podcast Free Kiwis!, which was established several months ago by two Victoria University academics, Michael Johnston and James Kierstead. You can find it here: (663) Free Kiwis! Episode 8: Karl du Fresne - YouTube

I’m not linking to it because what I say is worth hearing. I cringe when I hear myself talk. Suffice to say that it reminds me why I should stick to print journalism, where you have the chance to weigh and fine-tune your words before setting them loose.  

But Free Kiwis! deserves to be brought to the attention of a wider audience. As true believers in free and open debate, James and Michael are rowing against the prevailing ideological current in New Zealand universities.

The podcast I did with them was the eighth in a series. Earlier ones included conversations with the Sydney-based American sociologist Salvatore Babones and the former ACT Party leader Jamie Whyte. You can find them all here: (664) James Kierstead - YouTube

The very existence of the podcast is a heartening sign that the spirit of free academic inquiry and the contest of ideas hasn’t entirely died, despite the stifling homogeneity of most comment emanating from our halls of higher learning. 

Free Kiwis! is a flicker of light in the Stygian gloom. Give Episode 8 a miss by all means, but I urge followers of this blog to check out some of the others.


Michael Johnston said...

Many thanks for being on our podcast Karl, and for your kind words about it. I must take issue with you about Episode 8 though, James and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with you and we learned a lot. I hope your readers will enjoy it as much as we did and that they'll also find some of the other episodes edifying. In Episode 9 we were fortunate to talk with Helen Pluckrose, co-author of 'Cynical theories', a treatise about the pernicious influence of postmodernism and 'critical' theory on the academy and public discourse more generally.

Odysseus said...

Thanks for the tip Karl, I have subscribed. It's great to see a classicist defending freedom. It was after all the rediscovery of Greek and Roman literature that sparked the Renaissance six centuries ago.

Hilary Taylor said...

Thanks for this. Yours was a good discussion Karl, spread over 2 daily walks. Moving on to the beginning of the series now.

CXH said...

Thanks for the heads up. Listened to yours first, nice to put a voice to your online persona, then the first two on the series. Looking forward to the others. I must say it is nice to listen to a, dare I say educated (informed) discussion without the rancour that seems to be usually included these days.