On September 10 2021, the Institute co-sponsored a Zoom event to consider the subject of "Barbarism, Religion and the Rule of Law". The event was organised by the Boston, Melbourne, Oxford, Vancouver Conversazioni on Culture and Society and co-sponsored by the Institute for International Studies at the University of Chile. Over 100 people joined the event from Australia and overseas.
According to Edward Gibbon, the decline of the Roman Empire was not brought about by external military pressure, but by a crisis of legitimacy that left standing only two dominant claimants which he labelled barbarism and religion, the former deriving its appeal to legitimacy from the sword, the latter from revelation. The rule of law did not merit much attention. In our time the rule of law attracts universal respect while the strength of the sword and of revelation is said to be waning, but much of what has occurred during our lifetime suggests that neither the barbarism of the sword nor the appeal of religion are in retreat while the authority of the law appears to remain at best of subordinate rhetorical importance.
Discussing these questions were: the distinguished Australian historian Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC; the Hon. Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America; and H.E. Cardinal George Pell AC, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican from 2014-19. The discussion was moderated by the President of the Conversazioni, the Hon. David Hawker AO, Speaker of the Parliament of Australia from 2004-07.
We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday
If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.