In 2004, then Senator Barack Obama declared, “there is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there’s the United States of America.” However, since Obama’s election in 2008, American politics has witnessed the mainstreaming of “conservative apocalypticism” - a crude doctrine of liberty tinged with paranoia about how the President and his supporters are leading a socialist revolution and undermining Americans' freedoms. This lecture places modern conservatism under an intellectual microscope, paying special attention to the right-wing rage that has defined the Tea Party. After situating this rage within a long tradition of American populism, the lecture reflects on why it has exploded anew, and what the implications are for American politics today.
Dr. Michael Ondaatje, Head of History at the University of Newcastle is the recipient of several major teaching awards. He is also the author of the prize-winning book, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America and in 2011 Dr. Ondaatje delivered the annual Human Rights Day Address at the United Nations Association of Australia.
The John Turner Memorial Lecture is held in memory of Dr John Turner, a former history lecturer at the University of Newcastle and WEA Hunter. Dr Turner was one of the foremost historians in the Hunter Valley with a keen interest in local convict history. Dr Turner died in July 1998