In Book Reviews

Cory Bernardi, The Conservative Revolution, Connor Court, 2013.

Unlike perhaps ninety per cent of the haters bashing Cory Bernardi on various websites, I actually have his new book and have actually read all 164 pages of it (and all 137 footnotes). So that might make my review slightly more reliable than those written by various secular left commentators.

The reason for their wrath and vile remarks is clear: Bernardi dares to say that which is politically incorrect. For example, he thinks it is not a good thing that our most trusted institutions of marriage and family are under attack; that killing up to 100,000 unborn babies a year is deemed acceptable; and that the Christian faith is vilified rather than praised as a force for good in our nation. No wonder the poisonous barbs are being fired at him.

The South Australian Senator makes a very simple case: the mainstream values which a majority of Australians support are well worth promoting and defending. Things like faith, family and freedom—all the things that those on the radical left so love to disparage and trash.

Bernardi defines a conservative simply as one who seeks “to protect and defend the structures and values that have allowed our nation to achieve the traditional freedoms and prosperity that we enjoy today.” And by revolution he means the need to “restore conservative values to their rightful place as the guiding principles of our civilisation and the cornerstone of governance.”

He begins by defining some conservative principles and values. These include: the importance of order and stability; the importance of judging decisions by their long-term consequences; the realisation that human-made utopias are unworkable and dangerous; the ideal of freedom and private property; and the need to keep a check on power—especially political power.

He then focuses on some key conservative themes: faith, family, flag and free enterprise. Let me just comment on the first two. In his chapter on faith and its importance, he rightly notes what a valuable role it has played both in the foundation of this nation and in its growth and development.

And by faith he does not mean just any old generic faith, but specifically the Christian worldview which did so much for Australia in particular and the West in general. He notes that even those with no religious identity “will likely identify with values that would not exist if it weren’t for the historical role that Christianity has played in shaping” Australia.

He notes that the increased secularisation of late has been closely connected to shifting morality—indeed, to a moral freefall. He discusses the culture wars, including the battle for the sanctity of life. He notes how secular elites such as Peter Singer have pushed for not just abortion and euthanasia, but infanticide as well.

Bernardi deals with the separation of church and state myth, and examines how religious freedom is increasingly coming under attack by those committed to the secular left worldview. He also notes how counterfeit religious movements are arising, such as the radical green agenda.

And he discusses how Islam is not on a par with Christianity, but has fundamental values that are hostile both to Christianity and to freedom and democracy. While ordinary Muslims are to be welcomed, the political ideology of Islam must be rejected, if Australia is to survive as a genuinely free and open society. There certainly are moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate.

In his chapter on family, Bernardi marshals the social science data as to why the institutions of marriage and the heterosexual family are so overwhelmingly vital to society, to individuals, and to children. There is a wealth of documentation available here which he draws upon, showing that married people live happier, healthier and longer lives than do those in other types of relationships—or no relationships.

And he highlights the mountain of evidence showing that children do best, all things considered, when raised in a home containing their biological mother and father, especially when cemented by marriage. This really is the “gold standard” of family structure, and one which we should not be ashamed in championing.

That is why conservatives so strongly defend the traditional family unit, while the leftists are so bent on destroying it. The left has long known that to capture a culture they must first capture its families. It really is the major battleground of our day, and radical experiments like homosexual “marriage” only further harm society, children, and the institution of marriage itself, as he carefully documents.

Bernardi rightly states, “The current cost and the future risk to our national wellbeing are too great. We simply cannot afford to remain silent about the importance of the traditional family in shaping a positive future for our nation.”

He concludes by offering some practical and personal tasks we can get involved in as part of this conservative revolution. There are many things we can do on the personal, social and community levels to stand up for the values that have made this nation so great. Political involvement is also one of them.

Obviously Bernardi is leading by example here, having served in the Australian Parliament since 2006. He has been one of our most courageous and outspoken politicians, constantly reminding us of the war that we are in, and the values that we need to preserve and defend.

This short manifesto is well worth reading and passing on to a friend. We live in a time when far too many politicians are cowardly when it comes to standing up for Australia and for what is right. Bernardi is not such a person. He and his book both deserve tremendous support.

The Conservative Revolution can be purchased for $29.95 from Connor Court at

Bill Muehlenberg is a fervent and learned defender of the Christian worldview. His numerous articles are collected on his Culture Watch website –

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