A CIS senior fellow who sadly passed away in 2020 at age 90, Owen Harries was not just a beautiful writer and stylist. He was also a profoundly sound thinker, steeped in both the liberal and conservative traditions of thought, who made an intellectual mark across the Anglosphere from the 1960s to the 2010s.
Following Paul’s speech, Tom Switzer moderated a discussion with Sue Windybank, Michael Easson and Paul Kelly about the book, and the life and legend of Owen Harries.
Owen was a great admirer of America, but he warned against the dangerous rise of a hubristic triumphalism in post-Cold War America. Owen strongly believed in western civilisation, but he was the first to identity the collapse of the West as a strategic and political entity. Owen was the living embodiment of globalisation – he lived and worked across three continents — but he recognised the perils of the so-called global village; and the degree of envy, malice, meanness and vindictiveness that the intimacy of a real village can not only accommodate but foster.
If Owen’s opinions were unwelcome – whether it be at Australian university campuses during the Vietnam War protests or Washington think tanks at the height of America’s unipolar moment – his intellect and gravitas enforced respect.