Michael Sexton (“Writers festivals an echo chamber of opinions”, The Australian, 24/7) laments the undeniable predominance of left-wing viewpoints at Australian writers’ festivals.
In believing this to be a recent phenomenon, he seems to have fallen prey to a cognitive bias, common especially among conservatives, whereby one’s own gradual drift to the Right is mistaken for a drift in the opposite direction by the rest of the world. In fact, the progressive nature of creative people in general has been evident at least since the Enlightenment. Mr Sexton may as well bemoan the lack pacifists at a military conference.
There is a possible solution. Writers could be selected not on merit, but on political stance, favouring the conservative minority sufficiently to achieve a fifty-fifty mix. However, such social engineering may not sit well politically with its beneficiaries!