The Great Books of the Western World were the subject of political controversary within the Australian university sector recently when a bequest by the late Paul Ramsay went looking for an institutional home. Instead of selling the intellectual tradition that includes what Harold Bloom referred to as the Western Canon, conservatives talked up a paternalistic, colonising, right-wing culture war waged against, well, against everything that was not considered "Western" I suppose. But why? Here I examine the efficacy of a Great Books degree from the perspective of the political flâneur. My aim is to outline the importance of the liberal arts tradition, but without the populist sentiment of defending an elusive "way of life" that I apparently share because of the geographical and temporal accident of my birth.