29 November 2011

Morals or money?

Melanie Phillips complains of the loss of moral principles in modern society.

Two ... incidents happened recently. A 79-year-old woman has died from head injuries after trying to fight off teenage muggers who robbed her of the bag containing her husband’s ashes.

This attack followed hard on the heels of a story about a teenage burglar who, asked to write a letter of apology to his victims, wrote instead that he wasn’t bothered or sorry at all, and that the burglary was all their fault for leaving their window open.

Such incidents suggest that we are dealing with something beyond merely ruthless acquisitiveness and contempt for the law. They suggest a total absence of empathy for another person, which is the basic requirement of morality and, in turn, of a civilised society. They illustrate a brutalisation of humanity. (Daily Mail, 28 November 2011)

Describing a speech by Phillip Blond (credited as a key architect of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ idea), she writes:

He [Blond] condemned the doctrine of ‘moral relativism’ according to which no values or way of life can be said to be better than any other.

Melanie Phillips concludes her article thus:

For if we really want to stop Britain’s terrifying drift into brutalisation, where a widow is robbed of her husband’s ashes and the young become strangers to remorse or reason — not to mention the summer’s riots and the economic crash — we surely have to accept that the moral vacuum into which we are staring is one that Britain’s bedrock faith must once again fill.

In 1945, with the onset of the Oppressive State, the link between the individual and reality was broken. Henceforth what determined the well-being or otherwise of yourself and your children would not be whether you could pay for what you and they needed, but whether other people would accept your needs as deserving of support with the money confiscated from other people in taxation.

This achieved a progressive shift in the ownership of resources from the middle class and aristocracy (the elite) to the least functional sections of society.

Nearly 70 years on from 1945, we read of the reduction in the size of families of the middle class, and of the deterioration in the quality of the upbringing which they are able to provide for their offspring. At the same time we read of reduction of benefits available to pensioners, and of unemployed fathers of large numbers of children, many of whom are living on benefits and all of whom, presumably, are receiving an expensive state education.

Attempts may be made to tweak the situation and to ‘kick-start’ the economy by further taxation of the above-average in order to provide ‘help’ for individuals or projects considered socially acceptable, but can such attempts ever work?

Over any considerable period of time it appears to be impossible that policies of this kind could prevent the continuous decline of civilisation. This is because the real causes of the ever-increasing drains on ‘public money’ are never mentioned. Among them is the geometrically increasing cost of supporting the population of those who are not, and never can be, productive members of society (even if interfering in other people’s lives as a doctor, teacher or social worker is considered as a positive contribution to society).

If you do everything possible to multiply the population with the lowest IQs, you will soon have an immense and growing burden on the resources which can be provided by taxpayers.

Oh, but that is only if the factors that influence IQ are at least to some extent hereditary, you may exclaim, and this is something that we find quite unacceptable and will on no account consider.

Nevertheless if, as I strongly suspect, the size of the dysfunctional population, and the expense of providing for it, continues to increase with every generation, it is a matter of indifference how far the factors which lead to this outcome are hereditary or otherwise. This population becomes a burden on the economy which outweighs any efforts which may be made to increase its income by productive activity.

The behavioural standards of a society with this characteristic are likely to decline inexorably towards brutal levels, whatever ostensible morality is being urged on the population.

Brief analyses such as these should be being expanded into research papers. We call on those who recognise the pro-collectivist bias in current academic research to support Oxford Forum.

25 November 2011

Letter to a Polish reader

Thank you for writing, and saying

I think Celia Green is one of the great modern British writers – in the perfect world she would be a household name.

It is nice that you get something out of my books, even if I do not get much out of modern British writers.

The reason I have produced so few books, and none of recent years, is that the publication of the books did nothing to relieve the frustration of my position as an exiled academic.

Debarred as I was from any academic career to which I was suited, I needed the books not only to generate income to replace that which I should have had as an academic, but also to build up capital towards the establishment of an independent academic organisation to provide me with living conditions compatible with intellectual productivity.

Unfortunately the books did not in any way generate opportunity. Writing, publishing and distributing them remains a heavy burden on our limited manpower and resources.

We need more people to come and live nearby, to do voluntary or paid part-time or full-time work. This should seem attractive to those approaching retirement, but apparently does not in this country, as nobody of that age group comes.

This is apparently because there is such a taboo in helping anyone who complains of their bad social position and attempts to remedy it. Possibly the taboo is less strong in Poland, where everyone is less cushioned by the welfare state.

Would you be able to come for a short break in Cuddesdon? We are too overworked to spend unlimited time with you, but could meet enough to give you some information about our needs and about the advantages there might be for those working here.

Then perhaps you could tell other people in Poland who might be interested, and this could eventually help us to write more of the books we are currently prevented from writing and publishing by the constriction of our position as well as our lack of academic status.

15 November 2011


I am amazed at the antagonism to capitalism that is expressed in sympathy with the anti-capitalism protesters.

Capitalism is the only thing that has given me any advantages in life with which to repair the damage of a socialist environment, which ruined my life and the lives of my parents when I was exposed to a state-financed education.

Having been born as the offspring of two socially displaced families, I had no capital of my own and was dependent on the educational system to get into the sort of academic career which I needed to have. However, in practice my education was run by people who had no interest in my well-being or that of my parents, at the time or in the future, to put it mildly.

When I attempted to stake a claim on re-entry to a university career by doing research outside of a university, the only significant financial support was from a newspaper tycoon, Cecil Harmsworth King. Before being turned against me by those who thought that research should only be done inside universities, he provided just enough financial support for me to do the preliminary work to open up at least two new fields of research.

No further financial support from any quarter was forthcoming to enable Dr Charles McCreery and me to carry on with the development of these fields of research, which were taken over (at least nominally) by people who already had academic salaries and status.

The only further improvement in our position came from ownership of a house in which we lived for many years with no heating and scarcely any furniture.

I am certain that opportunity in life depends only upon capitalism, and is damaged by socialism, although the latter purports to provide it for those who are ‘poor’ enough.

Much sympathy is evinced for those who protest against capitalism. My protests against socialism receive no sympathy.

10 November 2011

The anti-authoritarian syndrome

Once when I was at Miss Maughfling’s (the preparatory school I attended) I got sent to write lines instead of going out to break. I was in the kitchen (a large room) with the other children, and the kettles were on to make the drinks that Miss Maughfling handed out. You could have milk, cold or warm, or hot orange juice made from concentrate, which was what the kettles were for.

The steam was coming out of the spouts of the kettles and I knew, from prior experimentation at home, that it was not actually very hot. Some other child sounded afraid of it, and I said ‘But it is not very hot really’, and passed my hand through one of the jets of steam, amused at the shock of the nearby children.

Just at this point Miss Maughfling came into the kitchen and was horrified. I was not to go out to break, she said, but must write lines – ‘I must not touch steam from boiling kettles.’

I did not think she was exactly in the right, and I did not think there had been anything wrong with what I had done. Nor did I mind about missing the break on the lawn at the back of the house, which was of little interest to me.

So I went up to the classroom and dutifully wrote out the lines, neatly and well-spaced as I wrote everything else.

It was just a thing to do, so I did it as well as possible.

By the end of the break I had covered quite a few of the pages I had been given (loose lined sheets of paper) and Miss Maughfling looked surprised as she inspected them.

‘You must have worked very hard,’ she said, nonplussed, as if she would have expected something different.

The fact was that I did not have an anti-authoritarian syndrome, as so many do. I had read too much, for one thing, to think of adults as unmotivated paragons or purveyors of wisdom.

But the important thing is that I always did things in the best possible way; if they were boring this seemed to me the way to make them least boring. In effect, this was centralised and later made it possible for me to get some intensity out of fairly dull work in the early years at the convent.

Many people have learnt a disidentification with what they are doing and this can be extremely difficult to overcome. They can’t, even if they want to, do things in an error-free way. They can only find them ‘interesting’ if done in a rush at the last moment. There are several variants of this, but they all more or less preclude any more advanced form of centralisation.

04 November 2011

Aged one

Celia Green, aged one
copy of a letter
Thank you very much for finding and sending the scan of the photograph of me aged one. We still have not found the original (all this moving around while being so short-staffed) and I would have been sorry to lose it altogether.
I think my mother realised it showed how precocious I was and kept it hidden, so that we only found it after her death. It was in a box-file in which she had kept other mementos of my precocity, such as the first book which I was found to be able to read, and the introduction which I wrote at age 5 for my arithmetic textbook. I know that she gave the little book away when I was thrown out at the end of the ruined education, and I expect she thought she should accept that I had come to nothing after all, as she had always been told was likely. At the same time she dismantled my cupboard full of chemicals, which was symbolic of my wanting to take a degree in chemistry (externally from London, when I was 14).
We looked for the introduction to the arithmetic textbook, and Charles was disappointed not to be able to see it, but it was not in the box so she must have thrown that away as well, in acknowledgement of the ruin of my life.
Looking back, I am afraid that the tragedy of my life and of my parents’ lives was determined very early on by my father’s willingness to be influenced by educational experts.
My mother said there was one who visited me ‘to see how precocious a child could be’, and in fact I remember someone who sat in the corner of the room when I was about four and asked my father guardedly when I had learnt to read. To which my father replied ‘She could read anything by the time she was four. ’
This ‘expert’ was probably one of those who promoted the view that precocity was meaningless, just an anomaly in early development.

01 November 2011

Accommodation wanted

copy of a post to our Facebook group:

There are some people who express enthusiasm for such books and research as we have been able to produce. In fact we have produced only a very small fraction of what should have been possible if we had been less rigorously deprived of support.

If anyone’s enthusiasm for our books and research extends to wishing to see more of either produced, we would appreciate it if they would think how they could give us some financial or practical support, or encourage others to do so.

One way in which people could help would be by buying or renting properties near to us in Cuddesdon (on the outskirts of Oxford with an Oxford postcode).

We are very cramped for space and extra space would be used either for offices or for accommodating visiting voluntary workers or potential supporters.

If a house or apartment were bought outright rather than rented it could either remain in the buyer’s name or be donated to one or more of us.

Currently the following large house is on the market, which is sufficiently close to us to be very useful: The Mill, Cuddesdon, guide price £1,650,000.

There are currently two other, smaller, houses in Cuddesdon on the market for renting, at £1200 per calendar month and £800 p.c.m. respectively. The former is more spacious and would come close to significantly relieving our problems.

Another way in which people can help us is by coming as visiting workers or supporters, but in this case the problem of accommodation arises, and it would be desirable for them to be able to pay for this during their visit, also to be running a car if possible, as the accommodation might not be very near to us.