28 July 2011

Planning for the future

There have been many articles recently about the bad treatment of people of pensionable age who get into care homes. Often the appalling treatment is ascribed to the fact that the home in question is privately run. There is a profit motive and this is not compatible with kindness, it is supposed. The State (I mean the taxpayers) must spend much more money on the care of the elderly.

Of course the private homes are not very private. They are an extension of the State system, and are supposed to be motivated by having a slender margin of profit. Tweaking a collectivist system in this way cannot be expected to improve it significantly. The same is true of the educational system. ‘Free’ schools, and other schemes to give parents ‘power’ within the system, will still have to conform to many requirements which will cripple any possibility of serious improvement.

The fact is that even if conditions within the homes were good instead of bad, and whoever they were run by, they would be in principle unacceptable because their inmates are deprived of their liberty.

This is the hidden snag in social benefits; all must pay for them in taxes and loss of freedom, no one may opt out.

Those who wish to opt out from having a ‘benefit’ imposed on them will be hunted down. Someone I knew, who bought something recently in Boots (pharmacist) for someone else, was asked if he was a carer. It is an infringement of liberty that one should be exposed to this sort of thing, and shops that indulge in it should be boycotted.

Now, in fact, it is impossible to buy any of a wide range of things in pharmacists without being asked, ‘Is it for yourself? Are you on any medication?’ And one is forced to reply to such questions or, I suppose, you will not be allowed to buy what you have asked for. Respect for the autonomy of the individual has declined so far that there is no sign of protest at this state of affairs. Not even mild protest in letters to the Press, let alone riots in the streets.

While there has been no outrage at the retrospective means-testing of state pensions, it is paradoxically (or dishonestly) claimed in Parliament that setting up a new tax, allegedly to pay for the capping of payment out of assets by those who get into care homes, is justified by wishing to enable people to ‘plan for their futures’. It is supposedly more important for people to know that if they are forced into a care home there will be a limit on what they are forced to pay for it, than for people to be able to rely on their pensions bearing some relation to the cost of living and not being means-tested, as for some decades they expected them to be while they contributed to them. (During those decades, I always thought it was rather mean that, after paying contributions for the pension while one was of normal tax-paying age, one should then have to pay income tax on the pension income if it were combined with any other income which one happened to have. Since it was so, one thought that the government was getting its pound of flesh to satisfy its wish to reduce everyone to the same level – which is, ultimately, complete loss of freedom of action for all.)

Planning on the basis of government assurances is impossible; the government may change its mind at any time about what pocket money it can afford to let you have.

22 July 2011

Out-of-the-body experiences

Some recent articles about out-of-the-body experiences (OBEs) in the Daily Mail demonstrate the usual confusions about the topic. Research allegedly shows that these experiences are not (A) ‘paranormal’, or evidence for survival, but (B) associated with brain malfunction. This simple dichotomy is supposed to cover all possibilities, and – the presumption seems to be – once we have satisfied ourselves that it is indeed a brain malfunction, by narrowing it down to a particular area of the brain or a particular brain process, we can stop regarding it as a question to be resolved by research, and relegate it to the realm of minor curiosities.

There has always been tremendous resistance to the concept of out-of-the-body experiences, so much so that before Dr Charles McCreery and I started to work on them in 1964, they were not accepted either by the Society of Psychical Research, who were supposedly ‘interested’ in experiences beyond the normal range, nor by the academic world outside of the SPR, which was already firmly reductionist.

It is therefore not surprising that the fear of any progress in the scientific understanding of them continues in the form of attempts to dismiss them as ‘imaginary’ in the sense of by-products of brain malfunction. Before we made our first appeals for cases, senior academics associated with the SPR told us that we should not do so; we would be destroying our academic reputations and branding ourselves as spiritualists. OBEs were, they asserted, imaginary.

Now that our first appeals have been followed up by other appeals, and OBEs have had to be accepted as an acceptable topic for academic theses and for work in laboratories by persons with salaried academic appointments, correlations with neurological events are seen as ways of restoring OBEs to the ‘imaginary’ category, which, as before, means ‘of no interest for further research’.

When my colleagues and I published our pioneering study on OBEs in 1968 (the first scientific examination of the topic) we looked at the detailed phenomenology of the experience, i.e. its subjective features, without trying to correlate it with some set of physical conditions, anomalous or otherwise. This was largely because of lack of funding, and absence of an institutional environment – if we had had both, we certainly would have looked first at the electrophysiological correlates. However anomalous or ‘pathological’ OBEs might be, their interest to us was not in classifying them as ‘pathologies’, but as shedding light on normal processes such as perception and consciousness, which could be done only by considering psychological and physiological correlations.

Four decades on, in spite of much ostensible research into these and other phenomena by people other than ourselves, to which we were prevented from contributing by a rigorous lack of financial support, understanding of neither OBEs, nor the normal processes I have mentioned, has advanced much. Merely being able to point out parts of the brain which may be involved does not get one very far.

Grasping the mechanics of waking vs sleeping consciousness, or of the top-down, hypothesis-forming processes of perception, calls for models of a kind which we are no nearer to having than we were forty years ago. Not surprising, given the continuing obsession with exclusively physicalist methods and explanations: those which refer only to things that can be directly measured with the apparatus of physics and chemistry. (I mean in contrast to explanations that involve analyses of subjective mental states.)

Many researchers have looked at OBEs, since our original study, in the attempt to explain them away. None have been able to provide a conclusive account – such as that they are always caused by lack of oxygen, or by failure of a particular cortical structure. None of them seem to have appreciated the more important feature of the phenomenon, namely their potential role in the elucidation of normal mental processes. It seems likely that this will continue to be the case.

Having placed the phenomenon of OBEs on a scientific footing, we should have been provided with finance to take the work further, leading to the possibility of important advances in our understanding of conscious experience and its relation to brain physiology. As we did not have an institutional environment with residential and laboratory facilities, we need funding to set this up in the first instance. Such funding should still be provided now, even more urgently, to prevent the continuing waste of our abilities which could and should be being used in making significant advances. This would be true even if people other than ourselves had shown any sign of adopting a sufficiently analytical and open-minded approach. In fact they have not. The resistance to the possibilities suggested by the phenomena, which had prevented their being recognised by academia before our book on them was published, continues to restrict and distort the work carried out, and the unsatisfactory conclusions drawn from it.

I appeal for financial and moral support in improving my position. I need people to provide support both for fund-raising, and as temporary or possibly long-term workers. Those interested should read my post on interns.

19 July 2011

The Tavistock Clinic

copy of a letter

It is certainly not the case (as people have often assumed) that we did not want people to have outside careers. Charles McCreery was very dubious and critical of what was going on in modern psychiatry and experimental psychology and therefore was not much attracted by either, but the penniless dropout option was even worse and he certainly never considered it.

I had set up the Institute as a way of getting back into a recognised academic career for myself in which so far I had failed.

This made it all the more desirable that new associates should have the best careers they could, so as eventually to lend their support as statusful academics to my applications for re-entry.

Everything depended on getting enough money for an adequate institutional environment. Certainly the objective of our fund-raising was to set up a research institute large enough for research to be carried on within it with adequate living circumstances for intellectuals, the research being of a kind that would constitute a claim on recognition by socially authorised academia. If we had got adequately set up, it seemed a possibility that Charles might work with us doing research, instead of (at least in the first instance) having a salaried career outside. Then one would have been considering how we could aim the work we were doing at getting a D.Sc for each of us to stake a claim to university status as a senior level.

Professor H.H. Price, however, had been unhelpful when I talked to him about what qualified for a D.Sc. Work had to be published in the official journals; but could it be, if one did not have a university appointment? He did not say. And he offered no help in obtaining either funding for the research or a university appointment.

Everything depended on how well we could get set up financially, as the enemy realised, blocking every attempt to raise money, and slandering Charles so that he would be disinherited.

Our lives were made so difficult that, in spite of the lack of money, Charles did not pursue possibilities at either the Tavistock Clinic or the Department of Experimental Psychology. Due to the constant hostility, the merest physical survival became a problem.

Then of course we could be (and were) represented as preferring to live in poverty instead of having normal careers. If we had been well enough set up to do research in adequate circumstances, Charles might have preferred doing that to what was open to him either as a clinical psychologist or doing a D.Phil at the Department. But nothing could have been worse than what happened; all ways ahead blocked, impoverished and besieged. Well, I suppose what would have been even worse would have been if they had been able to pin something on one of us, so that we were at their mercy as criminal wrongdoers. I am sure they would have liked to.

As it was, they could only pretend that we had deliberately chosen our position as impoverished outcasts, on account of some weird ‘interests’.

Somerville College, of course, represented me as ‘free to follow my interests’, and Charles’s family placed similar interpretations on him.

Forty years later, we are still essentially facing the same problems. We are seeking to restore our rightful positions in mainstream academia, as well as seeking funding for our institution, but are still blocked by the hostility of modern society to genuine ability, and to genuine independence and real impartiality. Of course, the hostility takes the form of the spurious theory that anything worth supporting is already going on inside universities, and anything outside should be stigmatised.

18 July 2011

Evolution, subspecies and the Welfare Junkies

If a radical change is introduced in the structure of a situation, such as was introduced in 1945 with the onset of the Welfare State, there are two reasons why what people anticipate as the consequences of this change may turn out to be wildly inaccurate, even if their anticipations are not rationalised and intended to conceal their real motives.
It is a fact of genetics that if a situation arises which favours some new subsection of a species of plants or animals, that subspecies will quickly arise and expand, with characteristics which are increasingly well adapted to the favourable situation. And the development of the subspecies will increase geometrically with every generation.
It is a less well established fact, but may be surmised, that human psychology adapts itself to the circumstances in which it finds itself. If it knows that its survival and that of its offspring is entirely dependent on its own achievements in making provision for them all, it will be motivated in certain ways. If, on the other hand, it finds that it will be rewarded (at least to a certain extent) for dependency, it will go into a psychological mode that will make the best use of these circumstances, and drives and ambitions which it might otherwise have will fall into abeyance (or repression).
In the Daily Mail of 9 July, A. N. Wilson wrote an article about the growth of populations of welfare junkies, as shown on a BBC television programme.
The participants on the programme will probably not live as long as the average middle-class person who abstains from heroin and a daily diet of chips. But they are still — those of them who do not die of an overdose — going to live a full span. Most of these families, who have never worked and are not really in a position to work, or to do anything useful ... will simply have to be ‘contained’ by society. ...When they have wrecked their livers with alcohol and their digestions with fried food, they will be taken to expensive National Health Service hospitals. And when they can no longer manage on their own, they will be taken into even more expensive care homes. ...We have had 66 years of a fully-funded welfare state.
(From article ‘The welfare junkies’)
My parents, with very high IQs and aristocratic ancestry, lived to 82 and 89 respectively with very little contact with the NHS until the very end, when they were considered too old for it to be worth trying to prolong their lives. On the other hand, it is probable that many who would not previously have survived to pensionable age now do so, at considerable expense to the NHS. And these are probably more likely to go into care homes than those with the highest IQs, such as my parents, who had good genetic constitutions, a frugal and forethoughtful lifestyle, and a devoted offspring (in me) who would do everything possible to prevent their being taken into care.
The proportions of different types of people within the population of pensioners has been changing continuously since 1945. Before that date, careful and conscientious people like my parents, with above-average IQs, probably predominated, and people who had lived as Welfare Junkies, or in some equivalent way, were probably a small minority. If the relative proportions have not already been reversed, they are surely on the way to being so.

15 July 2011

Gospel of Thomas, saying 21

Mary said to Jesus: Whom are thy disciples like? He said: They are like little children who have installed themselves in a field which is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say: ‘Release to us our field’. They take off their clothes before them to release it (the field) to them and to give back their field to them.

The children have been installed (born into) a world (field) which is not theirs. The owners of the field (society at large) say ‘The field is ours, and it is ours to say whether you are the sort of person who ought to be a professor running several departments. You are what we say you are and nothing else.’

The children take off their clothes (their social identity, representing how society wants them to think of themselves) and leave the field to society, within which it can assign social status.

What this saying does not say (at least not explicitly) is that the children, in abandoning the field and throwing off a false social identity, do not stop being people who need to be professors running several departments, and hence go on trying to buy the field back, while knowing that they have no control over the owners of it.

14 July 2011

The only real solution

The only real solution to the disastrous downfall of Western civilisation, at least so far as this country is concerned, is to abolish the Welfare State (the Oppressive State) altogether. That means abolishing the NHS and the state-funded ‘educational’ system, and the so-called ‘social services’. But perhaps a few things that are really useful come under the heading of ‘social services’, such as road-mending. I expect the costs of the social interference and persecution are well wrapped up.

So let us say, for a start, that the state-funded ‘educational’ system and the NHS should be abolished completely, along with all agents of the collective described as ‘social workers’. Of course, Members of Parliament were not elected for the likelihood of their supporting such ideas and they would not be likely to be re-elected if they did. But they are in a position in which they could choose to vote for what is in the real interests of the country, even if at the expense of their own careers.

Attempting to improve various aspects of the present situation, which are recognised as ‘bad’ by reference to some belief system about the way things ought to be, can only result in ever greater loss of liberty, i.e. oppression.

The following extracts from the Daily Mail of July 14 express the pressure that is being put upon liberty by taxation (confiscation) in order to maintain ‘benefits’ and ‘services’.

The burden of extra levies will fall upon the public for half a century to cope with the aftermath of the credit crunch and the impact of our ageing population. ...Robert Chote, head of the OBR [Office of Budget Responsibility], said: ‘The Government is likely to have to tax more or spend less elsewhere to keep the public finances on a sustainable path.’ His report warned that the public finances will be set on an ‘unsustainable upward trajectory’ as Britain's population lives for longer. NHS spending is expected to rise from 7.4 per cent of GDP in 2015/16 to 9.8 per cent in 2060/61 as a result of our ageing population. It says that if health spending continues to increase as quickly as it has in previous years, it could account for 15.1 per cent of GDP in 50 years – more than double its current cost.

As usual, the expansion in the amount of ‘public money’ that is needed is blamed upon the ‘ageing population’. The overall population, and the expensiveness of maintaining it, are increasing in many ways quite independently of people living longer. The population is being increased by immigration, and by the rapid expansion of certain sectors of the population. These factors are an inevitable consequence of socialist ideology.

NHS spending will rise to 15% of GDP and further, not as a result of ‘our ageing population’, but as an inevitable consequence of its intrinsically oppressive nature. The latter also determines the appalling level of inefficiency to which it has sunk, which is now perceptible to the most unsophisticated observer.

Describing the defects of any one sector of the population within the parameters of what is acceptable, i.e. on rationalised terms, taking into account very few factors, and attempting to reduce the defects by tweaking the oppressive system, can only lead to an ever greater loss of individual liberty.

13 July 2011

An amazing sleight of hand

Andrew Dilnot will propose a cap of between £35,000 and £50,000 on the amount people have to pay towards their care in their last years – with the taxpayer picking up the balance. His proposals would leave the Treasury with an estimated bill of more than £2bn – which would have to come from taxation or cuts elsewhere in Whitehall. (Independent, 4 July 2011)

By an amazing sleight of hand, the Dilnot proposals to tax other pensioners more, in order to ‘cap’ the amount which has to be paid by those who go into care homes, are represented as compassionate towards the middle class, and towards the ideas of thrift and inheritance.

‘Life is littered with potential financial catastrophes, from costly-to-treat illnesses to house fires, but in most cases the risks are pooled, whether through the state or the insurance market,’ said The Guardian. When it comes to care, those with more than £23,250 are on their own facing potentially unlimited liabilities. The results are ‘dire’. So Dilnot’s plan is very welcome, as a way of ‘staving off ruin for an unlucky minority’...

It’s easy to see the Dilnot report as a ‘caring and sharing’ left-wing proposal, said Daniel Finkelstein in The Times: a ‘market failure is being corrected’ by a new social insurance scheme (and a new tax). But I think this is wrong. It is not, in fact, about looking after vulnerable people. ‘It's about insuring the inheritance of their children: the state will protect the assets of quite wealthy people from the possibility that they will be used up to pay for their care’, and thus not be available for their relatives to inherit. (From article ‘The cost of growing old’, The Week, 9 July 2011)

Now we know that nobody cares about unlucky minorities, especially those with higher-than-average IQs, and we know also that inheritance is almost as deplorable an idea as heredity.

The several billions a year which the Dilnot scheme would cost the taxpayer (we may assume with some confidence that £3.6bn is a conservative estimate) could be covered, he suggested, by a ‘specific tax increase’ on pensioners.

Whether or not these billions, which would be necessary to cap the care home costs of an ‘unlucky minority’, would be confiscated from other pensioners or from some other part of the taxable population, it should be pointed out that, instead of capping care home fees, the billions might be applied to reversing the means-testing of pensions and raising them to a more realistic level. Those who did go into care homes would then have more funds available to pay towards their own care, but not, of course, so much as if they were (as is intended) the sole beneficiaries of the billions.

In the Oppressive State, all sections of the population with above-average IQs are to be destroyed. So one starts by hating capitalists and landowners who would not be in the positions they are if it were not for above-average functionality and realism on the part of themselves and their ancestors.

But if they are torn down you still have some people of above-average functionality in the population, whose ability and conscientiousness have not yet got them into favourable positions. Before the advent of the Oppressive State in 1945 it was probable that a person who reached the age of sixty fell into this category. They were likely to have a good genetically determined physical constitution and to have avoided the hazards of life which might have led to their death at an earlier age. So they were likely to be realistic, conscientious, forethoughtful and independent-minded. That is, they were likely to be the sort of people that the Oppressive State seeks to destroy.

So you would think it would seem quite a good idea to believers in the modern ideology that pensioners should have their assets reduced to zero, so that there is nothing for their children to inherit.

But if the population of pensioners is split into those who run up significant costs in ‘care’ versus those who do not, and it now appears that the former population is likely to have a lower average IQ than the latter, there is in fact a motive for penalising the latter to reduce costs on the former.

Otherwise one cannot see why believers in the modern ideology should see anything against the idea of the assets of a pensioner being reduced to zero. Ah, but if there is a population with an even higher average IQ that can be penalised to prevent this – then it is an opportunity for a further tax.

We may suppose that now university graduates are so heavily penalised (unless they have a good probabilistic claim to a relatively low IQ), the pensioners are the only remaining population with an above-average IQ which can be squeezed still further. But why is this necessary? Pensions have been withered on the vine for decades and cut by means-testing, so why now propose an extra tax on them to reduce the charges on those who go into care homes?

A possible explanation arises from the fact that the population of pensioners has now become sufficiently differentiated in IQ for a transfer of resources from one section of this population to another to fulfil the criterion that all ‘benefits’ should constitute a transfer of assets from a population with a higher average IQ to a population with a lower one.

08 July 2011

Withered on the vine

The state pension was cut (made means-tested) in 2003. Those who were already receiving it, such as myself, or who were within sight of qualifying to receive it, such as some of my colleagues, had been paying into it for several decades during which there had been no hint that it would ever be cut (means-tested) although for some time state pensions had been described (apparently officially) as ‘withering on the vine’, and attempts to increase them in line with inflation or the national wage had presumably lapsed, although I had not been paying attention to what was going on. At any rate, the pension which I started to receive in 1996 was pathetic, bearing no relation to pensions in private schemes or to average salaries. It was increased each year by nugatory amounts, so that the gap between it and a realistic pension appeared to widen rather than be decreased.

In 2003 it was announced that state pensions were to become means-tested, the concept having apparently metamorphosed from that of a replacement for a salary to that of a benefit whose purpose was to save the most needy from starvation. The basic state pension itself was to fall in real terms, and it was no consolation to me that if I became poor enough I could apply for pension credit. This was something I would never do.

Probably many had (and have) the same aversion to this idea as I had myself, although in a less clear-cut form, and the failure (or refusal) of many to apply for benefits to which they were entitled has been ascribed to ‘pride’ or to the complicated nature of the forms to be filled in. (Snooping systems are now being set up to identify hidden carers and hidden cared-for, to induce them to apply for ‘benefits’.) When some element in living costs rose noticeably, optional bits and pieces for special purposes (such as for council tax and the winter fuel payment) were sent in addition to the pension, but not guaranteed to continue indefinitely.

The Coalition commenced its era of reform, announcing that the state pension would now be increased per annum in accordance with wages, the CPI, or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest. This is called the triple lock. Cunningly, the government chose to use the CPI (Consumer Price Index) and not the RPI (Retail Price Index) which at the time was higher than all three.

Now that the withered state pension was rising by this guaranteed amount each year, the bonus for council tax could vanish. As energy prices were rising dramatically, proposals to scrap the winter fuel payment were opposed, and it remained, but has now been cut from £250 per annum to £200.

So the rises in the state pension have been offset by the loss of these temporary subsidies, and the rises in the amount actually received each year by an individual who chooses not to expose himself to state assessment by applying for top-up benefits are correspondingly reduced. Clever!

07 July 2011

More misdirection of attention

‘The Mail accepts that, with people living longer, we must pay more towards the cost of our old age.’ (Daily Mail, editorial, 5 July 2011)

Similar things have been said by people associated with Saga and other organisations for the over-fifties.

This is just accepting and reinforcing the misdirection of attention. The Government needs more money to spend and the costs of all its favourite indulgences are no doubt expanding exponentially. But the causes of the explosive growth of expenditure are wrapped up in the classifications of the imaginary society supported by public money (i.e. by taxation – freedom of action confiscated from individuals.) How far do the costs of ‘education’ and the NHS arise from the ever-growing population of the genetically dysfunctional, many of whom can never support themselves in the sense of earning money, even in such fictitious capacities as those of social workers, tea ladies in hospitals, psychiatrists, playgroup supervisors, etc.?

This population has grown geometrically since the sectors of the population most likely to produce dysgenic offspring have increased with every generation, while those least likely to produce them, the so called ‘middle class’, have dwindled as they faced ever-increasing disincentives to having children.

The object of modern society is to destroy those with above-average IQs and/or aristocratic genes. The populations which have the highest average IQs are the only ones that deserve to be taxed – in the view of the modern ideology.

This has already been demonstrated by the onslaught on university graduates, still a population with, overall, a higher than average IQ. The pensioners are vulnerable because those who live longest have relatively high IQs and general functionality.

This is why they should be taxed, not because their living longer than before is a dominant factor in the rising costs of the NHS, the ‘educational’ system, etc.

The associations which are supposed to represent the interests of high-IQ populations, such as Mensa and the National Association for Gifted Children, make no attempt to defend those interests or to protest against a system that is geared against them. The same is true of the associations which are supposed to represent the interests of the elderly; their leaders acting as agents of the collective in keeping the victims quiet and compliant. The members of their associations could be forming pressure groups or, better still, forming cooperative organisations to keep the Welfare Wolf from the door.

Members of the associations mentioned are invited to move to Cuddesdon, and might appreciate the advantages of forming their cooperative associations around us as a nucleus.

06 July 2011

The Duke of Edinburgh and others

My colleague Fabian Tassano has put some comments about the Duke of Edinburgh on his blog, and I am reminded of his correspondence with us. We thought that he, if anybody, should be able to think that the most statusful agents of the collective might be in the wrong, and that a status-less person, even if slandered and vilified, might need and deserve support, which they were unable to get from the ‘proper’ social sources, and that this could only be given them by independent-minded individuals.

Indeed, a descendant of the European nobility might feel that he had a responsibility to support those who were attempting to maintain the standards achieved by an intellectual golden age against the ravages of the encroaching tribalism.

And, one would think, such a person might, if not wishing to be openly associated with social outcasts such as intellectual dissidents, have available to him channels by which he could arrange for financial support to reach those who represented old-fashioned ideals and enable them to be more of an influence within the turbulence of modern society. Also one would imagine, such a person might communicate with other individuals who could approach those he wished to help, as if out of the blue, and become the moral and financial supporters they so sorely needed.

But, as it happened, Prince Philip did none of these things, and nor has any other wealthy and influential person to whom we have appealed over the decades and who appeared to take some interest in us. Nor have any of these people given help in their own right in the form of a donation. It seems to be accepted as a law of the Medes and Persians that we are never to be given any real help at all, in the form of money, in the form of useful work or moral support in fundraising, or in the form of suitable university appointments.

I find the meanness towards us of the most wealthy and influential hard to understand. In their position, if I had corresponded with or interviewed a person evidently claiming to be badly in need of support to do something they could clearly see how to do, I could not myself send them away, or terminate the correspondence, without sending them at least a few thousand pounds as a consolation prize and reward for the time and trouble they had put into presenting their case to me.

On the other hand, of course, those who opposed us did so covertly, and with great effect. Our most ostentatious nominal ‘supporters’ would network against us widely and indefatigably, ensuring that no useful help would reach us from any source. And the effects of this networking were permanent. Once it was known that we were personae non gratae with other members of the international establishment, there was no way in which such information could be forgotten or revised.

As those of Prince Philip’s generation die out, our chances of finding a supporter become even more negligible, as we have only ever had even lukewarm support from those born well before the onset of the Welfare State in 1945, who have at least some memory of the standards and ideals in the early decades of the last century.

04 July 2011

Paying for others to enjoy a fate worse than death

It is said that the Dilnot report will recommend that people of pensionable age should not have their assets reduced by more than a third by paying for ‘care’ from the state. This does not reassure me at all, since I know that both I and any of my associates would regard exposing ourselves to state ‘care’ as to be avoided at any cost. Going into a ‘care home’ would indeed be a fate worse than death.

What does worry me is what new tax will be proposed to pay for the ‘care’ that the state does get to impose on people. There are many forms of benefit which are lavished on favoured sections of the population which could easily be cut and replaced by repayable loans, but of course it is only the population of pensioners which is to be penalised.

For example, if nurseries, crèches and supervised ‘play groups’ for the under-fives were abolished, and children could not start school until five (or even six or seven?), a good deal of taxpayers’ money would be saved and parents would be discouraged from having more children than they could manage to look after themselves. As it is, the burden of looking after their children is greatly reduced by the proportion of their time that they spend out of sight, out of mind, at school. ‘Social help’, which I believe is provided for families burdened with too many children, could be cut completely or provided only on payment, as ‘social care’ for the elderly is now. ‘Housing benefit’ is also related to family size, and could be provided in the form of repayable loans, similar to the loans made to university graduates.

Reducing the provision of nursery schools might also reduce the cost of ‘education’ at higher age levels, since it would tend in the direction of making parents aware of the advantages of keeping their families down to a more manageable size. Formerly, parents were responsible not only for feeding and looking after their own children, but also paying for schools if they wanted their children to attend them.

If parents were not relieved of much of the burden of looking after children, the saving to the taxpayer could probably be sufficient to reverse the cut in the state pension (euphemistically described as ‘means-testing’) and to increase it to a realistic level which would be sufficient for a high proportion of its recipients to provide themselves with adequate housekeeping and other services, or to have friends or relatives living with them, independently of the state.

Paul Burstow (Care Services Minister) refers to ‘social care’ as having a ‘nasty little secret’. ‘It is not free and never will be free.’ Quite right. That is the ‘nasty secret’ of all state benefits. As I said of my state-funded education, it was not free. It was paid for with the ruin of my prospects in life, the ruin of my parents’ lives, and the gratification that all agents of the collective, official and unofficial, could derive from so satisfactory an outcome.

Chancellor George Osborne is resisting the plans because he believes they are too close to the ‘death tax’ proposed by Labour before last year's general election, under which everyone would have paid £20,000 into a compulsory insurance scheme whether they eventually need care or not. But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Lib Dem care minister Paul Burstow are both supportive. (Daily Mail, 27 June 2011)

So we know that Paul Burstow is in favour of something close to the former idea of £20,000 ‘compulsory insurance’. How does he put it according to the Daily Mail (2nd July)?

[Mr. Burstow] promised that while the elderly will be expected to contribute, they will not pay as much as many of them have to pay now.

I.e. while those of pensionable age (including those who do not, and would not, have anything to do with ‘social care’) will be forced to contribute, they will not pay as much as many of them (that is, many of those who do go into ‘care homes’) have to pay now.

It is true that £20,000 (the starting figure proposed for the ‘compulsory insurance’ suggested by Labour) is ‘not as much’ as various amounts in excess of £50,000 which are currently being paid by many of those who fail to protect themselves from ‘social care’.

But why should those who do not and never would submit to ‘social care’ be forced to pay this tax, which is supposed to justify putting a ‘cap’ on what is paid by those who do?

They have already had their pensions drastically reduced because the cost of providing for pensioners is supposedly so great. Saying that a pension is ‘means-tested’ is just a euphemism for calling it ‘reduced’ (or ‘cut’), which is what it is, so far as I am concerned, as I would not seek an income supplement for which I had to be ‘assessed’ by agents of the collective, even if I might be supposed to be eligible for it. I was only so persistent in paying in voluntary contributions for so many years because I thought the resulting pension would be paid to me as of right.

The relevant departments of my unfunded independent university are effectively censored and suppressed. They have been prevented for decades from publishing analyses of the complex issues involved, while misleading and tendentious representations of them have continued to flood out from socially recognised sources.

I hereby apply for financial support on a scale at least adequate for one active and fully financed research department, to all universities, and to corporations or individuals who consider themselves to be in a position to give support to socially recognised academic establishments.

01 July 2011

Penalising the middle class is ‘fair’

Daily Mail, June 27, ‘Middle classes must find £50,000 for care.’ State can't afford more, of course. It could not wish, for example, to cut its expenditure in ways that would discourage the least functional members of society from having the largest possible families, many of whom are likely to need ‘care’ throughout their lives.

It is only fair (the argument goes) that the so-called middle classes on the other hand should have their assets reduced, ideally to zero, which they are able to leave to their children by inheritance. Their children are quite likely to have above-average IQs, and it is only fair that they should be handicapped, rather than having their advantages in life increased still further by inheritance.

State pensions are now means-tested so that anyone who has more than the barest subsistence on retirement will find it difficult not to be brought ever closer to that level. Those who live the longest are likely to have the highest average IQs, and are thus most likely to have their savings eroded to zero before they die. Which is only fair, and redresses an injustice.

Formerly those over a certain age were dependent on their own resources to provide housekeepers, full or part-time, or on the voluntary help provided by friends or relatives. The reduction of the state pension greatly increased the number who were unable to provide even a necessary minimum of paid help for themselves, and the probability of people’s assets being reduced to zero has made it much less likely that it would seem worthwhile to friends or relatives to help them protect their independence in the hope of an increased inheritance.

On another page of the Daily Mail there is an article on why the elderly suffer ‘needless’ fractures. ‘Thousands of elderly people are needlessly suffering excruciating fractures because doctors are failing to spot osteoporosis.’

The National Osteoporosis Society's report says many patients are diagnosed only after they have broken several bones, causing them agonising pain and restricting their movements. Campaigners believe doctors fail to carry out simple checks when elderly people suffer fractures to establish whether they have the disease. More than three million people in Britain suffer from osteoporosis, which causes thinning of the bones, and it is most common among elderly women. ...

The report says 26 per cent of those with osteoporosis suffered multiple fractures before being diagnosed. A survey of 700 sufferers found 35 per cent waited more than a year after first breaking a bone to be diagnosed, while 22 per cent waited five years. (Daily Mail, 27 June 2011)

Well, what do you think doctors are for? Surely you don't imagine they are there to prevent people with above-average IQs from suffering?

As has been pointed out before, a person who survives to an above-average age is likely to have an above-average IQ, also above-average forethought, conscientiousness, and so on. Becoming a doctor never required too much in the way of IQ and it is very likely that the average IQ of doctors has fallen. People from the ‘poorest’ backgrounds are encouraged to qualify as doctors, while the ‘middle class’ are discriminated against, in this as in other areas.

It used to be said, over a decade ago, that doctors regarded 55 as the cut-off age for women, after which it was not worth diagnosing anything serious.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director for Age UK, said: ‘Funding for social care is already inadequate. We are fearful that even more vulnerable older people will be left to struggle alone and in some cases lives will be put at risk’. (Daily Mail, 27 June 2011)

Actually, funding for ‘social care’ is not inadequate but excessive. There should be no such thing as ‘social care’.

Associations such as Age UK, Age Concern, Saga etc. should encourage their members to contact us via our website and, if it is not already too late, come for holidays in Cuddesdon as a preliminary. Then they should come to live as close as possible to us, and if they do some voluntary work for us, we will help them in setting up cooperative operations to make themselves independent of state help – i.e. to keep the Welfare Wolf from the door. And, maybe, even work towards greater prosperity by cooperating in business ventures.