27 February 2010

Home education: a scapegoat for abuse

Yesterday’s Daily Mail reports the case of a girl of seven beaten and starved to death, in spite of the involvement of social services and the Education Department. “Beyond belief ... how 9 officials let a girl of 7 starve to death in a modern British city”*. As usual, instead of concluding that the entire philosophy behind ‘child protection’ is flawed, it is implied that the answer is to have even more intervention.

Because the girl was supposedly being educated at home, the finger is being pointed at the loophole whereby parents may choose to exclude their child from the state education system if they think the child would do better being taught at home.

Just because a child is forced to attend a state school does not mean anyone is going to notice more readily that it is being abused at home. People seem to be very good at ignoring the signs of real abuse, whether they are paid to notice them or not. This, one may think, is because people have no real motivation to prevent suffering, although they may have some to enjoy inflicting it. Paying them money and giving them powers of intrusion into other people’s lives does not affect their underlying motivation, and one may think that this is the real cause of the ineptitude of the collectivist ‘services’. There is no reason to think that providing them with even more money and powers of intrusion and interference will produce any more beneficial results.

Also, there is no reason to think that enforced attendance at a school would assist with the process of preventing real abuse from taking place. The girl did attend school for a while, and some concerns were raised when she was found stealing food from another pupil’s bag, but they did not result in any useful action. No doubt, however, a case such as this will be used as ammunition for eroding still further the liberty of the individual.

*Daily Mail, 26 February 2010.

23 February 2010

The murder/suicide of aristocracy

The Duke of Devonshire has announced the death of the aristocracy.

‘The aristocracy is not dying, it’s dead! Coffin’s nailed down, it’s in the ground. It doesn’t exist, except that people have titles.’ *

This is of course true. Aristocracy in theory and practice has been vigorously opposed since the inception of the welfare state. Its wealth has been largely decimated by estate duties, although the Duke himself remains relatively wealthy. After decades of propaganda via television and other media, aristocrats are now generally hated and despised, and their influence has waned to the point of being negligible. A few of them from time to time have provided some resistance to the ideologically-driven changes which have brought this country to its present state, but most have been entirely passive.

The Duke sounds thoroughly modern in his endorsement of the gradual transformation of his class.

‘Look, I’m only here by pure chance, I haven’t earned any of this?'

In 1999 the Labour government got rid of most of the hereditary peers from the House of Lords, and it is now planning to remove the last few so that there will never again be anyone in the House of Lords by virtue of inheritance. The Duke says that if that were to happen, he would give up his title altogether. This seems an unnecessary move, and presumably reveals his lack of sympathy for the idea of aristocracy.

The modern idea is to have all legislation determined by people who have been ‘elected’ – that is to say, chosen by a majority of the people who happen to bother to vote in an election. There is no reason why this process should necessarily produce an outcome satisfactory from any viewpoint (economic, moral, humanitarian), in most or even any cases.

The advantage of having at least some people in power who are unelected is that there is a greater chance of having some genuine diversity of viewpoint. Pure democracy seems to generate a model of politician similar to a second-hand car salesman catering to a market composed of average citizens (i.e. ones with an IQ of 100).

The benefit of having aristocrats in the House of Lords, as in any sphere of influence, was that they were inclined, by upbringing and no doubt by genetic makeup, to value individual independence and territory, and were therefore more likely to promote liberty and other principles that favoured the individual versus the state, such as the rule about double jeopardy, which has now been abolished.

The old House of Lords offered slight resistance to the intrusive legislation that tends to come out of Parliament more or less automatically, because those elected to power will always tend to seek to increase rather than diminish that power. With the removal of the aristocracy from most spheres, a countervailing force to the continual and inexorable expansion of state power and intrusiveness has been removed.

The Duke of Devonshire says that the final removal of all hereditary peers from the House of Lords would be a ‘clear-cut [sign of] what the people wanted’, presumably meaning that it would show that ‘the people’ want to abolish aristocracy. This is absurd. What the House of Commons does has little to do with the wishes of the majority; it is driven primarily by the preferences of the political elite. But even if it were true, it would not necessarily make it a good thing. An important attribute of aristocrats was that they were in the habit of using their own judgement about what is right, regardless of what the majority thinks. The majority might think, for example, that Jews ought to be oppressed, and the majority probably does think that people with high IQs should not be able to derive any advantages by using their ability.

* * *

No members of the aristocracy have given us significant financial support in our efforts to prevent the suppression of unfashionable points of view. Many have known of our existence, but without making any attempt to get accurate information about us by making personal contact. The Duke’s father, so I was informed, was once approached by one of our senior supporters, himself an aristocrat, but with no positive result.

Instead of surrendering to the ideology purely because it purports to be based on ‘what the people want’ or on what is supposed to be ‘good for them’, the Duke of Devonshire should devote some of his wealth to supporting those who might produce genuinely progressive culture. This is a role which the aristocracy used to play, but which they have now given up, presumably on a similar basis, i.e. that the kind of culture the majority wants is already being produced.

If the Duke were to support us, the aristocracy might once again serve a useful function. We appeal to him to do so.

* Sunday Times, 21 February 2010.

21 February 2010

Care workers back death tax

Apparently, care workers support bringing in a death tax.

That is to say,

families with assets over a set amount would have to find the money to pay a death duty bill – possibly meaning they have to sell their homes – even if they do not draw on social services care for their ageing relatives ... Ministers released a document insisting that social care experts and charities agreed with their plans for a tax. *

Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

What is a ‘care worker’ anyway? People who are agents and beneficiaries of the oppressive society, being paid salaries out of confiscated (public) money to exercise power over people.

One might think, and I do think, that if you have state pensions at all they should not be means-tested and should be adequate to enable a retired person to employ whatever housekeeping and other help they need. But of course there should not be state pensions at all. Deterioration in the direction of total oppression was bound to take place once such a thing had been initiated, even if at the outset there was no suggestion of means-testing, and the possibility of being forced into subjection to ‘aid’ from the NHS did not arise, since there was no NHS.

But now, even if you manage to keep yourself at liberty and do not fall into the clutches of the NHS before you die, it is proposed that your estate should pay a levy on your death as a contribution to the bad and expensive ‘help’ which might have been meted out to you.

* Daily Mail, 20 February 2010 ‘Care workers back death tax, says Burnham'.

Further on nonsense research

In the article referred to in the previous post, we have an ‘academic’ with socially conferred status and salary paid out of taxpayers’ money, informing us that it is in our best interests not to have money which might make us free not to support ourselves by doing ‘jobs’. Evidently we should be overjoyed that the government takes away our money in taxes, so that it can be allocated to the support of salaried academics such as him, and to salaries for other jobs, doing which will give people a sense of purpose and self-esteem.

Who but policy-makers would be interested in such ‘research’ being carried out and published? People with money to spare would scarcely be interested in paying to find this out. Those without money to spare might conceivably like the rich to be told that they should wish to get rid of it by giving it to the poor ... but they would have no money to spare. Would a freelance intellectual, supported by his private income, be likely to find this a stimulating field of enquiry?

The government alone, stuffed as it is with policy-makers, has an interest in encouraging such pronouncements, and plenty of (taxpayers’) money available to do so.

Much academic ‘research’ has the underlying motive of justifying the extension of future confiscatory and interventionist policies. This has been true from a very early stage of the development of egalitarian Britain.

I am reminded of someone I knew, with an IQ little, if at all, above average, who became a lecturer in the new and imaginary subject of sociology at a polytechnic (now, of course, called a university). Sociology, like many new academic subjects, was designed to be accessible to people with low IQs, having little detailed informational content. My acquaintance was keen on Durkheim, whose work had much the same implications as the more modern ‘research’ drawn on by Dr Boyce. What makes people commit suicide, Durkheim said, was not disastrous changes in their objective (including financial) circumstances, but finding themselves isolated from social groups to which they formerly belonged. So, policy-makers, it doesn’t matter a bit if you make people’s circumstances worse, so long as you provide them with plenty of inexpensive group activities.

Mary Adams of the BBC used to expound the inspiring idea, which she had picked up in communist China, that domestic pets should not be allowed because their company prevented the elderly from becoming desperate enough to attend socially provided Day Centres where they could sit around (in a group) with other elderly people.

19 February 2010

Tendentious pop psychology financed by taxpayers

The newspapers continue to be full of nonsense stories, some of them generated by the so-called university system. In Wednesday’s Daily Mail we have an expert on happiness, Dr Chris Boyce from Warwick University, described as an 'economic psychologist', telling us why the latest lottery winners are bound to be unhappy. Presumably his assertions are based on years of training, including studying other people’s 'research', which probably cost millions to carry out.

Boyce’s own research generated the conclusion that a course of psychological therapy costing £800 provides the same amount of 'happiness' as a £25,000 windfall.

Or, to put it another way, therapy is 31 times more cost-effective in making people happier than a lottery win. *

If I had done research which produced this apparent result, I would be highly dubious of it, and suspect that there was something flawed in my methodology. In Boyce’s case, he seems to have taken the result at face value.

Boyce has a number of theories about why large amounts of money ought to make people unhappy. It is not clear whether these theories have empirical support, or simply reflect his own prejudices. In any case, research which claims to be investigating 'happiness' is almost certain to be dodgy, because there is no good way of measuring such a thing. You cannot simply go by what people happen to answer on a particular day in response to a question which cannot itself avoid being biased in one way or another.

Boyce’s theories about what ought to make people happy, and what ought not, include the following:

(1) A lottery winner spending his money in a visible way will find that his neighbours will be 'consumed with envy'.

(2) If he moves to better premises, his old friends will be no less jealous, and his new milieu could 'well be less than welcoming'. 'How will he escape the sycophants and money-grubbers?'

(3) He will still be jealous of others with more status or money, even if there are now fewer of them.

(4) Salaried jobs appear to Boyce to be an essential part of every person’s life.

Now we don’t know if they particularly enjoyed those jobs, but we can be certain of this: in leaving them, they will lose yet another component of a joyful life: connection with other people ... Without the discipline and structure provided by their jobs, there is a very real danger than their lives will lack purpose; their sense of self-worth will plummet.

And it goes on in this way.

I have no wish to single out Dr Boyce for this type of inanity. No doubt there are plenty of others like him, who produce tendentious pop psychology built around a tiny nugget of low-grade 'research'. But if you added up all their salaries, and the cost of the associated institutional environment, you would arrive at a rather considerable annual budget. If even a quarter of this was instead used to finance my own research organisation, there could be some hard-edged criticism being produced of the kind of biased folk sociology which nowadays seems to qualify as 'economics'. Now would that not be a far more productive use of resources?

* Daily Mail, 17 February 2010, article ‘Sorry ... but that £56 million won’t make them happy’ by Dr Chris Boyce.

17 February 2010

The bloodless revolution

Copy of a letter to a professor of philosophy

As a person with socially conferred status, hence both agent and beneficiary of the ideology of the oppressive society, you should wish to visit us frequently to hear about the realities of modern society as perceived by those who are its victims.

I first said long ago, soon after being thrown out at the end of my ruined ‘education’, that every feature of modern society can be accounted for by motivation to make life as difficult as possible for someone exactly like me, and hence to ensure that they could not use their ability in any progressive or constructive way.

It amazes me that the revolution in everyone’s ways of thinking and interpreting situations has been so universal. Of course no previous revolution has had the advantages of both universal ‘education’ (indoctrination) and of broadcasting media pumping out propaganda. But is that the only reason for so wholehearted a switch to an oppressive belief system? Independent and critical thought is not impossible, even if not what human psychology is principally programmed to do.

Just after the war, in the late 1940s, what had happened was said to be the "bloodless revolution”. Less physical blood on the streets, but perhaps no less cruelty and sadistically caused suffering, only less obvious to the naked eye.

The true raison d’etre of state education, including at university level, is to destroy people like me. Directly, by preventing them from getting into the sort of career they need to have. Indirectly, by creating a population that will give them no help in any way in recovering from their destitute and outcast position, knowing that they should not give them money, help them get into socially statusful positions, nor do any work for them in any useful way.

Any way, that is, that would “make their lives easier” as a highly-paid fundraising consultant said to me, accounting for why he would only make up applications to support complete cut-price research projects which would place us (already exhausted and overworked) under an obligation to do even more work of an unsuitable and damaging kind, instead of contributing even slightly to the alleviation of our position, so that we might be able to be slightly more intellectually productive in a way that was less painfully damaging, even if in no way permitting a sense of well-being.

‘We hereby apply for financial support on a scale at least adequate for one active and fully financed research department. We make this appeal to all universities, corporations and individuals who consider themselves to be in a position to give support to socially recognised academic establishments.’ Charles McCreery, DPhil

15 February 2010

Havelock Ellis on genius

The following is an extract from A Study of British Genius by the psychologist Havelock Ellis, published in 1904.

Every original worker in intellectual fields, every man who makes some new thing, is certain to arouse hostility where he does not meet with indifference [...] It is practically impossible to estimate the amount of persecution to which this group of pre-eminent British persons has been subjected, for it has shown itself in innumerable forms, and varies between a mere passive refusal to have anything whatever to do with them or their work and the active infliction of physical torture and death.*

I, throughout my life, have certainly encountered a great deal of hostility, which I suppose arose from the fact that I was perceived as someone who might do something innovative or unfashionable if I was allowed to do anything.

The hostility and obstruction that is aroused by people with high IQs and/or autonomous motivation not only ruined my education and subsequent life but has played a large part in the deterioration of Western civilisation.

SBG was revised in 1926 but has been largely ignored for at least the last fifty years, as has the particular approach which Ellis took to the topic of genius, a topic which itself has been fairly unfashionable for some time. Bringing Ellis’s work up to date is one of the ways in which we could be helping to keep suppressed points of view alive, particularly by relating it to modern prejudices in the areas in which it deals. We hereby appeal for funding to do so.

* Havelock Ellis, A Study of British Genius, Hurst and Blackett, London 1904, pp. 221-223

10 February 2010

Born in captivity

What people have against allowing child prodigies to be successful is that they might be able to get identified with their lives, to be functional in a way that they were getting something out of, and at the same time to get social approval and even applause or admiration for what they were allowed to be functional in doing. As I did, for a very short time. Those with exceptional ability could have quite a good chance of getting a form of centralisation which appears to be compatible with social approval. This is regarded as a terrible threat and is to be prevented at any cost, primarily by ensuring that they never get any money, which equates with opportunity.

People who appear to have more income than is necessary for the barest physical survival, without any servants, are heavily taxed so that resources can be applied to maximising the low-IQ population which has very little chance of ever getting to know its own psychological criteria in an approximately centralised way. This also maximises the population of those born in medical captivity with no chance at all of reaching an age at which they can decide anything for themselves, as they start their lives (and may very likely end them) in the horrifically decentralised position of captive victims of the medical Mafia, dependent on sadistic intervention and supervision to prolong their lives.

So the effect of modern socialist ideology has been to reduce as nearly as possible to zero the population of those with the best chance of living in a centralised way and hence getting something out of life of which other people would be jealous, while also vastly increasing the population of those born into slavery to spend their tormented lives gratifying the sadistic impulses of their torturers. It is difficult to think of anything more psychologically horrific than this. Certainly the lives of these victims of socialism are unlikely to provoke jealousy, although other people may claim that their lives have been enriched by the sweet and loving personalities of the sufferers.

08 February 2010

In the psychiatrist's chair

Why are people hostile to us?

It appears that social approval is very important to people. When they see someone aiming to do something without social approval, even something perfectly legal and respectable, because he or she has not given up on what they originally wanted to do, it makes them angry. Why is this? Is it because it reminds them that at some time in their lives they gave up on something important to them, perhaps gave up their original ideals and aspirations, lowered their standards and became uncritical of socially approved goings-on, in order to go with the flow and take advantage of the reduced and rather mouldy pickings that were on offer?

Perhaps so, and perhaps it is so even when people have no conscious awareness of having done this.

We here are trying to build up an institutional environment in order eventually to fulfil the same functions as intellectual writers and researchers (in the sense of heads of research departments) as we should have been able to fulfil within the context of the recognised universities, but found ourselves blocked in working towards doing so.

When people see us doing this it evidently arouses no sympathy or inclination to help us move even a little faster towards our goals. Rather, it arouses anger and energetic opposition. Perhaps this is because it reminds them of the aims and aspirations that they have themselves given up. Probably they have a predominant underlying anger, resentment, and sense of loss; some very obviously so. If people are reminded of what they have given up, the anger is aroused, but it is directed against individuals who have not given up, and practically never against the society that has ruined their lives, or the agents of that society who made things difficult for them at crucial times in their lives.

01 February 2010

“Consequently, there are no gods”

The reflections on genetics on my previous post may seem disreputable to the modern mind, as perhaps do many of my other reflections referring to genes. Genetic inheritance has been a highly politicised topic for some time, but this now seems to have expanded to the point where any reflections about the heritability of human characteristics are seen as controversial, and hence to be avoided in any kind of research.

There is clearly a strong motivation to believe there is no such thing as inherited ability. This may be harmless as an opinion held by any one individual. It causes a problem if, as has now happened, the viewpoint becomes dominant and turns into the dogmatic belief of a collective. This belief system, of being unwilling to admit that something may be the case and so in practice asserting that it is not the case, has a distorting effect on judgement and can make a society behave unrealistically.

In particular, a refusal to countenance a phenomenon which is seen to have effects that are regarded as distasteful influences many areas of modern academia, in particular in such subjects as history, education and ethics.

As I, and my colleagues, do not share this (and other) dogmatic beliefs which now severely limit almost everything that comes out of established academia, we potentially have an important role to play in correcting these biases. For this reason, we should be being supported. But also for this reason, it is regarded as important that we should not be supported, but suppressed, to the point of pretending we do not exist.

An example of the kind of logic which tends to be employed in determining the research that gets done was provided to me by an Oxford undergraduate who was a product of the comprehensive school system. Among other things, this undergraduate asserted to me that:

(a) state education cannot be bad, as it had managed to get him to Oxford;

(b) ability cannot be inherited because if it were, society would need to assign top positions to aristocrats, which would be intolerable.

These examples may seem crude, but I believe that they are analogous to the hidden logic that drives a lot of the content of modern academia. There is a reverse causality at work, along the lines of “if A were the case, B would follow, but B is not acceptable, therefore A cannot be true.” (Rather reminiscent of Nietzsche saying “If there were gods, how could I bear not to be a god? Consequently, there are no gods.”)

Usually, the reasoning that B necessarily follows A is itself flawed. B is often some policy which people seem to feel would have to be followed if A were true, and which they think they would not like, but of course there is no reason why a policy you do not like has to be implemented, just because a new piece of information could be seen as supporting it. Nevertheless, the mere possibility that an objective finding might have policy implications which conflict with ideological preferences is nowadays taken as a reason to avoid any research which might generate the suggestion that it is true.