31 December 2010

The Food of the Gods

The following text is from the last page and a half of H G Wells’s The Food of the Gods. When I was twelve I regarded this as the most inspiring passage of prose I had ever come across. I still find it expresses something I can feel identified with.

‘It is not that we would oust the little people from the world,’ he said, ‘in order that we, who are no more than one step upwards from their littleness, may hold their world for ever. It is the step we fight for and not ourselves.’

‘We are here, Brothers, to what end? To serve the spirit and the purpose that has been breathed into our lives. We fight not for ourselves, for we are but the momentary hands and eyes of the life of the World ... Through us and through the little folk the Spirit looks and learns. From us by word and birth and act it must pass – to still greater lives.’

‘This earth is no resting place; this earth is no playing place ... We fight not for ourselves but for growth – growth that goes on for ever. Tomorrow, whether we live or die, growth will conquer through us. That is the law of the spirit for ever more. To grow according to the will of God! To grow out of these cracks and crannies, out of these shadows and darknesses, into greatness and the light!’

‘Greater’, he said, speaking with slow deliberation, ‘greater, my Brothers! And then – still greater. To grow and again – to grow. To grow at last into the fellowship and understanding of God. Growing. Till the earth is no more than a footstool. Till the spirit shall have driven fear into nothingness, and spread ...’ He swung his arm heavenward: – ‘There!’

His voice ceased. The white glare of one of the searchlights wheeled about, and for a moment fell upon him, standing out gigantic with hand upraised against the sky.

For one instant he shone, looking up fearlessly into the starry deeps, mail-clad, young and strong, resolute and still. Then the light had passed and he was no more than a great black outline against the starry sky – a great black outline that threatened with one mighty gesture the firmament of heaven and all its multitude of stars.

24 December 2010

The state’s infidelity

copy of a letter to an academic

Apart from means-testing the pensions, i.e. depriving Charles and me together of about £4,000 per annum, maybe more – which we would have been getting if the means-testing had not been introduced – the pensions due to Christine and Fabian have been delayed by a total of 9 years, thus depriving us of at least £50,000 (9 x present pension as reduced by means-testing) which the government should have paid to us if pension qualifying ages had not been retrospectively changed.

Thus the means-testing and change in qualifying ages together have deprived Fabian and Christine of at least £70,000 which they were due to be paid on reaching their former qualifying ages, both being fully paid up, or very nearly so, in terms of qualifying years (i.e. years in which requisite contributions have been made).

This income would not have been adequate to set up a satisfactory residential college with at least one research department, but the future loss of it is a serious drag on our continuing attempts to make progress towards the start of our 40-year adult academic careers.

23 December 2010

Benefits Christmas

The Daily Mail has an article about a mother with four children, living on benefits, who is planning to spend a large sum on giving the children a good Christmas.

Benefits Christmas: Single mother Eloise spends £3000 to give her four children EVERYTHING they want for Christmas. And guess what? You're paying for it.

... she’s not a member of your average working family. She’s on benefits, meaning that effectively it’s your money which is paying for her children’s Christmas - Xboxes and all. Moreover, as far as Eloise is concerned, it’s all entirely fair - in fact, the merest hint of a raised eyebrow at her circumstances is enough to make her see red. ‘It makes me furious when people criticise how I choose to spend my money,’ she says. ‘Taxpayers seem to feel that they have the right to tell people on benefits how to spend their money,’ she adds. ‘They don’t - the government decides what people like me are entitled to, not the taxpayer. If it’s offered to us, then of course we’re going to take it and we shouldn’t be criticised for doing so. Frankly, I believe it’s my right to do what I want this Christmas with the benefits I deserve. ’

The Daily Mail journalist points out that ‘it’s your money’ (i.e. taxpayers’ money) ‘which is paying for her children’s Christmas’.

Working out what she receives in ‘handouts’ per year, the journalist makes it come to £21,528. That includes free school meals, but does not include the free ‘education’ and medical ‘health service’ which is accessible to all, including those who are contributing to the cost of it by paying taxes.

Including the cost of free ‘education’ for four children and free ‘health care’ for five people might, perhaps, double the figure representing how much it is costing taxpayers to support this family. It is scarcely surprising that the country is bankrupt.

It is a fact of genetics that if conditions arise which favour the survival of life forms (plants or animals) with certain characteristics, a subgroup of the species soon arises which is increasingly well adapted to the favourable conditions and increasingly numerous. For example, subgroups of various birds have developed which are adapted to deriving their support from bird-tables supplied by human beings, probably becoming in the process less well adapted to supporting themselves in other ways.

There is no reason to suppose that the situation can be remedied by offering those living on benefits inducements to work. The only possible solution is to scrap the Welfare State altogether, including state education and medicine.

That is, it is the only solution that could possibly work; but I am not supposing that there is any possibility of its being implemented by a democratically elected government.

Brief analyses such as these should be being expanded into research papers, but this is unlikely to happen unless Oxford Forum is supported.

18 December 2010

The right and wrong kinds of inspiration

Bel Mooney in the Daily Mail wrote recently about the Inspirational Women of the Year awards. (Nobody had nominated me.) Typically, the nominees had suffered a severe setback in life, such as major physical injury, but continued to live with apparent enthusiasm, setting up a charity to provide help and counselling to people with similar injuries.

‘It does require putting your own moans last’, Bel Mooney said. ‘They identify a need and just go for it. As Katie Piper said, “You can look to the left and to the right and see people with far worse problems.”’

Clearly someone who responds to a bad situation in their own life by trying to ameliorate it, as I did, is taking their own ‘moans’ seriously and hence cannot qualify for approval or admiration, although they appear to qualify for unlimited opposition.

My colleague Charles McCreery’s mother, Lady McCreery, was well aware of what made women qualify for being regarded as ‘inspirational’. She went every year to the lunches at which these awards were made, being a close acquaintance of the Marchioness of Lothian, who ran them for some years, having started them.

When Charles brought her to meet me, soon after I first met him, Lady McCreery took an instant dislike to me. Of course, it is quite possible that she had already gathered from other statusful people that I was persona non grata. On the face of it, it might appear that I was not doing anything very different from what had been done by acceptable people regarded as ‘inspirational’, in responding to adversity in my own life by setting up an independent academic institution for research in previously neglected areas.

Lady McCreery told Charles that she had got me taped at once. I was, she said, ‘patronising, offhand and humourless’.

Far from wishing to bring my efforts to the attention of the Marchioness of Lothian and other supporters of inspirational women, she proceeded to stop at nothing to thwart my efforts.

14 December 2010

Social outsiders, their parents and their siblings

I have known some other people who suffered, as I did myself, the consequences of living in a society that is hostile to individuality, especially that of the exceptionally able. In such a society the ‘educational’ system is geared to deprive the able of opportunity and to turn their families against them, unless, as very often happens, they (the individuals) can be turned against their families, blaming them for ‘pushing’ them, and they become dropouts.

Parents may not realise that society has become different from what it was before its transformation by the ‘Welfare State’, and that it is now necessary for them to protect their children from the destructiveness of teachers and of the ‘educational’ system in general (as well as from doctors, social workers, etc).

Other members of a person’s family, as well as the parents, are likely to be turned against them. Any sign of being ‘got down’, or feeling bad about the position into which they have been forced by the system, is taken as a sign of ‘having problems’, which is supposed to imply a need for ‘help’ (i.e. interference) as there cannot possibly be any objective cause of difficulties. This enables the person's siblings, or others, who may be jealous of their real (if maltreated and suppressed) ability, to stick the knife in.

If the opportunities with which the educational system has left them are ultimately too unsuitable, so that they are driven to attempting to do something under their own auspices instead of within the system, they are regarded as not needing help since that is not a ‘proper’ job or way of life.

Of course this is much to the advantage of any sibling, who will get larger shares of any handouts from which their outlawed brother or sister is now excluded.

09 December 2010

Socialism and slavery

So many things turn up, and so fundamental, that I should be writing about and am prevented from doing; but this is just the downfall of civilisation, and it is meant to destroy people like me.

So just a brief note. I recently saw something on the French television about the cholera in Haiti, said to be so virulent a strain that it will be years before Haiti is free from it. I did not follow this exactly; some of the woman commentators speak very clearly, but this was not one of them. But the gist of it certainly was as follows: people whose ancestors had been slaves were so angry about the past history of the island, and about the social inequalities which persisted, supposedly as a result of it, that they had been putting cholera into the water systems so that it would spread to all parts of the island.

This would be in revenge (revanche) for the slavery (esclavage). It sounded as if they were just helping the epidemic along, rather than having started it in the first place.

So this is what the modern ideology has brought Haiti to, as a supposed improvement on its former state. There will evidently be a larger proportion of people who fancy having power over other people as doctors, and a fair percentage of the population will continue to lose their freedom to the disease, whether or not they ever recover from it, and whether or not they do so without falling into the hands of the medical profession. There will be many more doctors, one supposes, than there ever were landowners with slaves working for them. And it is not likely that anyone will acquire any freedom to do more than keep themselves physically alive and contribute (by taxation) to the support of the doctors and nurses, and their slaves.

Is this not an epitome of what socialism is aimed at?