29 June 2011

A short life and a merry one

In about 1970 they ‘upgraded’ the state pension system; the real motive for this being that they wanted an excuse to get in more money for the government to spend as it pleased. To justify the increased taxation involved, it was necessary to talk as if a person’s contributions were paying for a certain level of pension, in a way that was comparable to previous commercial schemes.

Actually of course this idea lapsed into oblivion over the decades, and the idea of a pension metamorphosed into that of a ‘contract between generations’, with present taxpayers paying for the support of old and infirm former taxpayers, in the hope that doing so would gain them similar consideration from future taxpayers.

As a result, it becomes possible to complain about how many pensioners there are in relation to present taxpayers, and how much each taxpayer is having to contribute. And once again, providing for pensioners can be used to justify an increase in taxation, more money rolling in for the government to spend on its favourite things, which are all oppressive (teachers, doctors, psychiatrists and counsellors, social workers, lawyers, policemen). Several of these sectors of the population are, I feel sure, increasing in size and expensiveness far faster than the population of pensioners. So, of course, is the population of immigrants, who are having a ‘baby boom’ of their own.

After a good deal of hullabaloo a ‘committee of enquiry’ concludes that pensioners must continue to pay for ‘care’ which they receive (or to which they are forced to submit) from the state. At least they must pay up to a certain amount, so long as they have any assets left, after which the state will pick up the tab. But even this limited liability on the part of the state is a grievous burden, and so we are still left with an excuse for creating a new tax in some shape or form.

Middle class pensioners should pay between £35,000 and £50,000 for their old age care, a review will recommend this week. ... At present, anyone with savings or assets above £23,250 - including property - has to pay for their care in full, forcing thousands to sell their homes. The review will raise that threshold so that more people with modest savings benefit, at a cost to taxpayers of around £3billion a year. But the middle classes will have to pay more. Mr Dilnot will recommend they pay between £35,000 and £50,000. ...

Organisations including Age UK, the British Heart Foundation and the Alzheimer's Society yesterday wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to accept the Dilnot proposals. They said: ‘The social care system has been in growing crisis for years. Our organisations deal every day with people at the most vulnerable points in their lives who are either not receiving any social care support or a small level of help that is grossly inadequate to their needs.’

‘We call upon the Government to take this opportunity offered by the Dilnot Commission and produce a White Paper in the autumn detailing how it will create a sustainable and fair social care system, including how it will be funded.’

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)

It is said that people do not like thinking about the future (especially, probably, those with below-average IQs) and so do not save enough to provide for themselves when they are no longer earning money. Therefore they must be forced to do so, by having their money taken away by the government, and so must those who do think about their futures.

Perhaps most people do not want to think about what lies ahead, and intend, consciously or subconsciously, to end their lives semi-accidentally if things become difficult. Why not leave them to get on with it? If they have not provided for themselves, perhaps they have (consciously or otherwise) opted for ‘a short life and a merry one’, as one of my former dentists said of a colleague who had a liking for real ale and died soon after his retirement.

Why not leave them to it? How is it better for them to end their lives under medical supervision in a ‘care home’ prison, with complete loss of autonomy?

Why should you want those such as myself who do try to build up capital, to improve their future lives, to be made responsible for supporting those who have not been interested enough to support themselves – by confiscation of capital by the government? The population of savers is likely to have above-average IQs; in fact it may well include a significant proportion of people with exceptionally high IQs, who realise that they have no other chance of making their position less intolerable in a society that is motivated by hostility to people like them.

And that, of course, is the answer to why they should be penalised by confiscation, in theory because they are causing an intolerable strain on the government’s resources; in reality because the government ‘needs’ to continue expanding its spending at a rate of knots on less threatening populations which will never have any independence of thought or action.

It is disgraceful that organisations such as Age UK, Age Concern and Saga actively support the raising of the pension age and the Dilnot proposals. ‘The social care system has been in crisis for years’. Of course it has, and the only solution is to abolish ‘social care’ altogether.

And there is no solution for the country as a whole but to abandon the concept of ‘state benefits’ altogether. There is no ‘benefit’ without reduction of liberty, and the concept of the state as the ultimate provider can lead only to the destruction and bankruptcy of the society that adopts it.

24 June 2011

Thus spake Zoroaster

Among the departments which should be productive in my suppressed and unrecognised university is one for the History of Religion. Information in this area is suppressed and ignored because it is not in the interests of any ideology to know what was really the case.

Information about Gnostic Christianity was of no interest, because Gnosticism was dualist, dualism being an automatically pejorative term. That is, they thought in some form that there was good and evil, soul and matter, and that ‘normal life’ was evil and to be transcended and escaped from.

Quite recently, it was asserted on the BBC that Christianity was original in having an end-of-world idea, in the sense of a radical change in the scheme of things. Previous religions and ideologies had not had this.

However, the end-of-world idea, along with a ‘dualist’ rejection of life as it is, occurred a lot earlier. In fact, it seems to have been originated by Zarathustra, whose ideas influenced Nietzsche in writing Thus Spake Zarathustra.

Zoroastrianism had not only an end-of-world (end-of-history, end-of-time) idea, as associated with early Christianity, but even a Second Coming idea. A human leader would arise who would lead the forces of good to victory over the powers of evil, and the world would be changed in the ‘Making Wonderful’. This Second Coming person was supposed to be a descendant of Zarathustra.

Paul Kriwaczek, in the book In Search of Zarathustra, seems to suggest that the Gnostics, Cathars and Bogomils were descendants of this Zoroastrian tradition and its offshoots, and nothing to do with Christianity, which he identifies with the sacrificial victim/redemption story and considers original, being apparently unaware of the prevalence of traditions of the ‘Golden Bough’ type. Kriwaczek was not an academic but travelled widely in the Middle East.

Clearly all this has been very much suppressed, presumably because it demonstrated the possibility of not being interested in the social goings-on of any particular tribe, and did not identify ‘good’ with ‘belief in society’.

Unfortunately, many people (including, probably, Kriwaczek) see Nietzsche as advocating a rejection of bourgeois capitalism and conversion to egalitarian socialism (‘Man must create his own values’, etc.).

22 June 2011

The cost to the taxpayer of the dysfunctional

I have long wondered whether making pensioners the scapegoats for the increasing expenditure on ‘care’, in order to justify still more taxation (or reduction of pension entitlements), is a misdirection of attention. It seems to me possible that the drain on the taxpayer of the increasing population of the dysfunctional (including low-IQ) population is far greater.

On the one hand, it appears that one third of women and one fifth of men who reach pensionable age go into a ‘care home’, and for an average of about 2 years. So a population of 12m pensioners implies about 6m care-home years. On the other hand, there are allegedly 3.2 million people on disability allowances. Of course a great fuss is made about those who pretend they are unable to walk but are seen climbing ladders, playing tennis, etc.

The number of drink and drug addicts, now counted among the ‘disabled’, is known to have risen dramatically over the last ten years. But the population on disability allowances also includes those who are physically and/or mentally handicapped by the genetic endowment with which they were born, or by accident or illness later in life. These may spend far more than two years in care homes, possibly 30 or 40. Also there are many special needs ‘schools’ for those with low IQs and/or behavioural problems.

The population at special schools, or receiving state-funded tuition at home, is not included in the 3.2 million who receive ‘disability allowances’, as these are only paid to those who are over school age.

The proportion of the genetically dysfunctional among the 3.2 million does not need to be very high for the expense to taxpayers of ‘care’, and the increase in this expense per annum, to exceed that for the population of pensioners.

18 June 2011

Modern theories of intelligence

It is difficult to believe how completely what was formerly accepted about IQ has been rejected and replaced by an entirely different set of assumptions.

The people who were positive factors in my early life were no doubt familiar with the view of general ability which was expressed at the time, and with which I was familiar myself from my father's educational books and general conversation. The g factor (g for general) was of predominant importance. If your g factor was high enough you could do anything, that is, the idea was widely accepted that ability was transferable from one area to another. If a person showed very great ability in some area, one might expect them to excel in others. This corresponded to what I observed in my own case. I could see that the mental functions that went into picking up any new subject quickly were much the same. When I got a distinction mark in Further Maths in 3½ days, I thought I was showing that I could also pick up to a high level any subject which I had not previously studied very quickly, so I should not be prevented from taking exams in chemistry, physics, languages or anything else just because I had not been studying them previously.

So, of course, when I started to make breakthroughs in topics formerly associated with parapsychology as soon as I started to know anything about the phenomena involved, I thought I was demonstrating clearly enough that I should not be prevented from entering an academic career in any subject, whether or not I had a paper qualification in it, and whether or not I had prior knowledge of it. Which I probably had not, because what went on in most areas at Oxford was rubbish which one would not want to know much about unless it contributed to some specific purpose, such as passing an exam (i.e. obtaining a qualification for social purposes), or teaching and writing papers in a salaried university career.

The idea that ability shown in one area was indicative of underlying ability which would be likely to show itself in another was, however, far more prevalent when I was very young than it is now. When I was at Oxford and afterwards, any relative success in a particular area was regarded as evidence of some peculiar kind of ‘interest’ in it, which was not supposed to require being set up to carry out well-financed research in it.

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 university 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.

15 June 2011

He knows the names of beastly flowers

The ideas that dominate modern educational ideology and practice have been incubating for a long time.

The idea, for example, that evidence of IQ (in the old-fashioned sense) was irrelevant, and had nothing to do with what a person was good at, was implicitly present in a book called The New Broom which my Uncle Harry had had as a boy and which I read at about 8, so it might have been written about 1900. In this book, someone refers to having seen a former schoolfellow sweeping the streets, and says, without any implication that anything had gone wrong and needed to be corrected, that this was a great surprise as this person had always excelled at school and they had all expected him to become Prime Minister. (How foolish they had been.)

In another episode in the book, a new master at a public school does some social engineering. Many of the boys are in the habit of going to the local pub for drinking, smoking and billiards (played for money, no doubt). This is seen as bad, and the new master goes and drags back a boy called Mansell, who is a prime mover in the goings-on. He is forced to play football, which at first he resists with a show of disinterest on the field, but into which he is eventually drawn by his natural aptitude for the game. He ‘could not prevent himself from being fast and clever on a football field’. So soon he is playing for the school and becomes a great team player and a prominent and feted member of the school community. At no stage is the idea expressed that he might be steered into some kind of academic pursuit rather than football.

The same idea, that school life is not, and should not be, about learning, is expressed in a poem in E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children, published in 1906. The poem is about a new boy at a school, who will soon come to know better.

He cannot wicket-keep at all,
He's frightened of a cricket ball.
He reads indoors for hours and hours.
He knows the names of beastly flowers.
He says his French just like Mossoo--
A beastly stuck-up thing to do--
He won't keep cave, shirks his turn
And says he came to school to learn!
He won't play football, says it hurts;
He wouldn't fight with Paley Terts;
Now Wigsby Minor says that Parr
Is only like all new boys are.
I know when I first came to school
I wasn't such a jolly fool!

Even as early as this, there is clearly a conviction that it is unnecessary to consider a person’s inclinations. Force him into the situation which will permit him to do what he should want to do, if he were the right sort of person, and he will change into that sort of person, or it is his own fault if he does not.

The antagonism to IQ, and the pressure that could be applied to individuals, became much greater in the Welfare State era, in which many parents were no longer paying directly for what was being meted out to their children, and could themselves be slandered and persecuted.

Even before the onset of state education and the Welfare State, several of those who became leading intellectuals had parents who thought it was a good idea for them to be preserved from, or only minimally exposed to, the school experience. Such as John Stuart Mill, Frederic Myers and Bertrand Russell.

06 June 2011

Keeping the Welfare Wolf from the door

The tiny amount of public spending committed to the elderly – 5.8 per cent of national income compared to 11.7 per cent in Italy – is a key reason behind the scandal of tens of thousands of people having to sell their homes every year to pay for their residential care.

Other countries fund care home fees through taxes or national insurance systems, meaning care is available when people need it. The report warns that our low spending rate has also led to an enormous burden on family members, who are left having to take on roles as unpaid carers because the state does not step in.

And it means thousands of pensioners are isolated in their own houses because not enough home helps, meals on wheels services and day centres are available. ...

The £16billion we spend each year includes funding for day centres, residential care home fees, meals on wheels and home helps who assist with eating, dressing, going to the toilet, washing, domestic cleaning and shopping. (Daily Mail, 6 June 2011)

I made the efforts I did over a period of fifty years to make sure that I and any associate of mine made voluntary contributions to the state pension, only because this seemed to be a way of getting an income as of right, since I knew I was not, and would never be, eligible for any state ‘benefit’, such as income support.

Now I find that everyone is advocating, not restoring the non-means-tested part of the state pension to something like adequacy, but providing more ‘home helps, meals on wheels services and day centres’ (ibid.) – all ‘benefits’ which I and anyone associated with me would never take up.

‘The shocking betrayal of the elderly’ (supposedly consisting not in the reduction and means-testing of pensions, but in the failure to provide ‘benefits’ to those who will tolerate them) is ‘revealed in a damning report’ by the over-50s group Saga, the Director General of which is Ros Altmann, who has never (so far as I can make out) shown any concern about retrospective legislation.

The report, Take Care, was compiled for Saga by the think tank 2020 Health, which analysed OECD figures.

These figures show how generations of British politicians have betrayed our increasingly ageing population and have failed to fund properly the care so many of them will clearly need,’ Mrs Altmann said.

Mrs Altmann does not mention the failure to fund properly the pensions which so many of them were led to expect they would receive without means-testing.

The report warns that our low spending rate has ... led to an enormous burden on family members, who are left having to take on roles as unpaid carers because the state does not step in.

The burden on those who want to keep the Welfare Wolf from the door, and to avoid the state ‘stepping in’ to their lives, could only be reduced by raising the non-means-tested state pension to which I contributed for so many years. On the other hand, increasing the availability of benefits for which I would never consider applying, even if I might be considered eligible, can only increase the burden of taxation on those, such as myself, who are receiving state pensions to which they contributed in full for many years, and who are still struggling to improve their position. A ‘benefit’ which can only be obtained by exposing oneself to ‘assessment’ by agents of the collective is an oppression, and my associates and I are quite oppressed enough already.

It is supposed to be a ‘burden’ on families to keep their relatives out of the clutches of the state? I considered it not a burden, but a necessity, to preserve my parents from such a fate.

When I was thrown out at the end of my ruined education, and found that my father’s health had been broken down by persecution so that he could not support me out of his salary as a headmaster, I thought, ‘You may think society has done its worst to you. But it can always find a way of doing something even worse.’ That has been shown true many times in the ensuing years. You may think that society has done its worst by letting your pension ‘wither on the vine’ and then means-testing it. But it can make things even worse by making it, in effect, more means-tested, so that you will be taxed even more heavily to pay for more ‘benefits’ to be made available to people of your age who are less resistant to oppression than you are yourself.

There is no ‘benefit’ without loss of self-determination (freedom). The non-means-tested state pension was the only remaining ‘benefit’ of which this was not true.

It is not a question of how bad the care homes, meals on wheels, etc. are in comparison with some equivalent that one might pay for directly; the principle of self-determination is all-important.

05 June 2011

Cottage to let

Copy of letter to an academic

There is a cottage to rent fairly near us, and this might make more concrete the idea that well-wishers (if we had any) could rent or buy such a place as a retirement home/second home/vacation home, so that they could come and make contact with us, either with them providing moral support or practical help for our plans of expansion, or with us playing the role of financial and social advisors for a consultancy fee.