10 March 2012

Mansion tax, pensions and ruined educations

text of a letter to an academic

I have had to attempt to claw my way back to a tolerable life after the ruin of my career and family life caused by the so-called ‘education’. And I have had to do this in a society ever more dominated by the ideology that was responsible for causing the ruin in the first place.

Ever more damaging legislation is continually proposed, and the relevant departments of my suppressed and censored independent university are virtually silenced, while the unexamined assumptions continue to flood the television and the newspapers.

Now they propose a ‘mansion tax’ which, once instituted, will no doubt soon become a garden shed tax.

While trying to build up my capital assets to a level that could support even the skimpiest residential college and research department, with live-in domestic and caretaking staff, my only asset was the fact that principal private residences were free of tax (though not of maintenance costs.)

I still have not reached a level at which even the smallest scale of research could be done – not, at any rate, research that would have any hope of enhancing my claim on a salaried university appointment, although I suppose there are a few people who are willing to regard as research the collecting of anecdotes and the writing down of their dreams in the morning, and it has been convenient to suppose that I was one of them. But progress towards an adequate scale of operation would have been severely hampered by any form of ‘wealth’ tax, including tax on property. And progress has been, even without that, agonisingly slow.

Commentators always talk as if, after the age regarded as pensionable, a person could not ‘need’ more than one room to live in. But there may be people other than those here whose careers were ruined by the hostility which their ability provoked, and who, like us, need to build up their resources to the point where they can finance their own careers.

There is no reason to suppose that any society could provide each individual with opportunities exactly tailored to his needs. It is far more important that there should be the possibility for individuals to work towards providing themselves with the circumstances they need for the sort of career they need to have.

In the Britain of Frederic Myers a fair proportion of those with the highest IQs had the circumstances they needed for a productive intellectual life, provided mainly by inheritance. This proportion has been steadily reduced.

As I have mentioned before, you could alleviate our position significantly by buying a nearby house in which, among other things, new provisional associates could live; it being impossible for them to find rented accommodation, even at inordinate expense, and it being impossible for us, at the present time, to sink a high proportion of our available capital in buying additional houses.