05 December 2011

notepad: December

The purpose of mediocratic ideology is the same as that of Marxist ideology: to make life impossible for genuine intellectuals, i.e. those who might generate real cultural progress. To mask the issue, an ersatz system of high culture has been built up, designed to perpetuate and reinforce the ideology, and to ensure no assistance is given to those whom the system carefully excludes.

• What does it typically feel like to live in a society at war with itself?
Here is Daphne du Maurier’s description of the atmosphere in one county (Cornwall) the last time it happened in England; the year is 1653.
Long faces and worsted garments, bad harvests and sinking trade, everywhere men poorer than they were before, and the people miserable ...

Spies ... in every town and village, and if a breath of protest against the State is heard the murmurer is borne straightway to gaol ...

Manners are rough, courtesy a forgotten quality. We are each one of us suspicious of our neighbours.
(The King’s General)
“The docile English may endure it, but not we Cornish”, adds Honor, the heroine-narrator of the historical romance based on colourful character Richard Grenvile and on the house near Fowey in which du Maurier lived for many years, Menabilly (“Manderley” in Rebecca).
[5 Dec]

• Immigration into the UK* continues to be out of control — no doubt driven in part by a desire to irritate the bourgeoisie — so that the UK’s true population is more likely to be 80 million than the official 63 million, with the result that the housing stock is under pressure and local government hungry for more building.
Add in the fact that deception, introduced as a policy by New Labour, now has solid cross-party appeal, and you have a recipe for shenanigans such as the following, reported in a local newsletter by District Councillor Elizabeth Gillespie.
I have been informed that a worrying proposal has been put forward to the Parliamentary Boundary Commission, which would move the Garsington, Berinsfield, Chalgrove and Sandford electoral wards away from the “Henley” constituency, where we naturally belong with our neighbouring Green Belt villages, into the “Oxford East” constituency, which is centred on Oxford City.

[I fear this] could easily lead, at a later date, to the further request, which might not then seem so unreasonable, to alter the Local Government boundaries as well, thereby enabling Oxford City Council to achieve its long term ambition of annexing the nearest villages ... for the further expansion of the city’s built-up area into the Oxford Green Belt.
The ostensible deadline for objections to this tricksy proposal has passed (why am I reminded of Douglas Adams?), but I suggest it is never too late to complain about the devious or the dodgy.

• It is now clear that that the eurozone can only survive if the countries of the EU make good on their promise of “ever closer union” and form a fully collectivised, 100% integrated federation, in which each country — and indeed each citizen — is given according to its need, and gives according to its ability (if any).
Britain, for a variety of reasons, is not suited to belonging to such a union.
It should withdraw from the EU as soon as possible, so that it does not spoil things for the other countries.

• Bricks-and-mortar shopping is so old-world, I hardly do it any more.
If I want, say, a nice fresh banana, I simply order it new on eBay at a knock-down price, and it is delivered the next day — avoiding traffic jams, parking problems and surly staff.
Given the decline of local post office services, I trust these will also soon be migrating to online.

• “You work from home, do you?” someone asked me the other day, with a touch of snide.
Well no, actually, I work for a non-state university, it just happens to be so starved of funding and other support that it is forced to operate from private addresses.
I suppose it’s over-optimistic to expect people, however sophisticated, to understand that a cultural system could be so rotten that it represents an inversion of what it should be — i.e. the able with the ‘wrong’ attitude forced to try and survive on the outside, and the inside composed increasingly of the mediocre.
As various cynics of the past have observed, human incomprehension is often deliberate.
[12 Dec]

* I acknowledge the argument that the current level of immigration is necessary because the indigenous workforce, once infected with the prevailing ideology, becomes as useless as chocolate teapots.

ten predictions for 2012:

• The government ceases to pay state pensions to all except the “really needy”, but increases overseas aid, on the basis that this will allow us to “keep our heads held high”.

• Botany lecturers take to the streets of Uxbridge to demand (a) “an end to Tory rule”, (b) more desk space.

• A movie is made about the lives of Bertrand and Dora Russell, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, and featuring several ‘hot’ sex scenes.

• Nick Clegg announces that university admissions will be taken over by a new regulatory body which will select intake for every institution, to ensure that the proportions of students whose parents are telephone hygienists, rodent operatives etc. are the same as in society as a whole. The new body will be called The Office for Correct Composition, or “Ofcoc”.

• German housewives become lenders of last resort for the Club Med countries.

• Richard Dawkins guest-edits Living Marxism, relaunched for the occasion.

• Hacked emails from a philosophy faculty reveal professors referring to a pro-Christian colleague as “that damned God-hugger”.

• Paul Krugman calls for a doubling of the US money supply, to stave off recession.

• The General Medical Council lobbies Brussels for a ban on online discussions of health problems, unless supervised by one of their members.

• David Willetts leaves the Conservative Party to join the Department of Economic and Social Justice at the University of Neasden (formerly World of Leather). Neasden’s vice chancellor says that “anyone as badly treated by Oxford as David will always find a home with us”.
[19 Dec]

• Part 2 of Just another PC think tank has been postponed to a future date.
[31 Dec]

aphorism of the month:

A hundred trained people will never add up to one motivated one.
Celia Green, The Decline and Fall of Science

food for grey cells:

the American state system creeps towards bankruptcy

The author of this blog is an unsalaried academic. Like his colleagues, he is excluded from the academic system because of the way that system is currently run. (The phrase “sausage factory” was recently used by a government minister, expressing part of the problem.) As a result, he is unable to write in detail about intellectual issues to which he could be contributing, and has to limit himself to brief blog comments.

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