Thinking about thinking
In the various discussions and arguments taking place today about university education, there are several points that are rarely grasped. The first point is that university education has always been for intelligent students only. It is impossible to “broaden student access”, unless you also broaden their brains. The second point that is not grasped is that a disadvantaged background does not necessarily affect children’s academic abilities. There is a school in south London, in one of the worst areas of the city, where most of the students are from single parent homes. One might think that the academic results there would be very poor. But, in fact, the school is always near the top of the school rankings. Why? Because they are taught in the traditional manner, not in the current “progressive” way. But the most important point that people do not grasp is that our school system, having been one of the best in Europe 60 years ago, is now the worst, and it is precisely because it is impossible to receive a proper education in the state school system, that so many students go to private schools. The percentage is roughly 8%, which is unheard of in any other country. On the Continent there are very few private schools because the state school system is good, and everyone goes to the state schools.
In England, approximately 30% of state school students go on to university, almost all of them unqualified. Some time ago, I had lunch at Cambridge with several distinguished dons. During lunch, one of the dons said to me ‘half of my students do not know what they are doing. They have no business being here’. I asked the other dons their opinions, and they said three-quarters of their students had no business being there. I then asked how many of these students would receive degrees. ‘Oh’, they said, ‘we do not fail anyone at Cambridge anymore’. In other words, the government forces the universities to accept unqualified students, and then forces them to give these students degrees. Needless to say, our university degrees are a laughing stock on the Continent. In their system, any student who has a school degree can go to university. He may not get in to the university of his choice, but he will get in to some university. But the big difference is that students there are tested severely all the way through their time in university (four years), and of those who begin university, only one third receive a degree.
Most people fail to understand that intelligence is just like any other human quality or trait – it is hereditary. When I was a young man, I became interested in IQs, and I took the MENSA test. Afterwards, I talked to my father about it, he became interested, and he took the same test. We had exactly the same IQ. Then my brother took the test, and his IQ was only one point away from ours. What are the odds against this being a coincidence? Does anyone really think that the children of coalminers have the same IQs as the children of university dons? What the left wing do not seem to understand is that there is such a demand for places in private schools, that the schools must have entrance examinations, whereby only the clever children get in. In effect, therefore, the children at private schools comprise most of the clever children in the country.
A terrible Paddy
Paddy Ashdown recently wrote an article in The Times on the subject of Europe. Unfortunately, he does not seem to be aware of the basic point at issue, which is freedom. In a recent session of Parliament, our law makers passed 700 laws, which was a record at that time. During the same period, the EU Parliament passed 4,700 new laws, including one about where to fix the angle of the mirror on agricultural tractors, and another on the size of condoms. All of these laws are binding on us. This may be Lord Ashdown’s idea of freedom, but it is not mine. In the meantime, the bureaucracy of the EU is growing all the time, and the amount of money it spends is also growing all the time. I do not think many people are aware that the Annual Accounts of the EU have not been signed by their accountants for more than ten years. That does not fill one with confidence.
Then there is the fact that the bureaucrats in the EU and the Euro MPs are all very left wing. It is not long ago that they refused to accept a Commissioner nominated by Italy, Mr Buttaglione, because he was Catholic, and, therefore, did not approve of homosexuality. Most of Europe is either Catholic or Orthodox, and both religions consider homosexuality a major sin. Does that mean that no Catholic or Orthodox is allowed to have any position in the EU? This may not worry Lord Ashdown, as he is left wing, but it does worry a lot of other people.
The least impressive part of Lord Ashdown’s article is the fact that he calls anyone who does not agree with him a ‘bloody fool’. Now, insulting ones opponents is the oldest and cheapest debating trick in the world. In Cicero’s times, it was called an argument ad hominem. The fact that Lord Ashdown had to resort to it shows the poverty of his arguments.
Playing the Queen of Hearts
In his famous essay “On Language”, George Orwell pointed out that ‘sloppy language leads to sloppy thinking’. Unfortunately, we live in an age where language is becoming sloppier and sloppier, and so is the thinking. The newest fashionable word among the Left Wing intelligentsia is “misogynist”, and this word is applied to any man who does not accept Feminism and Left Wing mentality about women. But that is not at all the true meaning of the word “misogynist”. The word comes directly from the Greek, and it literally means “someone who hates women”. But very few men actually hate women. Many men love women, and some are not particularly interested, but surely very few men hate women? In short, it is a propaganda word used to rubbish men. Of course, what women really mean when they use the word “misogynist” is that men do not respect women, but respect is very different from love. The truth is that it is impossible for men to “respect” women, no matter how much they love them, because men only respect manly qualities, and women do not have any manly qualities.
Another word that is nowadays in common use, but has no meaning is the word “homophobe”. This word does not exist in the English language, and cannot be found in any Dictionary, nor can anyone describe clearly what it is supposed to mean. In fact, it is a “word” invented by the homosexual lobby, to try to rubbish anyone who does not approve of them. It is very clear that “homophobe” is a phoney word because the first half has a Latin root – homo – while the second half has a Greek root – phobe. It could not be phonier, and yet many intelligent and educated people have been brainwashed into using it.
An American lawyer who is now in the financial world, Demetri Marchessini lives in London.