Trenton Oldfield disrupted the Boat Race in the name of equality. Elitism, according to him, leads to tyranny, of which the Boat Race is a toxic symbol.
Many distinguished commentators have pointed out correctly that an attempt to eliminate elites is tantamount to promoting mediocrity or, to use Tocqueville’s phrase, ‘the tyranny of the majority’. Others have stressed the incongruity of someone who attended first a private school and then an illustrious (and expensive) university striking a blow against elitism.
The first group made the mistake of dignifying with rational analysis something that has no serious content whatsoever: Oldfield acted not from rational thought but from intuitive hatred. The second group misses if not the whole point then some of it. For Oldfield isn’t an incongruous revolutionary; he’s a consistent traditionalist.
That is, he acted in the fine tradition of his Fabian alma mater. That tradition has little to do with intellectual attainment, and it’s only by accident that anything good has ever come out of that institution. Such accidents are statistically unavoidable: bring together a few hundred scholars, make them rack their brains on this or that subject for 100 years or so, and they’re occasionally bound to stumble upon something worthwhile. Throw in, for the sake of public relations and tactical subterfuge, some token real thinkers, such as Michael Oakeshott or Kenneth Minogue, and the odd flash of brilliance will break out of the morass.
But this isn’t the reason the LSE was founded by Sydney and Beatrice Webb, the early admirers and lifetime followers of Lenin. Their passion was the same as Lenin’s: the destruction of traditional Western civilisation. Their strategy also came from Lenin, who always stressed that a frontal assault against traditional institutions must be synchronised with a concerted effort at exploiting, and thereby undermining, them from within. Whenever his less subtle comrades, such as Trotsky, called for an all-out ‘permanent’ revolution, Lenin mocked what he called their ‘infantile disorder of leftism.’ Trotsky never learned his lesson and had to be further educated with an ice axe. The LSE is alive and well: it was a better student.
Fabianism has become such standard fare that its proponents don’t even bother to conceal their intentions any longer. They no doubt feel that the century-old patina of subversion has conferred respectability on their pursuits. Thus, announcing one of their conferences in 2010, the LSE emphasised its ‘shared focus of concern for analytical liberal political philosophers and theorists working within the Frankfurt School tradition of critical social theory.’
Don’t you just love the academic jargon? The purpose of the tongue is to conceal our thoughts; Talleyrand must have been right about that. But, unlike their LSE colleagues, the Frankfurters themselves, such as Marcuse and Adorno, explained their ‘liberal’ strategy in a forthright language even we can understand:
1. The creation of racism offences.
2. Continual change to create confusion
3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority
5. Huge immigration to destroy identity
6. The promotion of excessive drinking
7. Emptying of churches
8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
9. Dependency on the state or state benefits
10. Control and dumbing down of media
11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family
This blueprint for exploding traditional society from within is indeed the ‘shared focus’ of the Frankfurt School, the LSE and most of our other academic institutions, and you can decide for yourself how successful they’ve been. Though not stated as an explicit objective, real academic life has to be destroyed as well: students must be prevented at all costs from learning to think properly. The curricula of our countless humanities departments serve this aim admirably.
One wonders what the pupils of Plato’s Academy or Aristotle’s Lyceum would make of some of the degree courses available at Western universities. For example, you can take a course in ‘The Lesbian Phallus’ at the Occidental College, LA (Critical Theory, Social Justice Dept.). Queen’s, Belfast, offers ‘How to Train in the Jedi Way’. Not to be outdone, Georgetown University counters with ‘Philosophy and Star Trek’. You can pursue ‘Harry Potter Studies’ at Durham or ‘The Life and Times of Robin Hood’ at the type-cast Nottingham University. Alfred University, NYC, can contribute to your intellectual growth by offering ‘Maple Syrup Making’, and Glasgow proudly lists a post-graduate course on ‘The History of Lace Knitting in Shetland’.
The LSE adds to this list its indispensable course on ‘Contemporary Urbanism’, and it’s in this discipline that Oldfield took his master’s degree. He was taught the value of urban diversity, and the methods of promoting it. Of course by now we know the trick that has served the LSE and Frankfurters so well over the years: in reality their buzz words mean precisely the opposite of the dictionary definitions.
‘War’ is one such word. Thus ‘war on poverty’ promotes poverty, ‘war on drugs’ leads to more drug use, ‘war on terrorism’ will result in the blowing up of public transport and so forth. Another similar word is ‘process’ – it reverses the meaning of its modifier, with, for example, a ‘peace process’ or a ‘negotiations process’ inevitably leading to armed conflict, and a ‘liberation process’ guaranteeing enslavement.
‘Diversity’ falls into the same category. Anyone who uses this word in the LSE sense really worships not diversity but uniformity – he would love nothing more than rolling all individuals into a heaving, impersonal mass of dehumanised humanity, where everyone is equal and no one is free – that is, everyone other than the diversity monger himself who can stand on his voluminous academic qualifications to look down upon the equal unwashed.
This is the kind of academic discipline in which one can these days get an advanced degree from one of our venerable universities. I do think that, rather than being punished, Oldfield should be awarded a doctorate honoris causa. He does the LSE proud.