A tribunal of six Solent University governors sacked the lecturer Stephen Lamonby, 73, for gross misconduct, which in this case meant racism.
“We are pleased,” commented the Southampton university, “with the outcome of this hearing and its reflection of Solent’s commitment to our university values and to promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity.”
You may wonder how Mr Lamonby assailed those sacred values with sufficient vigour to justify his sacking. Are you insisting on an answer to this question? Fine. But prepare yourself: the truth is gruesome.
Talking to his colleague, Dr Janet Bonar, Mr Lamonby was complimentary about the Jews’ intelligence, especially as manifested in the field of physics. The Germans, he said, are good engineers, but the Jews are physicists sans pareil. Since Dr Bonar must be good at physics, Mr Lamonby then wondered if she was Jewish.
In response, Dr Bonar called him a racist and stormed off, as befits a modern person. She then reported Mr Lamonby to the authorities, as befits a truly progressive modern person.
Now, this episode can be analysed on many levels, including the least important factual one. First, if I were German, I’d be upset about my nation being deemed to be better at engineering than at physics.
I’d reel off a list of pretty useful German physicists, such as, in no particular order, Gauss, Röntgen, Planck, Heisenberg, Lenard and so forth. And, as Messrs Newton, Maxwell, Faraday and yes, even Hawking could have testified, it’s not just the Germans but also the British who have been known to infringe on the putative Jewish patent in this area.
It’s true that Jewish scientists tend to win about 20 per cent of all Nobel prizes, but then they also tend to dominate the string sections of all major orchestras. Such statistics require a deep, detailed analysis, and they can’t be explained away simply by suggesting the Jews have more intelligence or musicality than anyone else.
On the subject of music, some years ago Encyclopaedia Britannica published a list of history’s 20 most important composers, those without whom music wouldn’t be music. Seventeen names on that list were German, and not a single one was Jewish. Juxtaposing this statistic with the percentage of Jewish violinists, we can make only one conclusion: the issue is so complex that it doesn’t lend itself to any single explanation.
It’s also true that, in America, Jews have a higher median IQ than the rest of the country, except Southwest Asians. However, the Jewish population is almost exclusively urban middle class. And in that demographic group, the Jews’ IQ doesn’t stand out.
This issue can’t be discussed seriously without delving into a wide panoply of historical, cultural, social, political and religious factors. But then Mr Lamonby wasn’t trying to analyse that intricate problem. He casually referred to a widespread stereotype, that’s all.
Then, Solent took exception not to his loose treatment of facts but indeed to his mentioning an ethnic stereotype. That went against the grain of the new-fangled progressive ethic, according to which everyone isn’t just equal but the same.
The sacramental belief of our ‘liberal’ modernity is that no differences exist among various ethnic and racial groups. That is demonstrably false, but this whole thing isn’t about facts, is it? Facts might have been stubborn things to John Adams, but to progressives they are irrelevant things.
Language has had to be modified to reflect the new, heightened sensitivity. The word ‘racism’ used to mean the belief that some races were inherently superior to others. Now it means simply the belief that races may be different in any other than purely chromatic respects.
Thus it doesn’t matter whether or not a statement about such perceived differences is true, nor indeed whether it’s positive or negative. Saying, for example, that blacks can jump better than whites is as unacceptable to the progressives as making monkey noises.
Mr Lamonby is absolutely right in his vociferous protests against the verdict of Solent’s kangaroo trial. He was victimised by what he called denial of intellectual freedom, and what I’d describe, less moderately, as progressive fascism.
Under no circumstances can it be construed that Mr Lamonby’s statement is anti-Semitic. But, and here I’m trying to uncover another layer of the argument, that doesn’t mean Mr Lamonby isn’t.
Here I can offer only a lifelong observation, not any rational analysis. And my observation suggests that, with some exceptions, only two groups are most likely to point out the superior intelligence of the Jews: Jews and anti-Semites.
Both groups can say the same things on the basis of the same facts, such as the disproportionate Jewish representation in science, media, music, show business and what have you. But if Jews are likely to mention such facts with pride, anti-Semites unfurl them out of suspicion at best, envy and hatred at worst.
Neither group is to be complimented for their emotions, although only the second group was driven by theirs to exterminate the first. Let’s just say for now that anti-Semites are perfectly capable, indeed likely, to damn Jews with faint praise of their intelligence – just as genuine racists are capable of damning blacks with faint praise of their athleticism.
However, only in a febrile tyranny can such statements be taken as punishable offences, regardless of the feelings behind the words. Only a febrile tyranny can punish people for what they feel and think, and that’s what we all live under these days.