Britain’s latest problem: not enough blacks at Oxford
week the pudding-faced joke of a human being known as the prime minister of Great Britain set off a huge controversy
when he attacked Oxford University for not admitting enough black students. He said, incorrectly, that Oxford had admitted only one black in the last year. I have a difficulty in dealing with the issue because said pudding-faced individual is so absurd, is such a leftist nothing (as was entirely evident from the instant he emerged as the newly elected head of the Conservative Party six years ago), that my mind bridles at taking him seriously enough to criticize him.
Also, so many respected voices in Britain immediately denounced his statement about Oxford that I don’t need to. The prime minister’s critics said that the reason so few blacks are being admitted into Oxford is that very few blacks are currently qualified, and the reasons they gave for this were poverty, poor education, and so forth. They did not mention the fact that there are virtually zero blacks with high level IQ, and that all the anti-poverty programs and spruced up schools in the world will not change that. Still, they did, with no shilly shallying, forcefully and indignantly shoot down the idea that Oxford should lower its standards in order admit more blacks. Which would never happen in the U.S., by the way. It appears that minority preferences in higher education, at least in elite institutions, are not as thoroughly ensconced in Britain as in the U.S.
Which is not to say that the egalitarian assumptions that underlie minority preferences are not widely believed in Britain. Consider the below piece of argumentation from Matthew d’Ancona in This is London. D’Ancona pretends to be a thoughtful moderate on the issue, having criticized the prime minister for his gaffe that Oxford admitted only one black in the last year, but in reality he is an all-out leftist egalitarian. He writes:
“[The prime minister] sees it not as an ideological question, but one of decency. It offends his sense of good manners, in the very broadest sense….
To adapt his own slogan: there is such a thing as society—and it has conspicuously failed young black Caribbeans, especially boys. As Trevor Phillips, the admirable chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has put it: “We live in a society where … black maleness is in some ways the definition of failure.” [LA replies: Notice the verbal trick: to call black maleness the “definition of failure” in society is to imply that society is so defining it, rather than the simple truth, which is that blacks fail in British society because of their own inherent intellectual limitations.]
This is not liberal handwringing or post-colonial guilt but an empirical recognition that, in our hyper-connected 21st-century Wiki-world of supposedly limitless opportunity and networking, some groups are being left behind to an extent that all civilised and reasonable people should find unacceptable. [LA replies: “Some groups are being left behind” is another piece of leftist egalitarianism disguising itself as a mere objective observation. “Left behind” implies that in a properly functioning society, blacks would perform equally with whites; therefore if blacks are behind, that means that society is doing something wrong (or failing to do something right) that is resulting in blacks being left behind. In reality, no one is leaving them behind, and no one is doing anything wrong. Blacks simply lack the ability to perform equally with whites, and there is nothing that whites can do about that. Notwithstanding d’Ancona’s claim that this is not liberal guilt or handwringing, what is such a conviction of society’s wrongdoing about except liberal guilt and handwringing? ] If you really do see the world through the eyes of Right-wing philosopher Ayn Rand as a bleakly atomised landscape in which individuals, families, companies and institutions keep themselves strictly to themselves and interact only for market transactions, then such dilemmas of “social justice” are not going to trouble you. But the vast majority of people do not think like that. They do have a social sensibility—a notion of solidarity—and it is this that Cameron grasps.
It has nothing to do with Rand-style atomization or any other supposed right-wing belief. It has to do with the fact that blacks do not posssess the intellectual ability to perform equally with whites, and all the love of decency and all the longing for solidarity and all the social justice mongering in the Isle of Great Britain are not going to change that. The only way to stop “leaving blacks behind” will be to admit unqualified blacks into Oxford and then proceed to admit unqualified blacks into every other important position in society as well.
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The lesson is, a country which has a large black population and then suddenly conceives a deep belief in equality of outcome, like the United States, or a country that has a deep sense of decency and solidarity and then suddenly imports a large black population, like Britain, is going to feel compelled to make blacks equal to whites in socioeconomic outcomes and to feel itself to be morally wicked if it fails to accomplish that. There are only two ways to avoid the resulting racial socialism and the attendant monstrosities: (1) the country must either not acquire a large black population in the first place or export its black population if it already has one; or (2) it must reject the belief in solidarity and equality of outcome for all people.
And here’s another gem from d’Ancona:
To be fair, Oxford does a huge amount of outreach work. But some colleges do more than others. And few do enough to help black teenagers get to grips with what might be called the “rules of the game”—which college to apply to, which subject to go for. A tell-tale statistic is that black candidates tend to apply to read subjects which are madly competitive—medicine and English, for instance. Admirable, in one sense, but also a sure sign that they are not receiving the detailed guidance that their rivals at mostly white fee-paying schools are routinely given (“take my advice, Molesworth—forget about law at Balliol and go for land management at St Bunter’s”).
D’Ancona wants the system to encourage black recipients of preferential admissions to be more realistic about their level of abilities and not to put themselves in demanding academic situations where they are bound to fail. The problem with this advice is that the belief in racial equality of outcome carries the message that blacks are equal to whites in ability and that it is only racial discrimination or such factors as poverty or poor schools (which themselves are seen as the result of discrimination) that has held them back. The entire racial egalitarian system to which d’Ancona subscribes is telling blacks that they are much more capable than they really are, yet d’Ancona claims that this system, even as it is promoting blacks beyond their abilities and telling them that they are capable of everything they desire, is also going to have the internal discipline to advise blacks not to have an exaggerated view of their own abilities!
Paul K. writes:
Matthew d’Ancona writes:
If you really do see the world through the eyes of Right-wing philosopher Ayn Rand as a bleakly atomised landscape in which individuals, families, companies and institutions keep themselves strictly to themselves and interact only for market transactions, then such dilemmas of “social justice” are not going to trouble you. But the vast majority of people do not think like that. They do have a social sensibility—a notion of solidarity—and it is this that Cameron grasps.
But what is this society with which people are supposed to feel solidarity? Thanks to 50 years of liberalism, it is a fragmented mishmash, containing large numbers of hostile racial minorities and unassimilated immigrants who care nothing for their hosts, and overseen by elites who constantly excoriate their native peoples as xenophobes and racists. What social solidarity remains to be tapped from such a population? President Obama uses this ploy constantly.
James P. writes:
Matthew d’Ancona writes,
If you really do see the world through the eyes of right-wing philosopher Ayn Rand as a bleakly atomised landscape in which individuals, families, companies and institutions keep themselves strictly to themselves and interact only for market transactions, then such dilemmas of “social justice” are not going to trouble you.
A bleakly atomized landscape is not a “right-wing” objective or perception. It is, in fact, the left that seeks a bleakly atomized landscape in which individuals, families, companies, and institutions have no obligations or important ties to each other, but interact only with state approval and mediation. The leftist assault on the family, religion, and all other institutions that traditionally exist outside the realm of state-control seeks to destroy them and thus make any kind of social existence outside the state impossible.
On another subject, I am struck by the name Matthew d’Ancona. I first read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged when I was 13 or 14, and have been intermittently re-reading it ever since. I always thought the surname of one of its major characters, Francisco d’Anconia, was rather fanciful and artificial, and I never heard of anyone who had that name. Yet now, two days before the premier of the movie of Atlas Shrugged, I come upon a writer named d’Ancona. Quite a coincidence.
And to add to the irony, or synchronicity, or whatever, the real-life d’Ancona is a leftist who singles out the author of Atlas Shrugged as a principal source of the bad, right-wing ideas that he opposes.
Leonard D. writes:
Your correspondent James P. made a very insightful comment:
A bleakly atomized landscape is not a “right-wing” objective or perception. It is, in fact, the left that seeks a bleakly atomized landscape in which individuals, families, companies, and institutions have no obligations or important ties to each other, but interact only with state approval and mediation. The leftist assault on the family, religion, and all other institutions that traditionally exist outside the realm of state control seeks to destroy them and thus make any kind of social existence outside the state impossible.
And of course Objectivism attacks much the same targets: the family, religion, etc. Of course the reasoning is different. The progressive hates order because order inherently requires hierarchy, and any hierarchy requires inequality. The objectivist abhors equality, but nonetheless would destroy any existing order in which the hierarchy is not strictly elitist—and needless to say, no real group of humans is organized in such a manner.
In this sense—that is, in relation to radical anti-authoritarianism—Objectivism and progressivism are in accord. Both see the individual as a god, to be the sole judge of his own situation. Objectivism is, in this limited sense, a species of leftism. They are fellow travelers, in that both seek to destroy existing order. How useful this is for the left!
An Indian living in the West writes:
David Cameron is an embarrassment. He is utterly spineless.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 13, 2011 06:18 PM | Send
One example of this is the way in which Cameron tries to please the host country on his foreign trips. He came to India last year and admonished Pakistan for spreading terrorism across its borders. The Pakistani Government was furious and the British High Commissioner to Pakistan was immediately summoned by the Pakistani President to explain why such a slight had been inflicted on his country by the British Prime Minister while he was on Indian soil! Cameron recently went to Pakistan to patch things up. So what does he do there? He says to the Pakistanis that the problems they are facing (terrorism anyone?) are not their fault, because those problems were created by the British during colonial rule!
Cameron’s usual approach is to take the path of least resistance. So to please his Tory voters, he says the government will cut spending. The fact, however, is that the British government will spend more money every year all the way to 2015 when the elections will be held next. This despite that Britain’s finances are in dire straits and it runs the risk of going bankrupt with no one to bail it out.
Cameron’s admonition of Oxford for not admitting blacks is another perfect example of his spinelessness and deep urge to please British liberals. The amazing thing is that Oxford actually has far fewer whites than the white percentage in Britain’s population. Britain is still “officially” 91 percent white but only 75 percent of Oxford’s students are white. Oxford may admit very few blacks but it is filled with very large numbers of Indians and Chinese—actually far out of their proportion in the British population. So how is Oxford “racist” exactly?
David Cameron is a pathetic joke. As the saying goes, the people get the rulers they deserve.