Letter about an American child prodigy

You said you wonder what would become of the boy in America, allegedly with a phenomenal IQ. Well, what do you expect to come of him? Whether he remains in foster care or not, he will be living in a society that is hostile to exceptional ability, and to individual autonomy in every form. That is why so little has come of me up to now. If it can happen even in America, the opposition that I encounter in this country is not surprising. My own education was ruined over a period of twenty years, from about 65 to about 45 years ago. America may be a bit slower in getting there, but perhaps by now it is about as bad there as it was in this country when I was growing up.

You say it looks as if our finances might be getting a bit better. Yes, but in terms of what is necessary to run a residential college with full dining and other facilities out of the income, we still only have seedcorn. Don't lose sight of the fact that a million pounds, as normally invested, only produces £30,000 per annum income, and that does not pay for much administrative and domestic staff these days. Donations of £1000 or more are acceptable and badly needed. Below that level the cost of processing all the accounting procedures with expensive and inefficient staff is prohibitive.

I have absolutely no interest in pursuing some small scale intellectual interest in poverty and constriction. I couldn't get anything out of doing anything in our present circumstances, or even foreseeably improved circumstances, and neither philosophy nor hallucinatory experiences (on a small scale) are things which I would ever wish to do, even in tolerable circumstances, for any reason other than career progression, that is, enhanced social position, salary and large scale funding.

The only point of doing a DPhil in philosophy was to strengthen my claim on a senior level of academic salary and status as a Fellow of a college, but even if I got it it would not solve my problems now. Since I have been forced to set up an independent academic institution, a salary of £20,000 a year, say, would only go a small part of the way towards supporting it on a really functional basis. Of course I go on applying for such salaries because I have a right (in natural or realistic justice) to a social identity and the income that goes with it, but if I got it it would only be a partial solution to the problem of establishing my independent organisation on an adequate footing.