Letters & Essays
Founders of the IPR
‘State education should be abolished.
My associates and I have been for many years prevented from doing academic research for the advancement of science, or from contributing to the culture of our time by writing books, by lack of funding.
The decline in academic standards has been paralleled by a corresponding increase in the worship of socially conferred academic status. The belief that state funded universities are a suitable environment for intellectual activity and scientific research, has carried the implicit corollary that no funding should be supplied to make it possible for any individual to do anything that is to be considered seriously outside of a state supported university. Historically, there is little evidence for a belief that work done outside the auspices of a university is certain to be valueless. One might mention Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which he developed by work done without an official supervisor while working in the Patent Office.
There is even less support for the idea that work done within the confines, and with the approval, of a socially recognised university is, ipso facto, of unquestionable value. It has been pointed out that only a minute proportion of DPhil theses are referenced in the work of others who are working within an academic environment, even if that be considered a criterion of meaningfulness. Few DPhil theses are read by anyone outside the candidate's supervisor, close relatives and girl or boyfriend.
Occasionally, in the Victorian era, people provided other people with money so that they might have the opportunity to use their abilities. The motivation of members of the Wedgwood family, who provided Coleridge with a private income on account of his remarkable ability, and because something might come of it that would be of benefit to mankind, is not impossible today, but is clearly counter-indicated by the prevailing ideology.
It takes quite a lot of money to establish an independent university with even one really functional research department and residential college. I am confident that I can make significant progress faster than anyone else is likely to in any field of scientific research in which I am given the opportunity to work, provided it has a genuine basis in reality, independently of whether I have any previous knowledge of it.
So far as writing and publishing books are concerned, I have stacks of material already which needs to be edited and published, and I could be keeping at least two full-time secretaries occupied with processing the ideas that cross my mind every day as needing to be expressed, but which remain stored in my mind as a large and frustrating backlog because I have no one available whose time is free to take dictation.
I am sure that my productivity, both in research and in the writing of books, is limited only by the scale of the resources made available to me.
I know that my position as a ruined child prodigy and outcast academic arouses hostility rather than sympathy, so if anyone can see any point in supporting me and my associates, they should do so on the most generous scale possible, since there is virtually no hope of my receiving support from more than one person.
Until I receive support I shall continue to try to become rich enough to support myself. It is not really a very good use of the abilities of my associates and myself to devote them to understanding the current financial markets. Even if we can become good enough at it to set up an independent university, it is not advancing scientific understanding, only demonstrating ability remarkable enough to do so if it were set free to do so.