Letters & Essays
Founders of the IPR
‘State education should be abolished.
If it could ruin my education and my life, it could ruin anybody’s.’
There is a need for an independent publishing house that permits the publication of points of view that would otherwise be suppressed.
In this country, and probably others as well, there are very effective social and academic mechanisms which allow only the most fashionable points of view to be expressed, and research to be carried out only in a few selected areas. This state of affairs can easily pass unrecognised. People who are exposed to constant expositions of certain aspects of things may easily come to assume that no other ways of looking at them are possible.
The first book that was published under the OXFORD FORUM imprint, The Power of Life or Death by Fabian Tassano, provides a good example of this. Serious criticism of the medical profession is, by now, almost unheard of in this country. Such debate as there is takes it for granted that by passing a medical exam people are transformed into paragons of benevolence and altruism, not to mention infallibility of judgement, high IQ, efficiency, forethought and responsibility. So no one seriously objects to the idea that these paragons should make decisions about all sorts of things on behalf of other people. The debate is only about the fine tuning of the guidelines to which they should be expected nominally to adhere.
There are many other topics which demonstrate a similar state of affairs, in that the conventional debate concerns itself with detail. Meanwhile the basic assumptions – which can seem unobjectionable, merely through habit – remain unchallenged. The debate about the fundamental principles involved in (for example) whether taxation to finance a welfare state is morally justified, receives no hearing, neither in academic nor in popular publications.
There is a need for a forum which permits genuine analysis of the underlying issues, not merely variations on existing themes. OXFORD FORUM was set up to meet these needs, as well as to provide an institutional environment for academics unable to get ahead in the current university system because of ideological bias.
OXFORD FORUM needs funding. Publishing books which express unfashionable views is unlikely to be profitable, especially in the current publishing climate which is increasingly geared to the mass market. Freedom of speech, in reality, needs financial support and not just lip service. (In modern society it doesn’t even get much of the latter.)