(As tomorrow is Memorial Day in the USSA, I'm posting this blog early).
It's been a long time since I had one of my occasional rants about the declining state of edgykayshun in the Amairikuhn quackademy. But this time my rant concerns no quackademy in the USSA, but rather, my alma mater, the Old Fiend, which, if the following article is to be believed (and I do), then the Diversity Mongers have successfully targeted Oxford (this article thanks to many people who saw it and passed it along):
It's difficult for me to express what I am feeling and thinking about all of this. At one level, it makes me think that the nickname for Oxford - The Old Fiend - that I and my friend Dr. Scott De Hart have for the place should now be changed to The Simpering Spinster, or perhaps The Mewing Maiden, because the inevitable result of this Amairikuhnization of The Old Fiend will be the impositions of collectivist conformity, an increasingly stupid student body, and the final end of those unwritten, unspoken, but nevertheless very real traditions that made the place what it was. It seems there is no cultural tradition or institution that the Nihilists of Progressivism will not attack and spray paint with the graffiti of the blithering nonsense of Edubabble and Psychoblither and "Diversity". Am I over-reacting? Perhaps. But I doubt it. Consider this from the article:
With the goal of increasing Oxford University's undergraduate students intake from disadvantaged backgrounds from 15% to 25% over the next four years, the prestigious British university has unveiled a "sea change" in its admissions process.
Echoing the new SAT 'Adversity Score' in the US, which attempts - through various socioeconomic factors - to adjust applicants' 'clean' merit score for their relative disadvantage in life, The Telegraph reports that Oxford will offer places with lower grades to students from disadvantaged backgrounds for the first time in its 900-year history.
50 students in the new intake - which will include refugees and young carers - will be eligible to receive offers “made on the basis of lower contextual A-level grades, rather than the university’s standard offers”. (Italicized emphasis added, boldface emphasis in the original).
"Carers"? What the heck are "carers"? Granted, typos occur all the time (my books are full of them). But there's the disconcerting possibility that this isn't a typo, but an actual spelling error, and that means "the rot has already set in". The spell checker is only as good as the programmer programming it, and in this case, the spell-checker was not, apparently, consulting the Oxford English Dictionary (which, let us hasten to add, must now be made to follow suit, to include the speech patterns and words of "disadvantaged backgrounds.")
More important, however, is the whole inherently patronizing and condescending attitude which is now to be made a matter of policy. One former student has already raised the issue, and good for her:
Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson, who read law at Oxford, writes that she was from a “disadvantaged background.” And she would not have wanted adversity points to help her get into Oxford:
If someone had told me that the college only admitted me because of “contextual data” – my family’s low income, the paucity of books in our house, the fact I was from a broken home, or because, in my touching ignorance, I thought a Reader’s Digest condensed version of Jonathan Livingston Seagull was a literary masterpiece (bless!), I would have been mortified.
I wouldn’t have wanted to be patronised in that way. If I wasn’t good enough to be admitted on my own merits to a university renowned for its excellence, then I’d rather not have gone to Oxbridge at all.
Pearson explains how the new policy came about:
The trouble starts when well-meaning, guilt-stricken liberals (that’s pretty much all university lecturers) start lowering the bar because too many comprehensives are bad at helping the brightest pupils to reach their full potential. (And too many teachers are Corbynists who detest Oxbridge anyway.)
Hear hear! The whole attraction of the Old Fiend for me was precisely the fact that it cared not a twopence about my "disadvantaged background" as a hack from South Dakota. Indeed, I turned down a full post-graduate ride at a major big name Amairkuhn quackademy when I learned that part of my required course work would have been to study "feminist theology" and "learn" to use "non-offensive gender inclusive language." Presumably, I was to keep all of my patriarchal prayer references to myself. Sorry, but "Our collective social God-concept that we attribute to hyper-numinal and perhaps multi-dimensional topologies" just didn't have the same "ring" as "Our Father, Who art in Heaven...". I told the dean of that particular quackademy to keep the scholarship, and to pound sand (I said it more politely, but that was the gist of it). It was, as far as I was concerned, a case of "Behold, I can give you all professorships if thou but bow down and embrace and worship The Agenda." The dean of that quackademy was perplexed and I suspect actually surprised. Apparently he'd never encountered a "not only no but hell no" response to the blandishments of scholarships-in-return-for-embracing-the-agenda before.
S0 I'm in exactly the same position, and have exactly the same reaction, as Ms. Pearson. And the predictable concerns have already surfaced:
Dr Anthony Wallersteiner, head of Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, said that the number of privately-educated children getting places at Oxbridge had been “driven down” as part of efforts to boost diversity.
He recently told The Times that private-school parents claimed that their children were being “edged out” by social engineering.
Sadly, I do not foresee any way of halting the process, not there, nor anywhere else. The nihilists will succeed in capturing this institution as well for the process was begun long ago. I saw it under way when I was there. You can now cross The Mewing Maiden off your list of places to send your kids to college.
See you on the flip side...
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