Wednesday, November 15, 2006

From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station

My correspondent Anonymous has commented about Frank Ellis, following my recent post about the Maxim Institute. I was about to publish something on Ellis but I was distracted by talk of That Stadium. Now I must write, so there goes my evening.

For those who do not take quite as keen an interest in the work of the Maxim Institute as do Anonymous and I, here is an explanation. Frank Ellis was a lecturer in Russian and Slavonic Studies at Leeds University who was invited by Maxim to speak at its 2004 conference, "Political Correctness: End of an Error?" Maxim also published Ellis' book on the subject, with the snappy title Political Correctness and the Theoretical Struggle from Lenin and Mao to Marcuse and Foucault. This book was "a pioneering study" and you can see why. Some may think that the problem with Political Correctness is that it has gone mad; for Ellis, the trouble with PC is that it was always red. It was a "Russian Communist invention, going back to the times and plans of Lenin, and an intrinsic part of the unprecedented system of total censorship introduced by the Bolshevik leadership in the late autumn of 1917." Think of that the next time you refrain from sitting on a table.

Unfortunately for Dr Ellis, Political Correctness and the Theoretical Struggle from Bob and Carol to Ted and Alice has not brought him the accolades that Maxim undoubtedly thinks he deserves. More unfortunately still for Dr Ellis, some of his other opinions have brought him more spare time than he would have desired. Theoretical struggle or none, his employers at Leeds University decided that his views were a little too politically incorrect, particularly those on matters of race, gender and sexuality. He was sent into early retirement, after complaints by other staff .

As I mentioned in a previous incarnation of the Fundy Post, Dr Ellis has been associated with American Renaissance, which keeps company with the Ku Klux Klan and the British National Party. He is also on the advisory board of the Occidental Quarterly, which formerly called itself a "Journal of Nationalist Thought and Opinion" but has subsequently replaced the adjective 'Nationalist' (a shibboleth commonly used by fascist groups) with 'Western.' Dr Ellis has also contributed to the work of the Canadian Heritage Alliance, a murky and unpleasant group, with an essay on multiculturalism and, you guessed it, Marxism.

Dr Ellis was invited to speak at an American Renaissance conference about another of his books, The Macpherson Report: 'Anti-racist' Hysteria and the Sovietisation of the United Kingdom (as his titles show, Dr Ellis sees reds under the bed everywhere). The book is a criticism of the report by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie into the Stephen Lawrence case. Lawrence was a black teenager who was murdered by racists in 1993; despite a great deal of evidence, his murderers escaped conviction and Sir William blamed some of the Police's failings on institutional racism. I have not read Dr Ellis' work but by all accounts he seems to be arguing that political correctness is so endemic that even the 27th hereditary chief of the Clan MacPherson of Cluny has been infected.

The gruesome Australian League of Rights (an organisation of which our own dear Barbara Faithfull, guardian of morality and Secretary of the Credo Organisation, is a supporter) wrote approvingly of Dr Ellis in an article, snappily entitled Control and Nature of the Coming World Order, Part 2. The ALOR writer is appalled that Sir William, a former Scots Guards officer and CO of the Artists' Rifles (and thus "a man of impeccable background") should hold such views. Dr Ellis, himself formerly of 22 SAS, concludes that "the forces of Law and Order are a major focus of the Ideological Struggle of the Revolution."

Dr Ellis maybe a prof without honour in his own land but he still has a friend in Maxim; at least they will sell you his book. Regrettably, all other references to his work went down the memory hole before the new Maxim site was launched.

If you managed to work your way through the dense wordscape of the ALOR article, you may have noticed that the preface to Dr Ellis's work was written by Professor Antony Flew. This is the same Professor Flew who was formerly the World's Leading Atheist Philosopher until he decided that Aristotle was right and accepted the Prime Mover into his heart. Despite this lapse of faithlessness, Professor Flew remains an Honorary Associate of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (Inc).

Although he is not known to hang out with the men in the pointy hoods, Professor Flew has conservative views; I once read one of his philosophical works which lurched mid-book from a discussion of the is/ought question to an attack on the concept of anti-racism. Professor Flew is also a contributor to Right Now magazine and a former Vice-President of the former Western Goals Institute, a now defunct organisation which which is worth reading about, if only to see a photograph of its Directorate.

Professor Flew also accepted the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University, a "A Global Center for Christian Thought and Spiritual Renewal". Philip E Johnson is the Berkeley law professor whose own contribution to Liberty and Truth was to invent the concept of Intelligent Design, thus "advancing our understanding of design in the universe by opening up informed dissent to Darwinian and materialistic theories of evolution."

Makes you think, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

I wish my parents had given me a less common name: I feel I’ve been cloned...

Reading about Frank Ellis reminded me of another hero of failed Act MPs (and failed wannabe Act MPs) and their friends in the NZ Business Roundtable and the Maxim Institute: Theodore Dalrymple (Tony Daniels to his mum). He may be a bit cleverer with words than our Frank, but is his equal in terms of bigotry. His target is the poor. I can’t think of a word equivalent to “racist” to describe his misanthropic views of poor people. Elitist sounds too nice. Any ideas, Paul?

Anon X

Paul said...

He is on my list, mostly for stealing the Dalrymple name for his own purposes, but also because his evidence is almost entirely anecdotal and because he uses the very people he is supposed to be helping in his work as examples to support his prejudices.

Anonymous said...

Other stunning publications from Maxim include this one.

"The Parent Factor - Freedom for schools finds that parents would like to select the school their children go to, that parents want schools to teach their individual communities’ positive values .... The report, based on representative survey data gathered by Colmar Brunton, examines the situation with respect to school freedom, and brings the neglected voice of parents into the education debate."

Like most extreme right wing people, they look for a strong PARENT focus in education.

I look for a strong CHILD focus personally - no way do I want my school's values pushed around by noisy Maxim followers - amateurs in the field of education!

Paul said...

Yes, forgetting the interests of children is part of the strategy. Privatising education would serve both the religious and political aims of Maxim. They would like to see schools run by church groups. They would also like to see a privatised economy, as would their business supporters.

And let us not forget that Maxim is an educational charity. We are subsidising them.

Anonymous said...

I can't see what qualifies Maxim as a charity. Whom do they educate?

Political advocacy/lobbying is their game - something I believe the Govt is looking to clamp down on this.

What they appear to do is accept funding from wealthy people with greedy and selfish agendas, and promote their wish list safely at arm's length.

In terms of research, they ask the public subversive and hypothetical questions like "do you want more choice of schools" for your children. My response would be "Yes Please", and while you are about it, can I have shorter working hours, free public transport to my front door, etc!
Oh and don't forget about the lower taxes!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote: "What [Maxim] appear to do is accept funding from wealthy people with greedy and selfish agendas, and promote their wish list safely at arm's length."

Family First, Sensible Sentencing and For the Sake of Our Children appear to have a similar function. I thought it was interesting that all three trusts sponsored the recent visit of "Theodore Dalrymple", under another new name: Cradle to Jail Coalition. Dalrymple has previously been invited to New Zealand by the Business Roundtable and they were also involved in promoting his views this time:

It appears that front organisations and single issue campaigns is the latest strategy of the tiny group of wealthy individuals dead set on making New Zealand the way they want it.

Anonymous said...

And of course, Bruce Logan was formerly curriculum director at Middleton Grange*, NZ's largest fundamentalist school, and wrote a booklet on 'school choice' for impoverished fundamentalist parents who couldn't afford the fees.

Craig Y.

*Yes, I was a former inmate of that same institution, a few years younger than Graham Capill. Gay sex, higher education and Foucault saved me from a life of stupidity and polyester wearing...

Anonymous said...

NB Biola University used to be the B ible Institute O f L os A ngeles, a fundamentalist theological college that diversified.

Craig Y.

Anonymous said...

Maxim have it about right I think.
More of mum and dad less of steve and helen.
as for intelligent design, you see what you want to see or don't is my observation.

Anonymous said...

I'm a parent, and although well-educated myself, only too aware of my own limitations. What would give me the right to push a state school around - schools have upwards of 500 kids at them - with staff more like 100!

References to "Steve and Helen" are of course silly. Steve is a newcomer to the ministerial role. The National Curriculum today is the result of years and years of evolution, driven by research and consultations that the average NZer could not begin to understand.

The new Values curriculum has received no serious criticism from any quarter that I am aware of. They obviously promote tolerance and diversity - qualities we need to promote in a peaceful democracy.

Prediction: Under a National-led government the Values Curriculum will remain. Maybe added to, but the existing items remaining.

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling said...

So that would make Barabara Faithful a Scoial Crediter as well, if she supports the ALOR.

That's quite remarkable, as it would mean that none of her beliefs have any grounding in reality.

If you want a real journalistic challenge, Paul, try to find any members of the Credo society that do not have either the first name of "Barbara" or the surname of "Faithfull"

Paul said...

It's funny you should mention that, Eric, because I have just done some research. The Credo Society was struck off the Companies Office Register in 2004. I wonder what happened.

I wasn't able to find any other members, though.

Anonymous said...

I gather the Credo Society is now defunct, and Babs hangs around the male backlash lobby like a fly around rotting meat.


...and you'll see what I mean. Incidentally, isn't it odd that Chuck Bird seems to be a male Canadian version of Our Babs?

Craig Y.