Professions To Become Less Elitist In England

More from our Equality series: Just a sketch today; a longer article on this topic is (I hope to God) forthcoming.

England is about to—it hurts to type this—Unleash Aspiration!

According to the Daily Mail:

Labour will declare war on the benefits of a middle class childhood today as Gordon Brown spells out the latest steps in the government’s equality crusade.

Top lawyers, accountants, bankers and doctors will be ordered to draw up plans to make sure that their professions become less elitist – so they employ fewer middle class children.

Professionals will be told that poor children must be helped into the top jobs, at the expense of those who have benefited from their personal connections or education.

Universities will also be told to give the benefit of the doubt to poorer pupils when they are offering places and gloss over poorer marks if the applicant attended less illustrious schools.

The official report shows that the overwhelming majority of senior judges, doctors, CEOs, and such forth folk have gone to good schools. But only about 1 in 15 of “ordinary” Englanders have.

This represents an intolerable inequality. A wrong which must be lefted!

Giving an edge to poor people, who suffer undeservedly says the Brit Prime Minister, will “unleash a wave of social mobility.” He didn’t say if this “mobility” was the lemmings over the cliff kind.

You will be an ass if you claim that I and other detractors of the “unleashing” plan desire that the poor remain poor or that membership in a lower class should bar entry into a higher class.

You will also err if you forget that causality is a double-headed arrow.

It is true—nobody disputes this—that some poor people if, given a (monetary) chance, will prosper and become non-poor. They too can join the guilty class who look upon the poor as if they needed benevolent guidance. It is not even close to being proven that more poor people will become non-poor because of government, and not personal, intervention.

It is also true that some people are poor because, for whatever reason, they are incapable. Further, this incapability is be a permanent feature of some humans. Not some class of humans: I mean individuals.

James Fitzjames Stephen:

To establish by law rights and duties which assume that people are equal when they are not is like trying to make clumsy feet look handsome by the help of tight boots.

A mistaken assumption in the “Unleasing” report is that membership in the lower or upper classes is permanent. To emphasize: this is false. Membership is generational to some extent, but it is anything but fixed. Your author started with the clothes on his back, an (earned) monthly paycheck in the mid three digits, a wife (who didn’t work or drive), a pair of tongs and a used iron (given as wedding gifts). He is now, via hard work and because he was lucky with his genes, able to drink the finest beers.

The Left Honourable Alan Milburn, MP, ex-owner of a “radical” bookstore, authored “Unleashing.” He wants to “ensure everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential”. But this is not a desirable goal, in general. The world would have been better off had Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc., had not fulfilled their potentials. Best would have been if they died poor, uneducated, miserable, and obscure and unheeded.

Milburn also wants everybody to have a job which “rewarding and fulfilling.” By which he means a “professional” job—the kind which are populated by those who are waited on, in the finest restaurants, by the “unprofessional.”

What always comes as a shock to Milburnites is that not everybody has the same idea of what a “rewarding and fulfilling” life is. Some people find bliss in hanging drywall, or in driving a truck, or being the assistant manager of a local grocery. Still more find happiness in their family.

And not every judge, CEO, doctor, and other “professional” is feeling fine. Many will die unfulfilled, unrewarded, and unloved.

It isn’t at all clear who is doing better off, especially in countries like England (and the USA) where being “poor” means having only two large screen TVs and eating too much (all obesity “education” programs I’ve seen are aimed at the poor and lower class; so are all the free food efforts).

Nobody is claiming money isn’t nice, but it sure as hell isn’t everything. The paradox is that the guilty rich are certain it is everything. They think everybody judges life by the same standards they do. The “availability bias”, I think it’s called.

What really knocks these characters is that many of us would be happiest if we were just left alone by every group that says it “cares” for us.

This wasn’t entirely coherent. Did I accidentally buy decaffeinated? So, more on this coming…


  1. 49erDweet

    We are speaking, after all, of the British. Even with exceptions like Joy, et al, their general rule is “We must come up with startling new ideas every year or our genes will mutate”. Brown’s problem here is he is preaching to a choir and the choir is off to Canterbury singing in a chorale, so will not hear. No harm, then. Brown has pontificated to the masses and the same masses ignore him. So no foul, either. All is left with Brown’s world and he feels much better about himself, now.

  2. Ray

    Nothing new here. The feminists claim the reason they don’t have half of the top jobs is because of discrimination, so they demand quotas. This is simply an example of that type of thinking. What is funny is that the feminists want half the good jobs like professor or bank president, but don’t want half the dirty or dangerous jobs like garbageman (person?) or miner.

  3. Morgan

    Why not a “Panel on Fair Access to Panels”? Or do we already have one of those?

  4. They just don’t get it, do they? Pity you can’t see the steam coming out of my ears.
    As a child, my father who left school in his ‘teens for an apprenticeship (so not middle class then), told me I could be anything I wanted to be. All I had to do was work hard, and make the best of what talents I had been given. Being female didn’t matter either.

    So having become a ‘professional’ my children are encouraged to ‘work hard to be what they want to be’, but now they will have to fight the perception of priviledge.

    Not content with tell us what to eat and how to live, the government now wants to tell people what to aspire to as well.

  5. “A mistaken assumption in the “Unleasing” report is that membership in the lower or upper classes is permanent.”

    Indeed. Another mistaken assumption — one that is so imbedded in the mainstream of intellectual culture that to argue it is an invitation to be pilloried — is that the statistical attributes of any two largish groups of individuals are equal in all ways. That fewer poor people become professionals than middle class people must, on that assumption, be prima facie evidence that unfair discrimination is operating at some level.

  6. Briggs


    You have nailed it. That is the essence of commu/social-ism of every stripe. “Do what we say because we know best.”

  7. Yooper Paul

    I was naive enough to think the West had won the ideological battle of the Cold War.

  8. Rich

    Just so I know, how is this “potential”, which is to be realized, measured? Or, failing that, how do we know when it has been reached?

    We brought our children up to be philosophers, that is, to think for themselves. They’re very good at it. Beginning with “teachers are not interested in me personally, no matter what they say, only in exam results so I don’t have to do my homework” they have progressed to “I’m happy what I’m doing, I have enough. Why should I work any harder?” They are principled under-achievers. I’m very proud of them.

  9. Briggs

    Yooper Paul,

    A real “yooper”? (And did I already ask that before? And did I already say that I was in the Soo?)

  10. Mike B

    Enter America’s Secret Weapon: the Law Degree. Only in the good old US of A can any enterprising lawyer hire a few clerks and make $200-$300K a year negotiating speeding tickets down to non-moving violations.

    And picking up on part of Rich’s point, all children are natural born lawyers anyway. I used to think it was my job to beat it out of them (metaphorically, of course). But now I’m not so sure. Having seen my oldest at the age of 3 argue that touching the paper label of the ketchup bottle did not constitute “fiddling with the ketchup”, I figure he’ll be more than capable of doing the speeding ticket thingee someday.

    But he’s also really good at Math, and likes it. So he may have to settle for drinking fine beers.

  11. “This wasn’t entirely coherent.” A little first draftish maybe, yet “a wrong…unlefted” is good, not “mobléd Queen” good maybe, but appreciated nonetheless.

  12. Briggs


    You’re really a sweet talker, aren’t you. That was my favorite line, too.

  13. Yooper Paul

    Yes Briggs, I’m from Marquette. My family has been there since the late 1860’s (Lumberjacks and such). Say Ya’ to da UP eh!!

  14. TomVonk

    Interesting thing causality …
    My 4 grandparents were Doctors (1x law , 2 x medicine , 1 x mathematics) .
    My 2 parents were Doctors (1x medicine , 1x philosophy) .
    What chance that I make advanced studies ?
    Let’s remark that it doesn’t stop there , my 2 children extend the series (1x linguistic and 1x information science) .

    So what appears through almost all similar examples is that the intellectual environment has certainly a strong causal link to the kind of studies/profession that the children will later do .
    Did I mention something about monetary attributes ?
    Not really because it is strongly correlated to the profession but besides that it is irrelevant in itself .
    Thinking that money of the parents has something to do with the future profession of the children is like thinking that fishes can breath in water because of the fins .
    Of course most fishes have fins but only because it comes automatically along when you are a fish .
    Yes it is very unjust and unequal for your average human who cannot breathe in water .
    But it is not by demanding that everybody should have the right to get fins grafted that they would be able to breathe in water .
    On the other hand the brightest uns will learn that despite their finless condition they can learn to hold their breath underwater for a really long time , thank you very much 🙂

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