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From the obituary of a true liberal

  • September 4th, 2015

In a wonderful New Criterion obituary of Robert Conquest, John O’Sullivan reminds us of the courage it took to be among the few in the intelligentsia willing to expose the tyranny of Stalinism and to support freedom’s champions like Margaret Thatcher, despite a previous lifetime of voting Labour.

But on a day when that bouyant spirit Maurice Williamson is forced to pretend regret for upsetting some lemonsuckers, it was comforting to read of Conquest’s joy in offending the clerisy.

The obituary offers this memorable verse aimed at the education elite.

“Those teach who can’t do” runs the dictum,

But for some even that’s out of reach:

They can’t even teach—so they’ve picked ’em

To teach other people to teach.

Then alas for the next generation,

For the pots fairly crackle with thorn.

Where psychology meets education

A terrible bullshit is born.”

But Maurice might like this comfort for this dark day:

My demands upon life are quite modest,

They’re just to be decently goddessed.

Astarte or Isis

Would do in a crisis,

But the best’s Aphrodite, unbodiced.

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