Offside broadside

July 7, 2000

Gary Day's review of my book Dumbing Down (Books, THES, June 30) is so full of misinformation and misrepresentation that it could well merit a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

First, my book had nothing to do with LM, or any conference it has promoted, beyond the fact that two of the 29 contributors once wrote for LM.

Second, neither I nor my father is a British fascist, as Day obliquely implies. Nothing could be further from the truth. My father fought fascism during and after the war. I regard fascism and communism as equally responsible for the horrors of the last century. We are both, if anything, mainstream liberals.

Dumbing Down is a defence of traditional liberal democracy against inroads of old and new kinds of totalitarianism. Can anyone think that Tam Dalyell, Adam Boulton and Ravi Shankar - to mention only three of the most well-known contributors - would be part of a "hysterical rightwing manifesto"? On the contrary, the book addresses widespread modern anxieties that citizens are becoming helpless in a world made ever more frightening by the link-up between governments and corporations.

Day deeply misrepresents Red Mullin's essay, which is a defence of the right to dissent, and indeed the whole book, which contains a great deal of profound thinking on the nature of today's so-called "free markets" - and whether that term is in fact a euphemism for governments and corporations stitching us all up.

Perhaps most disappointingly of all, Day makes no mention of the numerous thoughtful defences of higher education the book contains.

By giving space to obscure and crackpot Marxist partisan warfare, you have allowed a conscientious project to be traduced and have missed an opportunity to seriously consider some vital issues.

Ivo Mosley

Editor, Dumbing Down

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