431. A. D. Lindsay to Harrod , 14 February 1935 [a]

[Follows on from 430 , continues at 432 ]

From the Master, Balliol College, Oxford #

14 February 1935

My dear Harrod

I fear that on your <+> you are not in a state of Grace. I do my best--it may be a poor best--to understand your concern and you seem to me to make no effort whatever to understand mine, but only to dismiss all I care for as "quack". Are Theology, Law, Literature, Languages, History and Philosophy, being all non quantitative disciplines, to be dismissed from the University as quack. [1]

If we recognise as we do that the Economists must make out their own salvation, if that is their mind, you must allow the "politisti" to do the same and you show no signs whatever of doing that. It clearly is of no use my trying to explain why I can't accept your form of words about research and your high line about "the standing of the University in the learned world", since so long as you won't consider the standpoint of the student of politics, that means for you quality or quack. We may perhaps both be allowed to look after our own standing in the learned world!

Now, having purged my heart of some of the bitterness, let me say

(1) that I unreservedly agree "that it should be made abundantly clear <re.> that unpaid persons holding college or university positions should have full rights to take part in all discussions relating to the <re.>"

I take for granted that on the Board which determines allocation of grants, unpaid persons should be in a majority.

(2) Since the approaches to research of the Economists and the politicians are clearly so different, room will have to be found in any scheme for both. [2]

If we can manage it, it is obviously better that we should make it clear to the Rockefeller people that the University recognises and accepts the distribution of their funding in research than scrap in front of them. I recognise that you have a right to wash your linen in public if we insist on it being washed in our way or not at all, but I don't recognise your right to wash our linen in public because we object to your washing it in your way.

Yours.

A.D.L.

  1. 1. Lindsay's complaint may have been stimulated by Harrod's remark on the different "levels of maturity" of the analytical techniques of social sciences, "especially on the quantitative side": "Memo. On Economic Studies in Oxford" (essay 15 , [jump to page] ).

    2. The Board of Social Studies eventually suggested as a criterion "that in assigning preferences to one claim over another regard should be paid to the balanced development of the various branches of social studies carried on in the University, including those subjects which are common ground between more than one department" (cited by the Committee on the Scheme for the Development of Social Studies in a Report to the Hebdomadal Council, 15 March 1935, in Hebdomadal Council Papers, vol. 160, 17 January-30 March 1935, p. 205, OUA HC1/1/160).

    1. a. ALI, three pages on two leaves, in HPBL Add. 71185/144-145.


Welcome page

top of page

Return to index of this section

Go to previous page

Go to next page