We have to recapture every institution by hand

It is a spiritual war and flags matter — indicating who controls the cultural terrain

Progress Pride flag at Pembroke College Oxford
The Progress Pride Flag flying on Pembroke College, Oxford

I had an energising and exhausting day out in Oxford yesterday attending the protest against “fifteen minute cities” (i.e. digitally enforced ghettoes) and in favour of constitutional freedoms. These “endless climate lockdowns” are being pioneered in Oxford because the local populace is more amenable to “neat” systematised ideas, and deeply indoctrinated by radical leftism. More on this another time, including a small selection from the 1,700 photos I took!

No 15 minute cities protest march

A theme I keep seeing — including from speakers before the march — is that we have to state that we do not consent when dark forces tell us what wrong they intend to do next. In pursuit of that objective, I am sharing below the open letter that I just sent to the Master of my own college. I have low expectations of any change, given how the academy is now a captured operation of the Woke Brigade, but at least they cannot claim to be unopposed.

Dear Sir Ernest,

Following an alumnus fundraising campaign a few years ago, I have maintained a small monthly donation to Pembroke, in line with my limited means as an anti-corruption campaigner. I cancelled my direct debit yesterday, and I am writing to let you know why.

I happened to be in Oxford for a protest march yesterday both as a participant and photojournalist. (Indeed, I will be back on Tuesday for Pembroke’s mathematics alumni dinner, in a hopefully calmer modality.) As I passed through the city, I observed that many colleges are flying the “Progress Pride Flag”. On the trek back from Cowley Road to the train station I saw that Pembroke was among them.

I have exclusively had same-sex partners for the last 15 years; whether wise or not, it is a fact. I have had long-term relationships with people born abroad, of a different skin colour, and even with a significant (upwards) age gap. I have met and known many transgender people. I recently spent 7 long months looking after one friend “detransitioning”, and suffering from consequent mental health issues. Thus, I am not easily convicted of being a bigot or a homophobe.

Confucius supposedly stated that “signs and symbols rule the world, not rules and law”, and this is no exception. This particular flag is highly political in nature, and represents an axis of power:

  • It treats people as group identity labels, not as dignified individuals, appropriating the sovereign name of others (like myself) for political goals which may be morally abhorrent to those so tarnished.
  • It posits that certain groups are marginalised and oppressed and deserving special treatment, which is a subjective matter open to legitimate debate and considerable nuance.
  • It is associated with a wider movement with Marxist goals of the demolition of the nuclear family as the foundation of our society, and its replacement with veneration for secular institutions previously reserved for higher powers.

Would Pembroke consider it appropriate to fly an abortion rights flag? That would be knowingly offensive to Catholic members of college, as well as others who might be aware of the darker side of the abortion industry (e.g. for illegal organ harvesting). I would argue that such a move is not inclusive, nor would it be respectful of diversity of belief. This is no different.

There are deeper levels on which I object to being associated with this movement.

It lumps together lesbian, bisexual, and gay people (arguably an affirmation of what nature has made us, although Christian friends demur) with transgenderism (which cannot be so, given the number of people who regret a choice that goes against immutable genetic biology and commit suicide as a result). This elision is a knowing falsehood when offered to the impressionable.

This extremist movement promotes the premature sexualisation of children, effectively grooming them. I have observed that play out in my family, with one niece (in California) shocking me by announcing she was pansexual on her twelfth birthday. It teaches the young that sex is a matter of mind and body only, and neglects the role of spirit. It rejects the role of self-control and healthy limits on our own carnal desires; anything goes, in the style of Weimar Germany.

This flag represents a credo that encourages children to engage in irreversible hormonal and surgical changes that will bring lifelong problems, and prevent them having a natural family. This is often done at a profit for pharmaceutical companies and doctors, who carry none of the long-term societal consequences. Parents treat their children’s gender like clothing that can be changed to suit whatever makes them feel included in their social group.

Most worryingly, it is associated with Satanism, which is a fast-growing movement, with many visible tentacles in society, most visibly in entertainment, music, and fashion. The evidence of open Satanic advocacy is not hard to locate. Tolerance of such wickedness is not an ideal of open-minded classical liberalism which university is meant to represent.

Are you really sure that Pembroke wants to fly a symbol that can easily (whether valid or not) be tied to Baphomet worship, paedophilia, and gross violation of medical informed consent for children? As well as being repugnant to the moral values of many of the members of the College, both past and present? Plus opens the door to every political movement, however fringe, insisting on its turn on the flagpole?

The twin pillars of progress are truth and righteousness, and the Progress Pride Flag represents neither. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn warned us to live not by lies, since they lead to tyranny and death. This movement is founded on misrepresentation and deceit, morphing an emancipation movement into a subjugation one. It involves the corruption of the young and their sexual and moral growth under a false pretext of acceptance and inclusion.

Silence is taken as consent, and I cannot be silent on this matter. Just as one cannot fund terrorism, I cannot help to fund deceit that facilitates what is credibly seen as a sex and death cult. These may be strong words, but they are intended to jar you into searching your conscience. Your expertise is in law, mine is in the semiotics of such movements, so I speak with some authority.

I am in contact with other Pembroke alumni who share my concerns — being sat on the sofa this very moment of my former tutorial partner, him being one of them.

Some symbols may be common, lauded, and accepted — but they are not harmless, in the same way many took to the Nazi swastika before seeing the awful fallout. I look forward to a day when this one is removed, its unholy values rejected, and the wrong is repented. Only then can I resume my financial support for the College.

I would prefer my donation was not a symbolic amount, but sadly my capacity for financial generosity lags! In lieu of hard cash, I can only offer my soft heart.

Yours concernedly and faithfully,
Martin Geddes
Mathematics and Computation (1989-1992)

Copied to my blog as an open letter since this represents a matter of general public interest

I worked extremely hard to pass the exams for Oxford as a teenager, even if the hard work immediately ceased on arrival. It is an important part of what makes me who I am, and I cannot change it now. We each have a different institutional past, resulting social connections, and ability to influence the future. There is a value to the academy, even if it is very lost in terms of its values. We need a renewed spiritual outlook for academia, and it seems that pushing for reform of the “intellectual elite” is my calling.

What remains of Goodness in the world depends on us all saying NO

Now, from the Department of You Can’t Make This Up, what is right over the road from my room on staircase 13 where I spent my first year, listening to the delivery trucks to the back of Marks and Spencer early each morning? Well… the Satanists are right at the gates with their portals!

Marina Abramovic Gates and Portals poster

My fight is to help reclaim my Oxford college for righteousness, because that is my terrain, yet “gown” and “town” are equally important. There is nothing better or worse about my terrain than your terrain, or my fight than your fight — for your church, workplace, military unit, school, university, or sports club. Each of us is called to perform a small piece of the overall reversal of Cultural Marxism, which can only be done “by hand”, one relationship and person at a time.

Look Mum Virtue Signal

That this particular Progress Pride Flag celebrates “pride”, the root of all the the sins, is not accidental. I carry no pride nor shame for my academic achievements long passed by; only a hope for a better future without the deadly woke ideology. That my personal waywardness qualifies me to comment in an unusually potent way is just an accident of history that I will take full advantage of!

Read 1984 Don't Live It

There are some benefits of being an Oxford graduate (like nice dinners) than I plan to keep enjoying — if only as an opportunity to engage with my peers and push back against self-righteous Progressivism. Let’s see what happens in terms of a response. I have hinted that I am free to meet up in person on Tuesday… maybe the Master of the College has a space in his diary? I do have my posh “lounge suit” with me… and a £10 shirt from Tesco because I have outgrown all my old ones due to encroaching middle age. The privilege only stretches so far!