“For that group, the book of books was Davidson’s History of Education. William James called its author a ‘knight-errant of the intellectual life,’ an ‘exuberant polymath.’ . . . Its purpose was to dignify a newly self-conscious profession called Education. Its argument, a heady distillation of conclusions from Social Darwinism, claimed that modern education was a cosmic force leading mankind to full realization of itself.”
— John Taylor Gatto, Underground History of American Education
Not knowing is the hardest part. There is something in the human brain—mine at any rate—that can’t let go of an unsolved mystery, especially when it pertains directly to the organism’s survival. Of course, it’s not (as far as I know) a matter of survival for me to solve this mystery now; but it may have once been exactly that, or perhaps the reverse. It may have been a question of personal survival not to see, identify, or talk about this mystery. Even this of course is speculative. All I know for sure is that I am driven to sift through all this information (to the point that the muscles in my shoulders are becoming painfully tight), arrange it into some sort of coherent order, and present it to others, to the world, in the hope that it will make a case for something. The trouble is, I am not sure for what.
In The Evening Standard report from 27th May, 1994, regarding the Islington care home child abuse, Stewart Payne and Eileen Fairweather wrote that, “For years a group of gay social work academics were able to abuse young boys with terrifying ease shielded—unwittingly—by colleagues who didn’t dare challenge their views on child-sexuality for fear of appearing anti-liberal.” They described Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad as “investigating a network of gay intellectuals who are believed to have run child sex rings for decades through schools and children’s homes.”
When I was growing up, I was not exactly surrounded by gay intellectuals, but they were certainly around, and I was suffused in the sort of liberalism that would have been afraid to challenge pro-pedophilia views—at least if they were coming from respected peers within the cultural community. Maybe this would have even extended to the point of shielding abuse. Certainly, it is not at all hard for me to believe; but again, it does not prove that any abuse happened, much less that members of my family were involved.
One of the things I concluded about my brother Sebastian Horsley’s carefully crafted public persona as a dandy, drug user, and sexual libertine, was that it was an elaborately disguised cry for help—that he had been engineered through trauma to become the clothes-Horsley that he was, and that his every insistence on being his own man was an unconscious cry from the soul of the very opposite truth, that he had been colonized internally by a malign force. This piece is neither disguised nor unconscious as a cry for help; and yet it’s perhaps equally irrational, since I neither expect help to come nor believe that I need it from anywhere or anyone outside of me. That time has long passed. Even so, some of the individuals who could have intervened on my behalf as a child are still alive, and they are implicated, some directly, in this investigation. But the main participants—those who were either most responsible or who could most effectively have intervened, or both—my grandfather, my father, my brother, are all dead. They are, or were, also the principal carriers of the Fabian legacy which I have inherited, being the firstborns of the firstborn; and since they are gone, I am now the only surviving son of the firstborn son of Alec Horsley. The buck stops here.
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