A Double Agent in the Dream of Michael Oakeshott

This still rates as one of my favorite pieces of secondary literature on Oakeshott using it to critical effect in the essay “Constructivism and Relativism in Oakeshott“. Robert Orr, by the way, also wrote a memorable article on Machiavelli. When I asked him why the only books he had in his LSE office (pretty much the complete set of Biggles), he in his wry way said something along the lines that most academic books have the shelf-life of a loaf of bread. By then he had given up the ghost and was thoroughly disillusioned with academia — and perhaps given the non-entities that had come to populate the Government department, his outlook was understandable. His inscribed first edition of A New Guide to the Derby: How to Pick the Winner was the first time I’d seen a copy in person. I enjoyed several chats with him, especially the ones over a cheap and bland curry at the YMCA. It was good to see the sparkle return to his eyes if only for the few days that the Oakeshott conference was on.    

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The incumbent of the revived post of Dean of the Graduate School is a New Zealander, Robert Orr. He took his BA (1951) and MA (1953) in New Zealand, Victoria University, and his PhD (1958) at LSE. He was an assistant lecturerin Political Science, Queen’s University of Belfast, 1957-59, a Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Western Australia, 1959-62; and a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Monash University, 1963-1965. He joined the staff of LSE in 1965 and is presently Senior Lecturer in Government. He has held Visiting Professorships at the Charles University of Prague, the University of Bratislava, and the University of Western Australia…’ Extract from ‘The Graduate School,’ LSE Magazine, June 1978, No. 55 p.6