We venture to say that self-reinforcing sorting mechanisms now make the discipline unapproachable by anyone who is unabashedly classically liberal.
— full article.
This was all true (and patently obviously so) even thirty years ago. I, however, got very lucky — I had the amazing Paul Hirst as a tutor. Almost ten years ago I wrote: “Paul was the only member in the School of Politics and Sociology that “got it”. He never allowed his own ideological predelictions to colour his approach to students’ work – he relished giving a fair and insightful account of positions he didn’t hold to, which I noticed confused students who were there precisely because of Paul’s viewpoint. Indeed, he once told me that he thought it tiresome that the departmental profile was so ideologically homogenous.” Where are the Pauls of today?
Though he began as a Marxist, his ideas helped to provide the intellectual scaffolding for New Labour. His irreverent approach to conventional political ideas gained him many admirers who, fired by his spirit, went on to break new ground of their own. Above all, he was a fierce egalitarian, an evangelist of honesty and the enemy of can’t.