ALIENATION – or ‘the ‘Rat-Race’ speech — Jimmy Reid, Glasgow, 1972 (9 July 1932 – 10 August 2010) PDF

JIMMY REID, the Glaswegian socialist and union activist who died on 10 August, was a truly inspiring orator. ‘Alienation’ or the so-called  ‘rat-race speech’  he delivered on the occasion of his inauguration as rector of Glasgow University in 1972 was compared at the time to the Gettysburg Address. It has lost little of its relevance today

“Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”

Inauguration Speech (PDF)