Education, recent, Recommended, Top Stories
comments 143

After Academia

I keep being invited to talk about free speech on college campuses and every time I’m invited I make the same point: that this isn’t about free speech and this is only tangentially about college campuses. This is about a breakdown in the basic logic of civilisation, and it’s spreading. College campuses may be the first dramatic battle but of course this is going to find its way into the courts; it’s already found its way into the tech sector. It’s going to find its way to the highest level of governance if we aren’t careful, and it actually does jeopardise the ability of civilisation to continue to function.
~
Bret Weinstein

Mike Nayna’s documentary on the Evergreen State College Affair, from which I transcribed the above quote from Bret Weinstein, is a riveting watch. No matter how closely you followed the debacle at the time, there is really no substitute for this fascinating glimpse behind the scenes. Evergreen academics can be seen meekly and repeatedly submitting to ideological manipulation, and on a number of occasions terrified senior faculty offer transparently insincere professions of faith in the hope of evading the vengeful fury of their mindlessly sloganeering student tormentors. The barely contained thirst for violence as the means to an end is palpable. It is sobering to imagine oneself confronted with such an uprising, and if Weinstein is right, then this alarming phenomenon may be about to spill out of the university campuses to which it has hitherto been largely confined.

This problem has already taken root within academia in the UK. Quillette editor-in-chief Claire Lehmann recently wrote about the un-personing of Noah Carl, whose crime was proposing that controversial research should not be suppressed, even though he had not engaged in any himself. “Imagine what would happen,” Lehmann invites us to wonder, “if the behaviour of St Edmund’s College become a new norm.” It is now creeping into corporate and government life too.

Premchand Brian, a friend of mine from Singapore, was until recently studying for a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. By his own account, he joined the UoE’s Black and Minority Ethnic Liberation Group but was ejected within a couple of months for wrongthink. “I said that ‘cultural appropriation’ is an invalid concept,” he told me, “because 1) nobody can own a culture, 2) even if ‘stolen’ the original owners still have it, and 3) cultural exchange was historically important in human progress and still helps combat bigotry. I was told my ideas were ‘triggering,’ ‘offensive,’ and ‘making people of colour feel ‘unsafe,’ so I was told to retract them. I refused and got kicked out.”

I asked him if there was a meaningful distinction to be made between the Students’ Union and the university’s academics. “No,” he replied. “Anyway, I’ve given up and returned to the East where at least politics mostly revolves around national identity rather than endless purity tests, progressive stacks, and false accusations from ‘marginalised’ people.” About the Students’ Union, he added, “for the sake of rational dialogue, you should investigate their claims too before making a judgment. But you can’t because they are racially segregated and do not allow white people to attend their meetings.” This appears to be illegal, but nobody seems to care.

My Bulgarian girlfriend passed behind me while I was watching the Evergreen documentary and glimpsed a representative scene featuring students being loud, obnoxious, and ignorant. “See?” she remarked sardonically. “This is what happens when Western parents don’t teach their kids to respect authority.” Bulgarians, and most Eastern Europeans for that matter, are good value on this sort of thing because they have a culturally ingrained hypersensitivity to anything that smells remotely like communism. Critics will object that modern social justice politics are not real communism—the doctrinal chain from Marxism-Leninism to today’s intersectional activists was corrupted by French postmodernists (who rejected the meta-narratives of Adorno and Marcuse), and subsequently infused with an American emphasis on race, sex, and sexual identity as determinants of marginalisation at the expense of class.

The beauty of my friend’s situation, and that of the unfortunate souls who appear in Nayna’s documentary, is that marginalised status doesn’t actually seem to matter at all; “marginalisation” tumbles out as part of a cacophony of jargon intended to intimidate, at first intellectually, and then, physically, if required. This is exactly the kind of ideological coercion for which Bulgarians have no tolerance: the chain of citations is immaterial if the behaviour is identical. Their society was destroyed by totalitarian tendencies, albeit dressed in different academese. And this isn’t an academic panel discussion; at Evergreen, gangs of thugs prowled the campus with baseball bats in search of thought criminals.

These radical ideologies are empowering, but not in the inspiring way that this term is usually used. This power corrupts and, more importantly, it attracts the easily corrupted. Concurrently, a similar corrupting process seems to have occurred in academia, which has ballooned into an administrative morass, the primary purpose of which is to accrue rent-seeking profit, as predicted by Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law holds that a task will take as long as the time allotted to complete it. It seems to be a kind of social equilibrium theorem applicable to any complex organisation. Normally such organisations would simply collapse under the weight of their own bureaucratic inefficiency, but academia is different. It will never be allowed to collapse because education is a right. And what kind of monster could possibly be against education? And so the administrative bloat continues, unabated. If we are to address this problem and rescue education, we first need to distinguish between what I will call the classical and modern variants. Classical education involves the acquisition of culturally and scientifically useful knowledge, and fostering an ability to think critically to further understanding. Modern education, on the other hand, is accreditation by an officially sanctioned seminary.

Defenders of “education,” who more often than not have a stake in the present racket prescribed by the modern definition, like to pretend that they are part of a system upholding the classical definition. At Evergreen, this was obviously false—critical thinking was subordinate to dogma and Bret Weinstein was hounded from his job for having the temerity to defend it. The university was conceived to provide scholars with a secure redoubt in which to conduct their studies, which would be partly funded by letting willing students pick up a thing or two by being in close proximity. This was a very sensible proposition in the 1300s, but is looking like a fantasy today. There are no safe spaces for scholars, and students can mimic proximity to scholars for the cost of an Internet connection. Willing students can get 20 or 30 separate undergraduate degrees’ worth of (classically defined) education from MIT OpenCourseWare alone. But many just want a piece of paper that says they are an adequately socialised member of society, approved of by the cultural elite.

Peter Thiel has given a uniquely scathing critique of the insanity of this system. He questions whether higher education, as an economic exchange, represents much of an investment anymore—the student defers gratification to reap higher rewards in the future, or the student enjoys a four-year party as a consumption good. Thiel says he originally thought of higher education as consumption masquerading as investment, but now thinks of it as an even crazier combination of concepts: as insurance against failure in life in general, and as a kind of Veblen good that is priced uncompetitively so as to confer status on those who can afford it. This produces a ridiculous situation in which insurance is desirable, not because something disastrous is prudently insured against, but because the disaster would be the ignominy of failing to purchase insurance in the first place. It is effectively a Ponzi scheme. No wonder Thiel calls college administrators subprime mortgage brokers. They get a cut on selling pieces of paper that are only as valuable as we all pretend they are.

This bizarre economic dynamic, coupled with Parkinson’s Law, coupled again with a slow motion ideological coup, has landed us with the following picture of higher education: students are required to enslave themselves economically to the cultural elite as a toll to gain admittance. The vulnerability in the interim is then exploited to manipulate social signalling and behaviour: if you don’t play along, your life will be ruined. But since academia is considered a bottleneck for success, those who don’t enter the raffle forfeit this leverage and are rewarded with dismal prospects.

The only people really immune from all this are the actual elites, whose children are predominantly upper-class liberal whites. They receive all the same social assurances without giving up any leverage, and price out any remotely similar opportunity for the less fortunate to whom they ceaselessly and guiltily pledge their ostentatious support and solidarity. Higher education has become a transfer of wealth from the future earnings of the aspirational lower and middle classes to a metastasising administrative parasite, which funds the permanence of the cultural elite by wielding its leverage over anybody foolish enough to dissent.

We need to stop wringing our hands over how to save academia and acknowledge that its disease is terminal. This need not be cause for solemnity; it can inspire celebration. It would allow us to shift our energies away from the abject failure of modern education and to refocus on breathing new life into the classical alternative. The social implications could be enormous—the lower and middle classes could be spared economic and cultural enslavement to the elite, leading not only to greater opportunity, equality, and worthwhile diversity, but frankly to greater happiness and fulfilment in life.

So, how do we do this? It is very early days, but the key is to avoid the impression of attacking education itself. To employ some Thielian technobabble, we need to de-bottleneck the vertical; that is, recreate institutions that route around the modern variant of education so that it can expire peacefully—or, at least, shrink enormously—without dragging us all down with it. Aside from perhaps doctors and engineers, we need to stop pretending that the pieces of paper on which degrees are printed have value so that nobody can be tricked into buying them in the first place. Initiatives like the Thiel fellowship, which awards $100k each to 20 of the most gifted pupils to do something more constructive than higher education, are a good start, but by design will not scale. Austen Allred’s Lambda School is a promising next step, and I encourage all readers to acquaint themselves with it. The arXiv is a premier effort to use the power of the Internet to maintain a classical system of education while routing around academia, as is Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera and many more. But we needn’t empty all our hope into a techno-utopianism. The most important change will likely come from corporate employers, who can have an enormous impact in two ways.

Firstly, they can channel more funding into academic research. This might first need to be passed off as “profit-enhancing” to adjacent disciplines or justified with other weasel-wording to satisfy the predominant school of free market absolutism. But in the longer run, there are real opportunities to encourage such commitments on the basis of Corporate Social Responsibility, or even corporate prestige. It is not a mystery that some of the greatest scientific work of the twentieth century was funded by AT&T at Bell Labs, and Xerox at Xerox PARC. There were no administrators forcing them to write twenty-page reports explaining why Unix would advance social justice. The mystery is rather why this stopped, and the answer is, more or less, “shareholder value-ism,” which was entirely an invention of academia and entirely in service to the cultural elite.

Secondly, they can end the demand for useless pieces of paper, in the pursuit of which aspirational lower- and middle-class kids economically enslave themselves. There are very early signs of this catching on: in 2015, Ernst & Young announced that it will no longer consider degrees or even high school level certification when considering applications. Good for them. Alternatively, corporate employers could offer to give students from low income families a salary right out of high school—enough to materially assist them, but lower than a regular entry-level white-collar salary because it would be conditional on the student completing part-time STEM education financed by the employer. The educational course may be of the student’s choosing and need not be directly related to the job. But they will nonetheless receive an accredited educational certificate upon completion, as well as three to four years of apprenticeship in which they will learn skills valuable to the corporate world, and help their families. A scheme like this would also help to nurture a modicum of personal responsibility and respect that are mostly absent from, if not discouraged by, the college alternative. Equally, the employer will be presented with a candidate for full time employment who is far more qualified than any college graduate and almost certainly will not introduce any destructive ideological viruses into the workplace.

These few thoughts are my own. But I am encouraged to see similar ideas sprouting across different domains. Whether preventing a breakdown in the basic logic of civilization, or giving underprivileged kids a better chance in life, or promoting the availability of education as it was classically understood, we need to start preparing for life after academia.

 

Allen Farrington lives in Edinburgh. He studied math and philosophy at the University of St. Andrews. He also writes at Areo, Merion West, and Medium. You can follow him on Twitter @allenf32

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

143 Comments

  1. Marc DOmash says

    The author states:

    It is not a mystery that some of the greatest scientific work of the twentieth century was funded by AT&T at Bell Labs, and Xerox at Xerox PARC. There were no administrators forcing them to write twenty-page reports explaining why Unix would advance social justice. The mystery is rather why this stopped, and the answer is, more or less, “shareholder value-ism,” which was entirely an invention of academia and entirely in service to the cultural elite.

    This is incorrect. Bell Labs was subsidized by the monopoly rents AT&T collected from the American people for its phone system. When the subsidy went away (AT&T was broken up), Bell Labs was reduced to a shell of its former self. Xerox also had monopoly rents through the patent system, which restricts entry into the field of photocopying for nearly two decades after the grant of such patents. And while Xerox could have returned its extraordinary profits to its shareholders, AT&T couldn’t, since, as a regulated monopoly, it received a return to capital (part of that capital was, of course, Bell Labs, giving AT&T every incentive to increase its size).

    • Allen Farrington says

      Hi Marc. Thanks for your comment. That passage was perhaps overly rhetorical and unclear on the central point, which I don’t think your observation contradicts.

      I wasn’t meaning to question why specifically AT&T and Xerox stopped doing this, but why this kind of activity isn’t common at all anymore, regardless of who is doing it. No listed corporation could get away with anything like these enterprises today as there would be an immediate (and perversely legally just) fiduciary revolt. Equally, I didn’t make any particular argument as to why AT&T and Xerox did this in the first place. And so what if they were monopolies? There are plenty of monopolies today, some due to patents, some due to regulation, some due to asset accumulation, including the Baby Bells, albeit on a smaller scale.

      But it is absolutely correct that jobs at these institutions were dreams come true for many academics. Not all, granted, as many get equal or greater pleasure from teaching than from research, but for many the chance to do real work outside the grasp of university administrators was a major draw. There are very few similar places today, and universities themselves are far, far worse.

      Many aspiring academics simply give up once they realise the extent of the corruption. Quillette has run many articles in the past year or so on variations on this theme. Some go to China, where they are left alone, some have the resources to carry out their research on their own, but many simply give up. Obviously education (of the classical variety) is what really suffers in all of this because willing students are prevented from finding willing teachers, and willing researchers are prevented from doing real research, since a corrupt cartel controls the bottleneck. It needs to be de-bottlenecked.

      • Marc DOmash says

        I wasn’t meaning to question why specifically AT&T and Xerox stopped doing this, but why this kind of activity isn’t common at all anymore, regardless of who is doing it. No listed corporation could get away with anything like these enterprises today as there would be an immediate (and perversely legally just) fiduciary revolt.

        But doesn’t Google do just “this” (investing in pie-in-the-sky technologies)? And Facebook?
        And Musk? Open AI is the new C programming language and available to all. And while there are plenty of monopolies today, there is no nation-wide regulated monopoly such as AT&T, which ran Bell Labs. This created huge economic surplus. And while you opine on the contributions of Bell Labs, that organization also supported a large number of economists who wrote paper after paper extolling the efficacy of the AT&T monopoly. I was in an economics department after the breakup and there were constant “visitors” looking for jobs as they were no longer necessary. These economists had been paid for by the consumer to argue for higher costs for the consumer, as bad a conflict of interest as you’ll ever get.

        I guess my feeling is you are conflating idiocy in the soft sciences (the “ologies” and their ilk–sociology, anthropology, etc) with fields that rely on the scientific method. While there are certainly verboten topics in the sciences (anything related to genetic influences on the human condition) that is really a small part of the scientific research program. Researchers running a lab in the sciences are small business entrepreneurs, and if they don’t get support they lose their jobs (pensioned off it they’re tenured, but most aren’t). You reference “going to China” (though Australia is now a better choice, Singapore having dropped out of the ideal place for academics a few years ago). That is economic, mostly (state-supported research), not disillusionment with the current university system. While there is that, to be sure, one can bunker down in the sciences and ignore that, just as in the USSR research institutes were relatively unscathed by the ideological battles going on in the larger society (particularly post-Stalin).

        • ALAN WHITE says

          You say the USSR Research Institutes were relatively unscathed by the collapse of the Soviet system. I find it hard to believe that those institutes did not suffer more from the same shortage of funding that affected the manufacturing and agricultural sectors of the economy. The Research Institutes were not established as short term profit-making entities.

          • Marc Domash says

            Not at all. Read my comment. “just as in the USSR research institutes were relatively unscathed by the ideological battles going on in the larger society (particularly post-Stalin).”
            The key phrase here is USSR–after 1991 the USSR ceased to exist so obviously I was referring to the period from The Thaw to 1990. Obviously, most scientists in the USSR were unemployed once the Soviet Union collapsed. As a very unfortunate consequence of this, the North Korean missile/nuclear program almost certainly has ex-Soviet personnel aiding it.

          • IssacNewton says

            We still need somekind of certification process (I think) to assure potential employers (and others) that you know X. The certification process should be rigourious. The High-End CISCO certifications were like this. Some people might take three years and others might take one-year. Ideally, there would be follow-up on performance and the courses could be adjusted.

        • Bill says

          Bit of historical context: Bell Labs was one of a number of initiatives AT&T executed to generate political good will to prevent nationalization, as was happening at the time with other national phone monopolies.

        • Chris Hanson says

          Certainly the soft sciences and humanities were prone to ideological corruption resisted by the scientific method in the past. The advent of soft abstract sciences such as “climate science”, “transgender belief” have opened the way for near Orwellian political constructions. The undermining of the science method (test/empirical proof) an integral part of the collective social decline.

      • AF – Interestingly, my father (and his family) was the beneficiary of exactly that type of enlightened corporate policy, albeit at a much smaller company. From 1934 – 1964, he worked for a significant regional oil company in Texas called the Humble Oil and Refining Company. Exxon grabbed it in the early 60s, but before then, Humble was a virtual paradise for pure research which my father and others were happy to perform. They pioneered the science of mass spectrometry, a fact that paid no immediate dividends to the company. But Humble, being hugely profitable, didn’t much care. Of course when Exxon came along, all that ended and it was bean counting for everyone. My dad moved to academia and continued doing research.

        • David of Kirkland says

          Too bad anti-trust didn’t block Exxon fro reducing competition. When you allow competition to be reduced, you’ll get less out. Just like this new purity thought without clear evidence, it will reduce intellectual output.

          • Jay Salhi says

            “Too bad anti-trust didn’t block Exxon fro reducing competition.”

            Are you suggesting there is no competition in the oil industry? The high volatility of the price of oil suggests otherwise.

      • Reading about the history, in particular of PARC, it seems the researchers were creating and discovering in spite of the source of funding. Periodically, they were told to stop creating Ethernet or GUIs and get back to making copiers. It was no coincidence that Xerox got very little from PARC that helped their business but a wealth of innovation came out, just as once occurred with universities.

        • ALAN WHITE says

          The same comment can be made about Bell Labs. Not all the effort in the Research department ended up benefiting the telephone business in the time span important to AT&T.

    • estepheavfm says

      “shareholder value-ism,” Bingo! —— “Short-termism” will soon destroy Western civilization, unless reversed. The Chinese Communist Party and the Silicon Fascists, however, are happy with the collapse of the West in to technocratic authoritarianism.

    • This is more or less accurate.

      Bell Labs, owing to AT&T’s natural monopoly on telecommunications (which has very nearly reformed, verifying that yes, telecommunications networks are a natural monopoly), was little different from a government research.

      Xerox’s problem was that after the photocopier, they wanted to find the next big patent but they couldn’t figure out how to turn the Alto into something virtually every office and library in the country would need one or two of. Smaller companies were circling PARC looking for ideas, and they had much less grand ideas of what they’d call success.

  2. Peter from Oz says

    Here in Oz, the wealthier you are the more likely you are to vote conservative. I suspect it’s the same in Britain and the US.
    The elite is not left-wing at all. It is mostly on the right or apolitical. it’s the wannabes who are dominating the left now, new money and people from the lower orders who were able to make good under the old disposition and now want to stop others from the lower orders doing the same. The most amusing thing is the total hypocrisy of the lefties. They hate the proles, but at the same time pretend to care about them. It’s a classic case of doublethink.

    • Wentworth Horton says

      A more refined distinction of the whos and whys of voting tendencies may be needed, I’d wager the average Trump voter was poorer than the average Clinton voter and that may not be an anomaly given the “frightening rise of populism” – sarcasm – we are currently seeing. Beyond the measure of individual wealth the Left far outweighs the Right in institutional power, unis, unions, media, even corporations (however cowed), etc, which is all that really matters to an Ideology with severe totalitarian tendencies. The Left hates the Individual, regardless of income, in concept and in reality.

      • Boatswain's Mate says

        That’s not at all difficult to believe or understand. Back in the old days, the dividing lines between the Democratic and Republican parties were much clearer (Dems were for the “working class,” the “little guy,” while the GOP was the party of “big business” (read, the wealthy)). Now, neither party truly seems to care too terribly much about who Peter Shrag, writing for Harper’s magazine in 1969, called “the forgotten American” (https://stuff.mit.edu/afs/athena/course/21/21h.102/www/Primary%20source%20collections/Age%20of%20Limits/Schrag,%20Forgotten_American.htm) (RTWT, how so little has changed in 50 years, eh), President Nixon’s “silent majority.” They’re both in the thrall of the “globalists,” the corporatists, because that’s where the mega-dollar donors are.

        The Republicans of late at least have been making better noises (and that’s about all) about the things that broad swath of people, regardless of race or ethnicity, care about, which is mainly and almost exclusively their personal finances. But the Democrats, since in my estimation the end of the Clinton Administration almost 20 years ago, have basically turned their backs on their former base of support, the people Madame Clinton referred to as “deplorables” — y’know, those “hateful, bigoted rubes in their ‘wife-beaters’ (‘vests’ to my English friends) and pick-up trucks in flyover country.”

        Democrats now are firmly on the side of grand (dare I say “global”), esoteric ideas, like hyper-environmentalism or “social justice,” which would, if implemented as the Democrats envision, keep their boot on the necks of those awful middle- and working-class people they used to champion. Thus we can easily see why the 20 wealthiest congressional districts would all vote for Democrats. It allows those affluent voters to conspicuously show off their positional good known as “virtue” (“See how wonderful I am, because I care just so-o-o much”), all the while secure that their very affluence will shield them from results of the Democrats’ policy prescriptions. “Unchecked illegal immigration or open borders? No problem (for me) because they’d never be able to afford to live near me anyway (but could still come do my yard).” “The doubling of prices on power because of some ill-considered ‘clean-energy’ plan? I could afford to pay that (even though the middle classes wouldn’t, and might put hundreds of thousands out of work, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make).”

        It’s easy for the wealthy to vote Democratic. It’s cheap grace — all of the virtue points with none of the hardship.

        • Bob Morris says

          I’m not certain you can define the elite simply by their political views. The bulk of voters, be they for Trump or Clinton in 2016, wouldn’t be considered elite. The elite may have been more likely to vote for Clinton, but that was because Trump spent more time calling elite institutions into question, even if his approach or rhetoric could be described as distasteful. Hence, plenty of elite voters who backed Bush, McCain and Romney in the previous elections (and none of those three would be leftists) cast their vote for Clinton, simply because they didn’t like Trump.

          Being part of the elite has a lot more to do with power, influence and connections among others who have that — and, often, they don’t bother to try to relate to people who aren’t in the upper income classes. Political beliefs may differ, but the majority of the elite are simply more interested in keeping their power and influence.

          Corporate leaders are certain to favor fiscal policies described as conservative, but when it comes to social policies, they will back whatever they think will get them the most pats on the back.

          Meanwhile, in academia, because the majority of those in it tend to be on the left side of the spectrum, it’s fair to describe them as left leaning on almost every issue, be it fiscal or social issues.

          However, that doesn’t mean a person who is socially conservative can’t be part of the elite. One can lean right on issues such as abortion, marriage and/or religion in the schools, but wave a dismissive hand at people in the lower income classes, or the working classes, simply because they don’t really want to understand what those people are upset about.

          Furthermore, if you take a look at the elite, you find lots of people who favor free trade and globalization, tend to favor interventionist foreign policy and, despite some minor differences on immigration policy, don’t really want to address immigration issues that impact the lower income and working classes.

          But what really defines the elite is their power, influence and connections. And their primary interest is doing whatever they can to keep those things in place.

      • Gringo says

        In our last elections here in the USA the Democratic party won every one of the 20 wealthiest congressional districts.
        Precinct Data Shows Rich, White Neighborhoods
        Flipping Democratic in 2016. Will It Last?

        The precinct data and much of the survey data indicate that Mrs. Clinton’s effort to lure well-educated and rich Republicans was largely a success. She won college-educated white voters by a wide and maybe even a double-digit margin in non-exit poll survey data, which would exceed her standing in pre-election polls.

        The precinct data implies that Mrs. Clinton’s gains were concentrated among the wealthiest voters; she carried precincts where the median income was over $250,000 by a 27-point margin, and improved by 39 points over Mr. Obama’s performance.

        • Most of those wealthy districts are clustered around government centers. I think many of them are suburbs of Washington DC. It is no wonder they were voting for the statist party although many are Republicans who are just as statist,.

          • Peter from Oz says

            ”Most of those wealthy districts are clustered around government centers”
            How sad that America has been reduced to that. Government has so corrupted commerce that the wealthiest now live government

      • ALAN WHITE says

        Young people with recent advanced degrees were all exposed for six or more years of ideas originating from the progressive left. Should anyone be surprised they now vote left?

    • Gordon Smith says

      Actually Peter from Oz the highest average wage by voting patterns is the Greens not the conservatives. They are predominately inner city educated and have higher average income than all other voting groups.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Peter from Oz

      “They hate the proles, but at the same time pretend to care about them.”

      Or they used to pretend. That’s the lefties that Orwell described so well. Now, in the States anyway, the proles are the Deplorables, and they are considered to be irredeemable and lost to Trump. The proles, mere white working plebes, have no status at all among the wokest lefties — they do not qualify as Victims. The are Oppressors. AOC considers them to be the enemy. But I think Bernie still gives a damn about working people, even if they have misfortune to be white.

      • Tersitus says

        Having swept through the universities, the Children’s Crusade now marches on Washington— on its way, to the Holy Lands, I presume.

    • BrannigansLaw says

      @Peter from Oz “Here in Oz, the wealthier you are the more likely you are to vote conservative. I suspect it’s the same in Britain and the US.”

      It depends on the group. What you said is true for all racial groups in America except Jews (who make up ~40% of America’s billionaires and ~79% of Democrat mega-donors).

    • Oz, that has flipped here. Think Silicon Valley and tech billionaires who love censorship. Then think entertainment millionaires. The list is long of left wing millionaires. They can afford walls and security.

    • Peter, I think that’s a surprising view, unless by “elite” you just mean the very rich. Our extreme left – mostly the Greens – is very firmly based in affluent, inner-city suburbs. Our left media -the ABC and what used to be Fairfax is markedly far from down at heel. The bush, both squatters and battlers, is mostly conservative, as are most of the tradies and shop floor folk in the outer burbs. Both Menzies and Howard held all these people. So did Hawke, but his brand of “left” was nothing like toda’s cultural commissars. He was a proud, dinky-di Aussie larrikin, with a vision of a better future for all within a traditional cultural view of Australia. Even Rudd only got up by pretending to be at least fiscally conservative. I think the Australian majority remains pretty much in the centre. Which it will remember after a few years if, as expected, it’s pissed-offness with the recent Coalition shambles causes it to elect the class warriors. (Who are peddling a truly strange mix of 1960s British unionism and woke identitarianism.)
      Totally concur with your last comment. Mr Howard got some cut-through yesterday with his comments on “sneering Shorten”.
      Anyway, good on you, from Brisbane🙂

    • Dean Ayer says

      Peter – its the rich in the USA now that tend to vote liberal to both assuage their guilt and virtue signal. Most large family charitable trusts only fund left wing causes and we have no shortage of billionaires who are to the left as we have them to the right as well.

  3. Closed Range says

    Overall a thought provoking article, and indeed the West could definitely learn from the experiences of our Eastern European friends. I don’t know if the proposed solutions are really solutions however.

    A few things that I think could help include passing a law that makes it illegal for universities to fire their staff for their political convictions. This would go a long way towards giving the staff the security they need to confront the more insane elements among the student body and to genuinely teach them a lesson.

    Another useful law would be to make it a legal offense if universities are caught admitting students with significantly different grades on the basis of their characteristics, eg if it is found that the bar for entry is set lower than the rest for students from some ethnicity. We know that this currently happens consistently in the US and many students are on campus on the basis of their political activism and not their suitability for learning a course.

    As for the UK, there’s been two major shifts in the education system. The first was the rapid inflation of universities and students, which has devalued degrees, and the second was the end of the grammar school system, ie selective schools at age 11, the gateway for the brighter students from less fortunate backgrounds to succeed. This destruction of this system made it harder for bright students to stand out and have better opportunities. This is one of the reasons why young people engage so much in competitive victimhood, because in the misguided effort to make them equal we’ve removed the necessary mechanism for healthy competition. I think bringing this back will go a long way towards having a more academic, less political, and more healthy student body.

    • Universities are fully, completely, and totally within the SJW paradigm of groupthink, librul politics, and thought control. My son-in-law and daughter are somewhat to very conservative, having been radicalized to conservatism by living in NYC and seeing the rot up close. He is in a tenure-track slot in a humanities department in a major university. He never says a single word at his office about his actual political or social thoughts. Moreover, not only are the faculty fully within the SJW groupthink paradigm, administrative personnel are MORE within it; higher proportions of admin folks take SJW/groupthink positions. So, it’s pretty much impossible to actually state your beliefs. Any color you want, as long as it’s black.

        • Kelly Burke says

          As a retired professor, I feel for your son-in-law. I sat through endless meetings of academics — both within my institution and without — where a single wrong word, or heterodox notion, or awkwardly expressed idea, could result in dire professional consequences. The hounds of intolerance were always waiting to pounce for the slightest example of wrongthink. It is also particularly grating knowing that when speaking out, a good percentage of one’s colleagues might agree, but can’t bring themselves to say so out loud. But you can hardly blame them.. They have families to feed and mortgages to pay, and everyone knows the punishment for thought crimes.

          As for the administration? Well, they exemplify the Falstaffian variety of courage: “Last to the battle, but first to the feast.” And what a feast it is. The President of our small college — in addition to a generous salary and other perks — had a travel budget of 500K, even while course sections were being cut, and faculty were being admonished to cut back on their photocopying. She enjoyed going to conferences, particularly in Hawaii and Paris. Such administrators are the beneficiaries of the current arrangements and aren’t likely to give up their sinecures without a fight.

          I am wary of entrusting education to the corporate world, but Farrington is right: it is time to re-think the means of delivering higher education.

  4. Fickle Pickle says

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling!
    Or depending on your perspective perhaps the earth is rising!

    I much prefer the much more sober analysis of the situation re academic and campus freedom

    given by Henry Reichman in his book The Future of Academic Freedom.
    And a related book Jacob Rooksby titled The Branding of the American Mind How Universities Capture, manage, and Monetize Intellectual Property and Why It Matters.

    And the far more insidious phenomenon of the capturing and BRANDING of babies, toddlers and children’s minds, or how they are entranced and thus brainwashed into being “faithful” conformist consumers by the electronic screens.
    As described in the books This Little Kiddy went To Market – The Corporate Capture of Childhood by Sharon Beder, and Buy Baby Buy by Susan Thomas.

    Does the left have anything remotely like the kind of toxic stuff that David Horowit promotes!

    Is their really such a thing as “healthy” competition?
    Alfie Kohn gives a well argued contrary perspective in his excellent book No Contest The Case Against Competition.
    Remember too that in a “culture” based on the principle of winner-takes-all competition very few people ever win anything in their entire lives. Their “status” as “losers” thus becomes reinforced by the culture at large, and internalized too – a double whammy.
    Thus creating a situation/reservoir of massive resentment which is easily manipulated by huckster “art of the deal” politicians. In such a “culture” everybody becomes a loser, including the presumed winners. Prompting the essay by the billionaire Nick Hanauer titled The Pitchforks Are Coming

    There is a sign on the wall of my Aikido Dojo which says We Are Here To Be The Best That We Can Be. Implying that you do not become the “best” by over-powering of “defeating” others, but by becoming deeply somatically aware of the intrinsically destructive motives of your unexamined power motives and impulses.

    Which is to say that competition is a form of ritualized killing. The killing of the spirit and the soul of the billions of “losers”, and by extension, as dramatized on to the world stage the millions of brutalized and dead bodies.

    • David of Kirkland says

      If you have winner-takes-all, you don’t have competition. Competition means some win this, others win that. It’s not competition for me to race the 100m dash against infants.
      Culture is what people do. It’s never wrong, just not in line with your preference.

    • Defenstrator says

      While some of what you are saying has merit, your mis interpretation of your dojo’s mantra provides des real insight where you are going wrong. The mantra is an aspirational message of self improvement which quite clearly calls for people to work hard to fulfill the maximum potential they are capable of.It has nothing to do with examining destructive motives of power. That’s entirely projected onto it by you, a false meaning that exists nowhere but your own fantasy. The warning is clear. If you go too deep down the rabbit hole you start ascribing meaning and motivations to others that exist nowhere but your own mind and do nothing but provide rationalizations for your point of view. Ideology is like religion. People believe that it explains how the world works, but belief does not make something true.

  5. E. Olson says

    Interesting analysis, but the solutions are actually very simple, but politically difficult.

    First, rescind all legal liabilities associated with firms using aptitude tests to select and hire employees without regard to applicant education, race, gender, etc. College degrees have been used as a substitute for finding the smart and skilled employees who used to be identified by aptitude tests before the Griggs vs Duke case (1971) that made it risky to use aptitude tests if “victim” classes did poorly on them.

    Second, require all schools that receive government aid (i.e. research grants, student aid, state funding, etc.) to publish average starting salary and post-graduation full-time employment rates (within 6 months) for each major and degree among the 5 most recent graduating classes. Make sure prospective students know going in what the return on investment (ROI) for their chosen school and majors are before going into debt.

    Third, terminate all government subsidized student aid to any school or major that cannot demonstrate a positive ROI for recent graduates, as defined by employment with enough salary by the average recent graduate to pay back student loans and modestly live on in the local area of the school or home area of the student. This should include a ban on all federal and state aid to schools that have any sort of “diversity and inclusion” administration, and an aid ban to any school where administrative costs are proportionally higher than in 1990. This will keep a lid on tuition prices, especially for less lucrative majors, which will in turn force schools to focus on cutting costs by culling negative ROI departments, unproductive faculty, and bloated administration.

    Fourth, eliminate all legal restrictions and liabilities for schools so that they can cull negative ROI departments, unproductive faculty, and bloated administration. Ineffective teachers and non-producing research faculty and administration should not have guaranteed jobs due to tenure or union contracts.

    Implement all these rules for the coming 2019-20 school year, and give schools 3 years to reach full statistical compliance before shutting down aid, but require the reporting statistics for students immediately and yearly progress reports.

      • E. Olson says

        CorreyCroom: the average student loan payment is $4716 per year (based on an $37K average student loan). If I find that the most common career path for my intended victims study degree (with an interpretive dance minor) is a job as a Starbucks barista (which doesn’t require a college degree) then my return on investment has to be negative because I’ve incurred debt to get something that I could have had for free. On the other hand, if I find that my intended engineering degree leads to a career that pays $70K per year (based on recent graduates) and requires a college degree, I have a very clear positive ROI and can also clearly see the benefits of choosing engineering.

        • Denny Sinnoh says

          @ Master Olsen sama
          Actually juggling orders and making complicated coffee drinks is a lot harder than many college courses.

          • E. Olson says

            Denny – I agree, but there a lots of things in life that are more difficult than taking many college courses, which like working at Starbucks also don’t require an expensive college degree.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Denny Sinnoh

            Yup. My niece Dolly-Darlin’ was a barista and she said it was rather demanding. You have to lean a new language. My one and only experience with Starbucks, I go in and ask for a coffee. The girl looked at me like I was from Borneo. “Would you like a frapucheenee grandisimo latte machisimo el duce? Or perhaps a bongo-bongo vanilla totaler krieg double-double magnificat?” Probably more demanding than a doctorate in grievance studies.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          ” is a job as a Starbucks barista”

          Yes, but that’s just a stepping stone to Congress, and thence, possibly to the Oval Office.

    • Barney Doran says

      EO – I can only posit two explanations for you: 1) You have absolutely no life and spend your entire day reading and commenting on Quilltette. Good, insightful comments, yes, but a bit like notes from the underground. 2) You are a Quillette plant to stimulate discussion or, in the same vein, you are not one person at all but a collection of Quillette writers. The reason for the latter suspicion is that you seem to be a little too well informed by half.

      Just a bit curious.

      • E. Olson says

        Barney – Thank you for the semi-backhanded compliment, but the answer to your questions is none of the above. I’m cursed/blessed with being somewhat of a sponge in remembering various facts and figures and having a job that deals with lots of facts and figures covering a wide variety of industries/issues. It therefore doesn’t take very long to write my comments (which I often mentally compose while exercising or doing household tasks), and I find it fun to participate in the debates and thoughtful comments that so many Quillette articles inspire. It also helps that I don’t watch much TV, have no social media presence, and gave up most video games years ago.

        • JD says

          @EO Agreed! It’s truly astonishing the amount of time and CPU cycles you regain once you simply stop watching TV, Netflix, et al.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          “having a job that deals with lots of facts and figures covering a wide variety of industries/issues.”

          If I may ask, what is your job? Me, after 30 years in the post office, five years as a contractor, now retired but no end of odd jobs still. Good gardener. Famous for my garlic. Not good at remembering facts and figures, but I know when it’s raining even if I don’t have the latest weather report.

        • EO, While I do not have the grasp of your statistics I can relate to your comment. I also do not watch TV, etc. I spent 20 years in organizational development and was in the hundreds of companies/orgs every year often partnering with colleges. One tends to pick up on patterns and trends very quickly in many categories. Not only that but the trajectory of what I saw happening from the late ‘80s+ became a huge concern. Frankly, I am amazed the US is competitive at all considering all the the dearth of education, laws, regulations, policies, procedures, rules and unwritten rules.

          I found that many organizations started operating in what I can only describe as in a cultic disposition. I wasn’t alone. I discovered a book around 2000 called “Corporate Cults”. It was spot on but didn’t go far enough. Most can’t see it because it’s their normal now.

          My big thing now is encouraging young men to be independent. Start a business. They will have the creativity and innovative life snuffed out of them in many organizations.

      • Barney Doran says

        EO – Thanks for the explanation. Now keep cranking it out.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @ E Olson

      Interesting ideas, – especially regarding aptitude tests of which the Sat is eponomously one – some currently politically impossible, others not. A separate debate for later but let me add some to the mix:
      1) Student loans available immediately for apprentices in trades and, in the context of breaking uni’s fraudulent grip on qualifications, critically in the new white-collar apprentice programs this would rapidly create. Such companies would love to pay minimum wage for 3 years while trading someone up to profitability with living costs born by the apprentice via student/apprentice loans if they need it.

      2) National Academy of Science stops grants for bogus ‘scholarship’ in grievance studies.( An easy one as the top dog there must sign each grant.) Employment contacts – Union-negotiated or otherwise – are not easily abrogated but tenure, contract employment etc are routinely awarded on a track record of getting grants. Eliminate those and it will quickly diminish grievance studies akin to cutting blood supply to a cancer. P

      3) University/company must co-sign for 25% of all their studentsv/apprentices loans. Skin in the game concentrates minds wonderfully.

      • E. Olson says

        I like your ideas Rev. I would be very curious how many schools would co-sign on student loans as a condition for receiving federal/state aid. Do you suppose the schools might look more closely as the career prospects of affirmative action applicants (with low test scores and high loans needs) or students applying for many social science and humanities majors/graduate school (already with substantial undergraduate student debt)?

        • Rev. Wazoo! says

          @E Olson
          Thanks!
          We might do well to actually hash out these ideas into proposals fit for presentation to policy makers; having few ideas themselves, they depend on such input.

          The Ivies and ilk would absorb the losses for ideological reasons but others, state schools especially where most go, would sober up. If they had skin in in the game and grants for bogus ‘scholsrship’ were curtailed, grievance studies would wither on the vine in 10 years. Not as fast as we might like but I’m not a revolutionary, just a lefty Prof, so good enough for me.

          Shall we make a manifesto?

    • Tom says

      But ROI is not a good measure of people’s acheivements after their degree, particularly not 5 years after graduation. Many people do degrees to get into highly competitive jobs that they think are worthwhile, not simply to earn more money. They often want a vocation, such as conservation, research, nursing, teaching, that often don’t pay much but give them a feeling of purpose and acheivement.

      For example, part of the gender wage gap seems to be because high performing women are particularly likely to choose vocations over high paying jobs. Which possibly helps explain why women get more and better degrees than men but end up earning less money.

      • E. Olson says

        Tom – you raise some traditional rationales for higher education, but do they still apply when much of a 4 year degree seems to be remedial learning of material students should have mastered in high school (or earlier), and/or social justice indoctrination, and/or partying and rape?

        Even if much of the 4 years (plus graduate school) is a waste of time due to the above, it might still be excused if it was a matter of the applicant and/or parents deciding it was worthwhile to pay for tuition and living expenses from their own pockets, but it is arguably immoral to expect taxpayers to subsidize low ROI degrees, particularly if students don’t end up with the marketable skills necessary to earn decent incomes and pay taxes back into the system during their working lives.

    • Anonymouse says

      I always said the answer was to, in conjunction with removing legal liabilities for the use of aptitude tests, to simply add educational attainment as a category to existing discrimination laws so that employers are basically forbidden from asking about it. Would-be lawyers have to take the bar exam, no reason other learned trades (engineering, medicine, etc.) cannot implement similar processes to ensure that their applicants are qualified. That would allow the self-taught to have an equal shot at employment and simultaneously serve to reduce higher education back it its original purpose – research and scholarship, funded by the taking on of truly interested students by professors on a part-time or as-needed basis.

      • E. Olson says

        I like your suggestion Anonymouse. Self-study and online courses could be aimed at mastering the material tested on the exam, which could be free or at least far cheaper than a traditional education. As Kung Lao notes below, in areas where hands on experience would be necessary/desired (such as surgical techniques in medicine), paid apprenticeships with practitioners might be utilized as a low cost alternative.

      • Jim Gorman says

        Anonymouse –> I’m not sure how many individuals could take the MCAT, BAR, or PE tests without a college degree. No doubt there probably are some but I suspect the number is small. While I agree that a degree shouldn’t be necessary, I don’t think that would help a lot.

        • E. Olson says

          You are almost certainly correct Jim that only a relatively few could pass without something approaching a traditional college experience. A “problem” with almost all educational “reforms” is that no matter what you do, the smartest and self-motivated people will always come out on top. The MOOC experience has shown high enrollment and high drop-out rates, as most people just don’t have the ability and motivation to get through the courses without being forced to by the school/instructor/peer pressure. Yet I see no reason to require a 4+ year degree(s) in order to have the opportunity to take a professional qualification exam that would allow them to work in the field if they pass.

        • Anonymouse says

          That may be the case for some highly skilled or technical professions. However, the vast majority of professions require no higher education whatsoever. It’s ridiculous that many employers ask people to have a BA in order to be a receptionist, for example. Credentialing has become an arms race that profits no one but the sort of rent seekers highlighted in this article. Higher education has become the means by which our elite hoard the best opportunities for themselves and their children at everyone else’s expense. Getting it out of the job application process would smash this baleful cartel.

    • Boatswain's Mate says

      @ E. Olson I have a thought that might be apropos of not much at all, but I would suggest — nae insist — that state legislatures severely cut funding in appropriations for state institutions of higher ed dedicated to administrative salaries. There is no need for six-figure sinecures for rent-seekers like five deputy associate vice-chancellors for diversity and inclusion or a full-time senior vice-president for the “Oh, So Very Necessary, I Assure You, Subcommittee for the Rearranging of the Deck Chairs at the President’s Annual Poolside Fete.”

    • Asenath Waite says

      @E Olson

      I would be concerned about less lucrative but still worthwhile academic fields losing out under these conditions. Classical humanities fields like English literature or art history or studio art whose graduates aren’t likely to make big bucks but which nonetheless can potentially enrich society in other ways. It seems like universities should be places where culturally-enriching academic interests can be pursued even if these are not directly economically beneficial. I know the humanities are largely corrupted at this point, but I would much rather see these fields restored rather than eradicated.

      • E. Olson says

        AW – I see your point, but the reason for the corruption is the taxpayer funded subsidies to higher education. Take those away from low ROI fields and they revert to what they used to be – a place where the wealthy elites pay full freight to send their trust fund progeny to get a well rounded liberal arts degree. Yes many departments would be shut down or vastly reduced in size, but the best would survive and prosper and perhaps even focus on teaching their subjects rather than social justice nonsense.

        • Asenath Waite says

          @E Olson

          It also doesn’t seem right that only the rich should be able to pursue academic careers in the humanities, as like in every other field it would be best if the most talented and dedicated people were the ones doing the work. Granted these departments would necessarily be smaller and have less funding than those with more direct contributions to the economy and to meeting the basic needs of society such as medicine or technology, but I would still want them to exist and to reach their full potential. I wish there could be a way to quantify the cultural value of an academic program other than in economic terms, so we could say whether or not a given humanities field was producing scholarship that contributed positively to culture or not. Something concrete to separate useless or detrimental work like that done in the grievance studies fields from legitimate humanities scholarship. This could then be used as a criterion for distributing grant money to particular departments and students. I can’t think of a good way for this kind of assessment to be made, though. Evaluation of scholarly output would be subjective and would seemingly have to be done by scholars from the same fields seeking funding, which of course is a problem and would still not get at whether or not the work is of benefit to wider society.

          • E. Olson says

            AW – My parents started at a fairly prestigious private college in 1957 and paid $1,000 per year for tuition, room and board, or in other words about 40% of the price of a average new car. My father did not come from a wealthy family, but basically worked his way through school to pay without going into debt.

            Today that same school costs about $55,000 per year for tuition, room, and board, or about 160% of the price of the average new car, which is well beyond what anyone could reasonably expect to pay from summer jobs and part-time employment during the school year.

            Government funded student aid is the primary driver of the vast increases in costs, which prevent the less wealthy from attending without going into significant debt. A low ROI major would be a lot more attractive to rich and poor alike if costs returned to 1957 levels (i.e. about $14,000 in today’s money).

    • dmm says

      Even simpler – in fact, ideal (but harder) – solution: cut all government funding of education. That’s where ALL the negative incentives come from. Free money.

    • Peter from Oz says

      E.O.

      Even better, make all vocational degrees undergraduate degrees, so that BAs are only for those who aren’t good enough to get into law or medicine.
      secondly, baseball entry into university on the marks received in final exams at high school. No interviews would be permitted and no legacy preferences.
      That’s what happens in Oz. It is a great way to ensure that the best get into the best courses.
      Thirdly, free speech must be the the rigid rule. Anyone who attempts to abridge anyone else’s freedom of speech should suffer severe penalties.

  6. I have long thought that the answer to “vocational” education and training is for real-life businesses to do the training in-house. Old school, right?

    Instead, they demand that trade schools, vocational “colleges,” technical schools, etc. do the job, at the expense of students and taxpayers. Those institutions suffer from the same bloat we see elsewhere in academia: fancy dorms, legions of deans and compliance officers, well-funded athletic teams, and so on, none of which is going to make Taylor a better mechanic or Jordan a better plumber.

    I’m told the trades can’t do their own training because it would be fruitless to invest in the training of a future worker without a guarantee that worker will stay with them. I say, make the trainee sign a contract with a mutual commitment of X number of years, contingent on satisfactory progress. The push-back I get is, that’s like indentured servitude, it’s exploitation. And, no trainee would commit to X years.

    • Technical Schools here are partnering with companies. For example, in Automotive, there is a Toyota way and a Mercedes way. The company not only partners with equipment but curriculum. Same for advanced manufacturing (highly technical) and other trades like plumbing (the average age for plumbers in my state is 55) HVAC, etc. These are not easy certifications. In some cases they are much harder than a 4 year liberal arts degree. But these students leave with jobs. Most making 50-80,000 within a few years. They are easy to track because they are placed before they leave and there is a continual feedback loop on the training.

      The Dean of one school is a friend of mine. He told me a few months back, many with 4 year degrees are applying now. They need to make money to pay off student loans. The typical 4 year degreed applicant was a psychology or criminal justice major. Lol.

  7. Kung Lao says

    Germany has dual study programmes, that combine apprenticeship and higher education. They´re quite popular, you get paid and you leave with a vocationary and an academic degree:
    https://www.bibb.de/en/77205.php

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @kung lao
      Yes and Germany also therefore has a larger percent of employees in manufacturing than other G8 countries and a trade surplus it works.

  8. Tzimisces says

    A very strange article. It starts off with some reasonable complaints about ideological bias in universities, particularly in the humanities, and then concludes that we should abandon universities completely!
    This is exactly the same argument structure used by SJWs in their arguments: “Because some of X is wrong therefore everything of X is wrong and we should ban it/ abandon it/ sack it” (insert “masculinity”, “Whiteness” or any other hate- idea of the hard left in place of X). Farrington wants us, with no good reason, to put “universities” in there.
    This is obviously ludicrous: there are many strong arguments- technological, cultural and economic- for maintaining universities. The problem is precisely that the corruption of universities undermines these benefits by rendering them worthless, However, the benefits of universities are worth having and eliminating universities would eliminate these benefits as well.

    • I’m very clear that I don’t want to ‘do’ anything ‘to’ universities. I want to create institutions that provide worthwhile alternatives. I am not in favour of banning, abandoning, sacking, or eliminating. I am in favour of giving people meaningful choices in their lives, rather than feeling like they have to put themselves into debt they will never get out for the pleasure of being preached at by SJWs for four years, all so they can have a worthwhile shot of success in life. This is clearly a racket that most feel they have to take part in. They shouldn’t have to. There should be other options, and the longer there are no other options the worse the consequences will be well beyond just academia.

      The benefits of universities are ‘education’, which can clearly be achieved in better ways by other means as soon as we stop kidding ourselves about the inherent greatness of universities. Don’t ‘eliminate’ them – just be open to the idea that they might be broken in important ways.

      • Rev. Wazoo! says

        But alternatives to universities can’t survive so long as billions of federal dollars are fed into one but not the other. Are you in favor of splitting that pie?

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      Many good arguments, indeed. But many suckerfish parasites have attached themselves to universities which don’t bring the benefits you mention and which bring the entire enterprise into disrepute. Can we disentangle them?

      • Daniel V says

        Rev a good start might be in seeing being completely selfish as a bad thing instead of excusing it as something natural and okay.

        • Rev. Wazoo! says

          @daniel V
          If you mean rewarding apparently altruistic behavior while not rewarding (oe even punishing) selfish behavior, that could be coherent policy whether I disagree with it or not. But getting people to ‘see’ (believe in) vague definitions is V problematic. ‘
          Is it selfish to want to earn enough money that my children don’t live in a rat-infested slum and risk their lives to go to the local school?
          Is it selfish to learn enough to warrant the salary which allows that? Is it selfish to lead by example and do that or must I wait till all members of my extended family, neighborhood, race, state, religion, country do the same?

          Yes, make it easier to reach a minimum standard of living with health care 6% of income, local schools paid by national taxes not local ones etc.

          But try to make anyone see/belive anything – that has a tragic track record.

  9. Burt says

    “There are very early signs of this catching on: in 2015, Ernst & Young announced that it will no longer consider degrees or even high school level certification when considering applications.”

    I am a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and used to work for EY. Unfortunately, in the US, in order to even sit for the CPA exam, one must have at least a college degree in most states and 150 hours of credit (equivalent of a master’s degree) in many others. A CPA designation is absolutely required if you want to progress in audit services (which comprise at least 40% of the firm’s revenues), so there is no getting around having a degree, at least if you want to be in assurance.

    I was heavily involved in recruiting up until I left (which was after 2015), and I never heard of this policy.

    The linked article therefore seems to apply mainly to non-US offices; perhaps in the UK a college degree is not required to sit for the chartered accountant exam.

    Regardless, I don’t see this becoming a trend in the US. As bad as college is, it still provides the best signal for employers that an potential employee is likely not stupid and has some self-discipline and ability to conform. Alternative signalling mechanisms will need to arise to start to put pressure on the college system.

    • E. Olson says

      Interesting insight Burt – thanks for sharing. Perhaps as Anonymouse suggests above for medicine and engineering, the CPA should merely require passing a rigorous but practically focused exam rather than requiring a 4 year (or more) degree, which is the case for many Bar exams. Self-study and online courses could be aimed at mastering the material tested on the exam, which could be free or at least far cheaper than a traditional education.

      • jck says

        in my country you do not need a degree to enroll for CPA all you need is a high school diploma and if you do want a degree after getting your CPA-K you can enroll in any university and be there for like a year and a half .

  10. cacambo says

    Excellent comment Tzimisces! I think you captured the dynamic of the article perfectly. I was also struck by how closely the author’s strident rhetoric matches that of the dreaded SJWs.

  11. Daniel V says

    I love the idea of a mostly free classical education being available to all but have doubts online learning can serve as a suitable replacement for the academy. It’s worth noting most of these sites have a focus on tech. Subjects where learning is much more straight forward and binary.

    While I would say that type of education is critical and everyone should have at least a basic understanding of science and technology people specialized in this area will soon be a dime a dozen. Asia is producing an astronomical amount of very capable graduates willing to work for far less than western graduates who tend to feel entitled to a certain lifestyle. There is going to be gult of workers with what Ian McGilchrist would call left dominate minds. Highly analytical but unable to see the forest for the trees.

    If the western world wants to compete we need to invest in what Asia can’t offer at this time: workers that can see the forest for the trees. Or what McGilchrist would call right dominate minds. Educating people to think like this requires study in the humanities and pushing them to think critically.

    But here’s something to remember. If you unleashed this type of education to the world at large you’re going to find people are lead right back to the social justice sentiments that are so often complained about around here and in the IDW. It will be absolutely impossible to sustain a highly unequal society like America if a majority of people were classically educated. The will most definitely come to question the grand narratives that keep things running smoothly. They’re not going to accept things can’t work in America like they do elsewhere in the west because of some myth about America being so exceptional.

  12. johno says

    I work in software, so I’ve been dealing with the product of higher education for some time.

    About all a college degree says is that the person can learn, and can function somewhat on their own without requiring constant supervision. College doesn’t teach critical thinking any more, and definitely doesn’t teach teamwork, which is essential in large software projects.

    I just helped my oldest daughter through an intro software course in college. It was… not good. That class seemed more geared to scaring people off, in the disconnect between the tedious stuff they were teaching, and what happens in the real world. Get serious… we don’t need to scare people off, we need to encourage them to get into this field. The last thing an intro course should be doing is teaching antique methods that haven’t been used in ages.

    It is ironic that when I look back on my college time, the most valuable classes I took were not software classes. It was the advanced history courses I took when I was a history major, headed for law school (until I came to my senses). Those classes taught me how to sift out fact from fiction, and especially how to put information in the context with which it occurs.

    If I were running a college, I’d make Historical Methodology a required course for any graduate in any field. Teach them how not to fall into populism.

    Coincidentally, a good friend teaches engineering in college, which has given me a good look at how higher education manages its leaders. Therein I can see a fundamental problem… the coin of the realm in higher education is… a bit strange. It’s part social, and part hucksterism. Who publishes the most papers, without a lot of emphasis on quality. Who passes the largest number of students, with no follow up on how those students do in more advanced courses… again, no emphasis on quality. Who makes the ‘right’ noises. Advancement in education appears to be based on some rather superficial criteria. Higher education is promoting the sort of people we don’t want in leadership positions.

    And now, as an extension to this disconnect between education and life, higher education appears to have adopted the mindless PC mob mentality in who it advances and who it denigrates. When an ostensibly respectable institution like Cambridge uses this mob rule without evidence or due process to exclude people, one really has to wonder… are these institutions really serving humanity?

    Weren’t these colleges once considered to be safe havens of free thought? Do they still cling to that illusion to justify their actions? This seems to echo the new puritans who try to claim the title of ‘liberal’, while contradicting the very fundamentals of what was once called liberalism?

    It’s a mess. And an expensive one.

    • E. Olson says

      johno – good comment – you wrote: “It’s part social, and part hucksterism. Who publishes the most papers, without a lot of emphasis on quality. Who passes the largest number of students, with no follow up on how those students do in more advanced courses… again, no emphasis on quality. Who makes the ‘right’ noises. Advancement in education appears to be based on some rather superficial criteria. Higher education is promoting the sort of people we don’t want in leadership positions.”

      I think this is a pretty accurate assessment, except for one element. Those who are poor/unproductive at research, or terrible/unpopular at teaching, but who make the “right” (as in Left) noises often get promoted out of the faculty and into administrative positions where they can do maximum damage.

  13. maria says

    Thank you for your article! I enjoyed reading it and I agree with your suggestions and the comment from Kung Lao of dual study programme being a good solution for the future.

    In Europe a classical university degree and even a PhD title is getting less and less worth. In Germany students from dual study programmes have indeed a higher chance to get hired right away while students with a university degree (and no practical experience) need to start on the job market with non-paid or poorly paid internships. This is of course not the case for classical jobs such as doctors (there is a shortage of doctors throughout Europe, but, for example, definitely not for psychologists).
    High impact science journals such as Nature are reporting about the challenge to move the highly rising mass of PhD students and PostDocs back into the work force since the gap between the amount of professorship versus amount of PhD students is shockingly large. I experience that only few people think about this alarming gap and whether they should maybe not start a PhD after all.
    As a PhD student I supervised and saw quite a lot of Master students coming in and out of our research group and none of them were doubting their academic suitability or success. Hence, even with average Master grades and clear signs of anxiety at this stage already (they don’t really have a lot of responsibility during they master project and get a lot of help), they all went on to do a PhD somewhere.

    Higher education after a Bachelor’s degree, hence Master, PhD, PostDoc is not only a highly competitive but also lonely and highly specified which is mainly suited for the tiny fraction of nerds between us.

    It would be great if companies could play a role in an academic reforms, with a dual learning system or sponsoring online courses for young employees.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @Maria
      Good poi ts you make which highljhjt the question of what a PhD is for. To be able to produce high-end knowledge or to get a job in a university? The latter will always be limited and should be so. The former always has value so long as the knowledge produced does.

      What happens most of the PhD’s produce ‘knowledge’ of no value?

    • E. Olson says

      Of course one problem in much of Europe that keeps students in school through the PhD is the lack of attractive employment opportunities in the private sector and the often “free” cost of state subsidized higher education. 10% unemployment makes staying for the MSc or PhD much more interesting than trying to find a job where your income might be taxed at 50+% if you find one.

  14. Sydney says

    I just watched the video. Just in case anyone thinks this ultra-left totalitarian insanity has been limited to ultra-liberal, fringe American colleges, it hasn’t been. Here’s a stratospherically insane billboard (part of a series) that was put up by a mainstream, government-funded public Canadian school board:

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=bc+schools+superintendent+white+privilege+billboard+images&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=19GveoGGg2F7TM%253A%252C_v23QXPmeyxAdM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRmwcZLvMEJPbI4CHG3pkjIN7T6xQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj5meH4iY_iAhWmwFQKHQAqAmYQ9QEwAHoECAkQBA#imgrc=19GveoGGg2F7TM:

    (Or search: bc schools superintendent white privilege billboard images)

  15. Farris says

    The limits of Leftist are once it begins to hurt. Leftist maintain the luxury of be inoculated from the consequences of their policies and actions.
    ““Stanford University has changed the name of two buildings and a mall that had been named for Father Junipero Serra, the heroic 18th-century Spanish founder of the California missions. Serra was reputed to be unkind to the indigenous people whom he sought to convert to Christianity.
    Stanford students and faculty could have found a much easier target in their war against the dead: the eponymous founder of their university, Leland Stanford himself. Stanford was a 19th-century railroad robber baron who brutally imported and exploited Asian labor and was explicit in his low regard for non-white peoples.”
    “Yet it is one thing to virtue-signal by renaming a building and quite another for progressive students to rebrand their university — and thereby lose the prestigious Stanford trademark that is seen as their gateway to career advancement.”
    VDH

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @Farris
      An extremely telling point. A !Rename Stanfod! Movement must be encouraged. It would actually get some traction unlike another one I’ll start fore satire:
      ! Rename OSTASIA-CORTEZ!
      CORTEZ?
      How can anyone ‘represent’ marginalised peoples while flying the flag-name of a European colonialist mass-murderer? Wearing that name is dangerous and does violence to indigenous people whose culture was viciously obliterated by Cortez

      It’s like a Polish MEP using the surname ‘Hitler’ .

  16. Peter says

    Sadly, the article is flawed.

    Getting a STEM degree while working?

    Yes, my experience comes from teaching in Europe, but I saw the American system as well. The better US graduate schools will push the STEM students to the limits of their abilites. Forget about studying part time. Of course one can get an M.A. in Education while working. But I think it would be difficult to get a B.A. with a STEM major at a good US college by studying part time. Correct me if I am wrong. Believe me, it is practically impossible to get a STEM degree by studying part time in Continental Europe. Attempts at that almost always fail.

    Also, US colleges put a lot of emphasis on verbal abilities, which makes it very difficult for those US citizens, who do not speak English at home, to get any degree even at a community college.

    But I agree that in Social Sciences, Humanities, Law … higher education in the West has now often deteriorated, become counterproductive, even dangerous for the society. And the cancer of bureaucracy is spreading….

    • maria says

      The dual studies that were mentioned before are very popular for engineering and computer science subjects, so it’s not necessarily “practically impossible” for STEM students.

      It’s not about whether a STEM student has or hasn’t got time to work next to a STEM degree, but more about the structure and focus of subjects in a dual programme. A dual study STEM student would be taught more applied problems and learning current state of the art techniques. A university programme provides a lot of classes and teaches techniques that have more of an historical/educational purpose.
      I definitely enjoyed and profit from my university classes in a STEM field, but the knowledge we learned was flawed and missed a lot of concepts and techniques from current research. If people follow an academia career they will profit from this historical background knowledge of the field when they have to teach themselves, but outside of academia this knowledge is pretty useless. And even the majority of STEM students are not going to become a professor,

    • Jeff says

      Two of my three of my children were able to graduate with engineering degrees (EE and CS) while working part time. The third also graduated with an engineering degree but was fortunate to have a full scholarship.

      Hard work? Yes. Impossible? Not at all. Takes motivation and an understanding of what real world employers look for when hiring.

  17. Serenity says

    Sydney,

    You are absolutely right. This totalitarian insanity’s gone too far. The left-wing radicals now have fully fledged identity dogma institutionalised by SJW, media and, crucially, by education.

    Hitler: “I begin with the young. We older ones are used up but my magnificent youngsters! Are there finer ones anywhere in the world? Look at all these men and boys! What material! With you and I, we can make a new world.”

    Imbalance of power in favour of liberalism in Western academia disinhibits malevolent behaviour in some and silences the majority.

    To reinstate balance between liberal and conservative Western political thought, it is important to get to the root of the problem – universities and colleges – and replace Liberal Studies with ideologically unbiased courses taught by professors with centrist or conservative worldviews.

    What could be done?

    Conditional funding:
    no more postgraduates in Radical Liberal Studies for the first three years,
    no more funding thereafter.
    “…influx of ed school trained bureaucrats has played a decisive role in pushing an already left-leaning academy so far in the direction of ideological fundamentalism that even liberal progressives are sounding the alarm.” Lyell Asher “How Ed Schools Became a Menace to Higher Education.”

    Redundancy for all administrators from ed schools involved in SJW student training. Few months refresher course in general administration should be part of the redundancy package. This redundancy would reduce cost of tuition in higher education and provide labour market with qualified administrators.

    To be contested as a new member of staff in Humanities applicant should provide published research papers conveying centrist or conservative ideological orientation of the author. This temporary requirement should balance conservative and liberal worldview in Humanities.

    Points above would give silent majority in academia a chance to make their voice heard without fear of SJW retaliation.

    Heterodox Academy would make an excellent independent watchdog.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      All the best arguments begin with a Hitler reference. Never gets old, guys.

      And demanding specific ideological views (of your choosing, of course) replace the views you find problematic? Perfect.

      Another Quillette mastermind getting kicked in the balls by irony.

      • Northern Observer says

        Nakatomi. Your post reads like a confession of guilt.

  18. Matt says

    This is about pushing the religion of equality. It’s too late. There is no stopping this train. And it’s not going to end well.

    I suggest people start learning Spanish now. Move to Chile as soon as you are able.

  19. E Taph says

    Having grown up in the USSR it really does feel like the western world couldn’t help itself but export some of the worst ideas from the former soviet territories. As far as I can tell, all the ‘decolonization’ shtick as of late is essentially just ideological pushback from petty third world authoritarian nationalists for the west’s earlier support to their more egalitarian political opposition. With the internet it became easier to organize your largely ignorant supporters even across borders and the optics can be arranged for any scenario. And the oikophobic part of the western academia that could actually help counter the phenomenon is happily clapping along, as they were also sold the soviet Kto Kogo(who beats whom) to replace the search for truth.

  20. Pingback: Delingpole: Cambridge Caves to Left-Wing Bully Mob, Fires Young Scholar – REAL News 45

  21. Pingback: Delingpole: Cambridge Caves to Left-Wing Bully Mob, Fires Young Scholar | ValuBit

  22. Pingback: When ye shall see these things come among you… – Lord of The Snowflakes

  23. Ray Andrews says

    Hats off to Olson for anchoring the reform party and coming up with some good ideas. My humble suggestion would be, not reform, but a declaration of war. Yes, a war of annihilation. We have the few remaining schools dedicated to truth and learning and the Western liberal tradition, and we have The Social Justice schools. And we make war on them. Perhaps Chicago will be our Wolf’s Lair. Perhaps Evergreen is our first campaign. We publish figures, we have exposes. We methodically destroy the place without mercy. Then we take it over and with great flourish we return it to sanity. BW as first president naturally. See, sane people have been too nice for too long, it really is time to see this as a war for civilization and to win it by whatever means necessary. Haidt as field marshal in chief. Heterodox Academy, meet the Waffen SS. It doesn’t stop until the flag of civilization flies over Cambridge.

  24. Pingback: Delingpole: Cambridge Caves to Left-Wing Bully Mob, Fires Young Scholar | CauseACTION

  25. Ray Andrews says

    @sb

    The snowflakes would think so. We’d brutally remove their safe spaces. No more trigger warnings. White Privilege would run amok (that is, there would be no more affirmative action or DIE). And yes, most of the ‘studies’ professors would probably be looking for jobs back at Starbucks.

    • Serenity says

      Radical means, Ray, attract psychopathy like nothing else. You’ll open Pandora’s box.

      This week former executives at France Télécom and six other former senior executives have gone on trial over a spate of suicides among staff a decade ago.

      France Télécom directors are accused of deliberately creating a culture of anxiety among staff and attempting to push some out by isolating, intimidating or transferring them away from their families. At least 19 members of staff took their own lives, 12 attempted suicide and 12 were signed off for severe depression and related illnesses.

      According to the record of a directors’ meeting in October 2006, published in Le Parisien, Lombard told senior managers: “I’ll get them out one way or another; through the door or through the window.”

      https://www.latribune.fr/technos-medias/telecoms/suicides-a-france-telecom-le-proces-demarre-ce-lundi-816210.html

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Serenity

        That’s a rather unpleasant story. What I have in mind would be unpleasant for the Warriors, but that’s the price of reclaiming our universities and it’s got to be done. We could have safe spaces for the fired Grievance people where they could play with puppies and have coloring books and playdoh. But consider: they would get to feel Oppressed which should make them very happy. Yes, The Patriarchy would be Oppressing them, and proudly so.

      • Ray, Yes, free speech without being accosted or censored is now “radical”. A blind meritocracy is racist, now.

  26. PaulNu says

    I’m not really that concerned about dumb social justice ideas leaking out into the real world. Because they are dumb, they hold back any infected organization. They may have leaked out into some of the biggest tech companies, but that is because the affected companies have very high margins. They can survive some drag on their profitability. Most companies in other industries could not survive that sort of nonsense. That being the case, the companies that allow themselves to be infected will fail. The companies that do not fail will be ones that have successfully resisted infection.

  27. Pingback: Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » A Conversation in the Check-out Line

  28. Stephanie says

    Jordan Peterson has launched a fellowship for students interested in finding innovative alternatives to the traditional higher education structure. Hopefully some of the people coming out of those programs can sustain competitive alternatives.

    I would also like to see research become the domain of private companies. As is, we have the worst of both worlds: government pays for it, but profits are privatised. Monetary gain on research outputs and intellectual property belongs to ludicrously profitable publishing monopolies.

    If government pulled research funding, private companies would need to step up to fund the innovation they need to stay competitive. They would be more competent protecting the research outputs and intellectual property rights, and fund only the research that has the possibility of generating profitable knowledge. Given sufficient room for competition, all valuable avenues of research would find their private niches.

    • Peter says

      Stephanie,

      Who funded Eratosthenes who determined the radius of the Earth more than two thousand years ago? He used the data from governement geometers, too. Did a private company fund Euclid, Archimedes? The hellenistic scientific revolution was based on generous support from the rulers. Did private capital finance Newton, Maxwell etc?

      The anti-intellectualism of the free market fundamentalists, particularly American ones, is really appalling.

      No wonder the adulation of Leonardo da Vinci is strongest in the US. A lone genius without proper education, that can invent everything, is so dear to many Americans. Except he borrowed or copied many ideas from (government funded) hellenistic scientists, that worked 1700 years ago, plus often drew improved versions of ideas of his contemporaries (often with many flaws remaining). And, protecting his intellectual property , he wrote in mirror script and never published the bulk of his drawings, so that they had very little impact on the progress of science and technology.

    • Geofiz says

      Stephanie:

      I began my career in academia but left very early in the game to join ARCO Oil and Gas as a research scientist. We did groundbreaking research in a number of topics and were far ahead of academia in reflection geophysics. WE PUBLISHED VERY LITTLE OF IT!!! In fact, letting the details of some of my research slip could have gotten me fired. And I would have deserved it!!! ARCO was paying me to give then a competitive advantage. Why would they want to throw that away? Hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe billions of dollars were at stake.

      In fact, Bell allowed Penzias and Wilson to publish their Nobel-Prize winning work on CMBR because it was an accidental discovery and of no particular proprietary value. The work they were actually doing, using balloons and evaluate satellites for radio wave transmission was kept proprietary.

      In order for research advances to be made, research must be shared. All scientists build on the advances of others. At ARCO, we were able to make the advances we did because academic and government researchers published their findings. The more fundamental work they did allowed us to make advances in applied science. Eventually some of our stuff got published as well. But if you limit research to private companies, America’s technological lead would come to a crashing grinding halt very very quickly.

      • Geofiz says

        One other minor detail. Without publicly funded research, we would not be having this discussion.

        The Internet would not exist!!!!

  29. doug deeper says

    Stephanie, please let me know what JP fellowship you are referring to. I spoke with him one week ago about a similar project and he did not mention the one you refer to.

    • Geofiz says

      Doug: You and I had this discussion before.

      Geofiz AKA JP

      • Geofiz says

        The other JP – The one that commented on HxA ,not the famous one (Grin)

  30. Pingback: Delingpole: Cambridge Caves to Left-Wing Bully Mob, Fires Young Scholar - Wake Up UK

  31. Jon Burack says

    I had a thought about the Evergreen video. In it, the basic idea about “structural racism” is presented by that horrid woman lecturing-threatening everyone with how they “are invited” to come along, but come along they will anyway. But here’s the odd contradiction. If, as she says, racism is structural, built into society’s hierarchies, even independent (as she says) of any individual or individual’s attitudes, than how come the overwhelming focus of what she and the other administrators at Evergreen are doing involves the monitoring and hectoring of individuals about their attitudes? A true structural or Marxist view ought to lead to an effort to replace the existing hierarchies (perhaps starting even with the administrative hierarchies of the university, perish the thought?). That seems to follow logically from the “theory” these people love to prattle on about. Yet when it comes down to it, what they really want is to monitor the thoughts, feelings and actions of individuals and either transform or punish them. The existing hierarchies are just fine with them.

  32. Big Tech Firm Economist says

    (1) The activities of technology incubators like Bell Labs or Xerox PARC still exist today, but the form has shifted more to a model of start-ups and venture capital, though large tech firms (like the one I work for) also make direct investment in attractive start-ups. Investment firms monitor R&D spend and use complex methods to evaluate this, because it’s an old trick for CEO’s, etc, to boost current earnings by cutting R&D and stealing from future earnings.

    (2) Veblen goods, as you would apply that term to college degrees, would be those that confer exemption from industrial effort and at the same time offer the possessor of these credentials some sense of invidious comparison. Traditionally, these vanity degrees were things like art history, philosophy, etc. The great problem arose when the expansion of government student loan programs went unrestricted to worthless majors, which allowed administrators to expand enrollment and revenues based on students’ future earnings which likely would not materialize, as you accurately point out. This was like creating US government subsidies to grow tropical fruit in Canadian border states. It should not be any surprise that the graduates of these programs have erected their own ideological bio-dome where the harsh realities of the real world can be kept out and their own invidious distinctions are made based on political orthodoxy.

  33. Pingback: They went professional – RoadScholar

  34. I really enjoy your web’s topic. Very creative and friendly for users. Definitely bookmark this and follow it everyday.

  35. estepheavfm says

    The elites that push for globalism and “social justice” cult ideology are international. Many are in the “non-white” category.” Their influence shapes US policy.

  36. Geofiz says

    I have seen these arguments many times before and I sympathize with them. But they almost always refer to the humanities, where enrollments are steadily shrinking. In both STEM and in business the educational system still works and it is still necessary. Most companies are not set up to provide the equivalent of a four-year degree in mechanical engineering, molecular biology or finance. Do you really want your physician to be a high school grad in a work-study program? .Like it or not, corporate and small business America still needs university trained personnel. If you studied math you know this. When you hire a technical person you are making a million-dollar plus bet. Maybe more. No responsible employer, including Theil, is going to make that bet based on Internet courses. And the people at Bell Labs and PARC all had university Ph.D.’s. None were self-trained.

  37. Peter says

    As Geofiz said, do not mix humanities with STEM. You can learn a lot of the stuff in humanities by yourself, on the Internet, or by studying part time. Attending a college will of course polish your abilities in writing and presenting material, teach some discipline , help you develop contacts etc. (It may also brainwash you.)

    STEM is another story.
    Responding to Maria, many European universities have practically oriented STEM studies with less theoretical stuff. German technical colleges seem to implement this kind of teaching plus hands on approach quite well. In my limited experience, these programs will usually attract individuals that are not intellectual stars. Still, the graduates of these practical programs are valuable and can be innovative.

    But for top STEM work and research nowadays you need people with degrees from good universities.

    In the last 50 years, there is not a single case of a person without a university degree in mathematics publishing original research in mathematics. In fact, research is done almost exclusively by professionals, as a rule working in academia or for the government. (An interesting and one-of-a-time exception is the American housewife, who discovered a new case of Penrose tiling. But she majored in mathematics.)

    Credit cards use encryption, based on Algebraic Geometry, a subject that was studied during many decades by researchers in academia just for the sake of being deep, beautiful and very difficult, without any hint it could be useful. The »small government« logic would not permit such work. And no private company would finance it.

    When the SARS epidemic broke out, people were grateful to find one researcher who had studied the so far obscure microorganism and knew a lot about it… Again, probably no private company would be interested in such work, even after the outbreak, as the results would come too late.

    In the “soft” sciences, situation is often very different. How many practically relevant results have come from research in education?

    Thousands of doctoral theses and articles on Human Rights came AFTER the major battles were won and IMHO are causing more harm than good. They influence the law and the “noble” principles help mostly criminals and terrorists. The subject now seems to dominate law schools.

    Half a century after colonies disappeared we now have a flood of “research” on “Decolonization”, again with highly politicized conclusions.

    Every year there are a couple of thousand new scientific articles on Shakespeare. How much do they really contribute? I guess the real novelties would fit in a few articles.

  38. Ted Peters says

    Repression of discomforting thoughts is a universal human psychological trait.We all harbor intolerable conflicts and anxieties within that are extant from our earliest developmental struggles to separate from our mothers and form our own identities. To the degree that we fail in this maturation process we develop false identities which we fiercely defend because the alternative is mental/emotional chaos (which is what occurs if we undertake a dynamic psycho-dynamic therapy). The most impaired humans are therefore the most intolerant and are bigots against those who seem different in any way.

  39. Pingback: After Academia | TrumpsMinutemen

  40. Pingback: After Academia | CauseACTION

  41. Greggore says

    What is happening is the politicization of education, science, history and socialization from Academia and Global corporations. This politicization is attempting to divide our nations and populations all the while training new SJW minions to physically spread the word of Identity Politics.

    The public now sees it, smells it and is starting to reject it…hence the populism.

    At what point does Academia back down or doubles down on their ideology?

    In the long run, they won’t win but they will destroy University education and perhaps it is time to end it and rebuild a new post secondary education format. We cannot move forward until we end identity politics. No one should suffer from others based on their race, gender or politics.

  42. Tersitus says

    Watching the video clips of Evergreen reminds of nothing so much as a prison taken over by it’s inmates.

  43. Tersitus says

    Q— still need an edit button badly to offset the excesses of hairtrigger spellcheck.

  44. President Trump has elected, by executive order, to take the federal government out of K-12 education nationwide and that means that local and state governments can once again determine how and what they want taught in their classrooms. I am hoping the next big step will be to get the federal government out of the tuition business. It would, hopefully, put a lot of the places like Evergreen out of business and force larger colleges and universities to invest their own money into their students. Having to do that may force them to confront the thugs now controlling campuses and put them in their place. Corporations are already expending millions in tuition assistance. Luckily, they expect bang for their buck and don’t have time for all this nonsense

  45. Henry Miller says

    Half a century ago in China, Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” was an era of violently enforced conformity with what amounted to a compulsory state religion. The insanity lasted about a decade.

    Today in the West, we’re seeing a similar era of fanaticism, but this, too, shall pass. People get tired of shrieking fanatics–after a while, you run out of vanities with which to sustain the bonfires.

    • One can only hope. I suspect it could happen, actually. Look at Ocasio’s arc — from absolute wonder child whose presence demands deference at all times, to “oh, yeah…she’s great, I guess…is she still saying that sh$%? still getting things wrong?, etc.” in half a year. The people who worshipped her are now rolling their eyes when speaking amongst themselves.

      Institutionally it’ll be a harder slog, no doubt. But God, I hope.

  46. Pingback: After Academia | Big Sky Headlines

  47. John Radzilowski says

    It is a nice theory I suppose. Creating a new educational free of corruption where we learn for learning’s sake…. Similar dreams inspired the creation of places like Evergreen way back when and we can see how that’s turned out. Universities represent a tremendous accumulation of capital (intellectual, cultural, and financial) that can’t be easily reproduced, replaced or done away with. Radical solutions sound appealing but in the end the result will be just a different flavor of the worst abuses we have now.

    Speaking from “the belly of beast” there is a lot of corruption in academia but not everything is Evergreen or power mad leftists running amok. Academia reflects society as much as it shapes that society. We live in a culture that refuses to recognize truth that is fixed or transcendent. You can’t re-create a system of ‘classical’ education in such a culture.

  48. Dan Krchak says

    This article illustrates what is happening to good ole American Common sense under the assault by the Leftist Cult against Western Civilization.

    the Coming Cascade of ‘Americanism’ Election…..

    One Picture Equals 1000 Words…..
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/141620822@N02/47852754601/in/dateposted-public/

    [You can enlarge the meme by clicking the >< double arrows in the upper right corner]

    [Please do forward this meme to friends and family in your circle of Influence, by clicking the curved arrow in the lower right corner]

    [Please read the attached explanation of the meme’s full message in the comment section below the meme]

  49. I am just really thrilled to see the attention this worthy piece got. Eventually I’ll work down through all comments. Just need a bit of time.

  50. Pingback: After Academia - Sovereign Nations

  51. drjh says

    the bat wielders are not students
    they are criminals
    students study . they learn
    criminals go to jail or, at the least, are put out of the educational facility.

Leave a Reply