Category Archives: Academia

Tomorrowland Has Fallen! by John Michael Greer

The managerial class’s claims to competence and integrity are no longer believed. Covid is just the latest illustration. From John Michael Greer at ecosophia.net:

Has anyone else noticed just how odd it is that so many people on the progressive end of our cultural landscape are frantically trying to convince everyone that the Omicron variant, the latest mutation of the Covid-19 cold virus, really is the end of the world? I freely grant that a lot of people are ill just now—that’s what usually happens in the temperate zone’s winter, you know, when the latest respiratory viruses make their rounds.  I grant just as freely that hospitals are scrambling to keep up—many of them have laid off up to half their staff as a result of vaccine mandates, after all, and they’re being besieged by mobs of people who have been convinced by the media that ordinary cold symptoms mean they’re about to die.

The result is a collective frenzy being eagerly fed by a great many people. Of course it’s not surprising that the corporate media would push scare stories at full volume. Whoring out the news to sell advertising space is their stock in trade, and “if it bleeds, it leads” has taken precedence over responsible journalism since before there was responsible journalism.  Still, this isn’t limited to the media.  A great many people seem remarkably eager to insist that the pandemic can’t be winding down. In that eagerness I sense the approach of convulsive change.

Granted, a case can be made that there are practical if unmentionable reasons for this habit of sedulously cultivated panic. To begin with, as Freddie deBoer has pointed out in a trenchant post, being terrified of the Covid virus has become a venue for status competition among members of the privileged classes.  It’s an old story, at least as old as that fine fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”  Just as the princess in the story showed her royal status by being so hypersensitive that she could feel a single dry pea under seven mattresses, our current princesses—and princes, to be sure—display their status by insisting that they can contract a virus through seven face masks.

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The Ungracious – and Their Demonization of the Past, by Victor Davis Hanson

Demonize not those generations which preceded yours, lest yours is demonized by generations to come. From Victor Davis Hanson at townhall.com:

The Ungracious - and Their Demonization of the Past

Source: AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

The last two years have seen an unprecedented escalation in a decades-long war on the American past. But there are lots of logical flaws in attacking prior generations in U.S. history.

Critics assume their own judgmental generation is morally superior to those of the past. So, they use their own standards to condemn the mute dead who supposedly do not measure up to them.

Yet 21st-century critics rarely acknowledge their own present affluence and leisure owe much to history’s prior generations whose toil helped create their current comfort.

And what may future scolds say of the modern generation that saw over 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, even as fetal viability outside the womb continued to progress to ever earlier ages?

What will our grandchildren say of us who dumped on them over $30 trillion in national debt – much of it as borrowing for entitlements for ourselves?

What sort of society snoozes as record numbers of murders continue in 12 of its major cities? What is so civilized about defunding the police, endemic smash-and-grab thefts, and car jackings?

Was our media more responsible, professional, and learned in 1965 or 2021? Did Hollywood make more sophisticated and enjoyable films in 1954 or 2021? Was there less or more sportsmanship among professional athletes in 1990 or 2021?

Was it actually moral to discard the “content of our character” and “equal opportunity” principles of the prior Civil Rights movement of 60 years ago? Are their replacement fixations on the “color of our skin” and “equality of result” superior?

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Alumni Are Now Withholding Donations Over Too Much Censorship On Campus, by Tyler Durden

Why would alumni give money to a school that promotes values antithetical to their own? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The censorship on college campuses is getting to such a fever pitch that alumni are now withholding donations in an attempt to get colleges to “enforce free speech”.

For example, the Wall Street Journal reports that when Cornell reached out to alumnus Carl Neuss for a seven-figure check, he responded by saying he was “worried about what he saw as liberal indoctrination on campus and declining tolerance toward competing viewpoints.”

So, it turns out it isn’t the snowflakes that head out into the real world and make the millions, we guess?

When the school put Neuss in touch with their “moderate” political staff, the staff complained that they were “humiliated” by the diversity training that the school mandates.

“If you say the wrong words, you could lose your position or be shunned,” Neuss told the WSJ.

Joel Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations, told the paper that “robust debate and a discussion of all views remain hallmarks of the Cornell experience both in and out of the classroom.”

Instead of donating, Neuss then helped start the Cornell Free Speech Alliance – described by the WSJ as “one of about 20 such dissident alumni organizations that have taken root on college campuses over the last couple of years.”

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The Rhodes Scholars Are Back, And They’re Still Proof Of America’s Laughingstock Elite, by Revolver

The Rhodes Scholar people have always looked for people who might be the next generation of world leaders. With woke ideology reigning among the ruling class, it’s no surprise they’re conferring their scholarships among up and coming wokesters. From Revolver at revolver.news:

Late last year, the Rhodes Trust capped off a cartoonish 2020 by naming the most preposterous set of Rhodes Scholars in American history. Twenty-one out of thirty-two scholars that year were “of color,” ten were black, one was an illegal immigrant, one was “non-binary,” and virtually all of them were distinguished by a fanatical commitment to left-wing ideological fads of the moment. It was a worthy end to 2020. In a year symbolized by “racial reckoning” and the visible decay of every American institution, one of the most thoroughly-gutted and skin-suited once-great relics of the old America delivered a worshipful tribute to open borders, reparations, and diversity über alles.

“I think last year’s class may actually have embarrassed them a little bit,” a former Rhodes Scholar told Revolver.

Embarrassed or not, this year’s class is once again a murderer’s row of “elite” college graduates whose chief interests are almost wholly aligned with the chosen values of the moment in the Globalist American Empire. And improbably enough, 2021’s Rhodes Scholars may be an even bigger indictment of the supposed elite that appoints them.

This year’s class is less in-your-face and less fanatically focused on Diversity, but thanks to that, they are more authentically diverse, and show the wide scope of America’s political obsessions. This year’s class is still amply racialized and LGBT, but it’s also more than two-thirds women (a record). And in a fitting marker of how real freedom of thought is vanishing from American public life, the Rhodes press release proudly trumpets the work one Scholar has done to suffocate speech even more.

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Is College Worthwhile? A Two-Time Dropout’s Take, by James Bovard

Nothing learned in college is nearly as valuable as teaching yourself how to learn on your own. From James Bovard at lewrockwell.com:

President Biden is tub-thumping for Congress to create new federal handouts to make college free for the vast majority of students. But as Ryan McMaken and other commentators on mises.org have pointed out, college is vastly overpriced and overrated nowadays.

My view on college stems from my experience as a two-time dropout. I was frightfully bored in high school and had mediocre grades. Almost immediately after my compulsory schooling ended, my long-lost love of reading revived. A month before I began attending Virginia Tech, a kindly neighbor gave me the University of Chicago Great Books list, which became my road map to the best writings of Western civilization. Reading authors such as Montaigne, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Emerson, and John Stuart Mill awoke portions of my mind that I never knew existed. I was unaware that I was loitering in mental neutral until those classics jolted my mind into a higher gear.

Early in my first quarter at college, I aspired to getting all As. But, after a few hooey-laden tests, I recognized that professors were demanding something different than what I was seeking. Many of the textbooks felt like heavy blankets smothering my mind. I was confounded to see most fellow students never venture beyond the books professors assigned them. They acted as if a secret zoning mandate permitted using only government-approved building materials for their own minds.

I spent far more time reading old books unrelated to my courses that quarter than I did on class assignments. The more active my mind became, the less I could endure tenured droning. I believed that I was more likely to develop my potential on my own than by hunkering down in a classroom. After sloughing most of my teenage years, I felt like I was far behind mentally compared to where I should have been.

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The ‘other’ deficit is near an all-time high, by Simon Black

Trust in America’s major institutions has evaporated. The alternative media probably enjoys more trust than most if not all of them. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

It’s only Wednesday, and yet it’s already been a terrible weak for America’s record-setting deficit.

And no, I’m not talking about the country’s record-high fiscal deficits, which include the eye-popping $50+ trillion Social Security shortfall, and the $28.5 trillion national debt.

I’m actually referring to an even bigger deficit– one of the biggest the country has ever faced.

It’s larger than the national debt, the Social Security shortfall, the COVID bailouts, and just about every financial deficit combined.

I’m talking about America’s trust deficit… the massive chasm of skepticism and doubt that stands between the citizens and their once-venerated institutions.

Just over the last few weeks, for example, we saw the disgraceful retreat from Afghanistan, followed by even more disgraceful finger-pointing that really widened the trust deficit.

Hunter Biden’s dad insisted that the intelligence community advised him that Afghanistan would NOT fall to the Taliban.

Then suddenly a number of classified documents were leaked showing that various intelligence agencies had warned about a Taliban takeover.

Hunter Biden’s dad then insisted that ‘the generals’ were all on board with a complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by August 31.

But the generals themselves publicly disputed his assertion.

The lies are bad enough. But it’s the constant bickering, finger-pointing, and illegal leaks of classified information that make the trust deficit grow.

Two weeks ago we also saw revelations that Facebook has been lying to everyone; senior officials, going all the way to the top of the company, knew fully well that the company was selectively allowing certain personalities to violate content guidelines and post whatever they wanted.

Facebook has told everyone– its users, Congress, and even its own oversight board– that it treats all users the same.

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American Universities And The NCAA Are Failing Student-Athletes Like John Stokes, by James Grosevenor

If a college make student-athletes (at the schools I went to, UCLA and UC Berkeley, they were athlete-students) get a vaccination as a condition of playing their sport or receiving their scholarships, how does the college escape liability when someone like John Stokes experiences severe adverse effects? From James Grosvenor at lewrockwell.com:

The John Stokes story is one of failure on behalf of American universities and organizations like the NCAA to follow data and treat students as free-thinking adults.

Here’s the backstory:

John Stokes’ senior year golf season at Tennessee State University (TSU) has been ruined, and his life is now in jeopardy. The 21 year-old OVC Medal of Honor recipient was diagnosed with myocarditis at Vanderbilt hospital on September 4, four days after receiving his second dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. Stokes was unaware of the potential side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, including the alarming data involving myocarditis in young men from the Pfizer vaccine.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, which reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood and leads to rapid or abnormal heart rhythms. This condition can often cause symptoms similar to heart attacks, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and abnormal heartbeats[i].

Stokes had not previously been infected with COVID-19. He had no pre-existing medical conditions. He was a perfectly healthy young athlete. Before receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Stokes was told by TSU staff there would likely be a vaccine mandate at the university. While there had been no vaccine mandates for Tennessee public universities, state case numbers were climbing due to the delta variant, a few private universities in the state had mandated vaccines, and there was growing public demand for the state to implement mandates at public institutions. Stokes feared he would be unable to participate in his senior season without receiving the vaccine, so he decided to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

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Academia Is Establishing A Permanent Surveillance Bureaucracy That Will Soon Govern The Rest Of The Country, by Michael Tracey

By the time people leave college, they will be so used to being watched they won’t mind at all when the government continues to do so. From Michael Tracey at mtracey.substack.com:

Image by Mark Breck via GettyImages

Having now received a tsunami of messages from people across the US (and a few internationally) about the surveillance regimes being permanently installed at their educational institutions — in contravention of earlier assurances that the current academic year would mark a long-awaited “return to normalcy,” thanks to the onset of mass vaccination — there are a few conclusions to draw.

First: unless and until COVID “cases” are abandoned as a metric by which policy action is presumptively dictated, these institutions are destined to continue flailing from irrational measure to irrational measure for the foreseeable future. Just turn your gaze over to one of America’s most hallowed pedagogical grounds: As of September 17, Columbia University has newly forbidden students from hosting guests, visiting residence halls other than their own, and gathering with more than ten people. The stated rationale for these restrictions? Administrators have extrapolated from the “contact tracing” data they’ve compulsorily seized that a recent increase in viral transmission is attributable to “students socializing unmasked at gatherings in residence halls and at off-campus apartments, bars, and restaurants.” (Socializing at apartments, bars, and restaurants in the middle of Manhattan — gee, I can’t imagine anything more heinous.)

Just like Connecticut College and so many other institutions I’ve been taking flurries of messages about, Columbia has already mandated vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff, and is approaching 100% compliance. But as has now been made abundantly clear, for many people in positions of bureaucratic authority, universal vaccination was never going to be sufficient for a transition away from the “Permanent Emergency” mode of COVID exegetical theology. The perverse incentives are easy to grasp. These administrators have so much invested in the infrastructure of “case” detection they’ve constructed over the past year and a half — not to mention the wider ideological project of “stopping the spread” at all costs — that it’s impossible to imagine conditions under which they’d voluntarily move to dismantle the surveillance systems over which they preside. And not just because the new powers conferred by this infrastructure — the ability to micromanage the private lives of young adults, track and adjudicate the propriety of their movements, etc. — is probably creepily intoxicating on a level these administrators may not be overtly conscious of, and in any event would almost certainly never publicly admit.

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There’s An Insane “Australia-Style” Lockdown Happening Right Now In The US, by Michael Tracey

People are paying close to $80,000 per year to be stripped of their civil liberties. From Michael Tracey at mtracey.substack.com:

 
Connecticut College – NBC Connecticut
Image via NBC Connecticut

Much to the chagrin of many thousands of internet commenters, I’ve never thought that COVID, at least in the first instance, was any sort of concerted conspiracy or plot. It seemed doubtful that global health bureaucrats — or whichever other co-conspirators are alleged to have been involved in hatching the scheme — could be so ruthlessly competent at doing much of anything.

That being said: enough already. It’s long past time to stop extending any benefit of the doubt to the hordes of profiteers, neurotics, and control freaks who still incessantly use COVID as an excuse to flaunt their pathologies and micromanage everyone else’s life. To the extent these hyperventilating moralizers wield power, every effort should be made to strip them of it.

Most (sane) observers now acknowledge that COVID is well on its way to becoming an endemic disease, and will not be fully eradicated any time soon, if ever. Therefore it stands to reason that COVID has ceased to be an issue which ought to compel everyone’s constant, hyperventilating attention; nor does it any longer constitute an acute “crisis.” And so whichever factions have a vested interest — commercially, institutionally, politically, or otherwise — in maintaining the appearance of “crisis” need to be treated not just with intensifying skepticism, but when appropriate (which is often) outright contempt.

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My University Sacrificed Ideas for Ideology. So Today I Quit. by Peter Boghossian

When freedom of speech goes in an academic environment, there goes the academy. From Peter Boghassian at bariweiss.substack.com:

The more I spoke out against the illiberalism that has swallowed Portland State University, the more retaliation I faced.

Peter Boghossian has taught philosophy at Portland State University for the past decade. In the letter below, sent this morning to the university’s provost, he explains why he is resigning.

Dear Provost Susan Jeffords,

​​I’m writing to you today to resign as assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University.

Over the last decade, it has been my privilege to teach at the university. My specialties are critical thinking, ethics and the Socratic method, and I teach classes like Science and Pseudoscience and The Philosophy of Education. But in addition to exploring classic philosophers and traditional texts, I’ve invited a wide range of guest lecturers to address my classes, from Flat-Earthers to Christian apologists to global climate skeptics to Occupy Wall Street advocates. I’m proud of my work.

I invited those speakers not because I agreed with their worldviews, but primarily because I didn’t. From those messy and difficult conversations, I’ve seen the best of what our students can achieve: questioning beliefs while respecting believers; staying even-tempered in challenging circumstances; and even changing their minds.

I never once believed  nor do I now  that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.

But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.

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