Category Archives: Academia

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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Victor Davis Hanson: The American Descent Into Madness

Insanity ascends. From Victor Davis Hanson at amgreatness.com:

Nations have often gone mad in a matter of months. The French abandoned their supposedly idealistic revolutionary project and turned it into a monstrous hell for a year between July 1793 and 1794. After the election of November 1860, in a matter of weeks, Americans went from thinking secession was taboo to visions of killing the greatest number of their fellow citizens on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Mao’s China went from a failed communist state to the ninth circle of Dante’s Inferno, when he unleashed the Cultural Revolution in 1966.

In the last six months, we have seen absurdities never quite witnessed in modern America. Madness, not politics, defines it. There are three characteristics of all these upheavals. One, the events are unsustainable. They will either cease or they will destroy the nation, at least as we know it. Two, the law has largely been rendered meaningless. Three, left-wing political agendas justify any means necessary to achieve them.

Citizenship as Mere Residency

Two million people are anticipated to cross the southern border, en masse and illegally, over a 12-month period. If that absurdity were to continue, we would be adding the equivalent of a major U.S. city every year. The new arrivals have three things in common: Their first act was to break U.S. law by entering the country. Their second was to break the law by residing here illegally. And their third will be to find false identification or other illegal means to continue breaking the law. One does not arrive as a guest in a foreign country and immediately violate the laws of his host—unless one holds those laws in contempt.

Arrivals now cross a border that had been virtually closed to illegal immigration by January 2021. In the cynical and immoral logic of illegal immigration (that cares little for the concerns either of would-be legal immigrants or U.S. citizens), arrivals will be dependent upon the state and thus become constituents of progressives who engineered their arrival.

Yet the issue is not illegal immigration per se. If protests were to continue in Cuba, and 1 million Cubans boated to Miami, the Biden Administration would stop the influx, in terror that so many anti-Communists might tip Florida red forever.

How strange that the U.S. government is considering going door-to-door to bully the unvaccinated, even as it ignores the daily influx of thousands from Mexico and Latin America, without worrying whether they are carrying or vaccinated for COVID-19. Meanwhile, the progressive media shrilly warns that the new Delta Variant of the virus is exploding south of the border. Note how the administration applies standards to its own citizens that it does not apply to foreign nationals illegally entering the country.

Get an Education, by Jeff Thomas

There’s a huge difference between being schooled and being educated. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Get an Education

Back in the ’60s, an interviewer asked the “King of Folk Music”, Bob Dylan, what his goal in life was. Bob answered something to the effect of:

“I want to make enough money to go to college, so one day I can be somebody.”

Bob had a good sense of irony. And certainly, he was always more inclined to think outside the box than to follow the well-trodden path. That was part of what made him so interesting and part of what made him so successful. A similar sentiment was expressed in a song by his peer, Paul Simon:

“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”

In those days, just like today, the customary idea of success was that you attended university for a number of years, you received a degree, and then you would be given a job where you could wear a necktie and receive a salary that had an extra zero behind it.

Then, as now, that’s quite true for anyone who seeks a career in engineering, medicine, law, etc., but less so for virtually everyone else. Those who pursue a degree in gender studies or 18th-century French literature are likely to find that, after they graduate, they’ve learned little or nothing that translates into potential income.

Of course, universities value such courses highly and professors love to teach them. After all, they never really left school themselves. They went straight from being students to being teachers and never had to learn to be productive in the larger world. As such, they are the very worst advisors to students wondering what courses to take in order to one day seek employment.

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Sitting Ducks: Second UChicago Student Slaughtered in Six Months While Liberal Admin Boosts the War on Cops, by Revolver

That many University of Chicago academics refuse to acknowledge the crime wave engulfing Chicago gives new meaning to the term “ivory tower.” From Revolver at revolver.news:

The latest tragic victim of Chicago’s third-world crime surge is a young Computer Science major at the University of Chicago. His name was Max Lewis, and he had his whole life ahead of him until a stray bullet barreled through his neck while he was riding Chicago Metro’s Green Line, just blocks from former President Obama’s Hyde Park Home. From the Daily Mail:

A 20-year-old University of Chicago student was killed by a stray bullet while riding in a subway train on his way home from his prestigious summer internship at an investment firm in a downtown neighborhood.

Max Lewis, a rising junior at the university, was seated on a CTA Green Line train at around 6.30pm on July 1 when the bullet flew through a window and struck him in the back of the neck.

According to the description of a GoFundMe campaign, the train was stopped at the 51st Street/Washington Park station at the time of the shooting.

Lewis was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was taken off life support on the Fourth of July.

Slain UChicago student Max Lewis

Chicago has already seen nearly 400 murders in 2021. There were 20 Windy City murders over the Fourth of July weekend alone, and that’s not even counting the killing of Lewis, who was shot on Thursday.

Remarkably, Lewis isn’t even the first UChicago student to be murdered this year. In January, spree killer Jason Nightengale murdered Ph.D student Yiran Fan along with four others in a spree that stretched from the South Side up to Evanston.

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Almost Overnight, Standards of Color-Blind Merit Tumble Across American Society, by Richard Bernstein

Do you want to be operated on by a doctor whose primary qualification to get into med school was that he or she filled some quota? From Richard Bernstein at realclearinvestigations.com:

A broad revolution is underway in the United States as traditional standards used to measure achievement and provide opportunity are being rejected by schools, corporations, and governments in favor of quotas based on race and gender.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
With Vice President Kamala Harris looking on, Biden uses his pen to signal an end to the nation’s long held principle of equal treatment for all.

On taking office, President Biden signaled that the nation’s long-held principle of equality for all had come to an end, signing executive orders to advance racial equity “across the Federal Government” — equity referring to the idea that merely treating everybody the same is not enough, and that an equal outcome for all people has to be the goal.

Over the last few months, many Ivy League and flagship state universities have moved away from a seemingly neutral measure long used to assess applicants – standardized test scores – to give minorities a better shot at admissions.

In May, Hewlett-Packard, the technology company with 50,000 employees worldwide, decreed that by 2030 half of its leadership positions and more than 30% of its technicians and engineers have to be women and that the number of minorities should “meet or exceed” their representation in the tech industry workforce.

That same month, United Airlines announced that half of the 5,000 pilots it would train at its proprietary flight school between now and 2030 will be women or people of color, with scholarships provided by United and JPMorgan Chase helping with tuition. There was nothing in the United announcement showing that there were enough qualified blacks and women in the pipeline so that a black/female quota of 2,500 new pilots could be filled, and nothing about what the company would do if there weren’t enough qualified candidates.

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Doug Casey on Why Most People Outsource Their Thinking to “The Experts”

Many people don’t even have any thinking to outsource. They just want to be told what to do. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

the experts

International Man: Thanks to the internet and modern technology, the average person can now access information on almost any topic with relative ease.

But it seems people are doing less critical thinking than ever.

Why do you think that is the case?

Doug Casey: Technology is a double-edged sword when it comes to critical thinking. It’s paradoxical that something so associated with knowledge and research is often at odds with wisdom. I think that’s partly because today’s technology offers instant answers—no thought required. You can go to Google, and an answer is at your fingertips. It doesn’t require research or thought—the answer just appears. It subtly obviates the need for contemplation.

Let’s first define what critical thinking is. I’d say it’s the process of questioning the validity of the assumptions and the accuracy of the data for everything. A critical thinker never assumes or takes anything for granted.

We can’t always be sure what the quality of a googled answer is, but most people assume it’s honest and correct. However, considering the nature of the people who run Google, Wikipedia, and websites of that nature, I prefer to assume that the quality of many answers is low.

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