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“Affirmative action” means hiring people because they can’t do the job well. Near-synonyms are “diversity,” meaning groups that cannot do the job well, and “inclusiveness,” which means seeking people who you know cannot do the job well. These underpin American society, and have ruined education. For some time the sciences seemed less susceptible to the... Read More
To say that academic elites don’t like ordinary folks is to state the obvious. To them, Lanford, Illinois—the fictional, archetypal, working-class town, made famous by Roseanne and Dan Conner—is not to be listened to, but tamed. A well-functioning democracy depends on it. Taming Fishtown—Charles Murray’s version of Landford—is the thread that seems to run through... Read More
Amy Wax, a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania is now being subjected to a SECOND Two Minutes Hate by our Emerging Totalitarian Left. I should say—having some slight acquaintance with the lady—that Professor Wax is a formidable person to take on in combat, not only intellectually but also in personality. I... Read More
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Debating THE CULTURE OF CRITIQUE
After 20 years of silence from academics, Nathan Cofnas has written a comprehensive critical review of The Culture of Critique in an academic venue. I have been waiting for this to happen and was beginning to think it never would. Academics want their work to be taken seriously, and honest academics value the rough and... Read More
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In open, civilized societies there is a tolerance for some level of disorder, as being the price citizens collectively pay for their liberties. But the key words in what I just said: “some level.” Today, in the year 2018, we are fifty years on from 1968, when public tolerance of disorder was tested to breaking... Read More
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American higher education evolves slowly but, every so often it becomes convulsed, enters the crisis mode and hundreds of millions are spent on newly created projects. Since WW II at least two such crises some six decades apart have occurred, and it is hard to imagine two more unlike events. The first was America’s response... Read More
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But Maybe That’s Good For Americans?
There hasn’t been a whole lot of news about the Department of Justice investigation of Harvard University since I last mentioned the issue back in August. To refresh your memory: the DOJ was responding to a complaint from a coalition of Asian-American groups that their people, Asian-Americans, are discriminated against by Harvard admissions officers. Back... Read More
Berry Library at Dartmouth: not a \"safe space\" for white students, assaulted by \"Black Lives Matter\" demonstrators in 2015.
The Extraordinary Case of Macklin Fleming and Affirmative Action
I recently got to meet social psychologist Lee Jussim [Email him] of Rutgers University. Back in 2001 I had reviewed a book Dr. Jussim had written in collaboration with two other scholars, book title Stereotype Accuracy: Toward Appreciating Group Differences. My review was titled “Stereotypes Aren’t So Bad,” which is more or less the message... Read More
The SPLC headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) has been called the Father of Modern Science. So it is fitting that he was, perhaps, the first scientist to be censured and silenced by political forces represented in his day by the Catholic Church. The issue then was evidence Galileo presented supporting the Copernican heliocentric model of the solar system that... Read More
Derb Williams College Talk Cancelled After Violence Threats –President Falk Caved!
Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an op-ed by Zachary Wood (above) the Williams College student who invited me to speak to his “Uncomfortable Learning” group last February. The invitation was rescinded by the college president, Adam Falk “in the best interests of students and our community.” You can read Wood’s op-ed at the Journal website... Read More
Free speech is not doing particularly well on today’s college campuses. The good news is that resistance to the little commissars is mobilizing; the bad news is that this “resistance” consists almost entirely of abstract scholarly essays or grandiloquent soapbox speeches (see here, for example). Indeed, these pontifications have reached industrial scale proportions and scarcely... Read More
Champions of campus intellectual freedom now play a Whac-A-Mole game. The University imposes an unconstitutional speech code, organizations like F.I.R.E threaten litigation, the university drops the code and instead creates a tiny “free speech zone” that requires one month prior written permission for its use. Then, when that ruse is exposed, the university forms “bias... Read More
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Here is Justin Murphy describing his background, research, and activism: So Murphy is an academic on the left. He is therefore part of the establishment, a card-carrying member of the institutional structure that dominates intellectual discourse in the West. But, unlike the vast majority of his academic brethren, he is quite aware that the left... Read More
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Today’s college campuses are hotbeds of anti-intellectual insanity—a world of micro- aggressions, trigger warnings, safe spaces, speech codes, cultural appropriations and mandatory sensitivity training where the slightest impolite utterance, regardless of intent or heartfelt apologies can result in harsh punishment. Can this be reversed? The answer is “yes” but this will require a devious pathway... Read More
Some of the most fun I’ve had as a writer was compiling the education chapter (Chapter Six) of We Are Doomed. For the connoisseur of human folly, education is a banquet. I wrote: Sane books about education do occasionally get published, though. Two years ago almost to the day, I reviewed one such here at... Read More
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How can a heretic safely and openly discuss taboo topics? Not easy, particularly on today’s intolerant university campuses, but history shows multiple tactics to overcome censorship. It’s just a question of being creative and knowing the limits. Familiar examples have included using non-human parables—think Animal Farm— substituting the neutral sounding euphemisms such as “at-risk youngster”... Read More
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For ‘Grandpapa’ H.G. Wells
“From Bangor off the Atlantic to San Diego in the Pacific, an Iron Fog is descending around the U.S.A. Behind its periphery lie all the cities of the United States of America. New York, Dallas, Chicago, and San Francisco, all these famous cities and the populations that lie around them are subject to the obfuscation... Read More
The US Constitution applies to US citizens, and the amendments known as the Bill of Rights guarantee due process as a protection of US citizens’ civil liberties. That’s the theory but not the practice. Trump’s travel ban applies to non-US citizens, primarily to refugees from the Bush/Obama bombings of numerous Muslim countries. Some of these... Read More
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Does anyone remember my column of nine years ago called “Letter of Termination to the White Race?” I don’t believe we know who really wrote this letter — or why, but the point is, it paints a chilling picture of what is in fact happening to the White race right before our eyes. For instance,... Read More
Recently, one of my neighbors saw students from Elizabethtown College, where I taught for many years, walking down the street wearing what looked like the puzzle pieces featured as symbols by Autistic Awareness. When he asked why they were wearing the all-white puzzle pieces, one of the coeds proudly explained that they were dramatizing the... Read More
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No matter how you slice or dice it, today’s universities, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, are intellectual wastelands often more committed to propagating the Leftist faith than knowledge. The campus vocabulary says it all: trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions, social justice warriors, cultural appropriation, speech codes, and disinviting --while many instructors are obsessed... Read More
The Perversion of Education and the Need for Radical Reform
Dr. Bruce Frohnen has written a strikingly topical article in The Imaginative Conservative. It is titled, "History, Hate & Hysteria: The Unhinging of the Academic Left," and it should be read by all educators, especially those in history and the social sciences. In it Professor Frohnen examines the current state of academia and of higher... Read More
150 masked “protesters” at Cal Berkeley, precisely 0.0039 percent of the 38,000 student body was all it took to shut down free speech at the University of California, Berkeley. The protesters are so confused that they see the shutdown as a victory for free speech. Something is wrong here. The 150 violent protesters are masked,... Read More
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Events on today’s university campuses will drive a sane person crazy. This is a world where privileged youngsters feel “oppressed” by America’s “whiteness,” where African American students are disrespected by buildings named after long deceased slave owners, where professors post trigger warnings to shield cupcakes from potentially upsetting readings and on and on. Unfortunately, student... Read More
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For nearly a half century the Right and Left have battled over Big Ideas and, at least to me, it is abundantly clear that “conservatives” (regardless of particular stripe) have suffered one defeat after another. Whether in the universities, government regulations, the mass media or the popular culture, let alone transforming the English language into... Read More
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The Politically Correct assault on the university is relentless but the University of Chicago has recently seemingly provided a victory for fans of intellectual freedom. John Ellison, Chicago’s Dean of Students sent a letter to the incoming freshmen class stating, "You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous... Read More
American universities are a mess, everything from embracing merit-killing diversity, enrolling guaranteed –to fail dummies, hiring parasitic Deans of Inclusion to permitting thugs to stifle free speech. And this list hardly ends the tale of woe. All are shakedown and no matter how stupid or costly, the campus apparatchiki surrender at the first sign of... Read More
Berry Library at Dartmouth: not a \"safe space\" for white students, assaulted by \"Black Lives Matter\" demonstrators in November. Credit: VDare.com.
Living as a white guy in America after having grown up elsewhere, I must say, I don’t see much ill-will towards blacks among my fellow whites. There are traces of it, I know; I read the comment threads. The vast majority of white Americans, however, wish no harm to blacks, nor any restriction of their... Read More
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Dear ___, You asked how college was when I was a kid, in the late Epicene, and what I thought of schools today. Herewith an answer which I will probably post on my website as I think the matter important: Much has changed. Long ago, before 1965 say, college was understood to be for the... Read More
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Student Protest, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the Rise of the Corporate University
During the past academic year, an upsurge of student activism, a movement of millennials, has swept campuses across the country and attracted the attention of the media. From coast to coast, from the Ivy League to state universities to small liberal arts colleges, a wave of student activism has focused on stopping climate change, promoting... Read More
Much of our future is reliably unpredictable, and what more so than the moments when mass movements suddenly break out and sweep across our world? Who expected, for example, that for perhaps the first time in history hundreds of thousands of people would hit the streetsof U.S. cities and towns -- and millions the global... Read More
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There have been some later developments in the storm-in-an-academic-teacup over Williams College President Adam Falk [Email him] canceling a talk I was invited to give to the “Uncomfortable Learning” student group. The National Association of Scholars (of which I am a member) has been on the case. NAS is, to quote their mission statement, “a... Read More
One of the great weasel words of our time is the word “troubling.” When a Social Justice Warrior tells you that such-and-such a thing is “troubling,” you’re meant to imagine him sitting there with furrowed brow, agonizing over the possibility that whatever it is might hurt the feelings of someone, somewhere. Given that hurt feelings... Read More
As many of you already know, I recently launched the "Free Harvard/Fair Harvard" campaign, aimed at electing a slate of five candidates to the Harvard Board of Overseers on a platform of (1) increasing the transparency of today's opaque and abuse-ridden admissions process and (2) immediately eliminating undergraduate tuition as being unnecessary given the huge... Read More
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The quest for campus diversity seems to be everywhere--the website thedemands.org currently lists 75 schools where students are clamoring for diversity. Barbara Wilson, the interim Chancellor of the University of Illinois even called diversity central to the university’s mission and such embarrassing nonsense is typical. People familiar with today’s academy know full well why otherwise... Read More
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Recent troubles at Yale, Missouri, and other campuses have made me think about how the academic culture has changed – much for the worse I believe. But a former colleague (who recently passed) used to tell me how much better the academic world seemed to him now than when he was a graduate student circa... Read More
Pretty Nearly, Anyway
Art is mostly fraud perpetrated by narcissistic academic quacks on a public easily gulled. They should be prosecuted. This is as true of literature as of painting and sculpture. If modern sculpture were placed in a junkyard, art critics couldn’t find it. Most of what we are told are great works are great works only... Read More
Or The Value of Political Commitments to Social Science
Introduction: For many decades, mainstream social scientists, mostly conservative, have argued that political commitments and scientific research are incompatible. Against this current of opinion, others, mostly politically engaged social scientists, have argued that scientific research and political commitment are not contradictory. In this essay I will argue in favor of the latter position by demonstrating... Read More
Common Sense Takes Academia by Surprise
When Willy Jack Fergweiler of Bluefield, West Virginia founded the Intergalactic Galactic Pooontang and Klingon University, which came to be called simply Poon U., no one paid attention. Willy Jack was eighteen years old, and had just graduated from Bluefield Senior High. Bluefield had not hitherto been a hotbed of technological revolution. This was about... Read More
The justly renowned social historian Eugene D. Genovese died yesterday at the age of 82 in Atlanta. His death followed several years of dealing with a worsening cardiac ailment and with a jolting loss in 2007 from which he never recovered. This was the death of his beloved wife Elizabeth (Betsey), who was his frequent... Read More
Toward a More Inclusive Sexuality
Having read the course listings for several departments of Women’s Studies at places that were once universities, such as Dartmouth, I am considering becoming a deep-sea squid. Many considerations recommend this course. Squids are more dignified than people. They make less noise. Universities run by squids do not have Departments of Lesbian, Gay, Cross-gendered, Transmogrified,... Read More
Recently I commented on a blunder by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who suddenly wimped out after having proposed cutting 20 to 30 percent out of the state’s allocation for “higher education.” Corbett had a chance to do good by making our state universities cough up more of their own funding. In constant dollars, our state... Read More
Students once led monk-like lives. Now they party at taxpayers' expense.
I belong to a generation that still values what is now indiscriminately referred to as "higher education." What that once meant was going to a four-year college, if one’s high-school grades showed promise, and in return for about $700 each semester spending the next four years immersed in books. Back then we studied traditional disciplines,... Read More
Even in this progressive age, religious uncertainties still abound as we approach Holy Season, which begins with St. Martin’s Day on January 16 and extends throughout Black History Month. This was made dramatically clear last week at a college near where I live, a place that has demoted the ancient Christian holiday that falls on... Read More
I am ill-read.
"Should I read Thomas Mann?" Miss Straggler wanted to know. She has enrolled in some sort of freshman Western Lit. course at college, and keeps coming up with these questions. What to say? I have never, to my knowledge, read a single word Thomas Mann ever wrote, though I did sit through that sappy Dirk... Read More
The PC police are at it again. According to a sympathetic Associated Press report on November 7 and a survey conducted by the American Association of University Women, “sexual harassment is pervasive in grades 7-12.” Such improprieties are taking place “in person or electronically via texting, email and social media,” and those issuing and summarizing... Read More
I’ve recently started recovering from forty years among pseudo-academic weirdos in the collegiate loony bin. One persistent aspect of modern college life is its obvious loathing for anything that smacks of Christianity. This includes whiting out Christian symbols and references to Christian holidays from the academic landscape. In the fall of 2006, a bronze cross... Read More
An article in the Yale Alumni Magazine by Nicole Allan, a recent alumna and an associate editor of Atlantic, explains that sixteen Yale students and graduates are bringing a suit against their educational institution for sexual discrimination. According to Allan, this suit runs parallel to other suits being brought by other prestigious universities under Title... Read More
In a well-argued commentary (June 23, 2011), Michael Barone calls attention to the “kangaroo courts” that are springing up on campuses across the country to discipline male students who have been accused of “sexual harassment.” Barone points out that in the world of higher education, faculties and administrators do not have to be pushed very... Read More
On June 3, the Sunday Harrisburg Patriot News ran a front page report by Jan Murphy noting Governor Corbett’s misplaced priorities. This was the gist of the criticism: “The governor has resisted taxing Marcellus Shale natural gas drillers and wants to slash business taxes by $300 million. At the same time, he proposed drastic cuts... Read More
Category Classics
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
An alliance of pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans could finally fix our broken system
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind