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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Teaching in a Time of Wars
I was teaching the day the airplanes hit the World Trade Center. It was the second meeting of “The Communist Manifesto for Seminarians,” a course for my fellow graduate students. By the time I got to class, both towers had collapsed. A few hours later, Building 7 came down as well. We dispensed with a... 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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Last week, I ventured some remarks about the Justice Department case against Harvard University for discriminating against Asian Americans. This brought in a surprising number of emails. I’ll take just two main points: First main point raised by readers: Import an overclass? We already did that! Listeners who made this point were referring of course... 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
A UK charity, The Sutton Trust, has urged universities to take in students with grades which are two levels below the usual entry requirements, arguing that some students are capable of doing well at university, but have low scholastic attainments because of environmental circumstances: being poor, being at a bad school, and having to look... 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 Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific society, and is held in high regard. To be a Fellow of that society is a great accomplishment. I am glad to have friends who have achieved this status, including one of the few couples who are both Fellows. So, it is a considerable surprise to learn... 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
A white man’s stick hut. We began building these things in 1137.
An Introduction to the Blindingly Obvious
If you are a white student in college, you doubtless hear daily that white people are evil, the principal cause of everything wrong with the world. Whiteness is bad, white people are bad. We are to blame for everything. If you believe this, you are being gamed. What you are being told is nonsense. If... 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
On Radio Derb recently I have been promoting a theme of “academic nationalism.” Higher education, I have argued, is a precious resource; and our own citizens should have first call on it. As I observed in the February 17th podcast: I enlarged on this theme March 17th, commenting on an article in The Economist’s bimonthly... 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
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For-Profit Education and the Crisis of the Commons
The rapid decline of the ITT for profit-college may represent a pivotal moment in modern history, as seen in rising challenges to predatory capitalism. ITT is in deep trouble, subject to numerous lawsuits, from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Consumer Finance and Protection Bureau (CFPB) for defrauding students. The con that is for-profit education... 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
The greatest problem with most universities today is that tuition is much too high, forcing an entire generation of students into long-term debt-servitude. Total student loans now exceed $1.2 trillion, and millions of students will probably never be able to pay them off. During the mid-1970s, tuition at UCLA, Berkeley, and the other UC campuses... Read More
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Recent campus race-related demonstrations are often bizarre. Clearly, there are no rational, cost/benefit explanations for this agitation, especially considering that many student protesters are allocating time better spent on academic pursuits. Do black Cornell University protestors honestly believe, for example, that forcing their school to drop the term “Plantation” from Cornell’s botanical gardens name will... 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
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The recent campus events have not been especially good for fans of academic integrity. Social Justice Warriors (SJW’s) have achieved one success after another while college Presidents have been busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest in confessing toxic white privilege and promising to do “whatever it takes” to appease thin-skinned students of... 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
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Any sensible person viewing today’s identity-based, tribe-like political activism (think recent incidents at the University of Missouri and Yale among countless others) would conclude that these antics are stupid, foolish, counter-productive, and otherwise ill-conceived or, as the Marxists would say, infantile leftist. Hard to separate reality from what appears in the satirical Onion. Why, for... 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
My alma mater, the University of Chicago, has launched a new Institute of Politics, which it claims will be “nonpartisan” and committed to the “University’s culture of open debate that includes multiple and often competing perspectives.” It is headed by David Axelrod, a University graduate and a former senior official in the Clinton and Obama... Read More