Atlas Shrugs, Pours Another Brew, and Belches Loudly

 

Ayn Rand, for all the often justified criticism she and her Objectivist philosophy receive, deserves credit for her prescient portrayals of the modern institutional and intellectual challenges to western civilization. Her two major works, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, are, in my opinion, required reading for any culturally literate critic of today’s progressive left.

In particular, Rand highlighted the collapse of meritocracy. In Atlas Shrugged, anti-competitive legislation (e.g., the “Anti-dog-eat-dog” bill) captured in caricature the rent-seeking behavior of today’s large and entrenched corporations, as they seek to stymie entry into the sectors they dominate by less well-connected upstarts. This is an expression of simple greed, on both the corporate and political sides.

In contrast, in The Fountainhead we find something more sinister, in part because the motives are more complex and obscure, in Ellsworth Toohey and his deliberate and brilliantly executed battle against meritocracy itself (a theme also found in Atlas Shrugged).

Now (and with a tip of the hat to Glenn Reynolds), we see this:

Geoscientists call for action on tackling racial inequality in field

Here is a typical gem from the article:

Our subjects [physical geography and geoscience] are built on a legacy of imperialism and are impacted by structural barriers that discriminate against minority groups. It’s up to the entire geoscience community to make anti-racist changes and be positive allies to Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and colleagues.

The woman who said that wasn’t a Gender Studies professor or a teacher in some similarly fluff subject like education or journalism. No, Natasha Dowey, Ph.D., is a lecturer in physical geology at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK.

Disparity must, we are assured, be the result of a “legacy of imperialism,” and the pursuit of knowledge will only succeed, apparently, if the appropriate mix of skin tones and genitalia is present in the laboratory.

I don’t know how to characterize the ongoing self-immolation of academia in the name of “diversity.” It isn’t clear that profit, per se, is a significant factor. I don’t believe that those participating in it are really bent on destroying western civilization for the sheer nihilistic thrill of it. But I think that the greedy corporations and politicians, the nihilistic burn-it-all-down Tooheys of the world, and the perplexingly misguided diversity-at-all-costs enthusiasts are all trying to drag us down the same road, and to the same end.

I also don’t think that United Airlines is interested in crashing planes, and that they honestly believe that it’s worth hiring cockpit crews based on skin color and sex rather than on a strict meritocratic basis. That also takes us to the same end, I think, albeit at a higher terminal velocity.

Ayn Rand anticipated the not so much war against as irresponsible disregard for meritocracy. Woke mediocrity is becoming the new standard.


Or perhaps not really. Go read the comments on the linked article. People aren’t as foolish as the woke professoriate would seem to suggest. We are top-heavy with shallowness; normal people understand that wokeness is nonsense. Go read the comments, and smile.

 

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Henry Racette: Our subjects [physical geography and geoscience] are built on a legacy of imperialism and are impacted by structural barriers that discriminate against minority groups.

    I thought I knew something about physical geography and geoscience.

    Apparently I was mistaken.  I must have been thinking of different subjects…

    • #1
  2. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    Geography is a cesspit. Like all other fields, it’s  become just another branch of critical theory, which is why geographers regularly talk about “spatial oppression” and other such nonsense. In graduate school, I had the misfortune of reading a geography journal article which argued that landscaping constitutes “oppression” because it “constrains and directs human movement.” (Can’t step on the flowers? Oppression!)

    Geology is “harder,” but that scarcely matters anymore. One woke academic is much the same as any other.

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Our subjects [physical geography and geoscience] are built on a legacy of imperialism and are impacted by structural barriers that discriminate against minority groups.

    I thought I knew something about physical geography and geoscience.

    Apparently I was mistaken. I must have been thinking of different subjects…

    Be less white, Doc.

    • #3
  4. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Thomas Sowell had a good bit to say about geography and development.

    I wonder if her name is pronounced “doughy?”

    • #4
  5. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    The current zeitgeist is idiotic and hateful.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Our subjects [physical geography and geoscience] are built on a legacy of imperialism and are impacted by structural barriers that discriminate against minority groups.

    I thought I knew something about physical geography and geoscience.

    Apparently I was mistaken. I must have been thinking of different subjects…

    Be less white, Doc.

    The new Bugs Bunny catchphrase.

    Someone meme that, stat!

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I love a challenge like that. I’ll bet it gives me a way to accuse imperialistic physical geographers of standing in the way of Trump. 

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Okay, fine, I did it myself!

     

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Okay, fine, I did it myself!

     

    I’m touched.

    You shouldn’t have.

    Really.

    • #9
  10. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    Mr. Charlotte, who works for a giant consulting company, is inundated with this type of stuff all the time (including a live Zoom lecture/Q-and-A with Ibram X Kendi himself!). I always ask him how much more money he’d be making if his company wasn’t plowing all the profits into social justice initiatives.

    • #10
  11. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Okay, fine, I did it myself!

     

    I’m touched.

    You shouldn’t have.

    Really.

    Well the original “comment” was directed at you, but Bugs calls EVERYONE “Doc.”

    • #11
  12. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    Mr. Charlotte, who works for a giant consulting company, is inundated with this type of stuff all the time (including a live Zoom lecture/Q-and-A with Ibram X Kendi himself!). I always ask him how more money he’d be making if his company wasn’t plowing all the profits into social justice initiatives.

    Everyone in the office I work in does.  Even me.

    • #12
  13. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    Mr. Charlotte, who works for a giant consulting company, is inundated with this type of stuff all the time (including a live Zoom lecture/Q-and-A with Ibram X Kendi himself!). I always ask him how more money he’d be making if his company wasn’t plowing all the profits into social justice initiatives.

    Everyone in the office I work in does. Even me.

    Yes, Randy, but that’s just what I’d expect from you, seeing as how commercial construction has its roots in colonialism and southern slave labor.

    • #13
  14. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    Mr. Charlotte, who works for a giant consulting company, is inundated with this type of stuff all the time (including a live Zoom lecture/Q-and-A with Ibram X Kendi himself!). I always ask him how more money he’d be making if his company wasn’t plowing all the profits into social justice initiatives.

    Everyone in the office I work in does. Even me.

    Yes, Randy, but that’s just what I’d expect from you, seeing as how commercial construction has its roots in colonialism and southern slave labor.

    Charlotte, I think I love you. 

    • #14
  15. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    Mr. Charlotte, who works for a giant consulting company, is inundated with this type of stuff all the time (including a live Zoom lecture/Q-and-A with Ibram X Kendi himself!). I always ask him how more money he’d be making if his company wasn’t plowing all the profits into social justice initiatives.

    Everyone in the office I work in does. Even me.

    Yes, Randy, but that’s just what I’d expect from you, seeing as how commercial construction has its roots in colonialism and southern slave labor.

    Charlotte, I think I love you.

    Thanks, Henry. I am pretty awesome, so it’s perfectly understandable.

    • #15
  16. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    What a headline. :)

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    Mr. Charlotte, who works for a giant consulting company, is inundated with this type of stuff all the time (including a live Zoom lecture/Q-and-A with Ibram X Kendi himself!). I always ask him how more money he’d be making if his company wasn’t plowing all the profits into social justice initiatives.

    Everyone in the office I work in does. Even me.

    Yes, Randy, but that’s just what I’d expect from you, seeing as how commercial construction has its roots in colonialism and southern slave labor.

    Charlotte, I think I love you.

    Thanks, Henry. I am pretty awesome, so it’s perfectly understandable.

    Somehow reminds me of this…  (just the first part)

     

    • #17
  18. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What a headline. :)

    Atlas just needs to scratch himself to complete the picture. 

    • #18
  19. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    Mr. Charlotte, who works for a giant consulting company, is inundated with this type of stuff all the time (including a live Zoom lecture/Q-and-A with Ibram X Kendi himself!). I always ask him how more money he’d be making if his company wasn’t plowing all the profits into social justice initiatives.

    Everyone in the office I work in does. Even me.

    Yes, Randy, but that’s just what I’d expect from you, seeing as how commercial construction has its roots in colonialism and southern slave labor.

    It’s not me.  It’s the guys I work for, and what they demand of me, the bastards.

    • #19
  20. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What a headline. :)

    Atlas just needs to scratch himself to complete the picture.

    I actually thought of including that, but thought it would be too… coarse. 

    • #20
  21. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What a headline. :)

    Atlas just needs to scratch himself to complete the picture.

    I actually thought of including that, but thought it would be too… coarse.

    Yeah, you don’t do vulgar. To your credit. (But it would have been funnier…;-)

    • #21
  22. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What a headline. :)

    Atlas just needs to scratch himself to complete the picture.

    I actually thought of including that, but thought it would be too… coarse.

    Yeah, you don’t do vulgar. To your credit. (But it would have been funnier…;-)

    I try not to. But the times, they try me. (And I stooped to “belching” so, you know.)

    • #22
  23. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I guess what perplexes me, and what inspired the title of the piece, is the rationale for such boneheaded destruction of serious subjects. I understand greed and avarice, and I understand the perverse desire to just destroy things for the fun of it. I don’t understand the shallowness required to obsess about a non-problem at the expense of serious scholarship.

    Greed, perversion – and frat boy disregard for consequences. Three distinct modes of corruption, only two of which seem in any way serious. The third is just lazy and stupid.

    Anyway, that’s how it seems to me.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I guess what perplexes me, and what inspired the title of the piece, is the rationale for such boneheaded destruction of serious subjects. I understand greed and avarice, and I understand the perverse desire to just destroy things for the fun of it. I don’t understand the shallowness required to obsess about a non-problem at the expense of serious scholarship.

    Greed, perversion – and frat boy disregard for consequences. Three distinct modes of corruption, only two of which seem in any way serious. The third is just lazy and stupid.

    Anyway, that’s how it seems to me.

    Maybe it’s because small minds – which is all that many of them have – may not be able to do math, but they can still grasp stuff like “unfair” just like when they were 5 years old?

    • #24
  25. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    More reason for cautious optimism:

    Commentary (paywalled, but you can read the first page or two):

    The Left Will Never See It Coming

    The gist of the piece is that the left is burying its head in the sand when it comes to the popular rejection of Critical Race Theory and its enablers, and that this deliberate rejection of the truth will leave the left unprepared for the conservative backlash against this noxious and racist indoctrination.

    • #25
  26. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I guess what perplexes me, and what inspired the title of the piece, is the rationale for such boneheaded destruction of serious subjects. I understand greed and avarice, and I understand the perverse desire to just destroy things for the fun of it. I don’t understand the shallowness required to obsess about a non-problem at the expense of serious scholarship.

    Greed, perversion – and frat boy disregard for consequences. Three distinct modes of corruption, only two of which seem in any way serious. The third is just lazy and stupid.

    Anyway, that’s how it seems to me.

    The rationale is obvious.  It is to avoid being called a racist.

    The black intelligence and academic achievement distributions are extremely low.  I’ve been doing some data analysis and and contemplating a post on this issue, but it’s complicated.  The short version is that the black-white IQ and achievement gap (in adulthood) was around 1.2 standard deviations (18 IQ points) through approximately the 1960s/1970s; narrowed to perhaps 0.7 standard deviations (about 10 IQ points) around 1990 (though this is based on a very small number of observations that may be anomalous); and subsequently widened to around 0.9 standard deviations (around 13 IQ points) currently.

    The potential explanations are: (1) ongoing horrible race discrimination against black people; (2) terribly dysfunctional culture among black people; and (3) genetically lower IQ potential among black people.  Even contemplating explanations (2) or (3) gets you condemned as a racist, so it must be (1).  It must be Whitey’s fault.  QED.

    There is some rational discussion in the literature on the question, though sadly, some of the best researchers have died fairly recently (Jensen, Rushton, Flynn).  Murray and Gottfredson are still with us, but getting pretty old.  There are a couple of younger researchers who seem decent, but I haven’t seen enough of them to remember their names.

    Mostly, though, the “debate” on the issue is a type of Lysenkoism.

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    More reason for cautious optimism:

    Commentary (paywalled, but you can read the first page or two):

    The Left Will Never See It Coming

    The gist of the piece is that the left is burying its head in the sand when it comes to the popular rejection of Critical Race Theory and its enablers, and that this deliberate rejection of the truth will leave the left unprepared for the conservative backlash against this noxious and racist indoctrination.

    I don’t usually think there’s cause to be optimistic in these things, but I certainly hope so.

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    The gist of the piece is that the left is burying its head in the sand when it comes to the popular rejection of Critical Race Theory and its enablers, and that this deliberate rejection of the truth will leave the left unprepared for the conservative backlash against this noxious and racist indoctrination.

    You do good gist.  Informative article. Thx.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What a headline. :)

    Atlas just needs to scratch himself to complete the picture.

    I actually thought of including that, but thought it would be too… coarse.

    He’s wearing a stained white tank-top?

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What a headline. :)

    Atlas just needs to scratch himself to complete the picture.

    I actually thought of including that, but thought it would be too… coarse.

    He’s wearing a stained white tank-top?

    A Goddess-Beater?

    • #30