Tag: academia

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Last night FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) hosted an event here in Silicon Valley.  President and CEO Greg Lukianoff appeared and as usual shared humorous remarks.  He was joined by Antonio García Martínez, a well known tech executive with deep insights into the industry and target of cancellation at Apple who similarly shared […]

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The Real Epidemic: Shoddy Research


It seems to me that we have an epidemic of poor quality research in this country and around the world.  This is causing us to make bad decisions and bad public policy with an unfounded sense of confidence and righteousness.

I am a history teacher at an international school, and we recently had a mind-numbingly dull “professional development” day where we paid some grifter education consultant thousands of dollars to educate us about the newest research-approved methods of assessment.   (My suggestion that we cancel the “professional learning” day and use the money for a schoolwide party was unfortunately rejected by the administration.)

The Great Liquidation


America is hanging by a thread.  A great liquidation is underway, with many of the structures that support American society..or, in some cases, any viable society…being kicked away, sold off piecemeal, or just wantonly destroyed.  I’m talking about physical structures, legal structures, and social structures.

I do not think it is too late to turn this trend around, but the situation is very serious, and I’m going to ask you to gaze into the abyss with me before I discuss some reasons for hope.

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.

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I’m convinced that American media coverage and narratives are designed to accomplish a set of key goals: Fuel outrage against designated cultural, political, religious, and racial disfavored groups that are often over and unfairly generalized (e.g.: police officers, white people, Republicans, Christians) and/or purposely amorphous in their definition and characteristics (e.g.: white supremacists) by interpreting […]

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Pasha Is Going to Need to Talk to You


Pasha, in the Russian WWII TV series “The Attackers,” is the political commissar attached to an aviation regiment. His duties include political education/indoctrination, ensuring that the regimental commander’s actions are in line with the regime’s desires, and taking action against any personnel who commit politically disfavored actions or express forbidden opinions.

He is quick with accusations of treason against the regiment’s members. When sabotage of one of the planes is discovered, Pasha assumes the regiment’s own mechanics did it and wants to have them immediately shot. In this instance, the regimental commander, a fatherly sort of man, is able to avoid precipitous action …”calm down, Pasha” … and get a proper investigation conducted, which shows that the mechanics had nothing to do with the sabotage. But overall, it is very dangerous for anyone, even the commander, to stand up against Pasha.

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Real Clear Education’s Nathan Harden joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to break down how the newly released College Free Speech Rankings can provide more insight into the problems in higher education and current campus culture.

Don’t Blame Racism


Lawrence Mead had no idea he was going to be the center of a raging controversy about his lack of support for the “systemic racism” narrative. He had written for years about poverty and culture and was a professor at New York University, well-respected in his field.

But this is 2020: he made the serious mistake of writing about the difficulties the poor encounter due to their cultural understandings from countries outside of the west. He never wrote anything about racism as a cause of poverty, because he didn’t believe it; thus, he needed to be vanquished by the never-satisfied Left.

I first learned about Professor Mead on a First Things podcast. He has studied the subject of poverty for over 40 years. The piece he wrote for the Society journal was based on his 2019 book, Burdens of Freedom: Cultural Difference and American Power. The article in part stated:

Bad Eagle’s Question


The late Dr. David Yeagley, a Comanche Indian (traditional name ‘Bad Eagle’) and college professor, described an interaction that took place in one of his classes. (excerpted)

“LOOK, DR. YEAGLEY, I don’t see anything about my culture to be proud of. It’s all nothing. My race is just nothing.”

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http://walterewilliams.com/colleges-dupe-parents-and-taxpayers/ Colleges have been around for centuries. College students have also been around for centuries. Yet, college administrators assume that today’s students have needs that were unknown to their predecessors. Those needs include diversity and equity personnel, with massive budgets to accommodate. Preview Open

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‘It Was Worth It’: A Personal Tribute to Sir Roger Scruton


Sir Roger Scruton

At a certain age on the path to adulthood, we begin to realize not just that our heroes are human, but that they are mortal. In the last five years, we have said goodbye to Harry Jaffa, Kenneth Minogue, Rene Girard, Bernard Lewis, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and Forrest McDonald, among brilliant others, and I have watched each go with an increasing sense that I was seeing my pantheon of intellectual greats fade rapidly.

Grievance Studies: What to Do?


Like a great many conservatives, I spend too much time pondering the decay of academia. (I’m trapped in it. Forgive me.) As much as anyone else, I’d like to see more ideologically diverse universities. But that desire is a qualified one.

Were I made university president for a day, I’d be tempted to borrow a page from Viktor Orbán’s playbook and dissolve all “[insert nom de jour] studies” departments. Immediately (and ironically), the halls of academe would erupt with volcanic fury. I’d be accused of threatening freedom of inquiry and suppressing free speech. The modern-day augurs who populate the endangered departments would send out a volley of op-eds calling for my resignation.

I’d sympathize with them, certainly. I understand the inclination to assume that what I care about must be valuable because even I have felt it. Still, I submit that the “studies” disciplines are fundamentally different from academia’s other offerings. They don’t belong in the university. If they’re to be pursued, they should be pursued somewhere else. Here’s why:

James A. Lindsay is a co-author of the Grievance Studies, a project designed to expose the politicized corruption within social justice geared humanities scholarship by creating bogus academic papers and submitting them to academic journals in the areas of cultural, queer, race, gender, fat, and sexuality studies. He and Bridget have a fascinating discussion about the dogmatism of atheists, the Feminist Glaciology paper that radicalized him, the assault on science, the fascism creeping in from both sides – the left and the right, and why everything we think we know about reality might be wrong. James explains post-modernism and why fitting in matters ten times more to people than being right. Bridget expounds upon why the idea that language is violence and a tool of oppression that must be regulated, strikes terror into her heart. And together they lament the isolation and loneliness of thinking for yourself in today’s culture of ideological tribalism. This is a brilliant deep dive into why intersectional social politics are a toxic way to look at the world and lead to competitive victimhood, the corruption in scholarship that’s fueling the whole social justice, progressive, activist universe, and the doomsday cults of the far left and the far right.

For questions, comments or topic requests contact us at: walkinswelcomequestions@gmail.com

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This is an important piece.  It describes the persecution of my childhood friend, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown of the University of Chicago, by an hysterical mob of SJWs.  Her crime?  Having the temerity to suggest that not everything about Western civilization is bad. Note that it’s written by professional gadfly, Milo Yiannopoulis.  I can’t say […]

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I enjoy PowerLine. Great stuff without crazy spin. This posting on immigration ticked me off, and not because of anything John Hinderaker wrote. It featured a think tank paper claiming low-skilled immigration boosts votes for Republicans. The .org website blocks downloads by American taxpayers, but is free to federal bureaucrats, journalists, academics, and foreigners subsidized by […]

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On this AEI Events Podcast, Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania Law School joins AEI to discuss the state of debate and disagreement in academia today, reflecting on the value of reasoned dialogue and civil debate.

Illiberalism is ascendant in academia. Reasoned dialogue and civil debate, once considered the essence of university life, are giving way to ad hominem mudslinging and appeals to emotion.

“Truth Conquers All,” or Does It?


Lindsay Shepherd is a teaching assistant for a communications course at Wilfrid Laurier, a Canadian university whose motto translates to “Truth conquers all.”  She showed her class a debate that involved Jordan Peterson and others regarding gendered pronouns that had previously aired on Canadian television. She presented the video without comment, although she later revealed that she disagrees with Prof. Peterson’s position on the issue. However, a “gendered violence” complaint from her class was lodged, triggering a review, and Ms. Shepherd was reprimanded.

Her transgression? According to her supervising professor, Prof. Rambukkana, Ms. Shepherd failed to take sides prior to showing the videotape, and that “created a toxic climate for some of the students.” Rambukkana also stated, “This is like neutrally playing a speech by Hitler,” representing just one of several references to Nazi Germany made by himself and other authority figures at the meeting.

We know all this because Ms. Shepherd recorded the meeting in which she was reprimanded, and it became public.