Tag: academia

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How to Make America’s Elites More Responsible

 

Reading about Hollywood’s posturing poseurs delivering their goods at the Oscars (who can stand to watch this event?), as they ooze with self-righteousness and narcissism, triggers a pesky thought that no doubt erupts in the minds of countless normal people. That is, none of those luminaries strutting across the stage are affected by events or ideas targeted by their feverishly stroked, ego-driven drivel. Thus, the question arises, what if they were? More than that, what if America’s elites in the entertainment industry, political realm, media complexes, and academic institutions were forced to suffer the consequences of the views they hold, the policies they force on the rest of us? This tantalizing hypothetical is worth a thought experiment or two.

Let’s start with Obamacare, which many pundits on the right predict will collapse, implode, or turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Whatever. But nothing in Washington happens by itself; no policy ever self-destructs; it takes the political equivalent of plastic explosives piled as high as a skyscraper to make something happen. Unless, of course, Obamacare suddenly (and inexplicably) were applied to members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, their staffs, and everyone else on a government payroll. Then, before you could say “Affordable Healthcare,” Obama’s signature legislation would vanish overnight. And to the devil with the two trillion or so beneficiaries who would lose their coverage, according to the CBSO, the Congressional … um … Office. In short, forcing the lawmakers to obey their own laws would do wonders to clarify minds and speed up lethargic congressional processes.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Drain the Real Swamp: Academia

 

Suppose for the past half century or so you’ve been forced to pay the Acme Swamp Company to engorge all lakes, caverns, rivers, streams, and puddles with effluents, along with enough reptiles to put Jurassic Park to shame. Then, after you’ve discovered that the Acme Company has also supplied Wile E. Coyote with Roadrunner-catching equipment since the Truman Administration, you decide to “drain the swamp.” And then—surprise! surprise! —you’re devastated to learn that the swamp you tried to drain simply filled up again from tributaries that cannot be shut off. And you’ve been paying for those tributaries, too, for a long, long time. In fact, you’ve discovered that these streams are not only exorbitantly pricey, but frequently destructive, parasitic, and virtually impregnable. Question is, what can you do?

The “swamp” in question of course is Washington DC, but also includes much of the bureaucracy, judiciary, and cultural command posts of the country, such as the media and entertainment industries. The tributaries comprise America’s educational system, long dominated by the radical left and protected by tenure and union power. It is this ideological effluent center that has done so much to poison the discourse of American politics, smearing every institution that contributed to the country’s greatness, and radiating hatred of all things most citizens hold dear—family, patriotism, free enterprise, free speech, freedom of religion, the Bill of Rights generally, and of course America’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Conservatives in Academia: How Bad is it Really?

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 8.23.51 AMLately, I’ve been embracing my identity as what my sister calls a “pointy-headed person;” i.e., a nerdy academic type. Rather than relegate intellectual pursuits to my free time, I’m considering trying to get paid for them which means that, barely two years out of school, I’m thinking about going back.

But — worried about how my political perspective might affect my experience in academia, especially since I’m considering going into the very belly of the beast (sociology) — I spent this past week reading through Jon Shields’s and Joshua Dunn’s Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive UniversityAs the title would suggest, the book explores the perspectives of conservative professors, specifically in the humanities and social sciences. Its findings aren’t exactly comforting, but neither are they outright demoralizing.

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The Very, Very, Very Special Snowflakes of Oberlin University are very, very, very disappointed that their adult caretakers are not treating them with all the special specialness that they are entitled to. They are angry because the University refused their demands to be paid for protesting, for eliminating all grades below a C, for refusing […]

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If the authority to which he is subject resides in the body corporation, the college, or university, of which the greater part of the other members are, like himself, persons who either are, or ought to be teachers; they are likely to make a common cause, to be all very indulgent to one another, and […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. I Read the Famous Feminist Glaciology Paper So You Don’t Have To

 

shutterstock_356613728The paper “Glaciers, Gender, and Science: A Feminist Glaciology Framework for Global Environmental Change Research,” referenced recently on Reason and PowerLine, analyzes how we have come to know what we do about glaciers. Apparently, glaciology has been polluted by men who — wielding pick axes and slinging about equations employing tensor notation — “participated in the imperialist, colonial, and capitalist projects associated with polar exploration [and] mountain colonization.” In case you feel slightly confused, please note the authors “use ‘glaciology’ in an encompassing sense that exceeds the immediate scientific meanings of the label,” and do this in order to capture the themes of “power, domination, colonialism, and control – undergirded by and coincident with masculinist ideologies – have shaped glacier-related sciences and knowledges over time.”

We didn’t know this until now because this topic had been “understudied” while the rest of us were preoccupied with, ostensibly, more important things.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. “When May I Shoot a Student?”

 

shutterstock_195431228As a professor, I have academic colleagues forwarding the panicked reactions to the bills in various states allowing weapons to be legally carried on campus. One passed around this New York Times op-ed with the sarcastically-calm title by an Idaho professor “When May I Shoot a Student?” If students are allowed to carry guns on campus, then this professor wants to know under what circumstances he can legally shoot them.

The assumption is that allowing students to carry weapons on campus creates a novel, dangerous, and unprecedented situation. With the column’s mud-thick sarcasm getting in the way, I can’t tell whether he understands that the law already affirms the right of people to carry firearms when he walks around town. Does he also worry about when he can shoot an armed person on the street?

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The University of Missouri has just announced that Melissa Click, assistant professor of Communications, has been fired for her behavior with police and students in the protests on the Missouri campus last year. I’m really, really, really not a fan of hers. She epitomizes the worst of academia (and I say this as a professor). […]

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Left-wing academics (is there any other kind?) at Duke University with nothing better to do have conducted a “research study” of Disney movies and determined that they are insufficiently Marxist because they depict the working class proletariat as happy, rather than consumed with rage at their economic inequality relative to the decadent bourgeoisie. The depictions […]

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Dear Academy Awards – It’s become clear that burdens of acting and filmmaking have an inordinate impact on minorities and women.  More

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The signs of the institutional terminal illness of the American university are increasingly plentiful. The stories out of Missouri and Yale and a half-dozen other places in recent months might be easily dismissed as the grumblings of an entitled generation—and they are that—but something far more insidious is entangled with this “movement.” More

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Attack on Grad School Entrance Standards

 

The social justice activists have been making more waves in the sciences recently, such as my field of astronomy. The latest is a push to get rid of the use of standardized test scores (the Physics Graduate Record Exam, or physics GRE) in admission to physics graduate school. (Read the statement by our professional association’s president.) The claim is that the GRE is poorly correlated with success as a research astrophysicist and is more correlated with sex, race, and ethnicity.

Some astronomers have tried to quantify this by doing a study of “successful” astronomers; i.e., those who have received the prestigious postdoctoral research fellowships after grad school. They were able to use 149 responses (55%) out of the 271 questionnaires sent out. The rest didn’t respond or didn’t provide their GRE scores, and the study did not try to account for the biases this introduced.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. San Bernardino and the Progressive Temptation

 

TerrorAs evidence about the horrific mass murders in San Bernardino unfolded, and explanations about the killers’ motive devolved to the familiar statement, “we can’t rule out terrorism,” the rest of us shocked by this slaughter wondered why the authorities were so hesitant.

In fact, only 48 hours after the event, we learned quite a bit. For instance, in spite of CNN, MSNBC, and other progressive tripe-peddlers suggesting everything from right-wing terrorism to the triggering effects of a nearby Planned Parenthood, it was clear that this was a premeditated assault carried out by “very religious” Muslims. The wife, Tashfeen Malik, even professed allegiance to ISIS on her Facebook page. As far as motive goes, how about the title of Brigitte Gabriel’s book on the subject: Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America. Isn’t that enough?

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In modern America, much evil may be committed in the name of “justice” or “equality” or, ironically, “freedom.” All of us believe in some version of those precepts. Thus, to oppose a strain of totalitarianism that gallops into town under a banner bearing the name of so noble an ideal would make one a monstrous bigot. More

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Vampires: They are real. And they are oppressed!

 

1014-vampire-teeth-illo_rgbouxFrom the Washington Post (via Drudge), I present you with this lovely article about vampires. Vampires, after all, are real. And, not only are they real, but they are just like you and me!

More importantly, the vampires are being subjected to hateful stereotypes!

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Ivy League Makes Excuses for a Progressive Racist

 

wilson
Portrait of a racist, obscured for purposes of mystery (and emotional safety).
The murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, over the summer led to demands that public and private institutions stop displaying (or selling) the confederate battle flag and other symbols of the Confederacy.

At my alma mater, Yale, the debate took the form of a campaign to remove the name of John Calhoun from one of its residential colleges, as I posted here a few weeks ago. The connection between Calhoun and Charleston was somewhat attenuated: Calhoun died ten years before the outbreak of the civil war, and — unlike the stars-and-bars — Calhoun is not exactly an iconic symbol for white supremacists. Nonetheless, the Yale community has been eager to denounce Calhoun as an irredeemable racist.

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That’s how I reacted when I read this article, though I expressed that thought with a rather less-polite acronym when I posted it to my Facebook page. What’s all the fuss about? From the story: An economics professor emeritus from the University of Texas in Austin has resigned. His reason expressed in a resignation letter, […]

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Less than an hour-and-a-half ago, I received some disturbing news. A friend of mine up in Lubbock e-mailed to inform me that a former professor and colleague of ours named Ethan Schmidt, an Assistant Professor of History at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, was shot and killed in his office earlier this morning. He leaves behind a […]

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 I make my college debut at West Chester College in eastern Pennsylvania on September 19, in what I anticipate will seem less like a gig than a reality show to see if I can say politically correct things while half-plausibly seeming to mean them. In that spirit, I have decided to re-write my stand-up for West Chester […]

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