Chomsky at MIT: Between the war scientists and the anti-war students Reply

By Chris Knight

It is now fifty years since Noam Chomsky published his celebrated article, ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’. Few other writings had a greater impact on the turbulent political atmosphere on US campuses in the 1960s. The essay launched Chomsky’s political career as the world’s most intransigent and cogent critic of US foreign policy – a position he has held to this day.

No one could doubt Chomsky’s sincerity or his gratitude to the student protesters who brought the war in Vietnam to the forefront of public debate. On the other hand, he viewed the student rebels as ‘largely misguided’, particularly when they advocated revolution. Referring to the student and worker uprising in Paris in May 1968, Chomsky recalls that he ‘paid virtually no attention to what was going on,’ adding that he still believes he was right in this. Seeing no prospect of revolution in the West at this time, Chomsky went so far as to describe US students’ calls for revolution as ‘insidious’. While he admired their ‘challenge to the universities’, he expressed ‘skepticism about how they were focusing their protests and criticism of what they were doing’ – an attitude that led to ‘considerable conflict’ with many of them.[1]

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King Midas in the Post-Modern Age: Sales of Indulgences in Academia 4

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

Academic Composition

“Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction? —for even Gods putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers?” Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

 

Image result for sale of indulgences

The Latin etymology of the word “religion” emphasizes the act of bringing the community together. In almost all European languages, the word that translates to English as “religion” derived from Latin ligare which meant to bind . As early as 1200 B.C, this word commonly described a sacred lifestyle, commending obedience to divine authority . Above all, religiosity centered on a paternalistic covenant between mankind and God where the former prided themselves on their capacity for total surrender to the higher power. Such circumstances immediately prompted the question of how such a supernatural force can be identified, and more importantly, who can guide mankind to its relationship with God. Although prophets such as Abraham or Moses were revered for having reported to encounter God directly, the mortal sinners were expected to interact with God through a vicar.

In the Catholic tradition, the pope was deemed to be God’s direct representative and in the Eastern Orthodoxy, the tsar served a similar purpose. Under these circumstances, it was presumed that to defy the patriarch of the church was to rebel against the Almighty Himself.

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Giving consent to compulsory thinking at Cambridge University Reply

By Keir Martland

The Salisbury Review

‘The State Conscience’ Artist Lindsey Dearnley

A few days ago, I was sat down in my College’s Hall at the University of Cambridge with the rest of the first year undergraduates to be, since the Matriculation ceremony was yet to take place, being welcomed by the Master and the Senior Tutor. This was a wonderful moment. After receiving my A-Level results of 2A*s and an A, and another A* in EPQ, I had been accepted by Cambridge in August. Yet it was only then, nearly two months later, when sat in the Hall, that it finally sunk in. “Yes, I’m actually going to read History at the best university in the world,” I thought to myself. I remain grateful to the University and my College for this opportunity which I intend to grasp to the full.

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When Everything is a Crime Reply

Few people understand the price of overregulation like Harvey Silverglate. Over his long career as an attorney and journalist, Silverglate has seen the rising bureaucratic class enact hundreds of thousands of federal regulations and vaguely-worded statutes. The result has been the criminalization of everyday life. From university campuses to corporate boardrooms, ever more citizens are facing severe punishments for behavior that was once considered harmless.

Silverglate himself has been repeatedly pursued by the FBI, only to see the investigations come to nothing.

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The Grand Inquisitor of the Ivory Tower: A Paradox of Freedom 7

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew, 18:13

“In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, Make us your slaves, but feed us.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Grand Inquisitor

https://i1.wp.com/hrp.bard.edu/files/2014/10/here-lies-academic-freedom.jpg

In the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, America was in for a drastic change. In stark contrast to the 1940s and 50s that were characterized by order and respect for authority, the cultural revolution raged on through the 1960s. Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy and energetically responded to the public demand for social change by legislating the Civil Rights of 1964, effectively de-legalizing segregation. Galvanized by Martin Luther King’s fiery oratory, the Black community aggressively challenged institutions they viewed as racist and oppressive. College students rallied against the Vietnam war and the authoritarian formalism of campus administrators.

Echoing the tumultuous spirit of the times, student activist Mario Savio urged his peers to put their bodies upon “the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus” and “to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”. Contemporaneously, the seditious spirit reigned in Eastern Europe as Soviet forces quelled the Prague Spring and less than a decade ago, the Warsaw Pact subdued the Hungarian uprising. Even the USSR underwent a period of “De-Stalinization” under Kruschev’s leadership.

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Augustus Invictus’ Letter to the People of Europe 7

Here’s the transcript.

To the People of Europe,
Fate lays upon me the task of writing you from distant shores. My name is Augustus Invictus, and I am a candidate for the United States Senate. Though I am an American, I am by blood a son of Europe. My ancestry is British, my name Roman, my religion pan-European. I am trained in Anglo-American law, educated in continental philosophy and politics, steeped in Western aesthetic. Though Florida may be a great distance from my ancestral land of Scotland, I am in blood and in soul your brother.
And though I am an American politician, the issues I raise in my campaign for the Senate here affect every man, woman, and child of the West. I write to you today not to condescend or to advertise my American arrogance, but to call for the unity of all Westerners against the powers that would destroy our people.
From New Zealand & Australia to the United States & Canada, and even to South Africa, we share a common civilization, born of Europe. This is impolitic to say in any country, and it is now evidence of “hate speech” in several. We must ask ourselves why the self-described elites in our respective countries would keep us divided, why they would insist that we have no common culture, why they would insist that we take literally countless immigrants into countries callously neglecting their rightful sons and daughters.
I hope that we may come to see each other as fellows. I pray that we may come to cherish what we share more than we might lament the differences between us. Though we have warred, though we have viewed each other with great suspicion, these misfortunes are, I hope, passed. We share a common bond that the millions of immigrants recently recruited to our ancestral land will never share. We, as Westerners, are brothers, though long-separated; they are foreigners being imported by your own governments to destroy the proud heritage and people of Europe.
Your officials have betrayed you.

Augustus Sol Invictus – Libertarian Realism: Folk, Culture & Borders Reply

Great interview with Augustus by Lana Lokteff. Listen here.

Augustus Invictus is an attorney and community leader in Orlando, Florida who is a candidate in the 2016 US Senate election. Best known as a radical philosopher and infamous social critic, he is Managing Partner of Imperium, P.A., the law firm he founded in 2013. As an attorney, Augustus has worked to defend those who have become collateral damage of America’s two longest-running wars: the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

Augustus begins with an explanation of the name he has chosen to identify with, along with the mystical path that led him to study law and eventually pursue politics. He talks about his affiliation with the Libertarian Party (LP) and the problems he sees with its watered down, mainstream message. Augustus describes the main issues he aspires to tackle as Senator: the drug war, foreign policy, and the financial crisis. We get into the customary LP stances on open borders, immigration and equality, and we look at how these key concerns have been muddled with leftist contention. Augustus shares his view on the problems that will ensue for Libertarian ideals if non-Westerners continue to flood into America, and he also speaks to the Marxist degeneracy that has infected pop culture and the educational system. Then, we discuss the absence of natural law and hierarchy in the current US government system, along with the tyrannical forces pushing oppressive mandatory regulations, censorship and hate speech laws. At the end, Augustus sums up the actions he is taking to tackle the looney left’s war on White men and inspire a resurrection of the American front.

McDonald's education

McDonaldization of Education and the Civil Religion of the Left 2

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

 

As I neared completion of my academic program in 2009, I was surrounded by professors who ascribed the economic crisis to “unfettered capitalism”. One of my instructors lamented “if only we had the state sponsor all of our classes, we ought to treat students as intellects rather than as clients”, implying that if only the universities had more influence over public policy, the disaster could have been averted.

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School teacher whore

Modern Education and the Harlotry of Minds 18

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

Random Meanderings

Academic Composition

Attitudes toward hierarchies shed light on fundamental differences between the left and the right. The latter tends to be skeptical of them and for this reason, leftists often rally around the ideal of equality. On the other hand, the right views hierarchies as desirable because they promote social order. Meritocracy is the underlying premise behind the argument for the necessity of hierarchy. It is often assumed that the elites deserve to be in power because they are more qualified to govern than the ordinary people. Clearly, this principle can be abused and in many cases, an unworthy person joins the ranks of the elites simply by being born into the ruling class.

The elites aspired to remedy the intellectual weaknesses of their youngsters by subjecting them to a rigorous education. That is why it was quite common for nobles to be tutored by the leading scholars of their time. When Diogenes the Cynic was sold into slavery, he was purchased by an affluent estate owner in the capacity of a philosophy tutor for his son. Alexander the Great was educated by Aristotle himself and Descartes taught Queen Isabella of Sweden. In many cases, the children of the aristocrats simply lack the intellectual ability to be well-educated and the upper-class routinely import talent into their ranks. Edmund Burke is the case in point as he was not born into the aristocracy, but proved worthy of joining them.

Throughout the history of the Western civilization, the relationship between membership in the elite social class and education has seemed clear. The aristocrats made a special effort to educate their young to ensure that they would become worthy successors. As such, they were expected to not only manage their parents’ estates, but to also pursue political engagement to serve the class interests of the ruling families. This form of education has been unabashedly elitist and it is because of rather than despite that, the students who received schooling in this era achieved considerable intellectual growth. Those who were quite gifted were expected to work hard at their studies and the less talented were expected to work even harder.

Those who wished to make education available for the general public were often forced to concede that educators can only offer opportunities for intellectual self-enhancement. However, the onus was on the students to take advantage of these opportunities by displaying hard-work and natural talent. Yet the proponents of this position believed that when given such chances to get ahead in life, they would undoubtedly take advantage of them and positive social changes will occur as a result. It was even hoped that as more people born into plebeian surroundings gained access to higher education, society would become more egalitarian. At the core, those who agitated for democracy insisted that a well-educated citizenry was basis of social progress.

Yet, the advent of the Industrial Revolution soon cast doubt upon the viability of this strategy. As the emergence of capitalism greatly contributed to the prosperity of United Kingdom and the United States, these two countries began entering the third stage of demographic transition http://pages.uwc.edu/keith.montgomery/Demotrans/demtran.htm). Therein, their population increased because more children born to non-privileged families received the basic necessities for survival well into adulthood. Perturbed by the hypothesis of a Malthusian catastrophe, Francis Galton embarked upon a systematic study of heritability of intelligence.

Galton’s findings led him to believe that intellectual ability was heritable to a significant degree and that the elites were more likely to be genetically endowed with potential of this nature than their less privileged counterparts. Building on this premise, Charles Spearman developed the theoretical framework known as the “g-factor” suggesting that one is born with a certain degree of intellectual potential and his natural talent tends to be spread out evenly throughout various cognitive tasks. With these considerations in perspective, he was concerned that the seemingly uneducable crowd not only struggled with academic tasks, but also lacked the intellectual potential to contribute to society. In light of the troubling possibility that the less talented greatly outnumbered the most talented and the offspring for both groups could survive, the Malthusian catastrophe appeared to be a realistic possibility. In effect, this posed a troubling question to progressive activists wishing to “democratize knowledge” by making education available to all Americans. Is the education system truly making the average person more intelligent or is it unduly rewarding the least intelligent and the least industrious members of society?

By the early 20th century, American legislators have become preoccupied with the notion of dysgenics as those with the most mal-adjusted genes seemed to reproduce the most. Following the paradigm developed by Horace Mann, educators cherished very little hope in empowering all children to become intellectuals. Instead, public schools have mostly concerned themselves with creating a citizenry that was obedient, orderly and suitable for work in a highly regimented factory environment where conformity was deemed more important than intelligence or creativity. With these developments, an eminent 20th century sociologist, David Reisman chronicled a fundamental change in the American national character featuring a shift away from the inner-directed mentality to the other-directed. This shift emerged as the driving force behind the cultural revolution of the 1960s and its numerous implications for modern America.

Up until the middle of the 20th century, few disputed the notion that higher education was to be reserved for the few members of society who truly were intellectually gifted. The incontrovertibility of this precept came into question in the aftermath of World War II where the GI bill enabled hundreds of war veterans to receive college education. Accompanying the shift toward the other-directed perspective and the economic hardships of the Great Depression, the egalitarian left made inroads into college campuses. As students of limited academic potential changed the collegiate milieu, the meritocratic right struggled to defend their belief that education was to be reserved only for the gifted and the industrious. As the Red Diaper babies reached college age by the 1960s, the era of campus radicalism took root and laid down the foundation for doctrines that characterize the modern left including Marxism, Radical Feminism, and Post-Modernism.

Despite the evident differences between these schools of thought, their underlying assumptions were fundamentally egalitarian rather than meritocratic. Marxism presupposed that there is no such thing as human nature and psychological traits that people attribute to human nature are merely a result of capitalist exploitation. Therefore, the purpose of education is to divest the young minds of bourgeoisie assumptions about genetic differences in ability between people and their connections with positive life outcomes. Building on the Marxist assumption about human nature, feminists maintained that the subjugation of women was also a result of a “capitalist false consciousness” and students should be educated to abandon the belief that there are biological differences between men and women.

Many post-modern theorists did not explicitly borrow the Marxist premise regarding the negation of human-nature, yet they embraced the element of relativism inherent in Marxism. Similarly to how their intellectual forebears maintained that capitalism shaped the collective consciousness of society, post-modernists maintained that the prevailing ethos also define human character and social action. With this rationale, they argued that all human perceptions are shaped by societal phenomena and therefore, all truth is relative. The position of total relativism has been buttressed by the drastic change in the demographic character which made the American society more multi-cultural. As the American milieu became more diverse, it has become impolite for the majority group to insist that newcomers assimilate to the American way of life and renounce all values incompatible with the traditional American worldview.

The proponents of multiculturalism naturally forged an alliance with the academic left and together, they endeavored to achieve a profound transformation of the American collective consciousness. Altogether repudiating the traditional American values of individualism, inner-directedness and meritocracy, they unabashedly set about to instill the ethic of equality into the American collective consciousness. Almost uniformly, they were hostile to all theories suggesting that groups or individuals differed with respect to talent, ability, achievement or any other measure of merit. To them, the very idea of distinguishing between people based on merit resembled systematic oppression.

By their lights, Blacks scored lower on IQ tests than Whites because the Whites have colonized and oppressed Africa. If a student belonging to a minority group underperformed in school, the problem was never to be attributed to his lack of intelligence or industriousness. Instead, it was to be imputed to his circumstances such as domestic abuse or exposure to neighborhood violence. It goes without saying that these factors were not to be attributed to moral failures of his parents, neighbors or other individuals of minority status. Instead, it was to be ascribed to systematic oppression that condemns all minorities to a miserable existence. On the other hand, if a white student performs well academically, he ought to “check his privileges” instead of feeling proud of himself.

Conspicuously absent from this analysis of life outcomes concerning race is that Asians tend to outperform whites with respect to IQ, academic achievement, professional success and socio-economic status. Even more glaringly missing is the superior performance of high IQ minorities to whites with comparable IQs. What is furthermore problematic with the academic left’s position is that despite the enormous government assistance impoverished minorities received, a significant portion of them remain penurious and dependent on the state (http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Ground-American-Social-1950-1980/dp/0465065880/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448020445&sr=8-1&keywords=losing+ground). Moreover, there is little evidence suggesting that merely preventing people from discussing differences in life-outcomes by race bridges the gaps of socioeconomic inequality. In other words, there is no reason to believe that the ethic of equality ameliorates the plights of those whom the left regards as the most disadvantaged.

Bounded rationality typifies all ideological discourses and the left’s position is not an exception to this rule. While they cannot address all of the aforementioned objections to their position, they can try to prevent people from entertaining such ideas. As the ideology of academia became more uniform and intransigent toward the end of the 20th century, the left increasingly concerned itself with controlling the scope of discourse on campuses. The proliferation of the hyper-PC environment across American campuses is the case in point and it bears testament to why universities are becoming places of intellectual coercion and behavioral prohibition (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-new-intolerance-of-student-activism-at-yale/414810/).

The academic moral climate is not entirely relativist, relativism is merely one of the two pillars of the modern left’s moral compass. According to Jonathan Haidt’s findings, modern liberals base their morality on two maxims: that of care and fairness http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/jonathan-haidt-the-moral-matrix-breaking-out-of-our-righteous-minds/). Relativism buttresses the ethic of care as such an orientation urges people to regard all individuals and groups as deserving of compassion, regardless of how perverse and reprehensible they may seem. Fairness as the left defines it, is merely a euphemism for the ethic of equality. The left tends to maintain that because all people have “inherent worth” it is only fair for everyone to live in roughly equal material comfort.

The combination of fairness and care creates a peculiar synthesis of fervent moralism and relativism which characterizes the mindset of the modern PC leftist. With such missionary zeal, the academic establishment maintains that if more people were to accept their point of view, a “better society” would be created under the banner of pluralistic tolerance, multiculturalism and equality of positive life outcome. Galvanized by these convictions, the Ivory Tower bureaucrats feverishly lobby the Democratic Party for increased government involvement in education. In light of the super-abundance of student loans that any student can access with ease, the proliferation of degree mills with over 90% admission rates and the rapid integration of degree mill curricula into four year universities, they have clearly succeeded.

Post-modernism heralds the end of the modern tradition in philosophy which was founded on objectivity of truth. The modern academic PC movement represents the integration of post-modernism not only into the scholarship of humanities, but also the general academic milieu. Given that truth is now deemed to be specific to cultural values all of which are deemed equally desirable under the rubric of equality, there is no basis for preservation of rigorous academic standards. Traditional education has always been founded on the concept of intellectual merit and because this ideal can no longer be sustained, academia has entered the post-educational era.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We don't need no education

The Post-Educational era: Academic Institutions in the Age of Philistinism 52

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

 

Attitudes toward hierarchies shed light on fundamental differences between the left and the right. The latter tends to be skeptical of them and for this reason, leftists often rally around the ideal of equality. On the other hand, the right views hierarchies as desirable because they promote social order. Meritocracy is the underlying premise behind the argument for the necessity of hierarchy. It is often assumed that the elites deserve to be in power because they are more qualified to govern than the ordinary people. Clearly, this principle can be abused and in many cases, an unworthy person joins the ranks of the elites simply by being born into the ruling class.

The elites aspired to remedy the intellectual weaknesses of their youngsters by subjecting them to a rigorous education. That is why it was quite common for nobles to be tutored by the leading scholars of their time. When Diogenes the Cynic was sold into slavery, he was purchased by an affluent estate owner in the capacity of a philosophy tutor for his son.

More…

Halal & Hypocrisy XIII: Remove Kebab? 1

 

KEBAB_MENARD_ROBERT_INTERDIRE_BEZIERS_RACISME_TWEET_TWITTER

New from the Inferno: A tyrannical tale of kebabs and killjoys.


The south of France, and one man finds himself deeply disenchanted by the culinary delights on offer in his locale. So much so, in fact, that he took to the press, voicing his determination never to let another kebabish open in his town again.

Lushes and reprobates – I give you Robert Ménard: ex-secretary general of press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontières and currently disgruntled mayor of the supposedly shish-saturated town of Béziers. This blowhard first came to my attention a couple of weeks back, when I read about his distaste for döner at the Daily Sabah. Already something of a national celebrity for his animus towards Allahphiles—making a point of illegally collecting stats on Muslim schoolkids and personally declaring Syrian refugees in his town persona non grata—the somewhat megalomaniacal mayor now wants to obstruct the opening of any further lamb-spit houses in his locale.

Reading about this reminds me of one reason I kickstarted this series-within-a-series known as ‘Halal & Hypocrisy’: to shine a spotlight on those for whom fighting the Islamification of the Western world serves as a Trojan Horse for their own liberticidal bullshit. Whilst I may not be thrilled about the concept (and existence) of borders (at least not on a nation-state level), I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sympathy for those who view them as a means of preserving treasured cultural and civil liberties—not to mention life and limb—in their lands (a la the late Pim Fortuyn). That said, I find it tragicomic how fervently those of such a persuasion appeal to the very institutions responsible for their malaise to make everything alright, especially when the latter either double down with a “solution” that further feeds the beast or take it as an opportunity to play bait ‘n’ switch by adding their own encroachments.

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The Real Issues You Won’t Hear from the 2016 Presidential Candidates This Election Year Reply

By John Whitehead

Rutherford Institute

“Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.”—Gore Vidal

The countdown has begun.

We now have less than one year until the 2016 presidential election, and you can expect to be treated to an earful of carefully crafted, expensive sound bites and political spin about climate change, education, immigration, taxes and war.

Despite the dire state of our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to undermine our freedoms will be addressed in any credible, helpful way by any of the so-called viable presidential candidates and certainly not if doing so might jeopardize their standing with the unions, corporations or the moneyed elite bankrolling their campaigns.

The following are just a few of the issues that should be front and center in every presidential debate. That they are not is a reflection of our willingness as citizens to have our political elections reduced to little more than popularity contests that are, in the words of Shakespeare, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The national debt. Why aren’t politicians talking about the whopping $18.1 trillion and rising that our government owes to foreign countries, private corporations and its retirement programs? Not only is the U.S. the largest debtor nation in the world, but according to Forbes, “the amount of interest on the national debt is estimated to be accumulating at a rate of over one million dollars per minute.” Shouldn’t the government being on the verge of bankruptcy be an issue worth talking about?

Black budget spending. It costs the American taxpayer $52.6 billion every year to be spied on by the sixteen or so intelligence agencies tasked with surveillance, data collection, counterintelligence and covert activities. The agencies operating with black budget (top secret) funds include the CIA, NSA and Justice Department. Clearly, our right to privacy seems to amount to nothing in the eyes of the government and those aspiring to office.

Government contractors. Despite all the talk about big and small government, what we have been saddled with is a government that is outsourcing much of its work to high-paid contractors at great expense to the taxpayer and with no competition, little transparency and dubious savings. According to the Washington Post, “By some estimates, there are twice as many people doing government work under contract than there are government workers.” These open-ended contracts, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, “now account for anywhere between one quarter and one half of all federal service contracting.” Moreover, any attempt to reform the system is “bitterly opposed by federal employee unions, who take it as their mission to prevent good employees from being rewarded and bad employees from being fired.”

Cost of war. Then there’s the detrimental impact the government’s endless wars (fueled by the profit-driven military industrial complex) is having on our communities, our budget and our police forces. In fact, the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest employer, with more than 3.2 million employees. Since 9/11, we’ve spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When you add in our military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion.

Education. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more on education than any other developed nation, our students continue to lag significantly behind other advanced industrial nations. Incredibly, teenagers in the U.S. ranked 36th in the world in math, reading and science.

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The University is the New Church 1

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

Random Meanderings

Academic Composition

In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes repeatedly expressed concerns that the Church and the University had the potential to undermine the sovereign’s authority. When I first read that passage as a naive college student, I saw no reason to challenge Hobbes’ position regarding the subversiveness of the University. After all, I thought that the University was home to many massive protests and it seemed obvious to me that the primary purpose of institutions of higher learning was to promote critical thinking.
Yet, I did not quite understand why Hobbes thought that the Church could be equally subversive. I was confounded by that bizarre assertion because the Church appeared to have the opposite influence upon young people from that of the University. Instead of promoting critical thinking, it encouraged its patrons to adhere to a religious dogma and instead of participating in protests, it promoted obedience to authority. Then, sobering realization dawned upon me: I’ve thoroughly misunderstood that passage from the Leviathan.

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Oscar Wilde

Tyranny of the Weak Reply

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

“There is no progress in human history. Democracy is a fraud. Human nature is primitive, emotional, unyielding. The smarter, abler, stronger, and shrewder take the lion’s share. The weak starve, lest society become degenerate: One can compare the social body to the human body, which will promptly perish if prevented from eliminating toxins” Vilfredo Pareto

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

The debate between Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke is widely regarded as the foundational difference between the left and the right. Thomas Paine regarded politics as similar to any other intellectual endeavor that requires the capacity for deep thought, critical analysis and creative synthesis. Resembling Plato’s Philosopher King, the politician regards the problems of society as that of “applied metaphysics” where solutions to all social ailments can be obtained through the exercise of reason alone. In line with Aristotle’s distinction between episteme and techne, Burke regarded politics as a practical rather than an intellectual endeavor. He rejected the doctrine of Socratic intellectualism that underpinned the Philosopher King thesis, asserting that people who know what constitutes the good are capable of acting in an evil manner.

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buzzword

The Self-Esteem Movement and College Leftism 1

By Aleksey Bashatvenko

“The presidency is the incarnation of the American people, in a sacrament resembling that in which the water and the wine are seen to be the body of Christ.” -Herman Finer

In 1945, only 2 out of 10 people claimed that they were special or more talented than the average person. Today, 6 out of 10 people make a similar claim and the same holds true for 8 out of 10 college students. Over 50% of college students believe that they deserve a high-paying and a prestigious job immediately upon graduation. The overwhelming 70% of millennials think that they are of substantially above average intelligence and are capable of achieving great things in life. In nearly all surveys conducted on this matter, millennials were almost unanimous in their declaration that becoming famous is both possible and desirable for them.

However, the reality of the job-market does not match their expectations. Recent publications of the Federal Reserve Bank study revealed that as few as 27% of college graduates work jobs that are related to their college degree and as few as 36% are employed in a line of work where a college degree is required. This should not be surprising as the recent study carried out by the Council for Aid in Education discovered that 40 percent of College seniors lack the critical thinking, analytical reasoning and communication skills necessary for professional success. Predictably, 58 percent of employers insisted that the system of education must undergo considerable improvements in order for new graduates to become competent contributors to the job market.

There is no job shortage in high skilled positions as employers of the IT industry continue to look for competent help. Despite their efforts to fill in these positions with immigrant labor-power, the demand for high-skilled labor remains very high. Although the low-skill jobs have been outsourced, America remains a bastion of technological innovation. The fields of medicine, mathematically advanced finance and engineering are lacking professionals who can stimulate the creative destruction of capitalism that American companies wish to capitalize on. Despite the shortage of competent labor-power in America, college students continue to hold rallies clamoring for the expansion of the social safety net to finance their fanciful self-indulgence.

The millennials are known for their cantankerous and rebellious attitudes. To be sure, if one was to bring a dozen of them in a room, they would hardly agree on a single political point. Indeed, one can scarcely expect anything different given their extraordinary powers of reasoning and the remarkably breadth of their general knowledge . Yet, if there is one thing they agree on, it is that the government should be “on their side” rather than “off their backs”. Over sixty percent of millennials believe that a strong government is needed to handle “today’s complex economic problems” while only 46 percent of non-millennials subscribe to this viewpoint. Over 50% of millennials claim that the government should play an active role in solving society’s problems while only about 30% of non-millennials agree with that. Nearly half of millennials view the Federal government in a positive manner while only about a third of the rest of the citizenry share that sentiment. Similarly, 46 percent of millennials display confidence in the government’s ability to solve social problems while around 30 percent of older generations think likewise. Most fervently, millennials believe that the government should be more involved in education and should make college affordable.

Why are the millennials so devoted to the idea of the government becoming more involved in education? Are they blind to the fact that when the government floods student loans with federal money, college tuition goes up?  Are they not aware that the enormous debt they have accumulated will never be paid off with the jobs they will acquire upon graduation? That only seems intuitive given the aforementioned statistics about the severe underemployment among college graduates most of whom work low-paying jobs that do not require a college degree. Are they incapable of understanding that when the federal government offers munificent financial aid to nearly all students who desire it, the demand for college education increases? Is the elementary law of supply and demand truly beyond their comprehension?

When the demand for any good or service increases, the price goes up and its provider becomes less accountable to the consumer. The law of diminishing marginal utility shows that the more of the same good one receives, the less valuable the good in question will become over time. Similarly to how these college students would concede that after having devoured enough sweats at their all night unsupervised cake party, they are likely to become less interested in eating more. Given that they scarcely have a concept of money, it is an exercise in futility to ask them if they would be less likely to pay a premium price for the fifth or sixth piece of cake than they did for the first one. Yet, if they could be forced to understand that after they have consumed the fifth piece of cake, they may not want to eat the sixth one, one just may hope that the following insight can dawn upon them.

If the government made it possible for almost anybody to obtain a college, does it not follow that universities can easily procure all of the customers they could need? In that case, does the law of diminishing marginal utility show that the university administrators will regard these students as less valuable? If students are regarded as less valuable, does it not follow that the universities will have less of an incentive to be sensitive to their needs? In that case, should it be surprising that college classrooms continue to balloon and they are now more likely to be taught by TAs than professors? Should it also be surprising that college students are hardly capable of writing a coherent paragraph, let alone think critically?

Remarkably, the majority of students are not dissatisfied with their university experience. Upon acquisition of their Bachelor’s degree, over 85% of students report being mostly satisfied or completely satisfied with their university experience. Such surveys have also shown that most students are more likely to admire pop-culture celebrities rather than scholars of stupendous intellect. If most students were asked if they would rather be more like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Albert Einstein, they would favor Arnold without hesitation. Given all of the obvious problems with the system of higher education, what value can colleges contribute to the lives of their students that is so great, that it outweighs all of their losses?

John Taylor Gatto proposed an answer to this question: provisional self-esteem. In their hearts, students do not believe that their academic success represents achievements to take pride in and they shouldn’t . In 1998, grade A’s represent 43% of all letter grades, an increase of 28% since 1960 and 12% since 1988. With the massive proliferation of online degree mills such as Strayer, Ashford, Kaplan, DeVry and University of Phoenix, it is evident that grade inflation increased by an even wider margin in the last two and a half decades. Additionally, this manifests in light of the fact that conventional four year schools are emulating the degree mill paradigm by offering more online classes and replacing tenured professor positions with callow TAs. At the very least, today’s average academic institution bears a much closer semblance to University of Phoenix than to a traditional University where nearly all intellectually gifted students coveted admission in the 40s and 50s.

Despite all of the praise educators lavish on students for mediocre work, it cannot emerge as the basis of their durable self-esteem. Aristotle claimed that in order to cultivate virtuous dispositions of character, one must act in a manner that displays such virtues. Over time, these virtues will become an essential part of their character. Clearly, formal education does not help students cultivate moral courage or intellectual ability, regardless of whether the average grade in class is an A- or an A. However, students are able to feel good about themselves on a short-term basis if they are repeatedly told how wonderful they are. That is what John Taylor Gatto refers to as “provisional self-esteem”. Even the least intelligent and the least inquisitive of students eventually begin catching on. Sooner or later, they realize that they have not accomplished much to deserve such praise.

To lull their self-critical judgment, educators must make them intellectually and emotionally dependent on positive feedback. They do so by indoctrinating pupils into an ideology that entirely divorces their identity from their achievements. In other words, students are to believe that they are wonderful, regardless of whether their actions truly deserve praise. For this reason, the academic class invented a litany of social justice “causes” that students can “contribute to” without doing anything of value. For example, recently Ithaca College Student government set up an online system where they could document “micro-aggressions” on campus. All students need to do is document which of their peers made remarks that could somehow be construed as offensive to a protected demographic group. Berkeley students recently held a rally clamoring for the creation of gender neutral restrooms on campus. What purpose could this possibly be done for? Students need to feel that they are doing something important by acting in a way that does not involve “discrimination” against transsexuals. On a different occasion, Berkeley students voiced outrage that their philosophy class did not involve any readings from transgender authors.

It is not enough for campus officials to merely bolster the students’ self-esteem by allowing them to participate in meaningless political outcries that never solve real social problems. If students are constantly reminded that they are exceptionally compassionate, altruistic and tolerant, they will likely believe that they have a great heart. Yet, they cannot believe that they have a great head unless they also receive the best grades they could possibly want. It’s not enough for the average student to get an A or an A-, they should also be able to do it with ease. The mainstream media is saturated with messages about how wonderful, special and unique each youngster is, so they expect themselves to be remarkably gifted. As most narcissists do, college students expect to succeed without devoting any effort to the task at hand.

Perhaps with a smidgen of effort, an average student could do reasonably well in a dumbed down curriculum for a challenging subject such as history or philosophy, but that takes hard work and today’s college students do not like to work hard. For this reason, academic institutions created entire departments of academic disciplines entirely bereft of practical value or theoretical depth. Examples of this include Queer Studies, Miscellaneous literature emphasizing Star Wars and even entire Departments devoted to the Feminist Critique of the Bible. Even Harvard was not above such low-brow gimmicks when they offered an entire class on anal sex.

Permissive parenting has become increasingly more common in American families. Children are now brought up to expect a great deal from the world without devoting much effort to earning what they demand from other people. By the time they become adults in the eyes of the law,  parents tend to push off their offspring to a surrogate parent of the Ivory Tower. That is why college students continue to demand boundless praise in the form of recognition for their “social conscience”. The callow youth justify such demands by participating in rallies that “raise awareness” about “important social problems” that they have no intention of solving. Upon returning to class, the campus protesters’ attitude hardly changes as they expect to be rewarded with the highest of grades that they have not earned.

One would hope that upon graduating from college, America’s youth are more than ready to begin acting like real adults. That is, they will look upon their university experience as a prolongation of adolescence and leave their peccadilloes in the past where they belong. Not so, increasingly more young adults continue to live with their parents and blame Corporate America for their plights. In light of John Taylor Gatto’s “provisional self-esteem” thesis which shows that youngsters are now not only dependent on the incessant praise from teachers, but also on the ideology of gratuitous self-congratulation, one should not be surprised that they are incapable of questioning this patently implausible notion.

Once the millennials move out of their dorms and move in with their parents, they frantically search for their next surrogate parent in the work-place. Upon discovering that a modicum of common-sense, common decency and competency is a prerequisite for sustained employment, these children voice their contempt for the job-market not by refusing to perform well at their jobs, but by refusing to look for them in the first place. Today, over 93.5 million Americans are not participating in the work-force and nearly 16 percent of all people between the ages of 25 to 54 are no longer looking for a job. At least they found the surrogate parent in the government that is supposed to bankroll the children who never grow up.

These new college graduates expect little more than gratification for their puerile impulses. They have entered a covenant with the Federal government resembling that of Christians with God the Father. Just as God is the Almighty creator of the Universe, the government is the Almighty creator of all the good things in life. Despite their infantile remonstrations against the private sector, they are hardly capable of noticing the collusion between the Federal Government they romanticize and Big Business they inveigh. Presumably, when their favorite politician such as John Kerry or Al Gore leaves the board of directors of a transnational enterprise to join the Democratic Party, he undergoes a miraculous transformation. He somehow metamorphosizes from an opprobrious exploiter of the oppressed to their most ardent champion.

Is Free Speech Under Attack in America? Reply

This is a must watch. Matt Welch provides a very thorough description of how the hard Left has gone from being defenders of free speech on campuses in the 1960s to enemies of free speech comparable to 1960s-era reactionaries or Eastern European Communists.

By Matt Welch and Amanda Winkler

Reason

“At some point it is inherently ridiculous when you can’t laugh at Neil Patrick Harris making jokes on the Academy Awards,” says Matt Welch, Reason Editor in Chief. At Reason Weekend 2015, the annual donor event for the nonprofit that publishes this website, Welch discussed how today’s society, full of trigger warnings and a sensitivity to opposing ideas, has lead to a watered down approach to the First Amendment.

“It’s not fun when you’re walking around policing jokes all day long, it’s not an attractive pose to people,” continues Welch.

College scam

Why the American System of Education is Fraudulent 7

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

Academic Composition

John Dewey famously argued that an educated populace is the backbone of a Democratic society. The school of thought he espoused has been known as “progressive education” which promoted egalitarianism, intellectual creativity and above all, a pro-Democratic mentality. Dewey stood fiercely opposed to the traditional paradigm of education where the pedagogue provided information and the students passively received it. For him, genuine learning must always take an active form where students are free to pursue intellectual inquiry in an autonomous fashion. In his own teaching, he encouraged students to ask difficult questions, challenge conventional wisdom and display creative initiative.

At a time when our institutions of higher learning seem divorced from these ideals, one cannot refrain from asking where we must have gone wrong. Dewey was a proud political progressive and many modern liberals regard him as iconic figure of their ideology.His credentials as a forward-looking intellectual and a champion of egalitarianism are impeccable. He was the only philosopher who was alive at a time when Bertrand Russell released his famous “History of Western Philosophy” and therein, Russell claimed that he was “almost sorry to have to disagree with Dewey” because of the profound respect he had for the man. More…

Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces: The Campus Counter-Revolution Reply

YES!

By Thomas Knapp

Garrison Center/Libertarian Alliance

Once upon a time (not that long ago), the west’s colleges and universities were its centers of political dissent and incubators of cultural change.

From dress and speech codes to musical trends to the defining issues of the day, students — often with the support and encouragement of more “liberal” faculty — fashioned their own new civic religion out of the catch-phrase “subvert the dominant paradigm.”

The politically active among today’s generation of college students seem hell-bent on turning that religion inside out, maintaining its outward image, form and tactics while working diligently to negate its substance.

From “trigger warnings” ahead of controversial readings or class discussions to “safe spaces” within which potentially traumatizing elements are banned altogether, the goal is conversion of campuses into hothouses, with students as delicate flowers ensconced within and protected from any hint of challenge to their cherished preconceptions.

We’ve been here before. Be it Thomas Bowdler’s “family-friendly” butcherings of Shakespeare, Anthony Comstock’s crusade against delivery of “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” materials via the US postal system, or Tipper Gore’s demand for “Parental Advisory” labels on music, the neo-Puritan impulse cuts across our history as response to anything new, anything different, anything challenging.

More…

Ithaca College’s Microaggressions Bill Labels Students ‘Oppressors’ for ‘Belittling’ Speech Reply

The university system is the primary institution in North America where the hard Left has achieved dominance as opposed to other institutions (government, business, religion, military) where the Left has to share power with other political currents. The contemptuous disregard for individual rights and freedom of opinion combined with the equally contemptuous disregard for due process found in such settings is an indication of how the hard Left would go about operating the state if all competing centers of power were removed and the Left were totally unconstrained. How is the present contempt for freedom of expression exhibited by the cultural Left any different from Article 55 of the 1976 Constitution of Communist Albania?

Article 55: The creation of any type of organization of a fascist, anti-democratic, religious, and anti-socialist character is prohibited. Fascist, anti-democratic, religious, war-mongering, and anti-socialist activities and propaganda, as well as the incitement of national and racial hatred are prohibited.

One could easily imagine the contemporary Left creating an Article 55 of their own:

It is the ambition of the state to create a society that is a safe space free of bigotry and exclusion.In keeping with the anti-oppression policies of the state, the creation of any type of organization of a fascist, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, ageist, ablist, transphobic, Islamophobic, looksist, weightist, or classist character is prohibited. Fascist, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, ageist, ablist, transphobic, Islamophobic, looksist, weightist, or classist activities and triggering propaganda, as well as the incitement of microagressions and indirect oppression are prohibited.

Do you think they wouldn’t do this? Just watch them.

By Will Creeley

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Early last week, the Ithaca College Student Government Association passed a resolution to create an anonymous, online system for students to report “microaggressions” on campus. FIRE has closely monitored the bill’s progress, as its language presents obvious problems for freedom of expression at the private New York college.

More…

NATA-NY Interviews Stomp Out Child Abuse (S.O.C.A.) Founder Reply

socaPlease introduce yourself and describe your organization, Stomp Out Child Abuse(SOCA).

I’m Dennis, co-founder of S.O.C.A. (Stomp Out Child Abuse). We are a direct action organization whose purpose is to raise awareness against child abuse & molestation.

How did the organization get started? Who are the founders, and when did this project begin?

We started in September of 2014 out of the need to bring a loud voice for children. It seems like abuse and molestation are society’s dirty little secret that no one really wants to talk about or address. Me & Kel, the 2 founders of this group, decided that it was time for a serious change…not only from society but from the failure to prosecute to the light sentencing / protective custody / early release of these offenders. More…