From The Ethics Alarms “NOW What The Heck Are We Supposed To Do?” Files: Our Values-Addled Colleges

The cultural and societal chaos that has descended like a crazed raptor on America can be traced to, among other things, the deterioration and corruption of our elite educational institutions, which have abandoned their mission, education, for indoctrination, and their obligation, opening young minds, for the opposite: closing them. One of my alma maters, Harvard, has declared that it will punish male students for off-campus associations, and arrogantly insists that its policy of discriminating against Asian Americans for the benefit of African Americans is fair and necessary.  Another, Georgetown, absurdly asserts that there is nothing inappropriate about employing a professor who proclaims her violent bigotry against men, whites, and those with whom she disagrees on political matters. At USC, a dean has announced that sanctions must be taken against a professor who remind students of basic principles of justice, such as the ensuring that those accused have due process and the presumption of innocence.

These are not cherry-picked anomalies. These are typical of what American higher education has become. I got another reminder while being stuck in an airport yesterday, which afforded me the opportunity to read the literary review “The New Criterion.” The October issue included an update on the ridiculous controversy at Yale, where a professor and his wife, a lecturer, were driven out of their jobs and the school because she opined that students needed to lighten up in their political correctness fanaticism regarding Halloween costumes:

Yale University quietly bestowed a Sterling Professorship, its highest academic position, on the sociologist and medical doctor Nicholas Christakis this summer. Many readers will remember the Christakis Affair. It unfolded early in November 2015 when Christakis, then the Master of Silliman, a residential college at that super-rich bastion of privilege and self-satisfaction, had the temerity to defend his wife Erika from an angry mob of students. Her tort? Suggesting in a public memo that college students be allowed to choose their own Halloween costumes…

An amateur video of the confrontation between Nicholas Christakis and that angry mob of students went viral. It is worth looking up. Christakis is a model of desperate restraint. In soft, reasonable tones, he explains that an academic community depends upon good will, and patience, and respect for alternative points of view. The trembling mob was having none of that. They shouted and swore and berated Christakis, exploding in a manufactured fury that was both alarming and contemptible. “I apologize, I’m sorry,” Christakis wailed at one point. Too late.

…The Christakises resigned from their position as heads of Silliman College. Erika left off teaching at Yale altogether. Nicholas, a highly decorated academic, took a sabbatical. Then Yale bestowed its “Nakanishi Prize” on two of the student ringleaders, Alexandra Zina Barlowe and Abdul-Razak Mohammed Zachariah—potential employers take note—for … “exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.”

…Peter Salovey, the spineless president of Yale, responded to related student demands (made around midnight at his private residence) by shoveling $50 million to various “diversity” initiatives. Yale dropped the title “Master” because some illiterate students thought the word had racial rather than scholarly overtones. Salovey also convened (again, you cannot make this up) a Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming and a Committee on Art in Public Spaces to scrutinize the names of things at Yale and the university’s publicly displayed art for signs of political incorrectitude. Calhoun College, named for the U.S. Vice President and Yale alumnus John Calhoun, was changed because Calhoun not only owned slaves but thought slavery was a good thing. (So did Samuel F. B.Morse, for whom another Yale college is named, but Shh! don’t tell anyone.) Stained glass windows depicting slaves working in the fields were vandalized, others were hustled away for safekeeping, as were various sculptures: a bas-relief at the Yale Library, for example, which depicted a Pilgrim carrying a musket.

….Surmising, no doubt correctly, that the public appetite for outrage had moved on, Yale decided it was time to make amends to Nicholas Christakis and offer him the tasty sop of a coveted professorship. After all, deep down, Christakis was one of them, a paid-up member of the progressive brotherhood. He had been unexpectedly blindsided by an event that no one could have foreseen. Quietly, quietly, then, he has been rehabilitated and given an extra pat on the head. He is “deeply honored,” of course, and “eager to make [him]self useful to Yale’s mission.”

The worst and most frightening part of the tale is the ending. Christakis’s groveling capitulation, stating that he is deeply honored, and “eager to make [him]self useful to Yale’s mission” is the exact equivalent of the final line in “1984,” in which Winston accepts that he loves Big Brother.

Another article lists some of this academic season’s offerings at Williams College, and the interests of the professors who offer them  For example, Roxana Blancas Curiel, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Mexican Literature and Cultural Production, teaches about “feminist and queer theory” and the “contributions of the performance of female masculinity in our understanding of femininity and masculinity outside the heteronormative spectrum in Mexican social imaginary towards the construction of national identity.” Then there is Julia Bryan-Wilson, a Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor of Art History, who “researches contemporary art in the Americas through the lenses of artistic labor, feminist and queer theory, and critical race studies.” Prisca Gayles, the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Africana Studies, focuses on “the politicization of blackness in the context of collective action in African Diaspora with a focus on Afro-Latin America. Pallavi Sen, an Assistant Professor of Art, studies “the inner lives of birds and animals, South Asian costumes, domestic architecture, altars, deities, skate/bro culture, style, pattern history, toxic masculinity, friendship + love, lovers as collaborators, farming and the artist as farmer, work spaces, work tables, eco-feminism, love poems, the gates to Indian homes, walking, and cooking deliberately. Completely devoted to material and craft, she works with all sustainable surfaces and tools.” Ben Snyder, an Assistant Professor of Sociology, teaches “classes [that] focus on making the turn from social critique to social action, and often involve building bridges between the classroom, student activism, and publics outside the academy. He is especially excited to work with students who want to engage in unabashedly utopian thinking about the future.”

Parents spend $70,000 a year to “educate” their children with this  junk, and one of the reasons the price is that high is because Williams employs  so many professors who teach nothing but political agitprop, social justice gibberish and progressive cant. The author optimistically opines that this academic con will inevitably create sufficient backlash “to translate into the social disenfranchisement of this academic racket. ” We can hope. But will that happen before society is dominated by multiple generations of anti-democratic, anti-American leftist fascists?

What has to happen—quickly!— is for the romanticized image of a college education to be exposed as the antiquated fraud it has become. My wife’s sister berated her because we had “allowed” our son to postpone, and perhaps reject, a college “education,” despite having the funds available to pay for one. She said that in any group of people, those with a degree were instantly distinguished from those without. I knew this snobbery was nonsense when I was in college, but it is the kind of propaganda that makes the schools rich—Harvard’s endowment is just short of 40 billion dollars—and our education system a disgrace. My son looked at his interests, looked at the costs, looked at what his college friends were doing (and becoming), and said, “You know what? I think college would be a waste of time and money right now. ” This decision alone proved that he has superior critical thinking skills to those of most Harvard seniors.

36 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Education, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

36 responses to “From The Ethics Alarms “NOW What The Heck Are We Supposed To Do?” Files: Our Values-Addled Colleges

  1. JutGory

    Depending on your son’s interests, St. John’s College is right in your “neighborhood.” And, they just DROPPED their tuition by more than 30%.
    -Jut

  2. Chase Davidson

    “At USC, a dean has announced that sanctions must be taken against a professor who…”

    Jack, the link in this sentence is broken. It leads to a WP admin page that requires a login, rather than to the article that you wrote.

  3. Emily

    I had a conversation recently with a friend who has just earned his PhD from a college in Europe, in a country with the left’s loudly demanded “free college.”

    …they have no Women’s Studies departments, or anything similar. And the free slots are open in degrees and numbers the government deems useful to the economy, with the slots filled based on academic achievement alone (with the requirement to uphold that achievment in college or your free ride goes away.)

    Somehow, I doubt this is the vision being sold to the left by Bernie Sanders and the like.

  4. Yale dropped the title “Master” because some illiterate students thought the word had racial rather than scholarly overtones.

    This reminded me of a work experience I had in 2006. My current company was spinning-off from the previous parent company and I was going with the spin company. As part of the separation, I trained a new-hire who was taking over my responsibilities for the parent company after the spin. A great individual who was an international African student from Benin. His only downfall with the English language was that when he went to make an affirmation of understanding like we would “Yes sir.” he would say “Yes master.” Super uncomfortable for me and as I was fairly young at the time then as well, I didn’t really know how to address it. I figured I was only in the situation for 2 more weeks, so I just let it slide unremarked upon until I was gone.

    • Other Bill

      Good for you, Tim. Good way to handle it if you didn’t feel there was any other good way to go. I’d have just barged ahead and said “Whoa there, pardner, you don’t need to call me master. Trust me.” Regardless of my yout. But that’s just me. Your discretion is salutary.

  5. Plumbers make more than many college graduates these days… and the average age of a master plumber is north of 50 certainly, may be north of 60. Same for other ‘blue collar’ skill sets. And they do not have crippling debt to pay for.

  6. Alex

    Wanna bet
    >“contributions of the performance of female masculinity in our understanding of femininity and masculinity outside the heteronormative spectrum in Mexican social imaginary towards the construction of national identity.”
    means “Look at this book about the paintings of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo”?

  7. One practical problem is that the group thinkers are massed in certain areas, where they are sure of reinforcements and support. Cities grew up to support surrounding or inland areas, public universities grew up to support the states where they were established, but now they speak, listen to, and serve only each other.

    • Other Bill

      The bad thing is, the graduates are moving into the real world and bringing all that crap with them. See eg., that Ocasio Cortez chick going to Congress and Kamala Harris and Corey Booker being in the Senate and running that hearing like a college Title IX star chamber. THAT’s the problem. As these generations of kids come out of these education camps, they bring that sick ethos to the work world.

  8. Alex

    I’ll note that I’m saving for my boys’ education, but if they end up using the money for taking online classes and using it to fund a business I will consider it money well spent.

  9. Michael R.

    Electrician, plumber, machinist, or welder all make good money and can find a job in just about any city in the US right now. In addition, feminists are not clamoring to reserve these jobs for women or preferred minority groups so men are allowed to work in these fields, for now.

    As for all the silliness, we have liberals to blame for it. All the touchy-feely garbage from the left has resulted in an education system that won’t educate. Imagine structuring the federal student loan program to favor students majoring in fields the economy needs. Engineering students get subsidized loans, gender studies students can pay their own way through college. Who would scream bloody murder against such a common sense program? Why? Because the liberal elite is incapable of participating in these programs. The material and concepts are much too difficult. They feel they should be in charge because of who they are and putting people in charge because of what they can do is wrong. The left is completely against the idea of a meritocracy and the meritocracy is the main target of the left’s initiatives. The left is focused on equality and the meritocracy is concerned with our differences. Equality is Venezuela, the ideal of the left.

    The elitist tendencies of the left makes them look down on mathematics, science, and engineering as ‘dirty’, ‘impure’, and ‘lower class’ fields of study. This has always been true because of the elitist disdain for manual labor (working with your hands). Any time a program is implemented to helping these fields, the left throws a fit. Obama doubled the number of students studying ‘STEM’ fields and eligible for the ‘STEM’ funding. How did he do it? He included sociology and psychology in ‘STEM’. Now, they are changing it to ‘STEAM’ and including the arts because they claim ‘only the arts can be creative and we need creativity in STEM’. How condescending an elitist can you be? “Those brutish Neanderthal engineers need some sophisticated art faculty and students to show them how to be creative so they can design things.”

    As for the diversity studies programs, they existed to make the diversity programs possible at my alma mater. Many of the minority students being admitted for statistical purposes were 1 to 2 standard deviations below the rest of the student body. Since all grades were determined by a Gaussian distribution, you can imagine how that worked out. Enter diversity studies. By putting all the low-performing minorities in segregated classes without any other students, it gives the illusion that that the students in these courses are performing just as well as the rest of the student body. This was disastrous to those students. It kept the students in school for the purpose of the school’s diversity statistics, not the benefit of the students. It gave the students no employable skills, a false sense of accomplishment, and at the same time, a heightened sense of persecution. So, when these students went to look for a job…they found nothing and blamed it on racism.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/meritocracy-is-under-attack/2018/06/28/e9f689d0-7afb-11e8-93cc-6d3beccdd7a3_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.87ffd846fd1f

    • Still Spartan

      Well, I keep trying to take a break from this site … and then you suck me right in.

      Actually Michael R., not only am I — one of the few liberals here — in favor of government funded education based on the jobs we need for our economy, I advocate for it loudly and often. It’s one of my few hills that I will die on. Basically, anything in the STEM fields should be fully funded until further notice. As for the arts and humanities, well those should be funded as well, but it should be capped. For e.g., University of XYZ only is allowed 5 fully-funded piano performance majors a year. They can accept more students into that program if they desire, but those students will have to foot their own bill through funding or other means. This also will signal to the other students in that piano performance program that they might not be making the best career choice.

      And you’re talking to someone who went to college on a music/academic scholarship. I was shocked at how many arts students I saw there who had no hope of having a career in their chosen areas. I’m also passionate about the role that arts plays in civilization generally, but a lot of kids might not make the best decisions when it comes to free money.

      • Alex

        Agreed, endorsed, and enthusiastically promoted.

        I’ll stand with you on that hill as we’re both slaughtered by the masses.

    • This is all too plausible a viewpoint for many I’ve met. Very nice.

  10. 1984 is one of those books that everyone kind of likes to use to their own purposes. The left and right both point at each other’s authoritarianism, oblivious to how they mirror eachother. If you look at 1984 as a revolt against authoritarianism, as opposed to a left/right paradigm, it makes more sense, and reading certain passages still makes me feel uneasy every now and again…. The last sentence you mentioned is one of those. After falling into an illicit love, and being betrayed by a confidant, Winston is tortured and and in turn betrays his love. That would be an ending powerful enough as is, but Orwell went one step further;

    “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

    • Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” which I think was conspicuously absent when people were reviewing tyrrany books a couple of years ago, makes it pretty clear that he considered the Left to be an imminent threat.

      • Orwell was a communist disgusted with the failures of communism. I think he saw the corruption of communism like the infection of authoritarianism to something that should have been more voluntary. He definitely didn’t see “The Left” as a threat.

  11. The cultural and societal chaos that has descended like a crazed raptor on America can be traced to, among other things, the deterioration and corruption of our elite educational institutions, which have abandoned their mission, education, for indoctrination, and their obligation, opening young minds, for the opposite: closing them.

    I beg to differ. What is occurring in the university setting, as is agonizingly shown in that horrifying video linked to above, is the logical result of the societal choice to deliberately ‘brown’ the nation. Fact. It is the result of the changes in immigration policy (1965) in combination with certain ideological shifts supported by sentiment, art, music.

    It has to do with the deliberate choice to substantially change the definition of ‘America’ and it extends from the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. What was put in motion then, is now coming to fruition, and the fruit is not the sweetest fruit that one can imagine. The fruit will not suddenly become sweet.

    Edward Bernays: “The only difference between ‘propaganda’ and ‘education,’ really, is in the point of view. The advocacy of what we believe in is education. The advocacy of what we don’t believe in is propaganda.”

    As the demographic ratios change, what is seen in that video will increase. Day by day, month by month. It is a power struggle and a struggle over definitions. It is also an issue of *ownership* in the sense of ‘Who does America belong to?’

    This is what you brought forward; this is what you wanted; this is what you voted for’ this is what you enacted; this is what you believe in. (That *you* of course is a general one).

    This singular aspect (a brown underclass that rises up in anger and resentment to assert itself) is just one part of a totality. All the pieces connect together in a radical whole that will, as time goes on, manifest itself as destructive to white people as a people, and to any white nation that has similar demographics, and also, I think, to Occidental civilization.

    I see no alternative, displeasing and difficult as it is, but to begin to work toward an eventual separation. In any case, my choice is to heroically support the reversal of this ‘rising tide of color’. I do not think this is going to be at all easy. I recoil from thinking about it. At least I know what I must serve.

    One day I imagine I will ‘progress’ and joint the group-think. Then, all at once, I regress. I guess I am hopeless.

    • Other Bill

      Having attended a private college from ’69 to ’73, I see it differently, Alizia. College was great back then. There were really interesting, highly educated adults teaching and administering the place. People my age who went on to get advanced degrees in soft areas were all hippies and lefties. So it’s been a generational thing. The good generation of profs and administrators got old, retired, and are now dying off. The guys my age that went into academia are themselves now getting old and retiring. So there have been fully two generations of people running colleges and universities that are left and now lefter. It’s a tragedy. But it’s been driven by ideology, not demography.

      Which is not to say, again, that the continued, intractable dysfunction in the black underclass has driven the US policy and academic establishments absolutely nuts.

      • Other Bill

        Oops, forgot to throw in the double negative:

        “Which is not to say, again, that the continued, intractable dysfunction in the black underclass has not driven the US policy and academic establishments absolutely nuts. It has.”

      • OB wrote: “Having attended a private college from ’69 to ’73, I see it differently, Alizia. College was great back then. There were really interesting, highly educated adults teaching and administering the place. People my age who went on to get advanced degrees in soft areas were all hippies and lefties. So it’s been a generational thing. The good generation of profs and administrators got old, retired, and are now dying off. The guys my age that went into academia are themselves now getting old and retiring. So there have been fully two generations of people running colleges and universities that are left and now lefter. It’s a tragedy. But it’s been driven by ideology, not demography.”

        I understand what you are saying. In all frankness, though I had devoted a good deal of time to thinking about the race-issues, I grew tired of it. It is all so contentious. I saw so-called ‘white nationalism’ as impossible, except in countries that were already 90% white.

        But your view is worthy of consideration: Instead of the changes being because demographics shifted, that the ideology has grown more extremist. I am not closed to imagining that a less radical ideology might replace it, or that people (like those kids) will grow up and change their ideas (I can’t tell you how mine have changed! and that means that anything is possible…)

        But frankly I just can’t imagine what the future holds. I cannot form an image of it. Where is all this going?

        • Other Bill

          Here’s a good piece from Victor Davis Hanson, Alizia:

          https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/10/04/the_polarizing_atmosphere_of_the_university_has_now_spread_to_congress_138247.html

          He teaches at Stanford and is about my age so he’s seen this disaster unfold in person and in great detail. The rot from colleges is just flowing out into the rest of society. Which is a tragedy for colleges and the country.

          • Other Bill

            There are tons of absolutely first rate “brown” people. But I do not think their intellectual and political leadership have served them at all well.

            • There are tons of absolutely first rate “brown” people. But I do not think their intellectual and political leadership have served them at all well.

              Absolutely! Beyond any doubt! But not related to the issue and the problem.

              I already went through a great deal of material. Five or six ‘major’ titles and as many minor ones.

              The issue has very little to do with how good a person is, or ‘first-rate’ as you say, it has to do with social cohesion and many other factors. It has to do with who can, and who will, carry on *our* institutions and values.

              The topic of ‘renovation’ is difficult, demanding and complex.

              I glossed Hanson’s piece. I have to say that I was not very enthused. The stuff that I read and have read is so demanding, so much more complex and difficult. In my own view, once one gets some background in the harder material, the so-called *arguments* of our day seem shallow and incomplete.

              The beginning of the destruction of Europe, and also of whiteness (if you will permit that term), has its root in the destruction of Germanic Europe. That statement, without lots of explication, could only appear as the utterance of a Nazi. I understand this. I accept it. To recover Europe, and to begin renovation, necessitates a difficult revision of the history that has been, if I may say, drilled into us and is infused with propaganda-intentionality.

              My next *project* is to continue to develop this understanding which, for me and given my own background, has been very radical. That is why I would say that in may ways I turn ‘counter-current’ to the metaphysics of the present day. It has not been easy at a personal level for me.

              Stoddard’s ‘The Rising Tide of Color’ is available in pdf. I read it and I agree with a great deal of it.

          • Interestingly, this lecture by Victor Davis Hanson came up on my YouTube (my window to the various *worlds*, both in the present and in the past), and I watched it all the way through.

            I believe I can understand the world that he sees, the world of his historical research, and also that he provides a window to see how America viewed the construction of the *postwar world*.

            His opinions and views of Donald Trump were especially interesting to me and, if they are true, those policies of Trump can be seen in a different light. Creative, positive. And so too the mad, raving hysteria that has taken possession of people who oppose him can be better understood.

            He seems to understand how two tendentious *Americas* are taking shape: those on the two coasts (Mexifornia is a term he used to describe California) in contradistinction to those in the center-country who have gotten, shall I say, shafted over the last 30 years. And thus cheer on Trump who may … one can only hope … end up doing them some good. I sure hope so.

            I also liked his audience! Nicely dressed, obviously non-progressive (i.e. no freak-shows-on-wheels as my Australian friend says all the time…) and ‘American’ in the classic demographic sense (sorry, that just had to creep in!)

  12. Rip

    Ah our Hallowed halls of academia. Ideas and ideology have never been safe, Saocates was sentenced to death for corrupting youth with ideas. The very places that should be celebrating and arguing thoughts,concepts and points of view, have become dangerous as the brainwashed proletariat that attends this formerly fine institutions. Have been taught too not question. Where would we be today if Galileo, Franklin, Newton, Turning, Curie, Einstein, Copernicus, Edison, Bell, our any of the other great minds, had not. Stood out from the group. The answer, should be expulsion for students or teachers that are not willing to discuss thing in civilized manners, demanding someone to be sacked because you disagree, is self indulgence at its core. That reaction shows you are not able to discuss your Views rationally, so rather then open a discussion you call for silencing the person engaging in discussion. If you can not discuss things in university, Congress, or any open forum. Then you are abandoning the freedoms that allow you to have your views. So if you wish to deny others those freedoms. You should be. Ready to lose them yourselves.

  13. 77Zoomie

    And this:

    U of Maine is giving course credit for students to go to DC and protest the Kavanaugh selection in front of Senator Collins’ offices.

  14. Michael

    See George Will’s 2015 “commencement speech” about what every student — and their parents — should know.

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