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Higher Education Watch
Academics and “Intellectuals”
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  • Anthony

    I read Thomas Edsall column this morning and it’s primarily about Donald Trump’s potential influence on National Party orientation going forward; he is not comparing public intellectuals (left or right) though he refers the reader to other source material – academic and non-academic.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Conservative intellectuals have been asked to swallow a LOT of “stuff” to remain aligned with the farther-and-farther right core of the movement and party. People today are asked to believe that Second Amendment rights come from God, not from other people via the Constitution. People are asked to believe that it’s okay and valid to knock out perhaps 1,000,000 eligible voters to prohibit maybe 100 attempted votes by “illegal aliens”. People are asked to believe that “selling health insurance across state lines” is going to produce some miracle of “competition” causing carriers to write health insurance which is both “good” and “cheap”—-when that is a clear business impossibility for any carrier in any state. People are being asked to deny fossil fuel involvement in climate change. People are being asked to despise Common Core and the measurements involved with standardized testing in schools. People are being asked to believe that high-end tax cuts actually create living wage jobs—–when they don’t, and especially when netted against the job losses associated with accompanying spending cuts. These are a few examples of why I do not believe today’s conservative “spin”—–taken as a whole—- cannot ring true with any honest intellectual. But these matters are problems with conservatism itself, not the peculiarities of Trump.
    Meanwhile, Donald has introduced new problems. Aside from all the people he has alienated or scared (that their next president might be a nut), Donald has introduced his own policy ideas that conservatism itself does not support or considers unrealistic—-the physical wall, the warmth to Putin, the abandonment of NATO, skipping entitlement reform with respect to Social Security, religious tests for immigration or visitation, the destruction of trade agreements, and—-worst of all (per the Scokpol quote) the creation of any expectation in the minds of any working people that the official G.O.P gives a hoot about their plight or problems.

    • Tom

      Meantime, from the left, I’m supposed to believe that treating people as members of groups rather than individuals is supposed to create justice, that rights come from the government and not from being born, that people care so little for their voting rights that they can’t be bothered to acquire a free ID when you need one for doing anything else involving the government, that forcing people to buy health insurance is constitutional, that the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Periods never happened, that Common Core isn’t a decent idea that’s become a cancer, and that corporations won’t pass the cost of higher taxes onto consumers, which is why I really do not understand why today’s liberal spin can ring true with any honest intellectual.

      One thing that I’m grateful for about Clinton–with any luck, she’s a wake-up call to the reality that the Democratic party gives no cares about its voting base, only its donor base.

      • Beauceron

        “Meantime, from the left, I’m supposed to believe that treating people as members of groups rather than individuals is supposed to create justice”

        The main problem is that isn’t actually the way it is: you are supposed to treat people as members of groups as long as they are not white, straight, and Christian. Only certain groups actually have special group preference rights conferred on them– not surprisingly, these are all groups that vote heavily Democratic.

        • Tom

          No, no, you are supposed to treat white straight Christians as a group. You’re just supposed to demand things of them rather than give them stuff.

      • FriendlyGoat

        “With any luck”, your side does not have “any luck”. I express my hopes—-not predictions—–in this matter.

        • Icepilot

          “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often
          condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
          “This is known as ‘bad luck’.” – Robert A. Heinlein

          • FriendlyGoat

            The reason we celebrate modern economics is that poverty is no longer the normal condition of at least half the people in the world—-due to better management of economies. We are grateful to our inventors and entrepreneurs who have helped raise the standard of living, but we do not worship them, no one is “keeping them from creating”, and Heinlein, as a writer of fiction, is blowing smoke on this.

          • LarryD

            Go to Venezuela and try and explain that, to anyone. An example of the “Bad Luck” Heinlein was talking about.

    • Beauceron

      “People today are asked to believe that Second Amendment rights come from God, not from other people via the Constitution.”

      That is a ridiculous statement bordering on calumny. 2nd Amendment activists are–well, pretty strict Constitutionalists.

      “People are asked to believe that it’s okay and valid to knock out perhaps 1,000,000 eligible voters to prohibit maybe 100 attempted votes by “illegal aliens”.”

      That is a ridiculous statement that crosses the border into being just crassly stupid.

      “People are asked to believe that “selling health insurance across state lines” is going to produce some miracle of “competition” causing carriers to write health insurance which is both “good” and “cheap”—-when that is a clear business impossibility for any carrier in any state.”
      That is a gross mischaracterization of the argument being made– and I don’t even necessarily agree with their argument– but it should not be misrepresented in such a crudely political fashion.
      Crikey, the whole list is just exhaustingly dumb.
      It’s why we can no longer even have a conversation and should break up the country into 4-7 smaller units.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I regularly talk with self-described Constitutionalists who now insist that 2A is “God-given”, not “man-given” on the theory that if 2A is man-given then men can modify it or take it away—-a totally unacceptable idea to them. The source of this thinking is the creator references in the Declaration of Independence.
        The Voter ID movement is always accompanied by a great deal of lying as to what IDENTIFIED fraud is allegedly being prevented.
        Selling insurance across state lines is the only real Republican goal as alternative to Obamacare. The voters absolutely are told that “competition” will fix their personal problems with health insurance——when it is a colossal fib.
        You’re sucked into this stuff—–hook, line and sinker—–but you don’t have to be. There are “intellectual” choices.

      • Jim__L

        “Calumny”, Beauceron? When the Founding Fathers thought that rights came from God?

        Libertarians should think twice before giving in to the latent anti-religious bigotry most libertines are so prone to.

        You’ll miss the Religious Right if the Left succeeds in driving it underground through persecution. You think you won’t be next?

    • Fat_Man

      “People today are asked to believe that Second Amendment rights come from God,”

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

      If men have the right to life, they have the right to defend their lives from anyone who would take life from them.

      If men have the right to defend their lives, they have the right to own the tools necessary for that defense.

      The Second Amendment is therefor a corollary of the fundamental divinely granted right.

      Q.E.D.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Why are you telling me? You know I don’t believe it. Tell Beauceron below. He is on your general side but seems to think this is a “ridiculous statement bordering on calumny”.

        • Fat_Man

          You don’t have to believe anything. As far as I can tell your ignorance and credulousness are invincible.

          • FriendlyGoat

            As Anthony often points out to us, we have different biases.
            The REASON I don’t believe that 2A rights are from God is that such belief would imply that everyone on earth has automatic rights to own any weapon he or she can buy. God, if he spoke through the words of the Second Amendment in America, didn’t even bother to exclude felons or those with mental illness. Since all of that makes no sense whatsoever, God didn’t do it or say it.
            As for Jefferson and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, well, I guess you know that slaves were not at liberty to pursue happiness and were not at liberty to defend themselves with guns. So, you DO KNOW that ole Tom was merely spinning a flowery phrase loosely plagiarized from “life, liberty and property”, right? Nothing against the Declaration, but this concept of Tom’s document as proof God says you (and all the gang members in your city) can have blessed firepower is just not valid law and not valid theology.

          • Fat_Man

            The leftist litany. Move to France, Goat. You would be happier there.

          • FriendlyGoat

            When my debating opponents retreat to these kinds of responses, I always assume they are conceding the point for lack of a more relevant response.

          • Jim__L

            FG… you ignore relevant responses that answer you point-by-point.

    • Dale Fayda

      Ah, the intellectual Left… Paragons of honesty, probity and integrity {sarc}.

      Here’s are a few shining examples of the Left’s complete descent into debauched nihilism:

      http://www.phillymag.com/news/2014/10/06/pedophilia-not-a-crime-rutgers-margo-kaplan/

      http://www.salon.com/2015/09/21/im_a_pedophile_but_not_a_monster/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer#Bestiality

      Truly, liberalism is a mental disorder.

    • Anthony

      FG, (and you certainly know this) as you go forward remember that when people form “groups” of any type a kind of organizational mind-set inevitably sets in (those who are perceived to be markedly different may make them [group/groups] feel uncomfortable when questioning dominant values). Often, you can become aware of this group spirit by observing how much people feel the need to “display” certain opinions or ideas that conform to the standard ascribed.

      • FriendlyGoat

        When I was a little boy, I was taught that church people are supposed to be completely honest in what they tell other people about life and issues. When I was a young man employed in business, I learned that there is an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” which once was revered by conservatives as well as liberals. The older I get, the more I see both of these “slip-sliding” away. The “groups” I think we should be forming are those who are sad about this problem as opposed to those who either insist there is no such problem or admit there is but think it’s all fair in some kind of no-rules war.
        I don’t write the things I write because I am a Democrat. I am a Democrat because of the thought processes which cause me to write the things I write.
        So groups don’t mean much to me. I am always (always) looking for a conservative in these places who will concede that his side’s general run of rhetoric has gone off the rails of balanced honesty and left him wishing for something better. There are dang few of them that I can find today. I grew up in both boyhood and business among MUCH, MUCH more balanced conservatives. I miss them.

        • Jim__L

          You honestly think it’s impossible to find a Conservative who thinks Trump is a bit off the rails? Or a Conservative that doesn’t wish we had a better candidate to run against The Felon?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Sure, there are conservatives who are embarrassed about the Trump candidacy. I’m looking for the ones who are embarrassed by the lack of candor in the GOP platform. My opening comment above was an attempt to separate the problems with generic conservatism from those which are unique problems emanating from Donald Trump and to call BOTH of these sets the credibility problems they both are.
            You guys SHOULD have some people who are actually balanced on health care, education, taxes, spending, climate change, guns and all the rest. If you do have them in the form of potential candidates, the new problem is that they will lose Republican primaries before ever having a chance to be put into any office.

          • Jim__L

            Your idea of “balanced” is typical Leftist sophistry — “balanced” really means “toes the Leftist line”.

            People look at history, look at their experience of life, and look at the probable results of Leftist proposals, and quite reasonably say, “No Thanks.” Pretending to be mystified by that demeans you more than those you attempt to criticize.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “Balanced” people don’t “toe lines” at all except out of respect for chains of command they find themselves in. If you’re on a team, you obey the coach. If you’re in the military, you respect the protocol and orders.
            I am not on Team MSNBC or Team Huffington and I hope you are not on Team Coulter or Team Limbaugh or Team Dobson.

          • Jim__L

            FG, you toe the line on the D-side platform admirably.

          • CosmotKat

            Your intellectual honesty continues to amaze for just how close minded you truly are. You exude self-righteousness about a Democrat philosophy which is nothing more than a hodge-podge of narrow ideas and specific fixes you want to call a vision for society. Mostly what Democrats show is a unity in their hostilities toward people who you disagree with and hate. You reject the ideas of others not because these ideas don’t work, but rather because they don’t comport to your more narrow world view.

            You say, “You guys SHOULD have some people who are actually balanced on health care, education, taxes, spending, climate change, guns and all the rest.” Much of the public see your issues as nothing more than the self-interested business of expanding government expressly to secure policies and privileges for yourselves and your supporters while making everything worse in these very areas of your so called concern.

            Excuse me while I laugh at your characterization of Ted Cruz while your party endorses a person so corrupt and deceitful that Americans overwhelmingly call her a liar, dishonest and untrustworthy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You’re excused. The rest of us are excused too, from having Ted in The White House. Our party didn’t defeat him. Your party did.

          • CosmotKat

            The juvenile snark was expected and you skirt the real issue. Why your party platform and policies don’t work and they increase poverty, drive ethnic and class division and redistributes the wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest among us. That is what your party and your nominee represents.

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s a way of reminding you that you don’t control my thoughts—-or—-my time to defend against whatever you throw out. I could just as easily be anywhere but here with you. Whoopee. Freedom from Kat the would-be tyrant.

          • CosmotKat

            Your thoughts are of no consequence and unimportant to me so controlling them would be a waste of energy since the B.S. you offer is defined by it’s lack of connection to the truth. Unlike you I have no contempt for the truth. Run away goat.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Okay. Bye.

        • Anthony

          I “miss” them too (generally referencing)! And you grew up well tutored, lettered, and respectful (I shared a similar upbringing). But inner demons are difficult for some of us to come to terms with so we project (either perpetrator’s narrative or victim’s narrative). As we discussed before it’s called self-serving bias – we are all susceptible to its pull.

          By the way, you needn’t tell me you write not as a Democrat but as a person with “something” to say. I took that for granted upon our first exchange. Stay optimistic and keep fighting for posterity as you remember “that human beings do human things”.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. Yes, I guess I do know I’m on the “bias spectrum”. We comment writers (on any side) may be making ourselves worse in that regard by conjuring up new self-articulated justifications for this or that than we would be by merely reading articles by others.
            Many things are killing print media such as newspapers. But, after being in the comment sections for a while, who wants to just read an editorial without the opportunity to instantly weigh in?

          • Anthony

            You’re welcome. Also, keep doing what you’re doing FG and no apologies for media transition just distinguish. Most important, we all fall on spectrum cited.

    • Jim__L

      None of what you complain about is really that unreasonable, to people who think deeply and independently about history, economics, and political philosophy, or have any amount of experience with real life.

      Rights are inherent in individuals (coming from God, if you like), and do not come from Government. If rights came from Government, it would be perfectly legitimate for Government to take any action it pleases to abrogate or deny them. Additionally, since the Constitution was only ratified and the Federal Government only established after appending the Bill of Rights, if the Federal Government does not support those rights, it has forfeited its right to exist. (See also, the Declaration of Independence.)

      Republicans have more faith in voters’ ability to get it together and get ahold of legitimate identification, than we have faith in Democrats’ honesty when it comes to election shenanigans.

      Competition gives people choices, and choices frequently lead to lower prices and decent quality. (See the premium Apple charges for its proprietary products, vs. the lower prices of PCs and other competitors.) Apple cultists (like Big Government types) are more in the grip of collective in-group good feelings than any rational assessment of quality.

      CO2 is an extremely weak greenhouse gas. It is only if models are correct about CO2’s ability to cause unstable feedback loops in the climate system, that CO2 could cause anything like the changes Warmists believe so fervently in. Climate models have not historically been correct. Theoretically, it is impossible to accurately model a chaotic system of nonlinear differential equations like the climate. Bless their dear little hearts, they’ve nailed their colors to the mast and keep trying anyway.

      Have you ever had a look at your kids’ Common Core homework? It’s a complete mess. It makes very simple things very, very complicated. It makes your Math grades dependent on your English skills — a generation of kids will get to college, or into the workforce, and discover much to their surprise *they’re actually good at math* despite getting told by Common Core they’re not. All you need to despise it, is exposure to it.

      On at least a couple of occasions in history, high-end tax cuts have indeed highly correlated with expansions in living wage jobs — enough so to make blanket condemnation as silly as blanket adoration.

      Really FG, you need to try harder.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I can’t make you balanced and plan not to waste the day trying. We’ve been through this before. There is a glimmer of hope, I suppose, in your acknowledgement that blanket adoration of high-end tax cuts might be silly.
        Your party DOES have that blanket adoration, you know, so perhaps you might ponder on that while I spend more time with my wife and our dog.

        • Jim__L

          What am I to make of your silly blanket condemnation high-end tax cuts, then?

  • Andrew Allison

    You just can’t help yourself (Trump wrecking ball), can you.

  • Beauceron

    It stuns me that, after 3 decades of malfeasance from academia and pundits in the press, people give a damn about the “intellectual” label.
    Who are these vaunted intellectuals? Aren’t they the ones who have raped the study of the humanities on every college campus in this country? Aren’t they the ones who have shoved identity politics for People Of Color down our throats while damning as racist and fascist even a hint of appreciation for Western culture? Aren’t they the ones who argued for flooding the country with tens of millions of third world immigrants? Aren’t they the ones who insist national borders mean nothing and protecting the borders is nationalism akin to Nazism? Yes, yes, yes and yes. All that and very much more.
    These so-called intellectuals have been the death of Western culture.

    • Jim__L

      After 3 decades of malfeasance from academia and pundits in the press, people damn the “intellectual” label.

    • LarryD

      “Intellectual” is a label of self-conceit, a self anointing as a member of the ruling elite. Hopefully, no conservative will ever be so arrogant. Certainly the current elite will never accept anyone who doesn’t hew to their ideology as a member of their tribe.

  • TGates

    Frankly I find the writings of the likes such as; Coulter, Goldberg and Horowitz to be quite revealing about facts and theories that are too inconvenient for an academia that has lost all sense of proportion and objectivity. Where else would one learn about the very close relationship between McCarthy and the Kennedys? or HRC’s disgraceful removal from the House Watergate Committee? Or that the real hatred for Richard Nixon came from his exposure of Alger Hiss, an east coast darling, as a communist? The fact that despite rock solid credentials, revisionist historians of the VietNam War are systematically excluded from academic positions? On and on.

  • Matt B

    Typical condescension from another “academic” at Harvard “University”.

  • ljgude

    It reminds me of the Berkeley social scientists a few years back who solemnly announced that they had proven that conservatives were less intelligent than liberals. Without irony. That tells you something right there.

    • Kevin

      Was that the one where they had the sign of the coefficient wrong and had to sheepishly admit they should have reached the opposite conclusion?

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