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Higher Education Watch
Academia Is Losing Its Mind

It’s not just right-wing populists who are worried that some academic humanities and social science fields are veering into irrelevance. The latest issue of the left-of-center magazine American Prospect has a depressing report by the leftist Occidental professor Peter Dreier on his experience submitting a bogus paper to a humanities conference and getting it accepted:

Six years ago I submitted a paper for a panel, “On the Absence of Absences” that was to be part of an academic conference later that year—in August 2010. Then, and now, I had no idea what the phrase “absence of absences” meant. The description provided by the panel organizers, printed below, did not help. The summary, or abstract of the proposed paper—was pure gibberish, as you can see below. I tried, as best I could within the limits of my own vocabulary, to write something that had many big words but which made no sense whatsoever. I not only wanted to see if I could fool the panel organizers and get my paper accepted, I also wanted to pull the curtain on the absurd pretentions of some segments of academic life. To my astonishment, the two panel organizers—both American sociologists—accepted my proposal and invited me to join them at the annual international conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science to be held that year in Tokyo.

Read the Prospect piece to see Dreier’s full “proposal.” Here’s one representative sentence: “Self-delusion and self-discipline inhibits the reflective self, the postmodern membrane, the ecclesiastical impulse forbidden by truth-seeking and sun worship, problematizing the inchoate structures of both reason and darkness, allowing knowledge, half-knowledge, and knowledgelessness to undermine and yet simultaneously overcome the self-loathing that overwhelms the Gnostic challenge facing Biblical scribes, folksingers, and hip-hop rappers alike.” He also includes examples of the type of real humanities work that led him to undertake this experiment (he saw sentences elsewhere like: “Given the attitudes generated by our sense of a place, critical perspectives that only target overt structures within city systems are incomplete” and “Theoretical, conceptual and methodological choices must be framed in relation to concrete explanatory and interpretive dilemmas, not ontological foundations.”)

To make matters worse, most of this “postmodern” analysis is taking place within the context of a hermetically sealed political bubble. As our friends at Heterodox Academy have pointed out, just four percent of American academics in the humanities identify as conservative. This total homogeneity may be one reason that so much work in the humanities has become utterly disconnected from what the general public might consider to be valuable scholarly exploration.

There is a good amount of anti-intellectualism and old-fashioned score-settling involved in attacks on the academy by right-wing pundits and populist politicians. But that reaction didn’t come out of nowhere. At a time when tuition and student debt are reaching crisis levels, the public is right to demand that the work it is funding (both directly, at public universities, and indirectly, at private universities, by subsidizing student loans) has some bearing on reality and some benefit to the rest of society. It’s time for academics to stop turning up their noses at reasonable critiques, and actually get their house in order.

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  • GS

    To “get their house in order” would – absent a magic wand which by a mere flick would change their very nature and make them into the different, and radically better, human beings – mean a Great Purge [way beyond the stalinist scale, as given by Robert Conquest] of the corresponding faculties. Since they are the absolutely last people to carry it out, it would have to be forcibly imposed on them from the outside.

  • Pete

    “It’s not just right-wing populists who are worried that some academic humanities and social science fields are veering into irrelevance.”

    This is not quite right. It is not that the academic humanities ‘are sliding into irrelevance,’ it’s that they HAVE SLIDE INTO INSANITY a long time ago.

    • Pait

      As has grammar school, apparently.

      • UnmutualOne


        • Jim__L

          Nah, he’s just getting his shots in where he can..

          • UnmutualOne

            His Disqus activity (which he will probably make private now, as most leftist trolls do) makes it clear that his purpose is to troll conservatives.

    • Robert Burke

      Pete: Universities have become brain polluters and zombie makers. It’s similar to the auto and energy industries in the 1960s. Once it was mandated to get the lead (in gas) and carburetors out, and clean fuel and computerized fuel injectors in… the smog abated.

      Since the polluters of the world’s brains won’t fix themselves (universities, K-12) then from outside it must be mandated that no public funds (county, state, national, international) will fund the Progressive Agenda in education, but rather the funding will be only for Western Enlightenment pedagogy. The worst pollution is the kind that kills brains and dims eyes of the spirit. Defund Prog Ed.

      If Japan did this, they’d get rid of Central Banksters and economy would rebound. Same for the U.K. Same for Canada and the US. Kenya and the African National really need to expunge the Euro-Prog Ed systems mandated for them.

      • Peter Henderson

        Western Enlightenment pedagogy? The main thrust of the Enlightenment was de-Christianizing society. For a time Christianity was illegal in France and it was a capital offence to “harbor a priest.” A second focus was the application of the scientific method to the problem of designing social institutions, which gave us socialism and communism. The relative merits of alternatives were to be assessed by applying the moral doctrine of Utilitarianism, according to which any dirty trick is moral if it leads to greater total happiness over the long run. Karl Marx and Betty Friedan are more representative of the Enlightenment than Mother Teresa or Ronald Reagan. I would prefer privatizing education so the commies couldn’t help themselves to the pocketbooks of rustic rubes like myself.

        • Jim__L

          According to Kant, Enlightenment pedagogy was (somewhat ironically) about “throwing off the guardians of your intellect”. Basically, it inverted Aristotelian Rhetoric by preferring logic, reason, and evidence over emotional arguments and arguments from authority.

          Also ironically (but predictably to someone like canny old Aristotle), in many places the old authoritarian guardians (like priests) were simply replaced by new authoritarian guardians — like The Committee for Public Safety, or its intellectual descendants like the Trust and Safety Council.

          I would argue that Luther’s 95 Theses end up on Kant’s side of the equation — or rather, Kant ends up on Luther’s, which muddies the “de-Christianizing” argument somewhat. No doubt over the next couple of years that will be fairly widely discussed. I’m looking forward to it. =),

          • Peter Henderson

            Not sure what your point is. Aristotle did not “prefer emotional arguments to logic and reason.” Aristotle thought that reasoning was the most perfect activity and that reason should govern the passions. The Committee of Public Safety was not unrepresentative of the Enlightenment. As a Christian I would prefer being told to do by priests as compared to bloodthirsty Jacobins. That the central thrust of the Enlightenment was anti-religious is the view of Peter Gay (he’s all for it) and Hegel, among others. Once you settle on Utilitarianism as the moral yardstick nothing is prohibited, to steal Nietzsche’s phrase. One thing I hoping for from the next few years is the neocons being run out of town on a rail. Trump is making honest speech possible which in turn allows honest thought to be worth the trouble. That’s why he is so hated by the plutocrats and commissars alike.

          • Jim__L

            Aristotle’s view of human nature led him to say if you’re going to be persuasive in court, reason and logic are not the way to go — emotional appeals are more effective. (Although interestingly, his old method of syllogism shows up in the darndest places — “The murderer must have worn this glove. This glove does not fit my client. Therefore he could not have worn it. Therefore he must not be the murderer. Therefore he must be acquitted,” although a snappier delivery is apparently necessary.) But that’s a tangent, of course.

            My point is that the Reformation and its principle of the Priesthood of All Believers is simultaneously deeply Christian and entirely consistent with the Enlightenment. There’s no fundamental conflict between Protestantism and Enlightenment — Enlightenment (with its science and technology) was founded, supported, and brought into full flower by Protestants, in cultures where atheism was heavily marginalized.

          • Peter Henderson

            So Aristotle, as you read him, thought that when trying to persuade people of limited intellect in a courtroom, emotional appeals were often more powerful than logic. That’s not what you said originally. I can see how the priesthood of believers is egalitarian in spirit and in that respect resembles the putative spirit of Jacobinism. But how is any “priesthood” consistent with the atheism of Rousseau, Voltaire, Hume, Jefferson, Diderot, Laplace, et al.?

          • Jim__L

            If I recall correctly, Aristotle states pretty directly that appeals to emotion are more persuasive than appeals to reason, and appeals to authority / credibility / “this person has your best interests at heart” are the most persuasive of all. Cynical of him, but there you go. Kant inverted that by deprecating authority and advancing individual reason and logic.

            Atheists were not the only participants in the Enlightenment. Deeply religious people also participated, and I’m saying that the root causes of the Enlightenment are in fact religious. The idea that Enlightenment and Protestantism can’t coexist flies in the face of hundreds of years of evidence.

          • Peter Henderson

            You need to distinguish what persuades someone from what ought to persuade someone. Aristotle did believe that right conduct comes from a harmony whereby emotion works in support of rationality, whereas Kant thought reason alone was sufficient to perceive the distinguishing feature of right conduct, which is conformity to his Categorical Imperative. Did he therefore think the best strategy to convince a dummy to do the right thing is to reason with him? I doubt it, since it flies in the face of common sense, but you are welcome to correct me with a citation.
            As for your second point, Protestantism is less objectionable to the Jacobin than Catholicism, because it mostly stays out of the way of science and politics. But Protestantism of the Nicene Creed affirms a great deal that the philosophes attempted to discredit. Most people think of the philosophes as iconic figures of the Enlightenment, but of course there’s no law that you have to take that view yourself. Can you name an author who agrees with your interpretation of the Enlightenment?

          • Jim__L

            … Why are you asking me to cite an authority on the subject of the Enlightenment? Strikes me as somewhat ironic.

            Have a look at the religious makeup of the Royal Society sometime. Sure, there are some irreligious figures. But anyone who figures that religion is a disqualification for scientific inquiry is simply unaware of the reality that people (both historical figures and normal people) manage daily. That’s really what I’m objecting to here — the social pressure to abandon religion on the grounds that it is incompatible with scientific inquiry, when so much evidence to the contrary is available. Philosophes, ancient and modern, who say otherwise are simply and demonstrably wrong.

            Speaking of cultural pressure, there is also cultural pressure regarding rules of evidence. Aristotle in his Rhetoric cited what human nature was (and still is, to some extent). Kant pushed (successfully) to establish something contrary to human nature — reason and logic as superior to authority — as a cultural more’.

          • Peter Henderson

            I was asking out of curiosity, not to challenge you. I agree with you that people should not be asked to abandon religion in the name of science. I take a more radical line than you. In certain areas people should be asked to abandon science in the name of religion. Science has a tendency to extend into areas where it has no special competence such as ethics or metaphysics. The worst fraud is “psychology” a total non-science with no record of prediciting anything non-trivial. Its whole raison d’etre is to give unearned respectability to the assault on traditional morals. “Third-rate physiology at best” as one of my professors used to say. It is truly fulfilling to see psychology collapsing into pop neuroscience — the new phrenology.

          • Jim__L

            Thanks for clearing that up. I apologize if I’ve pushed any of your buttons here, myself. Too easy to do that, on the web.

            I agree with you on psychology. The patterns that the human mind can create are frankly too complex to be amenable to strict scientific inquiry. Ironically, the most promising (and practical) of the “psychology” fields is
            evolutionary psychology, but it is severely deprecated these days on ideological grounds. But that’s waaaaay off on a tangent.

  • dwk67

    Mental Masturbation, pure and simple…

    • FriendlyGoat

      There are so many things a guy could say here,…….I think I’ll leave it with this. Let me know when Dreier’s abstract gathers itself a XXX rating and goes viral.

    • Peter Henderson

      I’d say that applies to most of this comment section since conservatives never get around to actually doing anything about the problems they complain about, unlike liberals and communists.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Trump University is a model for leading the way out of the morass. Likewise, Corinthian Colleges.

    • Tom

      Pretty sure that’s like saying the alternative is between Leninist Communism and Mussolinist Fascism.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Nah, it’s just a way of saying that there —IS—–some nuttiness in traditional academia, AND, that is NOT a reason to project the conclusion that all traditional higher education is going down the tubes (as TAI likes to do with regularity).

        We do know, for instance, that for-profit college is an alternative model, and MANY iterations of it are questionable. We could talk about Brown-Mackie, National American University, High-Tech, Devry, or several others.

      • Peter Henderson

        Pretty sure those really are the alternatives, since free market conservatives can’t tie their shoes without assistance.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      The amusing thing is that Trump University is accused of fraud while the vast majority of the university system is far worse, selling young people on the idea of studying subjects and taking classes that are simply nonsense, an insult to any thinking person’s intelligence and going into massive debt for useless degrees. They graduate deeply in debt with degrees that are useful only if they are going to be a professional activist or work for a corrupt led-wing non-profit, which seems to be the only kind. Otherwise, they find themselves trying to pay of a $75,000 debt by saying “will that be a Grande or a Tall?” The modern western university is one of the greatest scams every perpetrated with hundreds of classes that consist of nothing more than political agitation and social revolution, all sold with indecipherable language, where anything sufficiently obtuse is thought to be the stuff of genius.

      The entire liberal arts educational system with its speech codes, diversity police and regimes of political correctness is just one giant scam, only no team of film-flam artists, even the Clinton’s, the First Family of American Crime, would ever have thought so big. It’s like thousands of Nigerian scam artists took over Academia in the 1960s and have established a Mugabe like hold on the whole thing. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on mis-education, where instead of reading the finest things that have ever been written or spoken, their minds are filled with platitudinous mush.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Is there a particular college or university you attended which has left you feeling this way?

        • Johnathan Swift Jr.

          No, as an older fellow I went to college when there were some tenured radicals, but they had not taken over the entire educational system. I spent time on more than twenty major American university campuses the year before last and was appalled at the sad lack of virtually any core knowledge in American or European history or government. The facilities are amazing, construction everywhere I went, throughout the Midwest, climbing walls, restaurants, resort style living for matriculating students.

          With the exception of the prions, the modern university campus may be the least free place in America and even convicts probably have more freedom to express their opinions without suppression. The people who run them have the same odor as the GDR border guards and the Stasi who detained me in the 1980s. The suppression of ideas and speech is a veil of darkness, the opposite of enlightenment. As the range of allowable opinions narrow and narrow, eventually the leftists turn on their own, the parasites eventually consume the host, just as we saw in Paris. They may say, “pas d’ennemis à gauche,” but that is not the way things work out in the real world and that is why even some on the left are wondering just what it was they unleashed on the campuses. Once they start paying heed to terroristic organizations like Black Lives Matter, it means that all bets are off, the inmates are running the asylum.

          And, when an opposing speaker dares venture into the hallowed halls of academia who is ad odds with the prevailing opinions of modern academia on foreign relations or feminism or diversity or some other “controversial” subject, the left attempts and often succeeds in shutting the speaker down, shouting them down, blocking access, even assaulting them. This if course has an intimating effect, ever bit as subtle as a union thug with a baseball bat or a brownshirt with a truncheon. When an opposing speaker dares to speak, the effect is almost paralyzing to members of the cohort of human veal that is the American college student circa 2015. They have to run for “safe spaces,” where these cartoonish, infantilized “adults” have to hug plush toys because the stress of being confronted with a contrary opinion is so great. When I think of my own baby-faced father at sea at sixteen as a seaman in the North Atlantic in 1941, before the United States entered the war, or in the Soviet Union in 1944 and 1945 at college age and compare the men of his generation to these fragile little fascists in waiting, it makes me sick. His generation saved civilization only to see the modern elite work to break it apart brick by brick and of course we all watch the Islamists, in league with the left, breaking apart the very foundations of Western Civilization in the Fertile Crescent, the birthplace of civilization. So, I guess you could say, I’m not a fan.

          Very few young people in college seem to have even a middling knowledge of geography. If you tell them you live in Denmark, they ask is you speak Dutch, if you say you live in Belgium, you will often get a blank stare. The American founding and its principles are terra ignota, but they have all been marinated in diversity classes, white privilege, white guilt and noxious political correctness. If you speak about the Industrial Revolution, they have a flickering glimmer in their eyes, but rarely even the slightest appreciation for the fact that it created the much softer and secure world they live in. A liberal arts education should in my opinion be based in inculcating an appreciation for civilization, for the great Civilizations of the West, for the great Civilizations of the East, for the greatest things that have been written. Instead, I was shocked to find “Free Speech Zones,” on American campuses. Students seemed blithely aware that their 1st Amendment to the Constitution (that document Mrs. Clinton gets confused with the Declaration) means that their entire nation, from sea to shining sea is a free speech zone. This is one of the most wonderful things about the United States, the foresight of its founders and the early legislators who insisted on a Bill of Rights before the Constitution could be ratified. Europe is descending into the darkness of totalitarian fascism with its laws preventing free speech and the creation of thought crimes.

          The curriculum has usually been narrowed in an awful way, while at the same time what were once core classes have been replaced by classes that are at the best arcane, at the worst little more than propaganda. Arthur M.Schlesinger articulated this well in one of his later books. Entire studies programs are nothing more than breeding ground for activists, only there are only so many paying sinecures at left-wing foundations and university positions where they can brainwash the next generation of willing victims. Thus they graduate without knowing almost anything of use, while in such massive debt that marriage and childbirth will be delayed or denied. What’s not to like, a feature, not a bug.

          In my travels across the United States I meet students at almost every Starbucks, sometimes in college, often graduated with loans. If I get to them early enough, I try to convince them to start at a junior college where one will often find better instruction because the professors are there to teach and they can get a lot of classes for very little money, often without any debt at all. I explain to them to divide their course hours by what they are paying and they are shocked when they realize how much they pay an hour. In many cases they could pay a master, a tutor, Oxford-style for what a university class will cost them. The university system I went to when I was young has the same number of students but twice the number of administrators. No reason at all for this, but the cost lis staggering. The diversity police and suppression of free speech costs a lot I guess.

          Instead, most of them hold their own societies in absolute contempt. They are not given a balanced view of history but a jaundiced view, the view of someone who has spent their entire adult life sucking on a lemon. They are of course taught by a professorate that invariably ranges from the left to the far left. This means they are taught to think the best of the worst societies and the worst actors on earth and the worst of the best societies and the best of history’s cast of characters. Thus, they can sing the praises of Castro and Cuba and think Chavez and his great Bolivarian enterprise is a noble experiment, but the United States is a malignant evil that does not have the moral authority to enforce its borders and immigration laws. They want to shake hands with Mullahs and Imams who share their hatred of the west, but seek the destruction of the single democracy in the Middle East.

          When I was at a Thanksgiving dinner in the states two years ago, I was sitting with the daughter of billionaire and a younger friend of mine, a Russian-born woman from St. Petersburg who is married to one of my best friends, a Russian who is involved in the arts. She had just graduated from one of the top ten American business schools. The wealthy woman who donates a great deal of money toward education asked her as a foreign-born student what impressed her the most about American students. She said, “there overweening and overwhelming sense of entitlement.”

          • FriendlyGoat

            “An entire modern education in the humanities could easily be replaced by around one hundred books and online discussion groups”

            All that is missing is the entrepreneur who figures out how to organize, market and measure a person’s absorption of the contents of the 100 books. I predict it’s coming in a surprise, like Uber.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            Well, Professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame has been predicting this for years. The main issue is that just like the cab industry and so many others connected, corrupt cartels run education. The whole accreditation process would by design work to keep a new model from blowing up the old one. I suspect that an accredited college or two will start to do this. While I will acknowledge that there are classes where real instruction is needed, I don’t believe a lot is required in the liberal arts.

            You could have students watching lectures on their home terminals, then sending in papers two hundred at a time, that two or three assistant professors could grade. I would guess you could deliver a class for $10 an hour. Wouldn’t you rather pay $10 or $20 an hour to take a class from the best professor in the country in a particular subject than an average or below average one and pay $100 an hour have a long drive?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I think something will be done by an entrepreneur in a complete “end run” around accreditation. The idea is to make some measured knowledge OTHER THAN a traditional degree marketable.

  • amoose1959

    Good start Jason,but be careful you may quickly become persona non grata if you get serious and start punching hard. The left has ruled academia for over a half century . Shed the old framing – “when the left attacks it’s justice and moral but when the right attacks it’s anti-intellectualism and vindictiveness”.
    First step is that the Strunk handbook is required reading for all humanities faculty including a host of authors at this website.

    • Corlyss

      Jamie Whyte’s Crimes Against Logic is another great tool.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Spot on! That is the saddest part of what we are seeing….many (not all by any means, but many) on the left are driven by a millennial utopianism mercifully free of the ravages of experience or logic, and will do ANYTHING to speed the arrival of that wondrous age.
        Good to see you again…hope all is well…

    • Peter Henderson

      First step is to grow a pair. That’s why the left always wins. That and ditch the fifth columnists and weak sisters clogging up the right.

  • gabrielsyme

    Academium delenda est.

  • Frank Natoli

    I wonder if the author of this article realizes that the “slide into insanity” isn’t limited to humanities and social sciences? That man-made global warming is a product of the same mentality? Think he does? Nahhhh.

  • Has anyone yet noted that this year is the bidecadal anniversary of the Sokal affair?

    Best regards

  • Eurydice

    I had to smile at Dreier’s quotes from the Harvard professor. If anyone would like to experience the Harvard academic dialect in its full glory, check out Harvard’s metaLAB. “The Absence of Absences” would fit in perfectly there.

  • Ellen

    “It’s time for academics to stop turning up their noses at reasonable critiques, and actually get their house in order.”

    The time for academics to get their house in order was 30-40 years ago, after the disgraceful episodes of the 1960’s where college administrators capitulated to radical white students and black power agitators. They have no capacity to get their own house in order, and therefore must be put in order by being shut down or RIFFed by an outside force. That outside force hopefully will be the Donald Trump White House.

    • Jim__L

      I share your goals, but by what constitutional mechanism could the president of the US perform this act?

      • Ellen

        You would be amazed at the things a president can do, with the support of Congress, of course. Congress funds lots of things that can be cut back or threatened to be cut back unless Universities change their policies. Almost all universities receive federal funding for many things (scholarships for students, research, etc). This is their Achilles Heel. Threats of cutoff of funding is one of the tools that liberals use to enforce political correctness on campuses. Therefore, the same threats can be used in reverse. No one until Trump has ever had the guts to take on the reign of terror brought about by the advocates of PC. If he gets elected he should take the fight straight to academia.

        • Jim__L

          And what would happen when another Leftist president is elected, in the course of time? Can anyone, even with what might be the best of goals, be trusted with that power?

          Bring back Constitutional government. The “One Ring” must be unmade.

  • SineWaveII

    “Personally I like the university. They give us money and facilities and we don’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results” – Dan Aykroyd as Dr Ray Stanz – Ghostbusters.

    Kinda says it all.

  • Robert Burke

    We can defund Prog Ed, K-20+ along with law and journalism schools… and replace the pedagogy with Western Enlightenment.

    Otherwise, when you go to court, or when you read a Prog-piece in the paper, or when you ask your neighbor why he is a zombie with ill intent toward you…

    You will face a judge, or a media or a neighbor with brains no better than summer flies… Unless we defund Prog Ed, it will be malevolent “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves” all over the place. Already, it is YUUUGE. The time to defund Prog Ed in J-schools, law schools, all schools…was yesterday. Prog Ed Schools really are nothing but National Progressive Agenda indoctrination camps. Defund them.

  • texasjimbo

    Dear AI: in what way is opposing the kind of nonsense you cite here amount to “anti-intellectualism” and justify your slander of the political right? (This is at least the second time you’ve made that charge; see your own link). It is, in fact actually anti-anti-intellectualism. Is this just a simple case of you being unable to just objective, accurate language because your own pig is being stuck?

  • Peter Henderson

    What’s wrong with “anti-intellectualism and downright score-settling”? The academics have been beating up on Norman Rockwell America for decades and reparations are fully warranted. Not that we are any more likely to get them than the Iroquois.

    • Terenc Blakely

      Simpler to just let the whole ‘higher’ education system implode and rebuild from the ashes. As is, it’s utterly unsustainable just from a fiscal standpoint besides being a crappy product that more and more are going to avoid. With the exception of courses that require hands-on lab work pretty much anything can be taught via the internet at a minute fraction of what universities charge. Today’s ‘higher’ education system focuses more on indoctrination, semi-pro athletics and partying than actual imparting/discovering real knowledge. Just let it die. People who really want to learn and people who really want to teach will find a way.

      • Peter Henderson

        You just totally miss the point. The little people have always been able to teach themselves if sufficiently dedicated, but what they don’t get after doing that is a marketable credential, a proof that they have the same ability as the Harvard grad. For the small number who are geniuses it might not matter but for the vast majority it does. A grad from community college will not have the same opportunities a Harvard grad gets, because it will be assumed that he is not as smart and does not have the same knowledge in his field. To REPEAT my analogy, a sprinter from Alcorn A&M is at no disadvantage in the competition for NFL jobs because he can prove his ability with a stopwatch. A business major from Alcorn A&M is at a big disadvantage. A system of uniform examinations would amount to a stopwatch for business majors. It would make the elite institutions no longer indispensable. Students would no longer have to please them and they would begin to reap negative consequences of force-feeding students with offensive ideas. They would be in the same position as Sheldon Adelson after the arrival of Trump who doesn’t need his money.

        • Jim__L

          Honestly, just make it legal for employers to give competency tests again. The problem will solve itself.

          • Peter Henderson

            The problem will NOT solve itself that way. A Harvard degree will retain its prestige and in order to obtain that prestige students will subject themselves to left-wing cultural programming. Why are you so obtuse? Why are you playing the role of obstructionist? What is your dog in this fight? Does it bother you that a boy from Montana State might be able to point to a higher score than a prima donna from Harvard?

          • Jim__L

            I don’t think any solution that starts “institute a national system of uniform examinations” is going to help. Too easy for Harvard types to twist to their own purposes.

  • Terenc Blakely

    There is very little going on at universities that could be classified as ‘intellectual’. Pretty much everything outside of hard science and engineering at today’s universities is utter bs. Lol, and morons go into debt for that crap.

  • Rightwing… Rightwing…. Rightwing…. Jesus, are you that far out on the Leftwing?

    • Jim__L

      Their political calibration uses the metric system, I guess.

  • Peter Henderson

    btw “right-wing populism” is redundant. All populism is right-wing, since left-wing populism would be indistinguishable from liberalism, social democracy or communism. Only when the plutocracy is seen as using its power to destroy traditional religious, ethnic or national values to which the majority is still loyal can one speak of populism. E.g. Trump vows to protect the custom of wishing people ‘Merry Christmas.’

  • Banned_by_KBTX

    There is a good amount of anti-intellectualism and old-fashioned score-settling involved in attacks on the academy by right-wing pundits and populist politicians.

    Considering the way the far Left has abused its positions of power in academia for the last several decades, that sentence took some serious chutzpah to write. Talk about blaming the victim!

  • ursafan40

    Wrong tense on the verb.
    It should be “has lost” not “is losing”.

  • Schlachtwerk666

    I was howling at that representative sentence. Comedy gold!

  • jim

    The universities are aware of this. That’s why they’re investing in their medical, engineering, and business schools, and turning the humanities and social sciences over to adjuncts at $2,500 a course.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Most of the STEM courses are ALSO taught by adjuncts, grad students, etc., and quite frankly have been for decades.

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