Death spiral of American academia

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on June 9, 2021 by curryja 

by Patrick J Michaels

Earlier this year, Eric Kaufmann of the University of London published a remarkably detailed and comprehensive study of bias in academia, “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination, and Self-Censorship.” Kaufmann’s writing is a product of California’s Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, a small think-tank set up to do research that is forbidden in today’s academy. His finding of rampant left-sided political bias in publication, employment, and promotion in the Academy — and discrimination against anyone right-of-center — qualifies as forbidden scholarship.

What follows below is (I think) a generalization of the process that Judith described with regard to the Wuhan Coronavirus.  I hope readers will come away with the notion that the process of institutionalizing, and then defending, bad, politicized science is fractal—the internal geometry is very similar for most all such instances.  The reason is because mainstream practitioners of science have a demonstrable political bias and discredit or reject the work of anyone whose beliefs are inconsistent with that bias.  Been there.

In the academy the free interchange of competing ideas creates knowledge through cooperation, disagreement, debate, and dissent. Kaufmann’s landmark study proves that the last three in that list are severely suppressed and punished. The pervasiveness of such repression may be a death sentence for science, free inquiry, and the advancement of knowledge in our universities.

I am led to that dire conclusion because the universities appear to have no way to prevent this fate. No solution can arise from within the academy because it selects its own lifetime faculty, which is largely left wing—increasingly so—and makes the promotion of dissenters highly unlikely. Kaufmann demonstrates profoundly systemic discrimination by leftist faculty against colleagues they find disagreeable.

It is important to note that Kaufmann concentrates primarily (but not exclusively) on the social sciences and humanities, in part because that’s where most previous research on bias applies. Data for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are not as common. However, there is no a priori reason to believe that these fields are unaffected by systemic biases influencing entire institutions. Sure, one can make the argument that math is apolitical, but one can’t say the same for the many branches of science that now have considerable and controversial policy implications. Even a casual reading of both the academic and popular literature on environmental science and climatology reveals rampant politicization.

Kaufmann’s study is shocking in its depth, even to academics (like me) who experienced for decades what he describes. He documents all aspects of an academic career, from advanced graduate study to landing a faculty position, research funding, publication, and promotion. That normal career progression is all but derailed if a person expresses a scintilla of non-left views in casual conversations, faculty meetings, public discourse, teaching, grant applications, submitted publications, or the promotion process.

He surveys the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada using different markers for liberal and conservative views. Among others, in the U.S. he used Trump-versus-Biden support, while for the U.K. he centered upon “leave” or “remain” in the controversy over membership in the European Union.

Kaufmann starts by distinguishing between “hard” and “soft” discrimination. The former includes the direct use of university disciplinary procedures against dissenting academics, internally generated campaigns for ouster, or simply making life so uncomfortable that a scholar feels compelled to leave. More specifically, he defines it as “being fired or threatened for one’s views,” while the “soft” version includes “not being hired, promoted, awarded a grant, or published in a journal.”

There is some good news here, but the past tense may be more appropriate. Kaufmann found that “most academics reject the “hard” version,” though he also found an alarming order-of- magnitude increase in the number of reported cases in recent years.

It is the soft version that has been more prevalent.

Promotion is largely determined by a record of academic publication summarized by outside reviewers, who may number up to a dozen or so. This decision on promotion is especially critical in the sixth year of an academic appointment, when a candidate is either promoted from assistant to associate professor, the latter carrying an appointment without term (i.e., tenure), or is terminated within a year. This review is an “up or out,” which means that denial of promotion ends employment not only at the candidate’s institution but at its peer institutions. For candidates denied by top-shelf schools, the opportunity to play ball at a lower level usually remains. But who wants to be damaged goods playing for the Tennessee Smokies after six years in Wrigley Field?

One critical letter among the large number submitted is often sufficient to result in a denial. And in highly politicized fields like my own (climate change) unsolicited letters from a big power in the field can appear out of the blue. (“I heard you are considering Dr. Blow for tenure. Might I offer some commentary?”) If the writer is of sufficient status, that’s a death sentence for the candidate and his heterodox views (pronoun and adjective explicitly chosen as matters of probability).

Kaufmann writes that “there will be, on average, 2-5 voices in the room [i.e., fellow faculty or review letters] discriminating against a right-wing candidate.” With regard to all-important academic publications, he finds that a “paper is unlikely to be judged strictly on its merits since most journals require at least two referees plus an editor to take a look. This means there is a 60-90% chance of a right-wing paper being rated lower” (i.e., rejected), lowering the chances for promotion.

There is already a tremendous numerical disparity between left- and right-leaning faculty; approximately 14 to 1 in the U.S., as shown in Table 4 in Kaufmann’s paper. This is for the social sciences and the humanities; Kaufmann (personal communication) indicates the number for STEM is 5.7 to 1, still an outrageous imbalance.

Kaufmann did find that discrimination by the right against the left occurs at about the same rate, but since there are so few on the right, the disparity in favor of the left will continue to grow as the papers, promotions, and grant applications of right-leaning faculty are rejected by the ever-increasing proportion on the left. Interestingly, the percentages for conservative discrimination against left-leaning faculty are the same with regard to hiring, but the left discriminates slightly more than the right in reviews of academic papers and grant applications and in promotion decisions. Because hiring decisions largely rest with the faculty members themselves, discrimination against conservatives is only going to continue increasing.

Maybe academic discrimination is an inherent human quality, but having it entirely on one side of the political spectrum is a result of institutional hiring and retention choices.

What’s happening is a naked threat against the diversification of knowledge, with a future that looks even worse: Kaufmann finds that the youngest cohort on the academic ladder, Ph.D. students, are the most intolerant of the few faculty who are right-of-center. Eighty-two percent of these students say they would discriminate against right-leaning faculty in hiring, promotions, and grant applications. Kaufmann writes that in “North America, 24% of all PhD students would [downrate] a right-leaning paper…. 30% would mark a right-leaning promotion application lower, and 33% would rank a right-leaning grant application down.”

But that’s only the “admitted” bias. Kaufman designed his surveys to also reveal hidden bias, which, he notes, approximately doubles the figures for admitted prejudice. Discrimination against conservatives by Ph.D. students then becomes 48 percent, 60 percent, and 66 percent, respectively — this from the next generation of faculty.

This is an ominous sign, predicting that discrimination against the few remaining right-leaning teachers will become even worse. Universities might as well start to advertise positions with the caveat that “right-of-center candidates expecting promotion need not apply.”

Kaufmann concludes, “There is a climate of political discrimination inside the contemporary university” and adds that “findings accumulated over a decade convincingly show that a majority of conservative academics experience a hostile environment for their beliefs…. This is a rational appraisal of the significant structural discrimination against them in the higher education sector.”

This climate is eroding free speech, with overt censorship by rejecting publication of results with real (or simply apparent) connection to right-of-center policies, as well as tremendous self- censorship both in the classroom and in published academic papers. Scientists (including me) rationally submit papers that will not ruffle feathers, which itself has the obvious effect of reducing the disagreement often required for scientific progress.

The result is a systematic poisoning of the peer-reviewed literature, which society accepts as its canon of knowledge. Fewer trends in the world of ideas could be more dangerous. This is the Frankfurt School on steroids.

The scientific literature is the basis for the development of paradigms in the disciplines. As Thomas Kuhn repeatedly demonstrated in his famous 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (which continues to be republished!), paradigms are highly resistant to change. It took 100 years for mainstream geology to accept continental drift, even though most observant five-year-olds see that many of the world’s continents fit together like jigsaw pieces.

Publication of results showing anomalies in a paradigm (such as drifting continents in a paradigm of stationarity) is difficult enough. In today’s highly politicized arenas (gender, diversity, and climate change, for example), results that may indicate that a paradigm is inaccurate will be systemically suppressed, and their authors harassed, cancelled, or worse.

For instance, it is somewhat easy to download upper-atmospheric data from the climate models that serve as the (only) basis for assessment of future climate in the literature. These data reveal massive systematic overprediction of warming in the last 40 years for the entire four-dimensional global tropics. Yet publishing that fact in the scientific literature has proven nearly impossible. For whatever reason, it is viewed as a right-of-center finding and is treated as such.

The increasing systemic bias against such findings makes paradigms even more resistant to change than they were. To belabor the point, the reigning paradigm is that these climate models supply reliable guidance for the future, but the implication of the global tropical error is that they don’t. Nonetheless, the literature either doesn’t note this or downplays its meaning. It’s hard not to see how politically consequential this is. Why viewing the planet as existentially imperiled is “left”, and seeing the climate as a modestly warming metastable system is “right” is a mystery, but the ensuing discrimination is a reality.

Climate Science: Self-Censorship?

In my experience climate science is as systemically fraught with bias as the social sciences and the humanities; indeed, Mitchell Langbert in 2018 found that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans was 25:1 among environmental scientists and 27:1 in the geosciences. His results were based upon voter registration.

Despite its obvious political prominence, in Kaufmann’s entire 195-page (single-spaced) document, the word “climate” (used 195 times) only describes the social milieu that academics experience. Only once does the subject of global warming come up — and in a pejorative way:

“…[T]hose who refuse to recognize the reality of political discrimination and chilling effects are not dissimilar to those who initially denied the leftist makeup of the professoriate (up to the 1990s), or who say that the earth is no warmer today than it was a century ago.”

To be clear, the average surface temperature is certainly warmer now than it was around 1900. But there were two warming periods in the 20th century, and the first, from 1910-45, is unlikely to have been largely because of carbon dioxide, as atmospheric concentrations at its initiation were barely—only a few parts per million—above where they were when global temperature records begin in 1850. If that teeny change could kick off the half-degree (C) of warming that ensued, current temperatures would be so hot that there would be little debate about imminent disaster.

But there is a legitimate discussion about long-term climate records. Almost all of the warming in U.S. history (which contains the best-maintained and most dense stations) is a result of “adjustments” and “homogenization.” (I love that word applied to ostensibly independent data records.) So the true warming is actually unknown. While it is certainly a stretch to say the earth’s temperature is the same as it was a century ago, it is not one to say that surface temperature records have been molested to overestimate that warming, which is easily confirmable by examining independent records from ascending weather balloons and orbiting satellites.

I speculate that Kaufmann knows these problems beset the “environmental issue of our time,” but chose to avoid conflict by conflating skeptics of an imminent apocalypse with those who deny left-wing bias in the academy. He may have sensed that touching the rather prominent electrified rail of climate change would have fried his credibility, no matter how well-grounded his work is. Kaufmann often speaks of “self-censorship” among academics. Did he do the same on climate to protect his work from the type of attacks he so thoroughly documents? For whatever reason, in Academic Freedom in Crisis, mum’s the word on climate change.

A practical example of the consequences of this intolerance is instructive. For whatever reason, scientists who view modern warming as modest, harmless or even beneficial are viewed as right-wing. If they let their sympathy for this so-called “lukewarm” hypothesis be known in graduate school, it’s unlikely they would ever gain an academic job. If hired, and they express this view at faculty meetings, they will be stigmatized, greatly diminishing their chances for promotion.

Further, revealing a “lukewarm” perspective in a research-grant application would be extremely risky. Kaufmann’s results “suggest close to two-thirds likelihood that each reviewer of a right- leaning grant application will engage in political discrimination [emphasis in original].”

Given that there will be at least three reviewers of a grant application to, say, the National Science Foundation and that one bad review will spell death, anyone not espousing the establishment view (established, that is, by the enormous disproportion of left-leaning faculty who view climate change as deadly) had better self-censor.

Better to avoid hot-button issues and concentrate on nugatory research. I did that during my first decade in the academy. The dean told me it was a great work, but I thought it was terrible. Kaufmann predicts that this kind of self-censorship, or research dilution, must be common among those who dissent from left-wing orthodoxy.

This is perhaps most obvious in studies of gender/sexuality and, of course, the unholy trinity of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

There is surely research in the publication stream today demonstrating the benefits of increasing permutations of the gender tree and the obvious salutary effects of asserting white fragility. Conversely. rest assured that anyone foolish enough to have submitted an academic counterargument has already had that manuscript rejected and is likely under academic suspicion.

Self-censorship applies to what one says to colleagues as well as to what research is applied for or written. According to Kaufmann, “70% [of the non-left] in the U.S. say there is a hostile climate for their beliefs in their departments and a similar number report self-censoring in teaching and research.”

Kaufmann concludes:

Discrimination leads to self-censorship, curbing the freedom to investigate and debate ideas that is the lifeblood of a properly functioning academy. With just 10-20% of Trump- and Leave-supporting academics in the social sciences and humanities willing to air their political beliefs, the views of half the electorate are effectively being silenced, limiting the kinds of conversations that are needed for mutual understanding.

The erosion of the academy is obvious. The implications are clear. The opportunity costs to society of handicapping, slowing, or preventing publication of new knowledge can only be staggering, prompting the obvious question: “What is to be done?”

Kaufmann details two approaches.

One, I fear, is wishful thinking: good ideas—tolerance, academic freedom, and a true ideological diversity with real impact on the future composition of the faculty–will prevail. They will drive out the bad ones.

Why is it wishful thinking? University faculty members, after six- years during which the right- of-center teachers leave or are fired after the promotion review, are permanent lifetime employees who choose the new hires, whether tenured or not. Kaufmann shows whom they do not choose, which implies whom they do. Like begets like, and people don’t often move philosophically from left to right, when the left is preferentially rewarded.

Kaufmann’s other approach is what he calls “interventionist”. He gives an example in which a U.S. president or a governor, backed by the legislature, mandates that universities prioritize academic freedom, with all other goals and programs subservient to that. On the insightful British video podcast Triggernometry he noted that the U.K. government under Boris Johnson has instituted reforms that could help break the ideological uniformity of the academy.

But that’s the U.K. In the U.S. no president or governor could successfully order universities to hire and promote more right-leaning teachers. Nor could he or she order faculty members to affirmatively review right-of-center journal submissions, grant proposals or applications for promotion.

Surely, one might argue, that is similar to what occurs now with affirmative action and “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” But no one promoting these, from lobbyists to legislators to university administrators, is pushing anything that the existing faculty don’t believe in already.

A university administrator would get no further than a president or governor. The easiest way for a university president to be deposed is for him or her to incur mass disapproval of the faculty. Further, faculty members directly vote on whom to offer academic positions. While deans, provosts, and presidents can overrule faculty votes, they simply can’t cram an alternative appointment down a noncompliant faculty’s throat without a major giveback. The most they can usually do is offer a department a “free” position (one that doesn’t cost a department a designated “slot”) in addition to the hire that the dean wants.

That might slightly dilute the hegemony of the left-of-center faculty, but the math is clear. It will not replace it.

This is depressing, for it seems that the death spiral of American academia is inevitable. Our problems are structural and intractable. Because the university faculty is empowered to dictate who its members are and what is permitted in the canon of knowledge, it will retain that corrupt absolute power. Self-selection by the faculty ensures an increasingly leftward tilt, not just in the social sciences and humanities; as the infection has now reached STEM. Political intolerance will increase, as will de facto and direct suppression of academic free speech. It encourages heinous self-censorship that silences teachers who might dissent—until they can no longer speak.

About the author. Patrick J. Michaels is the author of Scientocracy: The Tangled Web of Public Science and Public Policy (Cato books, 2019) and was a Research Professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia for thirty years.

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rbabcock
June 10, 2021 6:18 am

As screwed up as our institutions of “higher learning” are, the areas that count even more are our early grade schools and in large part in the bigger cities are even worse.

Reply to  rbabcock
June 10, 2021 7:54 am

Yes, the trend to eliminate AP classes in order to achieve equal outcomes is wrong as is the trend to teach children how to be racists and how to leverage victim hood as an excuse for individual and collective failures arising from bad ideas.

What happens when children are bored in school because the pace is too slow they become disruptive and their burgeoning intellect may go to waste.

Gyan1
Reply to  co2isnotevil
June 10, 2021 12:47 pm

 ‘the trend to eliminate AP classes in order to achieve equal outcomes is wrong”

The people pushing this don’t believe humans have natural gifts and talents. The key to humans reaching their highest potential is discovering their gifts and using them in productive enterprise. This is how people achieve their highest value to society.

The left wants to keep people down so they are dependent on government and under their thumb.

MarkW
Reply to  Gyan1
June 11, 2021 9:37 am

A young socialist once told me that there was no such thing as a best candidate for a job. Everyone was either qualified, or not qualified.
All a company needed to do was determine who the qualified candidates were and then select the racially and sexually appropriate candidate from that pool.
According to him, the whole concept of “best” was just something that racists had come up with so that they would have an excuse not to hire minorities.

(I’m willing to bet this young scholar had gone to schools that graded in pass/fail for his entire academic career.)

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  rbabcock
June 10, 2021 9:37 pm

“Kaufmann’s landmark study proves that the last three [disagreement, debate, and dissent] in that list are severely suppressed and punished.”

Well, of course. Ever since competition was suppressed in grade school we have been raising generations of “let’s-just-all-get-along” sheeple.

Mickey Reno
June 10, 2021 6:20 am

Not everyone needs to have a college diploma to be successful. This stupid American idea (and Ideal) became popular after the U.S. became ascendant following World War II.

Of course, it presumed that high school graduates were already “educated,” something no longer in evidence in the U.S. We need to tear down lots of public institutions. I’d start with public K-12 schools. Let’s just get rid of them. No more teachers unions, no more instances of school kids protesting on streets on school days WITH THEIR FRIGGIN’ TEACHERS!

Everyone gets a grant from the tax collector to educate his or her own children in private. That would be a good start, IMO.

Reply to  Mickey Reno
June 10, 2021 7:27 am

And for Public schooling the government makes the students funds avaliable to the parents, and the parents can select the school. If the parents don’t like the avaliable choice of schools, then collectively they have the funds to start one themselves.

GoatGuy
Reply to  Mickey Reno
June 10, 2021 8:31 am

Not everyone needs …

Yes, and no. Not, it-is-true, IF the matriculation (and retention) requirements of High School (and yes, grade school, too) were largely high enough to ensure that graduates actually can cipher, reason, compose prose, and defend their stance without resorting to blithering emphatically. Increasingly and depressingly, there are SO many colleges and universities and laughably accredited ‘other’ academic venues to suck up parents’ and students’ future debt outlays, that almost every ‘graduate’ I’ve seen in the last 20 years has been woefully short of anything I’d have considered ‘college graduate education’; I guess their parchment is just proof that they had the steel to bear down on the points-of-academic-achievement expected of them for 4 to 6 years. Gown, cap and sheepskin. Done. $75,000 to $225,000 later, and here you got 8 out of 10 that can’t do high school algebra, or in engineering, can’t really remember hydrostatics, Ohms Law, the point of sub-and-super critical 2nd order differentials and the rest.

BASICS, when attending a better University in the 1970s. Basics.

I am blessed that UC Berkeley took this wet-around-the-ears survivor of 12 years of Catholic education in, and knocked some damned-difficult sense into me. Be it a talent or a curse, I learned more slowly than my peers, but apparently more thoroughly … I still remember ALL the basics-and-finer-points taught in ALL my classes, be they Economics, Rhetoric, Geology, Chemistry (major), Physics (minor), Mathematics (critical minor) or even Computer Science (lucked-into-profession!!!)

At 62-going-on-a-hundred, my sheepskin in retrospect was WORTH something. Something my remarkably rigorous-but-accomodating Catholic High School couldn’t or wouldn’t give. But HS gave me most of the tools to do passably in the Big U.

And also — in retrospect — whatever I got out of HS clearly would have been more than enough to power my life forward on a less demanding career path in hands-on-engineering. Machinist, Chemical lab tech at a refinery, post-HS teaching credential, or pretty-good-sized department manager. I’m a monster at spreadsheets, GANTT charts, all kinds of programming and especially analytic mathematics. Only the calculus (and its statistical inverse), economics and deep chemistry from The U were new studies I had no idea of, prior to.

So yah… most don’t need college. But most — of at least modest talent — really need more than what uninspired public HS’s offer, since we are no longer even achieving what was achieved in the 1950s, before the invention of white boards, PowerPoint, spreadsheets and calculators. A fountain-pen-is-cool era. And slide-rule.

Just saying… GoatGuy

Doug Huffman
Reply to  GoatGuy
June 10, 2021 9:52 am

US Navy and its discipline did it for me. Calculators, just being invented, were prohibited as we were required to use slidrules. I still have my box of sliderules, including my father’s.

Admiral Rickover insisted that HIS sailors be smarter than the machinery they were operating, no computers in HIS enginerooms. Not so much nowadays.

HS was inspiring for this 1966 graduate.

mkelly
Reply to  Doug Huffman
June 10, 2021 1:36 pm

Same here Doug. Went thru electronics A school in Memphis no calculator to figure total impedance in circuits etc.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Doug Huffman
June 10, 2021 9:29 pm

In college, I once did a least-squares fit with 24 data points, using logarithms. The next time I had to do a least-squares fit, I used the Royal McBee computer at work. The printout evoked this response from the professor, Dr. Simha: “Ach! Vun uff you has done his homevork vith a computer. Vell, I didn’t say zat you couldn’t. And, besides, someday all homevork vill be done on a computer.” This in 1962!

Christina Widmann
Reply to  Mickey Reno
June 11, 2021 2:26 am

You’re supposing that the parents know enough of the basics to teach their children. Optimism.

June 10, 2021 6:21 am

Not just America.
We are seeing the beginning of the fall of
Western Civilisation unless things change very soon.
Most likely China will be our successor.

GoatGuy
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
June 10, 2021 8:36 am

That is the reason THEY are rather unsubtly funding almost any brand of WOKE Humanities claptrap. To undermine our very academic prowess that perhaps-still, but once-for-sure defined our power as a people.

RetiredEE
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
June 10, 2021 8:49 am

I fear for our future.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  RetiredEE
June 11, 2021 5:57 pm

Dave
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
June 10, 2021 9:11 am

If it makes you feel better, China is much further along in this path.

Greg
Reply to  Dave
June 10, 2021 2:57 pm

You’ve obviously never been to China.

n.n
June 10, 2021 6:30 am

So, libertarian thought is proscribed and subject to affirmative discrimination
However, the left-right nexus is leftist, is conventionally ambiguous. Conservativism or center is particularly intolerable, as reconciliation is a repulsive relic of normal and therefore a “burden”.

Reply to  n.n
June 10, 2021 9:00 am

Huh? Makes no sense.

w.

Scissor
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 10, 2021 9:10 am

I think the comment acknowledges the death spiral, but I’m not sure.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 10, 2021 10:14 am

Reads like ‘Corpspeak’ to me!

n.n
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 10, 2021 12:40 pm

Affirmative discrimination targets libertarian (i.e. right-wing) principles and practices. Conservative philosophy: Pro-Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, with a republican form of government, operating under a constitutional framework, less the Twilight Amendment (i.e. penumbras and emanations) is regarded as an obstacle, a “burden” by some. The totalitarian-anarchist, left-right nexus is leftist, and supported… normalized when politically congruent (e.g. motives of profit, leverage, suppression).

M Courtney
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
June 10, 2021 4:09 pm

Random buzzwords and a thesaurus with no actual meaning?
Classic signs of a bot.

The question is why?

Check your server for Trojans.

hiskorr
June 10, 2021 7:03 am

A useful summary of the obvious. There is, however, a tendency for the pendulum to swing beyond stability. While academia can perpetuate itself for awhile in its ivory tower, a detachment from reality will eventually become evident. Let me suggest three leftist absurdities that, being rejected by society, must eventually impact academe:
1) The 1619 Project will either destroy History as an academic occupation or reinsert truth as an objective.
2) “Boys can be girls” is a direct challenge of Psychology to Biology. My bet is that the elder science will prevail in society.
3) Critical Race Theory is such a blatant attack on what still is a majority of the country that it must fail and take with it much of the leftist “Racist!” authority.

Scissor
Reply to  hiskorr
June 10, 2021 7:27 am

All very true, and this piece by Michaels is accurate in my experience. The president and at least one faculty member at the University of Colorado, for example, were forced out in recent weeks because they were not left enough. Almost daily, we receive what can only be described as propaganda from the administration.

Is it optimistic to say that it could be much worse? I can trace my academic lineage back to Lavoisier and he was executed during the French Revolution.

MarkW
Reply to  Scissor
June 10, 2021 8:41 am

It is not optimistic to say that it could be a lot worse.
Unfortunately it is also realistic to say it will get a lot worse

Simply said, the lunatics are running the asylum and they are so thoroughly entrenched that there is no possibility of removing them.

Last edited 10 days ago by MarkW
Scissor
Reply to  MarkW
June 10, 2021 9:05 am

You validated my thinking in this case, but sometimes I think that I’m optimistic.

Reply to  MarkW
June 10, 2021 10:03 am

“… there is no possibility of removing them.”

Between a President with a calcified brain, a VP who’s is way over her head, policies targeted to decimate our economy and way of life to the benefit of other countries, high level appointees who come off like Moonies trying to sell the virtues of their religion and spokespeople who act like deer caught in headlights when asked a tough question, even the most die hard Trump hater will have a hard time not seeing the incompetence they put in power. I don’t think the Democrats will be able to cheat enough to maintain Congressional control in 2022 even if the voter fraud enabling act currently before Congress was somehow passed.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  hiskorr
June 10, 2021 7:47 am

Macro-evolution/abiogenesis is much older than your three items and is just as devoid of merit. Yet that crackpot 19th century creation myth has not only survived, it has thrived. It has also become a convenient tool for spotting heretics.

The real crisis is, the Left has created an all-encompassing ether of willful obtuseness. A couple generations now have been thoroughly steeped in it, trained to immediately and religiously accept anything purported by the Powers That Be, no matter how ridiculous. Of course, to embrace those official nostrums includes fearing and loathing anyone that doesn’t also immediately and religiously submit and comply.

Islam only makes people publicly grovel on command five times per day, and for only a few minutes each time. But the Left makes millions publicly grovel continuously and relentlessly. They now even have the means to review and audit an acolyte’s groveling back many years. No matter how obsequious a disciple is today, or has been for the most recent few years, if a lapse is found at any point in the record, that minion can be summarily discarded and excommunicated.

The status quo cannot end well. I can only see civil war or a slouch into irrelevance for us. Hopefully, I will be pleasantly surprised (and deeply relieved). But, I fear we are stuck in the collapse of society envisioned by Asimov in his Foundation trilogy – overt attempts at restoration will be fully resisted. Societal entropy is in full swing – exertion against it will only increase it.

Jit
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
June 10, 2021 9:55 am

“Macro-evolution” is devoid of merit? Please.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Jit
June 10, 2021 10:15 am

Because everything came from nothing for no reason whatsoever. Or something.
There is no basis whatsoever for the ridiculous notion that life arose from non-life.
Macro-evolution is a doomed beached whale being crushed under the weight of its own contradictions and fictions. Though hordes of Lilliputians scramble to toss buckets of water on the floundering beast, it’s a hopeless ruin.
Macro-evolution is the silly creation myth for people who refuse to believe the patently obvious because of the moral implications.
You’re welcome.

Last edited 10 days ago by Matthew Schilling
Jit
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
June 10, 2021 10:46 am

This is not the place for such a debate. Probably if we stray much farther down this line we will get snipped. But I think you have it back to front: people reject the natural origins theory because of its moral implications. (Such implications are not binding on human society.)

A magical explanation will never trump a natural one, nor will any scientific paradigm ever be overturned by the invocation of magic as a cause of anything.

n.n
Reply to  Jit
June 10, 2021 1:13 pm

That’s a strawman apology. It may be one, the other, or neither (e.g. seeding, colonization). We don’t know. It is likely that we will never know. Science is, with cause, a philosophy and practice in the near domain.

Pat Frank
Reply to  n.n
June 11, 2021 2:04 pm

We don’t know…” but available evidence makes a terrestrial origin of life very much more likely than any known other possibility.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Jit
June 11, 2021 2:07 pm

This is not the place for such a debate.

It happens here pretty regularly, Jit. Along with hot defenses of the Catholic Church whenever the persecution of Galileo is mentioned.

Christina Widmann
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
June 11, 2021 2:34 am

Life is there now. Geologists tell us there was a time when it wasn’t. Astronomers say there was a time when not even the Earth was there. If we take this as true, life must have started at some point.

And that’s where I leave the discussion because I can’t currently think of any data we might collect in order to distinguish between different hypotheses for the origin of life.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
June 11, 2021 1:18 pm

There is no basis whatsoever for the ridiculous notion that life arose from non-life.

Except for known chemistry, and evidence for bacteria in rocks 3.8 billion years old.

John Larson
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 13, 2021 12:24 pm

What “known chemistry” is that?
I happen to have been following some pretty “damning” discussions relating to just how incredibly complex and sophisticated living cells have been revealed to be in the last decade or so, and I suggest the odds against any form of life having arisen “spontaneously” are beyond astronomical.

What is called ‘Origin Of Life’ research has been unable to come up with anything even remotely plausible in the face of what has been discovered. They can replicate some basic aspects of what has been observed, but only by using all manner of technological intervention, in lengthy processes that can’t possibly be indicative of anything that could have occurred on a sterile planet, it seems very obvious to me anyway.

Check it out, I suggest, and brace yourself for some mind bending hyper sophisticated “technology” that puts anything humans have ever devised to shame.

John Larson
Reply to  John Larson
June 13, 2021 12:36 pm

A series posted on You Tube by Dr. Tour makes the “problem” understandable to even of dolt like me ; )

Episode 1/13: Introduction to Abiogenesis // A Course on Abiogenesis by Dr. James Tour – YouTube

n.n
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
June 10, 2021 1:07 pm

Yes, a discernment of process and origin, correlations (e.g. pattern matching), assumptions/assertions, missing links, and what is nominally “science” carried out through inference and the art of plausible. It may have happened. It could have happened. It is observable and reproducible in simple constructs (e.g. viruses), then extrapolated to a universal frame of reference.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
June 11, 2021 1:14 pm

Matthew Schilling, the discovery of homeobox genes and heterochrony solved the problem of macro-evolution decades ago. You’re arguing an ancient battle lost. Speciation almost certainly arises in utero.

And abiogenesis is well-supported by known chemistry, including spontaneous vesicle formation, nucleic acids and amino acids in meteors, abiological synthesis of porphyrins, the spontaneous emergence of molecular chirality, and the possible origin of cellular life in the massively parallel natural experiments possible in the pore-chamber-and-gallery structure of eroded granitic reefs.

Last edited 8 days ago by Pat Frank
n.n
Reply to  hiskorr
June 10, 2021 12:53 pm

The first shoe dropped when the reproductive rites activists alleged a structural rape (i.e. hard problem) society in order to justify the Pro-Choice religion, specifically the wicked solution, and moderate feminists realized that their sons could be the target of witch hunts and warlock trials, and their daughters, given informed choice, would be no better off by denying their dignity and agency.

Christina Widmann
Reply to  n.n
June 11, 2021 2:36 am

Do you know a moderate feminist? Because I only ever seem to meet extremists who want baby-murdering declared a human right.

Abolition Man
Reply to  hiskorr
June 10, 2021 6:17 pm

hiskorr,
All three, along with CAGW, fall under the umbrella of neo-Marxism, cultural Marxism or Progressivism! Whatever you want to call it, it is actually a radical religious cult that has NO place in a public education system!
Until we acknowledge the fact that we are in a religious war with an enemy that sees us as evil and heretical for trying to engage in rational debate, we will continue to lose ground in the culture wars!
After the citizen obedience course we were subjected to for the last 16 months, there may not be enough rebels and rogues left to offset the intense pressures to to conform and obey! It is up to each of us to decide; do we want to be Neo and Trinity, or are we going to be Cipher and let the machines plug us into the High Tech Matrix!

Roger Knights
Reply to  hiskorr
June 11, 2021 2:52 pm

4) Climate Alarmism will fail after five years if a cooling trend sets in, or after ten years if there is a Pause. If and when it fails it will take down the authority of all its proponents and enablers and turn them into long-lasting objects of mockery.

Bruce Cobb
June 10, 2021 7:16 am

scientists who view modern warming as modest, harmless or even beneficial are viewed as right-wing. If they let their sympathy for this so-called “lukewarm” hypothesis…

Nit-picking perhaps, but it appears the good professor misunderstands what the “lukewarm” position is, as his description would simply describe the vast majority of Skeptics/Climate Realists. Lukewarmists like to claim (with zero evidence) that man is responsible for a good portion of the warming, perhaps half. I guess they like to think it makes them appear “reasonable”.

Last edited 10 days ago by Bruce Cobb
Cat
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
June 10, 2021 7:37 am

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.”

-Winston Churchill

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
June 10, 2021 7:38 am

Bruce Cobb, you are correct. It’s a purely political position.

Andrew

Jit
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
June 10, 2021 9:53 am

Nope, that’s not what a lukewarmer is. A lukewarmer agrees that increasing CO2 by human emissions will increase temperatures. They disagree that it will cause catastrophe.

This is not a question of being “reasonable.” It is a question of following the evidence.

Rick C
Reply to  Jit
June 10, 2021 11:29 am

I can agree with my wife that removing her watch and glasses before being weighed at the doctor’s office could affect the weight recorded. But I don’t agree that the effect is significant and I do think it is silly.

Sure, added CO2 should affect temperature, but not enough to be distinguished from much larger temperature variations that result from the dynamics of a spinning water covered plant with a turbulent atmosphere and tilted axis. 2 degrees C? – that’s less than the typical difference between the temperature of my living room and my bedroom. So I guess that I am a lukewarmer, but I think alarmists are nuts.

MarkW
Reply to  Rick C
June 10, 2021 11:35 am

According to many of the Sky Dragons, anyone who believes that CO2 is capable of trapping heat, is no different than an alarmists.

n.n
Reply to  Jit
June 10, 2021 1:28 pm

The evidence is that CO2 absorbs and reradiates as predicted by theory,
observed in the lab, but it’s efficacy (especially the fraction of a fraction anthropogenic contribution) in the wild is subject to debate. Furthermore, there is a question of cause and effect. Whether CO2 leads or follows heating and temperature changes.

We reject that it will have catastrophic effect, because there are no observable signals over the recorded period, and, for all of our faults, development has mostly or entirely kept pace and offset climate change throughout history.

DMacKenzie,
June 10, 2021 7:49 am

Of course academia is dominated by left wing thought. Right wing philosophy that endeavours have to pay their own way is generally not conducive to continued employment in their sector.

Dr Dave
June 10, 2021 7:54 am

Excellent essay. I’m afraid that what we are seeing right before our very eyes is the beginning stages of the second Dark Age, which in this political climate probably should be called something different to avoid the outrage of the PC police. I’m old enough that the coming gloom won’t affect me much but I shudder to think how it’s going to affect my kids and their kids. I dearly hope I’m wrong.

All of the nonsense we’re seeing is inflicted by those who should be the brightest that humanity has to offer. In 1905, George Bernard Shaw penned the words “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.’ Perhaps this saying needs to be revised because what we see happening in education these days has little to do with teaching…

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Dr Dave
June 10, 2021 10:18 am

Those who can’t teach, teach teachers. Those who can’t even teach teachers go into politics.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 10, 2021 2:51 pm

Those who can’t succeed in politics, go into Climate Scientology.

Jeff L
June 10, 2021 7:55 am

There is something that at least some of us can do – stop financial donations to your alma mater & write the president of said institution & let them know exactly why you will no longer support them (the above research, etc). That exactly what I did about 5 years ago. If enough people start withholding financial support, maybe that will give schools some motivation to change. Short of that, at least you are not helping to fund such biased activities

MarkW
Reply to  Jeff L
June 10, 2021 8:45 am

If you can find a school that hasn’t been infected by the liberalism virus and send your support to that school, that would be even better.

Doonman
Reply to  Jeff L
June 10, 2021 8:49 am

My alma mater has decided that its name glorifies racist behavior that happened 500 years ago. So they fully intend to change its name and remove the statues and plaques that glorify its racism.

I used to donate yearly to my alma mater as a measure of my success and to help future students succeed. But now I have no alma mater to donate to. I have no idea who the new Sunshine University is. Their loss, not mine.

cerescokid
Reply to  Doonman
June 10, 2021 9:45 am

Just when our society needs adults, they have disappeared. Nothing that is done in the name of political correctness surprises me any more.

Maybe it’s a new government works program. Replace the names of all the counties, cities, towns, villages and streets that offend the left. Just manufacturing new street signs could keep a workforce busy for years.

MarkW
Reply to  cerescokid
June 10, 2021 11:38 am

A read an article the other day that many bird species have been named after people who’s actions aren’t pure enough by modern standards. Apparently they plan on renaming all of these species.

Speaking of modern standards.
According to the woke, a non-minority can do pretty much anything they want, and it will be excused as either “their culture”, or “the white man made them do it”.
On the other hand, Europeans, even those from thousands of years ago, must be judged by the wokest of today’s standards. And all are found wanting.

n.n
Reply to  MarkW
June 10, 2021 1:40 pm

Or they will be judged and labeled with Jew… White privilege. This is a foreboding look back to a post-apartheid South Africa, where it was common for blacks to lynch competing blacks. Another Hutu/Tutsi cycle of redistributive and retributive change. A legacy of black slavery that long predated European arrival. Unfortunately, a common experience.

Woke and [morally] broke.

H. D. Hoese
June 10, 2021 8:05 am

“ Worryingly, younger academics are significantly more authoritarian than those who are older.” Older academics were robbed of their geriatric privileges. We did have the benefit of starting when the demand was much higher than supply which changed immensely, one factor was rewarding production of Ph.D.s. There is nothing new or wrong about the young “taking on” the establishment, but in some areas there has been an overt situation of not only rewriting history or ignoring it, but attempting to remove it. Introduction of new technologies is always problematic, but changes the focus and as the saying goes can “throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Putting this in categories is unfortunate. A younger “liberal” friend of mine was discriminated against when the definition of liberal changed but he didn’t, still believing and teaching the proper scientific method with freedom of thought. Our janitor noticed the bigotry.

paranoid goy
June 10, 2021 8:11 am

“The Long March through the Institutions” is pure Bolshevik Protocol. No amount of regulation or wishful discussion will change this.
The one thing I notice in most of the “fix it like this” comments, is the continued adherence to the religion of Free Marketeering.
I dare ya’ll to have an honest look at the timeline, specifically since the time we all fell in love with Privatisation. The degredation of Academia is not unrelated to the withdrawal of Public control over our public institutions, and the rise of education-for-profit.
Maybe parents should put down the pain medication, switch off the television, and start taking an interest in what strangers are teaching their children…
Lastly, remember that the brilliant minds who Think in Tanks on behalf of our “betters” have declared education to be an “unsustainable activity”. If you do not approach the subject with that Bolshevik Premise in mind, you are just throwing up into the face of the storm. Counting boogers. Building fly screen doors for submarines.
Either start by asking how to rescue academia from Bolshevik influence, or go watch football, because “institutional discrimination” is a deadly weapon, and “academic tolerance” is a rubber knife.

MarkW
Reply to  paranoid goy
June 10, 2021 8:48 am

I don’t know where you are getting your data from, but none of your observations are based on reality.

When exactly did the “public” control schools such as Yale and Harvard?
When exactly did the “public” control of state schools end?

Steve Keohane
Reply to  MarkW
June 10, 2021 4:06 pm
  1. Perhaps they are trying to appeal to the “public” so endowments are not diminished.
  2. The “public” control of state schools ended at least concurrent with the introduction of “new math” in the 60s.
Kevin kilty
June 10, 2021 8:19 am

 It took 100 years for mainstream geology to accept continental drift, even though most observant five-year-olds see that many of the world’s continents fit together like jigsaw pieces.

This is not only a worn-out example, but adding that 5-year olds will recognize the fit of continents just makes the statement more absurd.

The data needed to truly illuminate the theory of continental drift was in Wegener’s time, decades away. What a very influential geophysicist even in the 1930s-1950s could “see” was lack of a useful physical mechanism to accomplish the task. The oceanic crust is tough stuff, and even if there were convection currents transporting the continents around like rafts it is difficult to imagine the fine details of pulling the pieces apart so completely right to the surface. What happened finally was that the discovered magnetic anomalies on the ocean crust became too discrepant to explain away, and that forced people to imagine the possible mechanics more deeply.

I dislike allusions to “failed” science that have, though sloppiness and over use, become little more than myths. My least favorite is Kelvin and age of the Earth mythology, but continental drift is rapidly gaining (losing?) ground.

Someone has rightly said that what begins as a movement, soon becomes a business, and ends as a racket. This sequence doesn’t really go all the way to completion, which I would amend with a fourth stage where the racket ends as a farce. Aren’t vast swaths of academia there? In my last few years before retirement I had begun to recognize that outside of engineering (and as a physicist and geophysicist by education I don’t think I am an engineering snob) there seemed to be a preponderance of very obnoxious and smug, and left-wing, graduate students even in the hard sciences. No humility in them at all — just lots of certainty.

With some exceptions in mathematics and natural philosophy, up until mid 19th century the universities existed largely to educate the elite in the things that elite people thought about — history, classics, latin and greek, law, divinity, beauty and all that. By the time they began to merge with the practical schools bringing sciences and engineering into the fold they created an uneasy mix — C.P. Snow’s two cultures essentially. One side is now desperately ressurecting the old world of education for an elite that should think about what the elite think about. Nowadays that involves revised history, activism, magical thinking, and theories like CRT that not only can’t be tested, but which had no intention of proof by testing in the first place.

Empiricism is dead. Bullying is cool.

MarkW
Reply to  Kevin kilty
June 10, 2021 8:51 am

There was an article on Fox yesterday by a manager who says that he no longer hires graduates from Ivy league schools.
Precisely because of the arrogance that you mention.

Graemethecat
Reply to  MarkW
June 10, 2021 9:12 am

This little video may amuse you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c996b6QSEW4&t=163s

June 10, 2021 8:22 am

Great article, thank you Pat.
 
My question: Where to send my child to university? The three universities I attended in Canada have all gone full-woke and I no longer give them any money.
 
Schools like Harvard appear even worse – witness the ravings of Naomi Oreskes. Who hires these destructive, delusional academics?

The process is called “The Long March of the Institutions” – it started in the 1930’s and is still going strong.

Here is an interview that year with ex-KGB officer and Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov, who described their long-term program to ideologically undermine the western democracies. Note especially Bezmenov’s discussion of “ideological subversion”. It is all about manipulating the “useful idiots” – the pro-Soviet leftists within the democracies.
https://youtu.be/bX3EZCVj2XA

It’s ALL a leftist scam – false enviro-hysteria including the Climate and Green-Energy frauds, the full lockdown for Covid-19, the illogical linking of these frauds (“to solve Covid we have to solve Climate Change”), paid-and-planned terrorism by Antifa and BLM, and the mail-in ballot USA election scam – it’s all false and fraudulent.
 
The Climate-and-Covid scares are false crises, concocted by wolves to stampede the sheep.

The wolves, proponents of both the very-scary Global Warming / Climate Change scam and the Covid-19 Lockdown scam, know they are lying. Note also how many global “leaders” quickly linked the two scams, stating ”to solve Covid we have to solve Climate Change” – utter nonsense, not even plausible enough to be specious.

Regarding the sheep, especially those who inhabit our universities and governments:
The sheep are well-described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the landmark text “The Black Swan”, as “Intellectual-Yet-Idiot” or IYI – IYI’s hold the warmist views as absolute truths, without ever having spent sufficient effort to investigate them. The false warmist narrative fitted their negative worldview, and they never seriously questioned it by examining the contrary evidence.

References:

SCIENCE’S UNTOLD SCANDAL: THE LOCKSTEP MARCH OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES TO PROMOTE CLIMATE CHANGE
By Tom Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr, May 24, 2019
wattsupwiththat.com/2019/05/25/sciences-untold-scandal-the-lockstep-march-of-professional-societies-to-promote-the-climate-change-scare/

CLIMATE CHANGE, COVID-19, AND THE GREAT RESET
A CLIMATE, ENERGY AND COVID PRIMER FOR POLITICIANS AND MEDIA
By Allan M.R. MacRae, May 8, 2021 UPDATE 1e
Download the WORD file
https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/climate-change-covid-19-and-the-great-reset-update-1e-readonly.docx

TonyG
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
June 10, 2021 9:06 am

Allan,
Options include pursuit of the “trades” which are experiencing a severe lack of interest by young people, so there is a great deal of opportunity there, or pursuing an applied science type of degree – like my son who just got an AAS in Computer Engineering Technology and is now working on a BSIT. Those degrees appear to be mostly focused on the degree subjects with only a small handful of “liberal arts” required.

Roger Knights
Reply to  TonyG
June 11, 2021 6:43 pm

There’s a big shortage of truck drivers of big rigs. There are trade schools for such jobs.

pat michaels
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
June 10, 2021 9:23 am

Allan–

I would look at the Claremont colleges, and if quantitatively oriented, Harvey Mudd (which is one of them). Pepperdine might also fit into this mix. There’s also Grove City and Hillsdale that won’t take a federal dollar.

I had a pretty good experience doing what is called an Atheneum Lecture at Claremont and met a lot of people you an I can get along with.

I have to tell you it was very depressing reading Kaufmann and writing that long piece. I sent him some text to see if I was missing the point and I most certainly was not.

Reply to  pat michaels
June 10, 2021 10:18 am

Thank you Pat – great to hear from you.

I wrote this paper in 2019 – there is a good reason we published it on the 4th of July.

If the USA falls, there is nowhere left to run to.

Best, Allan

THE COST TO SOCIETY OF RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM
By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., July 4, 2019
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/07/04/the-cost-to-society-of-radical-environmentalism/

Last edited 10 days ago by ALLAN MACRAE
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
June 10, 2021 11:09 am

The first three responses to the above article are prescient:
It is all happening now. Our economy, our society and our rights were destroyed by total lockdowns, based on a mild illness that killed only ~13 people under-65 years of age in a population of 4 million. NOT justified.

Petit_Barde
 July 4, 2019 11:48 pm
“Radical green extremists have cost society trillions of dollars and many millions of lives.”
This is perfectly true, but it is not by chance that they act like this:
– their main purpose (or the goal of those who advance behind these useful idiots) is to destroy Western civilization and reduce the world’s population.
All this tragedy is related to Malthusians (as was Hitler, Paul Ehrlich and his disciples, Holdren (Obama’s science advisor), most of the politicians who push the CO2 scam, organizations, as the UN, WWF, etc., billionaires as Ted Turner, etc.).
Radical greens are the useful idiots, the henchmen of an actually powerful and terrifying Malthusian movement which is spreading all over the planet, based on junk science falsified decades ago.
After the 3 days of a tiny heat wave in France (with fake records as at Gallargues le Montueux), one of the dumbest French greens declared : “This is a war … !”.
We will very soon hear from those same pychopaths that “The end justifies any means”.

0

Robertvd
Reply to Petit_Barde
July 5, 2019 2:58 am
A Final Solution

0

Malcolm Carter
Reply to Petit_Barde
July 5, 2019 4:33 pm
Had a recent conversation with a relative that worked on a committee last year advising the Trudeau government on how the world must restructure in the next 30 to 40 years. Many of the ‘good’ ideas the group discussed sounded like they came from Maurice Strong, Naomi Klein or the Club of Rome. It seems that economic man is the enemy and we have to have a strong global government to redistribute the wealth. He thought that this would entail a revolution in expectations of how one would live and would require strong controls on business, environment and people.
I’m afraid that it isn’t just the ecolunes anymore.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
June 10, 2021 7:14 pm

Allan, Defector Yuri Bezmenov’s 1983 interview is good long term backgrounding for the overall social undermining effort that he traces back to the late 1960s KGB where he participated under the direction of Yuri Andropov (who advocated involuntary psychiatric commitment of socially undesirables, having earlier locally overseen the suppression of the 1956 Hungarian freedom movement and by the time of the interview had become Soviet Premier); to be further supplemented by the testimony of an academic insider on this particular subject, classics professor at both American and European universities Allan Bloom, whose own 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind was subtitled — How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students details the changes he had witnessed in the outlook of his students over their proceeding couple of generations.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Doc Chuck
June 11, 2021 7:26 pm

I might add some personal witness here, having graduated from Stanford’s medical school I resided nearby for over 3 decades to the end of the century (indeed even marrying an administration employee) I can affirm professor Bloom’s observation that a widespread post-modern relativist lack of confident vision for much of what they taught (outside of STEM vocational training) and so an associated lack of faculty/administrator resolve had them caving to boisterous demands of a sit-in at the dean of students office as early as the late ’60s and later ceding their western civilization course requirement for all undergraduates, as increasingly such inmates seemed to run the asylum — right down to who/what could be invited in speakers on the campus. And of course as that vile ‘Johnny Appleseed’ Andropov foresaw, many of these former students are now faculty just about everywhere.

So about a decade ago a colleague who was himself an undergraduate there in the early 1970s and knew I had a more current feel for campus life, asked me if Stanford might be a reasonable alternative to sending a 3rd daughter as far away as the Chicago area for her schooling. Sadly I had to confess that the student newspaper had become sufficiently embarrassing for over 20 years now that I wouldn’t care to be found dead with a copy in my hand! By now of course those same budding journalists write for your newspaper, as well as my very colorful alumni magazine, where several years ago a long present journalism professor expressed the view that any goal of informing the electorate of a republic to fulfill their own citizen responsibilities was just so yesterday, and that he much encouraged his journal(activ)ist graduates to instead simply take an anti-Trump stance, despite any death spiral implications for their very vocations that might be foreseeable and so ultimately for that elusive return-on-investment under his brand of tutelage.

TonyG
June 10, 2021 8:27 am

“Sure, one can make the argument that math is apolitical”

Not so much anymore. Even math is being politicized lately

H.R.
Reply to  TonyG
June 10, 2021 12:45 pm

Math is racist.

White privileged people use it to keep minorities down.

H.R.
Reply to  H.R.
June 10, 2021 1:01 pm

Just in case…

🤬 for woke people

😜 for sane people

Terry
June 10, 2021 8:28 am

Marxism through Critical Theory has won out at all levels of education. Who would have believed this could happen in the US.

MarkW
Reply to  Terry
June 10, 2021 11:44 am
June 10, 2021 8:31 am

This climate is eroding free speech, with overt censorship by rejecting publication of results with real (or simply apparent) connection to right-of-center policies, as well as tremendous self- censorship both…

Not only there, take healthcare around COV-19

Brian
June 10, 2021 8:32 am

There is a solution, only one: $$.  Identify the corrupt endeavors (for climate, the litany of corrupt events makes this straightforward) and then Shut The Valve.

markl
June 10, 2021 8:38 am

Following the Russian revolution the Marxists knew they couldn’t take over the world by force and went underground to play the long game from within. In the last century they have infiltrated every corner of our lives quietly and exerted their influence. Businesses, education at every level, industries, governments, military, even religions now have decision makers groomed to spread the ideology and they are coming out of the closet.

Mike Dubrasich
June 10, 2021 9:17 am

The political theater is a cover up for the sad fact that the academics are wrong about almost everything. Stupidity reigns in every academic field. What they teach is garbage. Graduates must unlearn the curricula to succeed in real life.

Academia is plunging into deep irrelevance as a result. Who needs a pack of fools braying nonsense? Defund them and they will go away.

Derg
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
June 10, 2021 4:44 pm

They can’t be defunded.

June 10, 2021 9:30 am

Since I left academia in 1988, earth science was merged with ecology, and mining engineering was merged with civil engineering.

Art
June 10, 2021 9:56 am

“We are going to kill ourselves because of stupidity”

https://newtube.app/TonyHeller/VJOP3Hh

pochas94
June 10, 2021 10:35 am

I just hope the STEM curricula remain dedicated to teaching what is real. They can leave the politics to the left wing polisci and journalist majors, the ones you either ignore or are doomed to take happy pills.

TEWS_Pilot
June 10, 2021 10:46 am

Is there any wonder why they are screwed up when Bill Nye is considered an “expert” on “climate?”
comment image

TEWS_Pilot
June 10, 2021 10:49 am

Interesting Op-Ed “Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates.”
By Mike Huckabee

There’s a very interesting op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by First Things editor R.R. Reno. It’s at the link, but behind a paywall. So if you’re not a subscriber, I’ll just recap the major points.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-i-stopped-hiring-ivy-league-graduates-11623103004

It’s called “Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates.” This is hardly shocking if you’ve been keeping up with all the horror stories coming out of these elite schools lately about leftist administrators and faculty indoctrinating students with socialism, Critical Race Theory and anti-Americanism, and campuses being run by mobs of leftist cry-bully students who want to silence and punish anyone who expresses a “painful” and “problematic” opinion that differs from theirs.

But many parents still dream of their kids going to Harvard or Yale because they’re coasting on their rapidly crumbling reputations for excellence. They think that Ivy League sheepskin will mean a lifetime of prosperous employment, so they pony up the outrageous tuition. But according to Reno, your kids might be better off spending a fraction as much to attend a state college.

He says he’s found that many recent Ivy League grads who apply for jobs with his company fall into one of three categories: (1.) Oversensitive, thin-skinned narcissists who make inflammatory accusations at the drop of a hat; (2.) Those so cowed by fear of accusations of racism or some other offense that they remain silent if there’s any risk in speaking up; or (3.) Those who actually have the gumption to fight back, mostly conservatives, but who are so used to having to fight that they seem to have PTSD and have developed a habit of aggressive counterpunching.

None of those traits are helpful as part of a team that has to deal with the real world. The Ivies used to train students to be leaders. Now, they may still attract top level students, but they coddle and encourage the dysfunctional ones while attacking and abusing the normal ones. For all the money students pay to go there, the schools don’t add value, they reduce it.

Reno suggests that students who want to learn how to be leaders and prosper in the real world attend schools such as Hillsdale College, Thomas Aquinas College, Wyoming Catholic College and the University of Dallas, as well as large state schools and their satellite campuses. He says their students are more likely to get good educations, to learn to accept the authority of those with more experience, and not to be deformed by toxic political correctness.

And I would add, don’t worry about all the Ivy Leaguers who are unfit to work in the real world. I’m sure they’ll find lucrative jobs in politics or the media.

ThinkingScientist
June 10, 2021 11:13 am

The description also fits the BBC and the Geological Society of London.

William Astley
June 10, 2021 11:15 am

This is much bigger than academic freedom.

There is an obvious in your face common thread… a fundamental Reason why all of this has happened. Something bigger than the loss of Academic freedom.

A door is closing. We are at the end of the loss of our countries.

We now have official lies about a host of issues. We have official hiding of the truth and attacks. We have organized violence to cause problems in our countries.

Hiding the truth is necessary to enable our countries to be attacked. We are losing because our governments and our institutions have been taken over.

Our countries are under attack. The attack is sophisticated, funded, organized, and has a purpose. What has happened … happened because this is the CCP’s plan.
 
Our university have ideologically been taken over and our media outlets… Like Facebook, Google, Netflix, Hollywood, and so on have also been taken over.

We now have all of the media outlets censoring and pushing the official narrative/lies about issues which enable our country to be taken over … 2020 US election results/US Politics, Covid origins, CAGW, Green Energy Scam, and so on.
 
https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2020/05/21/multiple-universities-refuse-to-cooperate-with-federal-investigations-into-ties-to-china/
 

 

MULTIPLE UNIVERSITIES REFUSE TO COOPERATE WITH FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS INTO TIES TO CHINA

 
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/physician-scientist-steven-quay-provides-open-letter-response-to-who-report-five-undisputed-facts-support-the-laboratory-origin-of-the-covid-virus-301258582.html
 
The five undisputed facts are:
·  COVID-19 wasn’t smoldering in the community before the epidemic broke out, as was observed with previous coronavirus epidemics.
·  Despite an intense search, neither the COVID virus, nor any close relative, has yet been found in nature, unlike prior natural zoonoses. The closest viral relative is from the laboratories of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, near the epicenter of the first cases.
· The COVID virus had little genetic diversity at the outset, unlike prior natural zoonoses. It was genetically pure, like the man-made vaccines being rolled out.
· The COVID virus’s powerful infectious trigger isn’t found anywhere in its related viral group in nature but has been repeatedly inserted into viruses by laboratory scientists, including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
· The virus was highly adapted for infection of people from the start, unlike prior natural zoonoses. Growing viruses in humanized mice is a common technique to hone their lethal abilities.

jmorpuss
Reply to  William Astley
June 10, 2021 3:51 pm

William
How can we trust a system that throws whistleblowers and truth seekers in jail
this Dr tried to blow the whistle on Fauci right from the beginning and got blocked by most main stream media outlets, Fauci should be thrown in jail and throw away the key.
A must watch video
Dr Judy Mikovits – PLANDEMIC VIDEO (drjudyamikovits.com)

Joel O'Bryan
June 10, 2021 11:34 am

The problem of bias in the Liberal Arts humanities and the “soft” sciences like psychology, economics, etc. are easier to maintain, since the evidence comes from humans and humanity itself.

But science of the natural world, nature, and observations of natural phenomenon are difficult to maintain bias because the nature doesn’t give a crap about maintaining a consensus, Lysenko-ist view on an issue in a true science discipline of tenured faculty. Ultimately nature WILL prove any enforced science consensus wrong, usually in some spectacular fashion the longer the suppression of dissenting skepticism of other scientists occurs.

Smart Rock
June 10, 2021 12:03 pm

Replace “American academia” in the title with “western democratic society” and it gets more relevant.

We are watching the death spiral of a system that brought unparalleled freedom from hunger and disease, freedom from oppression and freedom from fear of arbitrary authority, to unprecedented numbers of people. It’s not perfect, but it’s been better than anything else we ever had.

Now, the social, cultural and intellectual leaders of our western, democratic societies (and the scary thing is that it’s impossible to point a finger and say who these social, cultural and intellectual leaders are; their anonymity is their strength) have decided that it’s time to throw it all away in favour of a weakly defined, authoritarian collectivism.

Oh well, we had a good run. It’s been a blast. Last one out turn off the lights (assuming there are any lights left to turn off).

Gyan1
June 10, 2021 12:35 pm

The free exchange of ideas is critical to human development.

The left has replaced reason with an irrational ideology disconnected from empirical reality.

Glen
June 10, 2021 1:06 pm

The WSJ did a mail-in ad-hoc study of US-professors political affiliation some time ago. My memory is sketchy, but I think they sent out 700-800 surveys. The question was basically are you a Democrat or Republican.
Of the 300 mailed-back responses, 298 professors claimed they were Democrats.The WSJ did suggest that the true ratio might not be so skewed. The WSJ offered fear-of-reprisal as a possible reason why more professors did not identify as conservative
The time of this was ~2005ish

MarkW
Reply to  Glen
June 10, 2021 2:46 pm

There’s a reason why the Democrats want to force all political organizations to disclose who their donors are.

So that those who continue to donate to the “wrong” ones, can be punished.

davidmhoffer
Reply to  MarkW
June 10, 2021 4:50 pm

That may backfire. Israel used to be riddled with NGO’s dedicated to destroying Israel’s reputation at home and abroad with one contrived accusation after another. Israel passed a law requiring them to disclose who their donors were. Most of them promptly disappeared.

Tom
June 10, 2021 4:50 pm

What is science? Allan Savory (Ecologist)
People talk glibly about science. What is science? People coming out of university with a masters degree or a PhD. You take them into the field and they literally don’t believe anything unless it’s a peer-reviewed paper. It’s the only thing they accept. And you say to them … let’s observe, let’s think, let’s discuss. It’s just, is it in a peer-reviewed paper or not? That’s their view of science.
I think it’s pathetic. They’ve gone into universities as bright young people. They come out of them brain dead, and not even knowing what science means. They think it means peer-reviewed papers etc. No . That’s academia. And if a paper is peer-reviewed, it means … everybody thought the same.Therefore, they approved it. An unintended consequence is that when new knowledge emerges, new science insights … they can never, ever be peer-reviewed. So we’re blocking all new advances in science, that are big advances. If you look at the breakthroughs in science, almost always they don’t come from the centre of that profession. They come from the fringe. The finest candle makers in the world could not even think of electric lights. They don’t come from within. They often come from outside the breaks. We are going to kill ourselves because of stupidity.

Vincent Causey
June 11, 2021 12:18 am

It is tempting to compare this to Lysenkoism, but actually it is far worse. Lysenkoism was a pinprick by comparison. There is nothing that adequately matches it in history, although Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries comes close – everything had to be judged through the lens of Catholic canon.

The outcome is obvious. Centres of excellence will inevitably drift to other parts of the world while the west becomes a backwater, and that’s all there is to it.

Pat Frank
June 11, 2021 8:48 am

In the U.S. no president or governor could successfully order universities to hire and promote more right-leaning teachers.

Of course they can. They cut off the money.

Universities depend on public money. No department of biased pedagogy gets funded.

The budget gets cut to zero. Faculty can keep their tenure, but their salaries will not be paid. They have violated the tenure agreement.

The process is simple and direct, and can readily be made judicious. It’s not hard to gather data showing that departments are politically oppressive and that faculty teach politicized BS.

Those departments are starved into oblivion. Five years of this will see a total retransformation of the universities back to a scholarly track as all the oppressors progressives get squeezed out.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 11, 2021 6:50 pm

There ought be a law ending public funding of colleges (e.g., no more student loans) and also forbidding employers to require a college degree. Instead, they would only be allowed to test for adequacy in college subjects.

p a
June 11, 2021 9:55 am

Sorry, higher education is an ideologically bombed-out institution. Just as, and for the same reason, you don’t try to fix up a partially-destroyed building, you should also not fix up an ideologically broken education system. Haul the debris away, clear the site, build new.

The current education is designed with a template from the factory floor anyway. I can see in so many ways education is trying to become more flexible and assume a different form, but, again; haul the debris away, clear the site, build new.

June 11, 2021 3:26 pm

Here is a perfect example of the quality and tone of current American academic research. (This is not a joke article. It is an earnest and authentic high profile journal publication.)

https://www.rt.com/usa/526149-medical-journal-whiteness-malignant/

On Having Whiteness
Donald Moss
Journal of the American Psycoanalytical Association
First published May 27, 2021
https://doi.org/10.1177/00030651211008507
Abstract:
Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has – a malignant, parasite-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and socio-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites – to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.

Mohatdebos
June 11, 2021 6:37 pm

There is hope. Back in 1976 when I was applying to graduate schools in economics, my two best options were University of Chicago and Wharton. My faculty advisor pushed hard for Wharton because she was concerned that I would not have academic opportunities if I went to Chicago because of their free market, monetarist views. Fortunately, I went with my heart and chose Chicago. By the time I finished my Ph.D. In 1981, Ronald Reagan had been elected President and Chicago-style monetary economics had become the dominant paradigm. One can hope that climate change “science” will evolve similarly.

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