The conquest of 2016: a prediction

2015:  the year the university ceded its authority, surrendering to the army of shrieking blacks.  But why was the conquest so easy?  And who has the conquering army put in power?

Two reasons the conquest was easy.

  1. Faculty and administrators are all Leftists and so couldn’t in good conscience defend their institutions against even the most unreasonable attacks from a designated victim group.
  2. Most faculty assume that they can work below the radar, that groveling to nonwhites and perverts (which they morally approve) won’t affect their serious work, because SJWs don’t care about things like STEM.

There are now two sources of status–and, therefore, at least potential legitimacy–in academia, what one may call “epistemic status” and “moral status”.  Epistemic status is what mathematics, physics, biology, electrical engineering, and the like have:  the presumption that they indisputably have delivered and will continue to deliver objective truths about the world.  Moral status belongs to those disciplines that have evolved into naked social justice advocacy, without even a pretense of objectivity.  (Note that, since I’m talking about status, we are dealing with perceptions rather than realities.  I, of course, don’t agree that imposing the evil ideology of Leftism is moral, and I’m willing to consider arguments that the objectivity and success of science is overstated.  However, there is certainly a consensus among those that matter that science gives us truth and that social justice advocacy is morally exemplary.)  Which source of status carries the ultimate weight in the university?  I don’t think this ambiguity will be allowed to stand much longer.

That the attack will come this year is just my guess and might be proved wrong by historical accidents.  There is no doubt if it does come which side will do the attacking, nor any doubt about which side will win.  By December, scientists will be figuratively curled up in a fetal position, crying and begging for mercy, having no idea what hit them.

Consider

  • The advocacy departments are strengthened by the way some prominent biologists and physicists have been shilling for Leftism.  One source of science’s authority is that its conclusions don’t depend on ideology; people of differing ideologies can all agree what an experiment’s results mean.  If, as so many scientists are eager to tell us, Leftism is Reason itself, is in fact a part of the scientific worldview, then the mastery of social justice over science is inescapable:  it holds both the crown of truth and the crown of morality.  Science is in no way ideologically bigger and has no claim to independence.  (Also, non-Leftists will have good reason to mistrust scientists.  I’m surprised they don’t see this.  So many scientists complain about conservatives not “trusting science” and don’t realize how more conservative scientists, especially in outreach roles, would help this.)
  • We are vulnerable.  Scientists give lip service to Leftism, but when money is on the line (grant awards, faculty hiring, tenure, promotion, postdoc appointments) “diversity” counts for little, so fields are dominated by white and Asian men.  Any survey of scientists discussed in textbooks or having laws or equations named after them would show a heavy weighting toward white men.  Most science majors are heterosexual, so the few women students in departments undoubtedly get more attention than they want.  Critics will easily make demands that would consume a large fraction of time and resources.
  • Most scientists have no idea what social opprobium is like.  They whine about the public not appreciating them properly, but I can tell you that the way society regards me as an astrophysicist and the way it regards me as a reactionary Catholic is like day and night.  Astronomers and physicists don’t appreciate at all the incredible good will we currently enjoy from the public, including that half of the public my colleagues routinely speak of with scorn.  Scientists like to think of how brave they are sticking it to powerless, low-status creationists.  They are not psychologically prepared for an attack from a powerful, high-status, ruthless adversary within academia.  Look at how little it takes to destroy Nobel prize-winning biologists.

19 Responses

  1. Scientists may not be prepared for an attack from the left, and so there may be some initial grovelling, but there is also a good chance that once they are attacked, a culture of anti-PC will grow up. I know a conservative Catholic fellow who works in HR department for Cambridge U and he tells me there is already considerable disdain for the Equality and Diversity people in the science departments there.

  2. Yeah, much as we love to hate creationists, the most despised people of all are those who actually believe in evolution! You see, evolution is extremely racist — its modus operandi for the last four billion years has been of superior races out-competing inferior races and driving them to extinction. That’s so wrong; we ought to tax the superior races and pay the inferior races to have more offspring!

  3. “Any survey of scientists discussed in textbooks or having laws or equations named after them would show a heavy weighting toward white men.”

    In fact, persecuted minorities have a remarkably distinguished record in mathematics and the natural sciences.

    A quarter of Fields Medallists, awarded every four years to young (under 40) mathematicians, were Jewish: Jesse Douglas (1936), Laurent Schwartz (1950), Klaus Roth (1958), Paul Cohen (1966), Alexander Grothendieck (1966), Alan Baker (1970), Charles Fefferman (1978), Gregori Margulis (1978), Michael Freedman (1986), Vladimir Drinfeld (1990), Edward Witten (1990), Efim Zelmanov (1994), Grigori Perelman (2006), Wendelin Werner (2006), Elon Lindenstrauss (2010)

    In the natural sciences, Jews have won 22% of all the Nobel Prizes ever awarded – 29% of the prizes since 1950, after the Holocaust destroyed a third of the world’s Jews. In proportion to their numbers, one would expect Jews to have earned only one of the 502 Nobel Prizes awarded for physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology. In the event, they won 123.

  4. The military metaphor of “attack” obscures certain aspects of leftist corruption, which might also be likened to infection or decay. The attack on the epistemic status of science began in the 1960s with the appearance of postmodern epistemologies. On one level these gravity-is-a-social-construct theories seem absurd, so they do not start a wildfire of skepticism in the general public, but beneath their superficial absurdity, postmodern theories point to an essential truth. Scientific findings produce rational conviction only in a mind that is furnished with the right presuppositions. Science has epistemic authority only over minds that have been shaped by a particular culture, and that are consequently prepared to receive the deliverances of science as truth.

    This means that the “attack” on the epistemic status of science must be an indirect attack. In fact, it must proceed in much the same way as attacks on religious faith. One doesn’t batter down the walls, one undermines their foundations.

    The attack on social status will proceed pretty much as you say, by the appropriation of resources to employ para-scientists devoted to “education” or “outreach.” In addition to consuming resources (money, job lines, class time), these new hires will be taken into the decision-making apparatus of disciplines and departments.

    Scientists in general will lack the social acumen to oppose them. They will grumble when another line goes to a para-scientist, but real resistance will be neutralized by their own vague leftism and their own vivid fear of social disapproval. Simply begin a whispering campaign saying that funding agencies are screening for intolerant PI’s, and resistance would disappear.

  5. MPS,

    I thought about that too, but it certainly hasn’t made a difference for people who think the movie business is too white, so it probably won’t affect how things play out in science either. There’s a double bookkeeping in America: Jews are white for purposes of shaming whites for unfairly dominating this or that field; they’re nonwhite when it comes to who gets to be proud of geat accomplishment in that field. Besides, by any sensible measure, Jews have been more “privileged” than gentile whites for a very long time now.

  6. JMSmith,

    I was in Washington DC recently serving on an NSF proposal review panel. I agree that pressure from funding agencies would be the quickest and cleanest way to convert the sciences. Just let it be known that the relative importance of “Intellectual Merit” and “Broader Impacts” are to be swapped, and that only the advancement of women and minorities shall henceforth be counted as “Broader Impact”.

    I suspect that this isn’t the way it’s going to go, though. The Obama administration would realize that pushing through something like that would be equivalent to destroying America’s research capabilities, and the President and his men don’t strike me as being sufficiently crazy or irresponsible to do that, at least not until science has already taken a huge pounding from the SJW Left. That’s where the attack will start, from the army of radicals who really don’t care about anything else.

  7. “[B]eneath their superficial absurdity, postmodern theories point to an essential truth. Scientific findings produce rational conviction only in a mind that is furnished with the right presuppositions.”

    It is a truth well expressed by Bl John Henry Newman in his Grammar of Assent: “All things in the exterior world are unit and individual, and are nothing else; but the mind not only contemplates those unit realities, as they exist, but has the gift, by an act of creation, of bringing before it abstractions and generalizations, which have no existence, no counterpart, out of it.” Every common noun names not a fact, but a notion.

    Likewise, “Each thing has its own nature and its own history. When the nature and the history of many things are similar, we say that they have the same nature; but there is no such thing as one and the same nature; they are each of them itself, not identical, but like.”

    One recalls Wittgenstein: “So if I am shewn various different leaves and told “This is called a ‘leaf “, I get an idea of the shape of a leaf, a picture of it in my mind.—But what does the picture of a leaf look like when it does not shew us any particular shape, but ‘what is common to all shapes of leaf?”

  8. Bonald,

    I don’t know, Obama’s SecDef was pretty ready to stick his fingers in his ears re: women in combat undermining military effectiveness in order to achieve the political goal. Or maybe he wasn’t doing the ostrich routine, but simply has taken as an article of faith that it is impossible for women in combat to degrade effectiveness to the point that he assumes all evidence to the contrary is doctored or misconstrued.

    In either case, I suspect that the approach to knocking down men (especially white men) in the sciences will be similar. The sciences will be “diversified”, anyone who is against this or even questions it will be blacklisted as some sort of -ist, and likewise to anybody who points out the consequences when the crows start coming home to roost (as happened with women on ships).

    And besides the government, private industry will help saw off the tree branch that it’s sitting on. At least within computer science and electrical engineering, it’s already the case that major corporations are committed to decreasing the proportion and number of men, especially white and asian men, on their payroll through a variety of affirmative action schemes (Intel, Google and Facebook are the obvious examples here). Though I suspect the motives here are a mix of avarice (flooding the labor pool will reduce wage growth, and in some jobs cost control is more important than labor quality – the same reason these tech giants are in favor of H1B “reform”) and true dedication to the cause.

  9. @Peasant

    As for the military, it is easy to understand why the Cathedral wants more women, lgbt, etc into the military (especially as commissioned officers). The military, of all public institutions, is the most resistant to liberal memes (mostly since the military prizes realism over liberal idealism, as well as the fact that the military is mostly dominated by masculine, heterosexual, white men).

    Having loyal clients of the cathedral into military position insures that the military will not be a source of resistance to increasing liberal infection of society. The military, unlike academia, media, the corporate world, actually has the firepower to destroy liberal dominance of society if it really chose to. Therefore, liberalizing the military is a high priority for the Cathedral, lest it faces off against a vastly more powerful opponent (See for example, the 1982 coup attempt in Spain to prevent post-Francoist Spain from slipping towards a liberal degenerate society- the cathedral was lucky enough to have a liberal King, Juan Carlos, whom the military naturally respected his monarchial status and backed off from the attempted coup).

    Having these feminist and gay commissars officering the military is a very good trade-off in exchange for inferior combat effectiveness, especially considering the battlefield is increasingly reliant on technology rather than raw manpower (presumably women will not have much trouble operating a drone, unlike say, operating an 80 pound M-2 machine gun- technology can ensure otherwise ridiculous liberal policies be sustained indefinitely). So expect more gays and women being encouraged to join into the military, with the accompanying sexual politics that mixed gender workplaces bring.

    Scientists, I suspect, will be much easier to bully into accepting liberal dominance than hardened military men. Plus, we can imagine that many scientists are thirsty enough to want more attractive women, regardless of qualifications, into the field anyway.

  10. If Newman really thought that ontological categories have no reality but are just constructions of the mind, he was just another nominalist idiot in a long line of nominalist idiots going back at least to Abelard.

  11. […] looks back to 2015 and forward to The conquest of 2016: a prediction. He thinks… well… I’ll let him tell […]

  12. Zippy, I think that unfair to Newman. Of course being from a English background, which I think is fair to say one that is stepped in nominalism, it was something that surely influenced him. Yet, I think most of his writing is in regards to overcoming the nominalism and rationalist approach of his day (and our day too).

    If we are to categorize Newman, he would fit much more comfortably amongst those he seems to anticipate- the phenomenologists and Christian personalists and trascendental thomists, you borrow quite a bit from straight Platonic and Kantian idealism.

  13. As an Oxford man, Newman was brought up in the British Empirical tradition of Locke, Berkeley and Hume and rejected the Aristotelian and Scholastic notion that the structure of being could be deduced from the grammar of description.

    One of his earliest works makes this clear: “What are the phenomena of the external world, but a divine mode of conveying to the mind the realities of existence, individuality, and the influence of being on being, the best possible, though beguiling the imagination of most men with a harmless but unfounded belief in matter as distinct from the impressions on their senses? This at least is the opinion of some philosophers…”

    The Grammar of Assent is, in some ways, a curious early anticipation of the work of the Vienna Circle, as Wittgenstein recognized.

  14. Of course the scientists will acquiesce to whatever is on the agenda. With apologies to our host and others out there, scientists tend towards the vainglorious sort and will gladly capitulate to what is perceived as the most popular and superior position in matters in which they are not good adjudicators- in other words, outside their very specific fields- lest they be accused of being ‘dumb’ in one manner or another.

    More importantly; even if there were a non zero sum of people in opposition, of what milieu would that be from? I do not believe there is enough ‘cognitive juice’ or unity and cooperation among our self-described reactionaries to do anything of significance. And that is if we broaden the definition of reactionary as far as one can imagine and attempt to incorporate the throne and alter types with the fascists, the nationalists, a sundry list of conservatives as well as classical liberalism and orthodox marxists…any group now rightly or wrongly considered in the dustbin of history.

    There is no opposition to this holiness spiral because there is only weak opposition among a majority of those either in power or aspire to power to the underlying propositions fueled by Comte-like atheism and its religion of humanity.

    It is almost ironic of course, because the weakness of this religion is precisely that it does not do well when there is any sort of functioning opposition since it relies on the total unity of mankind and an aversion to conflict of any sort to put its adherents at ease with the notion that they have overcome the powers and principalities and God himself and now sit at the center of everything. That is why it chaffs so much at allowing others in the room.

    Until someone of weight can stand up and make the case that their totalizing notions are metaphysical conceits reliant on a Higher Power (if indeed true) and not self-evident truths found in the natural world, we will continue on this path.

  15. Michael Paterson-Seymour,

    But didn’t Bl.Cardinal Newman consider himself in opposition to Locke (and British Empiricism) and indebted to Joseph Butler for helping him to overcome the nominalist and rationalist reading of Aristotle which predominated while he was a student at one of Oxford’s colleges?

  16. “Student-led” social justice advocacy also has the backing of the Ford Foundation and other agencies adept at regime change: https://www.fordfoundation.org/ideas/equals-change-blog/posts/the-new-student-power/

    Watch what student groups get grants and good publicity. Which student leaders go on to powerful careers? Which student leaders “create social change” and expand the NGO patronage network within the university system?

    Which progressive professors are suddenly left scratching their heads or are targeted by this hydra?

  17. Hmmmmm:

    Zippy, I think that unfair to Newman.

    That’s why I phrased it as an “if/then”. The “then” only follows if the “if” is true.

    The point wasn’t really to criticize Newman: I’d have to study him quite a bit more to do that properly, so I won’t presume to counterattack your defense of him in particular.

    The point is that nominalist anti-realism is asinine, whomever is – or is not – trying to sell it to us. Johnson got right to the point in his refutation of Berkeley’s radical subjectivism: the fact that B’s particular line of reasoning terminates in a manifestly asinine philosophical view should be treated by sane people as a reductio ad absurdam of that line of reasoning. Instead these perverse views become mind viruses that take over whole segments of society by disconnecting thought from reality and licensing people to believe whatever they want to believe and say whatever they want to say.

  18. Berkeley’s philosophy should be read as a critique of Locke.

    Locke believed in a world “out there,” going on on its own, independent of our thinking about it. He also believed that sense-data produced an image or reflection of that world in consciousness.

    This is obviously incoherent. What does it mean to speak of an “image” or “reflection” We can judge a portrait to be a good likeness only by comparing it with the sitter, but comparisons must take place within consciousness and we cannot compare an object in consciousness with something that is, by definition, not in consciousness. To make matters worse, seeing, hearing, feeling, heat and cold, pressure and resistance are sensations and what resemblance can we even imagine between a sensation and something that is not a sensation?

    More fundamentally, if it were true that all we really think about are internal, mental, objects, we are not in touch with the world at all, and this seems absurd. If you say, “’You think about them by thinking about representations,”’ this both leaves a gap between me and the object of thought, and worse, creates a second gap waiting to be bridged — the gap between the representation and the thing.

    To have identified and focused attention on this problem is what makes Berkeley a very profound and great philosopher, whatever we may think of his attempt to solve it.

    It was the Scottish philosopher, Thomas Reid, who first pointed to a solution, by distinguishing “perception” from “sensation.” That is why, if we ever ventured to use the word “objective,” Miss Anscombe would pounce on it, by demanding, “object of what?”

  19. “Astronomers and physicists don’t appreciate at all the incredible good will we currently enjoy from the public, including that half of the public my colleagues routinely speak of with scorn.” – the practitioners of science today have an unquestionable status as akin to priests. Priests certainly no longer enjoy such privilege. It is also assumed on reflex that scientists have no biases.

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