Links and short comments

It’s that time of year again when I must write an annual assessment report on my department’s graduate program.  So I am receptive to this article on “the bullshitization of academic life“.  As the author points out, it is a paradox that hiring so many administrators whose job it is to relieve faculty of this sort of work results in faculty having to spend more and more time doing paperwork, a paradox until, that is, one considers the incentives administrators have to make work for themselves and the rest of us.  I was surprised to learn that 40% of all workers think their jobs contribute nothing meaningful to the world.  The author notes it as a rather depressing argument for a universal basic income.

Speaking of academia, sociologists are dismayed that conservatives, especially educated ones, don’t think their field is a real science.  I’d say the fact that they regard “science” as an authority they covet rather than a methodology they strive to emulate is a pretty clear sign that they are, indeed, not scientists.

Cardinal Marx points out that without Karl Marx, there would be no Catholic Social Doctrine.  Which is true, just as without Arius there would be no Nicene Creed.

I am shocked to learn–from First Things, no less!–that Christianity for a millennium and a half saw nothing wrong with monarchy, and it was only Talmudic Judaism that Europeans got the idea that only republics are legitimate.  (Speaking of our Elder Brothers and their proclivities…  Interesting that they are overrepresented among sociology and law professors more than other fields.)

Lastly, the Left finds another dead white man to purge:  Hans Asperger.  Oddly, Asperger is getting the boot for embracing current-year-fashionable utilitarian bioethics too early, back when it was called Nazi euthanasia.  So now they want to rename “Asperger’s syndrome” or eliminate the category entirely.

When did Nature get so social-justice-y, anyway?  Didn’t it used to be a regular scientific journal?

5 Responses

  1. You will see in today’s Orthosphere post that I’m up to my elbows in Academic B.S. right now. And if I wish to escape the wrath of the department secretary, I’ll be bathing in it tomorrow. All of this has to do with “compliance” and “assessment,” and all of the rules are internal, arbitrary, onerous, and pointless. Imagine having a staff that did work for you rather than gave work to you!

  2. The First Things Article is gibberish, or rather the book it reviews is gibberish. Talmudic Judaism is pro-monarchy, Talmudic Jews pray at least 3 times a day for the restoration of monarchy, and Maimonides codifies the view that appointing a king is considered one of the 613 commandments. The first Jewish writer to advocate republicanism was Isaac Abarbanel who – coincidence! – lived in in 15th century Venice.

    Yoran Hazony (the author of the book) is part of a vibrant movement of Jewish bs artists who elucidate opposite-world theories of intellectual history in which Talmudic Judaism is the forerunner or liberalism based on astounding insights like ‘look how often Locke quotes the Bible!’ and ‘Samuel warned about a king!’. The most famous of these is Jonathan Sacks. Personally, I prefer this fictional story when it is told by Catholic reactionaries who, at least, can write and enliven their fiction with malice rather than smugness.

  3. P.S. David Graeber is great. He’s so left wing that he accidentally ended up neoabsolutist without realizing it. Check out this quote.

    Egalitarian cities, even regional confederacies, are historically quite commonplace. Egalitarian families and households are not. Once the historical verdict is in, we will see that the most painful loss of human freedoms began at the small scale – the level of gender relations, age groups, and domestic servitude – the kind of relationships that contain at once the greatest intimacy and the deepest forms of structural violence. If we really want to understand how it first became acceptable for some to turn wealth into power, and for others to end up being told their needs and lives don’t count, it is here that we should look. Here too, we predict, is where the most difficult work of creating a free society will have to take place.

  4. It is over a decade since Nature made it crystal clear that – for them – political correctness was more important than science/ honesty:

  5. I would have appreciated the FT article more had it betrayed some awareness of how ironic it is to find Thomas Paine relying upon the Bible as an authority.

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