Universities on the Road to Irrelevance

Of the top 20 universities in the world, 17 are American, according to “The Economist”, and U.S. universities employ 70% of the world’s Nobel Prize winners. But no competitive advantage lasts forever. As American universities become politicized with non-rigorous entitlement majors, PC speech codes and professors interested more in ideology than truth, our proud universities may go the way of our other invincible industries like cars, airplanes and consumer electronics.

Years ago universities knew their duty serve their country. Some still take that idea seriously, but these are mostly the non-elite institutions in small towns, or extension services. Others are less enthusiastic.

"What bothers me is the unspoken premise that, with respect to any American institution dealing in public affairs, the highest per-se loyalty automatically must be to the U.S. government....The university should resist a blind commitment to nation-state parochialism"

Nation-state parochialism. He means patriotism? How embarrassing!

Princeton University is in a dispute about the use of a $650 million dollar donation given to encourage students to go into government service. The quote above is from former Princeton dean John Lewis. It sums up not only the particular problem of the donation but also a general difference of opinion American’s “intellectual elite” has with ordinary Americans.

We all know that the Supreme Court had to force some universities even to ALLOW military recruiters on campus. The extremists have taken over.

In his new book, David Horowitz talks about the 100 dangerous professors. They aren’t really dangerous in the sense of being . . . well dangerous, but they are a hazard to the universities themselves.

It is in that nature of scholarly work that “average” people won’t understand all the details. But it should be the case that an ordinary guy can understand why it is important. And in things like history, sociology, philosophy or political science, if an average educated person can’t understand it, it probably is BS. These disciplines are supposed to serve society, not be the exclusive realm of the mysterious few initiates. If you cannot explain such thing you are becoming irrelevant

We certainly have not gone too far to come back. But we should start to think about it. Universities are getting very expensive. Are they worth it?

Posted by Jack at March 13, 2006 11:54 PM
Comments
Comment #133252

You seem to have two issues here:
1. The money the University uses…
2. The professors the University has…

I will not comment on the money. However, you’re position on the professors is highly dubious. You are advocating that we limit the freedoms of the academia from thinking and expressing their findings.

Did you know that the anti-slavery movement started from Universities?

Did you know women’s suffrage started from Universities?

Did you know anti-segregation started in Universities?

As for Universities “losing their edge”, I was unaware that Universities became any more liberal than they were in 1960. Are the Professors today more or less different than the hippies of 40 years ago? Did we “lose our edge” 4 decades ago too? I forget.

Posted by: Aldous at March 14, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #133254

Aldous

I am advocating an “Emperor’s new clothes” moment. American universities, as I said, are still the best, but when you get more and more PC and limit debate on major issues (look what happend to Summers at Harvard) you set yourself down a road to irrelevance.

I am not complaining about universities becoming liberal. It is the PC and lack of rigor that bothers me.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 12:44 AM
Comment #133256

Jack,
I’m having trouble deciding what your point is. The last link you post says that although universities seem expensive, the actual costs are not as much as they appear and the education is worth it in terms of earning, so I don’t see how that supports your contention that university education is becoming less and less worth it.
I would say that for most people who don’t have degrees in political science or maybe history, the idea of warped political ideology lessening school value is meaningless. Neither my nor my professors’ political views changed the chemistry I had to study.
I read the article by Horowitz, and it seemed to be a hysterical rant complaining that professors didn’t share his viewpoint. Seriously, 1/4 of university professors agreeing with Ward Churchill? I especially liked the part where he complained that his detractors were comparing him to McCarthy, then went on to call his critics communists and say that the profession of journalism was run by marxists. I wonder why people compare him to McCarthy?
Why exactly are the universities becoming irrelevant? What lack of rigor can you identify? What do you propose we do about it? (my solution to making the US more competitive is to pay post-doctoral trainees in biology what they are so clearly worth, but that’s just my perspective).

Posted by: Brian poole at March 14, 2006 12:50 AM
Comment #133257

Competition will dictate here. FYI… Yale is now considered the better school than Harvard. England’s Oxford, once considered the best in the planet, now ranks below even Harvard.

Besides, there is usually a complete turnover every 10 years or so in every college. The faculty will sort itself out.

Posted by: Aldous at March 14, 2006 12:54 AM
Comment #133259

I just read yesterday where Saudis are looking elsewhere in the world to send their university students, foregoing the U.S. schools which they always regarded very highly in the past. Chinese, Korean, Indian, and other nation’s students are also declining to take their education in the U.S. in greater numbers.

To my knowledge, no one has studied empirically the reasons for this changing direction of foreign enrollments, though the rise in development of superb schools in Japan, China, India and Europe no doubt is having some effect. Cultural issues are also playing role. Why should students move to such a foreign culture as the U.S. if they can stay closer to home or at least within a culture not nearly so foreign and receive comparable education.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2006 1:27 AM
Comment #133260

Students are staying away because the Student Visas needed to come here are almost impossible to get. Add to that the ridiculous Homeland Security Requirements…. Its easier to study somewhere else.

Posted by: Aldous at March 14, 2006 1:43 AM
Comment #133265

“Universities are getting very expensive. Are they worth it?” -Jack

We can’t all work at Walmart.

American universities have always had some wack jobs. Give the students some credit. An overwhelming majority can discern fact from BS.
Hyperventilating talk show hosts ranting about students being “indoctrinated” are just after ratings.

During the Russian, Communist Chinese, and Iranian revolutions, the leaders immediately closed the universities and jailed most of the professors. Some were even executed. Why? Because ideas are dangerous to a totalitarian state.

America is built on an extremely strong and compelling foundation. It can easily withstand few professors spouting radical opinions or even lies.

We need to buttress our university system. Globalization requires us to develop a more educated populace. We can’t be the cheapest so we better be the best and most innovative. It’s the only way we can improve our standard of living and maintain our world leadership position.

The blunt-edged visa policies enacted after 9/11 hopefully keep terrorists out. Unfortuanately, they also block many outstanding foreign students. Before 9/11, the best and the brightest from all over the world flocked to the US university system. Many stayed here and contributed greatly to our economy. We need those minds especially in technical fields.

Posted by: Don Gray at March 14, 2006 2:41 AM
Comment #133271

I’m personally disappointed in the lack of supervision of many of today’s professors, although I certainly understand it’s not a new issue.

Even a class such as political science shouldn’t expose the political leanings of a professor. Present everything from extremist left to extremist right on each issue. Which ever way the student leans, make him/her back up their stance on the issue. Make them sort fact from opinion. But in each and every class, from Aerospace Engineering to Poly Sci 401, students should be able to walk out of a semester with a prof and have no true understanding which way the prof leans politically. Sadly, that is not the case way too often.

Now we have high school teachers in geography class giving the “Bush is Hitler” speech. What???!!! IT’S GEOGRAPHY!! Countries, states, capitals, borders, topography, population, weather, farming … how in the Hell does even the worst idiot incorporate their extremist views about a State of the Union speech into a geography class???!!!

Jack is absolutely correct in being concerned. Are teachers/profs teaching what they should … or are they giving their own personal SOTU speech during precious class time?

Posted by: Ken C. at March 14, 2006 3:40 AM
Comment #133272

Jack:
“The extremists have taken over.”

Indeed they have. The Neocon Extremists have completely taken over our government — and now they want to stamp out every last shred of liberal thinking so that they may control all thought in America.

As for David Horowitz — he’s a complete wack-o. Formerly a far-left Communist Extremist who was once very involved with the Black Panthers, he then suddenly went in the exact opposite direction (in the eighties, I think) to become a Rightwing Extremist and neo-McCarthyite.
I tend to think of him as just another “Product of the New American Century” — bigoted, morally bankrupt, hopelessly irrational, downright insane.
What’s really hilarious about Horowitz though is the fact that those on the right speak of him as though he’s an intellectual. He isn’t. Horowitz is about as much of an intellectual as Ann Coulter is — and equally as nasty and immature, too.
Maybe they take him more seriously because they think he looks more like someone who should be —after all, he isn’t a skeletal anorexic who goes in for bimbo-like ultra mini’s and four-inch heels like Mistress Ann. But just like her, he is a Neocon nutjob full of over the top self-righteousness and insane zeal, who seldom gets any of his facts straight in his writing.
Most of the bombs he lobs at the left are comprised of rightwing spin, rumors and gossip. When he has even less than that to work with, the man is not above engaging in made-up slander and vicious innuendo. This has lead to many ongoing feuds with people who he has targetted.

In short, this man should never be used as a credible source for mounting any kind of an argument.

Here are a few of Horowitz’s more memorable remarks:

What about the debt blacks owe to America — to white America — for liberating them from slavery?

The black middle-class in America is a prosperous community that is now larger in absolute terms than the black underclass. Does its existence not suggest that economic adversity is the result of failures of individual character rather than the lingering after-effects of racial discrimination and a slave system that ceased to exist well over a century ago?

The claim for reparations is premised on the false assumption that only whites have benefited from slavery. If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves.

These quotes from the article: Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks and Racist Too.

Leftists think that nothing is bad but the Holocaust.

Leftists want to regulate everything but hard drugs and sex.

— from a speech at Michigan State University

One has to stigmatize the left and segregate it.

—Insight magazine in 1989.

This book is a record of our sightings of the beast. We may not yet have set the final harpoon, but we have given chase.

—From his 1991 book: ‘Deconstructing the Left’. (Something of a political bible to the Neocon’s.)
Btw, the “beast” he is referring to is any kind of Liberal thought.

Horowitz: “There are 50,000 professors … [who] identify with the terrorists

Summary: On MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, right-wing activist David Horowitz claimed that “[t]here are 50,000 professors” who are “anti-American” and “identify with the terrorists.” There are just over 400,000 tenured and tenure-track full-time university professors in the United States. If Horowitz’s numbers are accurate, that means approximately one out of every eight tenured or tenure-track college and university professors is a terrorist sympathizer.

Horowitz admonished by MSNBC host for “call[ing] guests names on the air”

You Neocon neo-McCarthyites cannot stamp out liberal thought in America. Ever. No matter how hard you try.
Good Night and Good Luck.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 14, 2006 3:50 AM
Comment #133273

Jack

Here is another timely column on professors and universities.

JewishWorldReview.com for Tuesday 3/14/06

Tom Sowell’s column is very fitting

Posted by: tomh at March 14, 2006 4:57 AM
Comment #133276

Jack,

Sloppy thinking, my friend. There is no evidence here, or even a coherent argument, that what the cons call “political correctness” is undermining the ability of universities to conduct scientific research (and continue to win Nobel Prizes). Can you think of a single example of world-class researchers leaving a US university because of political problems?

Actually, I can, but it is not in the direction you would like. Biologists Neal Copeland and Nancy Jenkins turned down an offer from Stanford and went to Singapore instead. Their reason? Too many restrictions on stem cell research here. Damned political correctness! It is killing our universities! ;)

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 14, 2006 7:12 AM
Comment #133277

By the way, I hope you conservatives realize how massively hypocritical it is to complain about political correctness and at the same time compile enemies lists of professors who are… um… what’s the phrase I’m looking for… politically incorrect.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 14, 2006 7:42 AM
Comment #133283

Jack and other ‘Reds’ here real problem is that most degrees are defined as “Liberal Arts” degrees. They won’t be happy until all those degrees are replaced by “Conservative Arts” degrees. AND that is the bottom line. Little else on this subject will be relevant.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2006 8:36 AM
Comment #133286

Jack,

Your post seems to be:”There can’t be so many liberals by natural means so they must have been created by evil and ‘irrelevant’ teachers.”

Now that the Bushies are being called out on their lies about the reality of the world, they are being forced to attack teachers to attempt to discredit liberals via false 3rd party associations. Who or what will you point to next? Milk?

BTW, Bush numbers are down again! The rats are abandoning the ship, why are even those few still remaining?

Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #133288

Jack,

Is it the fault of the Universities that their students are free thinking individuals who oppose the “arm-band” style of blind loyalty the “Super-Patriots” seem to think we should all posess?
Is it the open dialogue or the individuality that scares the “far right?”
Maybe the fact that there fact-based research materials that could counter the idiotic “spin” that fascinates the “far right” that has you folks afraid.
Have you ever noticed that where(cities,Unicersities) there is a larger concentration of information ex. books, mass media,technology etc. they tend to vote against you party?
Here’s some alternate titles for your post:
“Stop Thinking and Listen To Us”
“We’re the Right and We Know What’s Best For You”
“Bush Is My Shepard”
“Information, The Liberal Poison”

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 14, 2006 9:10 AM
Comment #133289

Woody puts it in a nutshell, Jack - you’re complaining about university professors that speak their minds in unpopular ways in one breadth, and then claiming they’re “too PC” in another.

Laately, I’ve been noticing a common theme in Red-Team posts. It’s now popular (should I say “PC”?) to diss universities, scientists, foreign opinion, and “liberal” media (ie anything not controlled by Team Red). Could I summarize the argument as: anyone that might disagree with me, please ignore them?

This seems to be mostly a Team-Red game, and while this might be an effective argument short-term, I worry that in this case it is damaging long-term to the very institutions you claim to care about. Military, technological, technical, scientific, and academic strengths are all inter-related - and by trying to pull down academia in general you are doing a disservice to the country as a whole.

If you really care about this you might abandon your vague inneundo and follow up on Aldous’s comment:


Students are staying away because the Student Visas needed to come here are almost impossible to get. Add to that the ridiculous Homeland Security Requirements…. Its easier to study somewhere else.

This is a really big issue in technical fields, and it is doing long-term damage to our technical strength. What can we do about it?

Posted by: William Cohen at March 14, 2006 9:11 AM
Comment #133295

When you consider Universities as a bastion of free speech remember it is only free speech for the professor who has the power to affect your career options for the rest of your life. The professor has your GPA in the palm of his hand, a bad grade because you disagree with the professor is still a bad grade which will lower your GPA, a situation to be avoided at all costs. Disagreement with the professor can spell disaster for your grade, I learned this first hand. I was then advised, as many are, that the class really doesn’t matter just the grade so say what is needed to get a good grade. Since then the socialist classes have become easy A’s, hate Bush, the war is about oil, Bush is a racist, and basically any kindergarden name calling of Bush (no proof needed) will ensure a GPA boosting grade. The idea of going against a professors beliefs, even with proof, is not worth the loss of a grade. In talking with other students in these classes I find they are of the same mind, say what is needed to get the grade and ignore all else.

The idea of free speech and thought in the universities is not an issue, there is none, at least on the part of the students.

Posted by: MikeH at March 14, 2006 9:50 AM
Comment #133297

Mike H,

Where did you attend college The University Of Tehran?
The Fidel Castro School of Art and Design?
I’ve had quite the opposite experience at the three schools i’ve attended.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 14, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #133298

MikeH

Clearly you’ve had a few bad professors. Unfortunately you also didn’t know that there are always channels through which you can see that any bias a teacher may have is questioned and, if substantiateed, punished. Some of the best students that I’ve known have been conservative and at the same time outspoken. Universities are certainly liberal, for many reasons i’m sure, but to say that they systematically punish certain political beliefs and, further, that this is done through their apparent stranglehold of grades does not mesh with my experience at four different universities. Most of my professors in the past have invited debate and, when done well, have rewarded it.
it’s too bad that you surrendered your free speech in return for a number that, despite what you believe, doesn’t mean dogshit.

Posted by: mpc at March 14, 2006 10:13 AM
Comment #133299

I went to the liberal University of Wisconsin at a liberal time. You could argue with your professor and sometimes win. I like the free exchange of ideas because sometimes you convince the other person; sometimes he convinces you, but always you get to see other points of view. We had plenty of weirdoes, but what we didn’t have were enforceable speech codes. People could ridicule you and argue against you, but they couldn’t shut you down. My impression is now they can.

I would like to hear some real experiences from current students. Can you say what you want, no matter? If you write a paper praising George Bush’s policies, will that automatically mean a bad grade?

I agree that the visa for students is a big problem. We may have thrown out the baby with the bathwater on this case. Our whole visa system is messed up in general, but that is a topic for another post. And, BTW, it has been messed up for decades. This is not George Bush.

Since I evidently did not make myself clear, these are some of things I worry about.

- American universities are the best in the world. But like the auto industry, they suffer from hubris. Others can copy the model and improve on it.

- University education is not rigorous for everyone. It is possible to get through four years without taking calculus or seriously learning a foreign language.

- There are too many boutique courses and majors. We have the various ethnic and gender study programs. Nothing wrong with that in theory, but they get to be controlled by activists. It should be possible that the best scholar in African American studies is white, or the very best scholar in women’s studies is a man, just like the best Egyptologist or Greek scholar is not a Egyptian or Greek. A liberal education presupposes the ability to communicate beyond your own reference group. My reading of the Cornel West or the link text affair indicate that identity politics trumps the search for truth and meaning.

Universities are costing too much. I am paying the tuition for my daughter and soon will do my sons. My daughter goes to public university, which is still a good deal, but it is not cheap. Why does it cost so much and why has it gone up so much faster than the inflation rate?

Finally, admissions. Admissions has become even more of a crap shoot. We should go to a simpler system. Make minimum qualifications (i.e. the students can do the work based on grades and test scores) and then assign places by random chance. Forget about all those other “outside interests” or racial quotas. You know that looked for the well rounded student instead of relying on grades was originally instituted to discriminate against Jews and now it tends to hit Asians. It has a very bad history and we should get rid of it.

The way we do it now is a lot like asking someone if he can lift 100lbs. Instead of picking it up, he tells you how much time he spent in the gym last year. Either you can pick it up or not. The amount of time you spent in the gym or how hard it was to get there means nothing.


Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #133300

I’m having real difficulty seeing what, exactly, teaching blind faith in classes has to do with any sort of decline in the American University system.

1. Our governmnent’s investment in research programs in Universities has gone down substantiallly, simultaneously the Koreans Chinese and Indians have focused on building their own infrastructures to support the growing need for these sort of possitions. This is relevant to the possition of the American schools in the technology side, you know, the one that is so important all of a sudden.

2. Indoctronating students into one point of view or another in intro to government is not really a big problem. For one thing, university students are between 17 and 21 years old, if you think that a 17 year old doesnt have a fully formed opinion already, I have some friends to introduce you to. For another, the affect of coursework on political science and social science programs isnt really major, since American government is the intro course. These classes (anything after poli 100) are designed to give students a full understanding of the process of whatever they are focusing on, be it public policy, international relations, philosophy, etc. The opinions of the professor don’t have anything to do with these classes, which are very straightforward in outlining how these processes work.

3. This has nothing to do with anything really. You mention money given to encourage students to join the government program, well, someone gave several billion dollars to Yale to make their music program free for however long the money lasts. Individuals will donate money for whatever purpose they want, and the university will comply because any money is less money they have to spend out of their stretched (not the ivy leagues, but other universities are having financial issues) budgets.

This is just being alarmist and silly. Our problem is a lack of investment in the valuable resource that is the large network of technloglically relevant schools that have pushed major technological developments in the past.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 10:18 AM
Comment #133304

I have a question. What ambitious young person wants to work their butt off before and after getting a Phd in math when they can get an mba and make twice as much?

Posted by: Amani at March 14, 2006 10:58 AM
Comment #133305

THE EXTREAMIST IS YOU.

Teaching critical thinking goes against the
grain of your party who prefer the blind patriot
instead of one who questions your agenda.

The Republican party has spoken loud and clear
education is a talking point. The rich are the
real market they fund your retention of power.

This is evident in your cutting education funding.
The cuts in grants the rise in interest rates for
student loans. The middle and lower
classes can no longer afford to educate there
childern. The only place to recieve education
for some is Military service. Enter Recruters
on campus pushing this fact home and makeing
education promises they often do not honer.

Now comes the final attack on so called Liberal
Professers. Well forgive me but many feel this is
just another power grab. To say someone is
teaching a agenda? I say hold up a mirror for
you are guilty of the agenda. You fail to see
you are makeing communist china look liberal.
You and your retoric is responsable for dumbing
down america. Someday this will cost us our title
of Greatest Nation and Super Power. You the
Repulican party are selling America for your greed
and special interest. You are wrapping control
of minds for power in the American Flag and
selling it to us as patriotism.

Posted by: Honey P at March 14, 2006 11:05 AM
Comment #133306
This is just being alarmist and silly. Our problem is a lack of investment in the valuable resource that is the large network of technloglically relevant schools that have pushed major technological developments in the past.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 10:18 AM

ian,

I think the danger is our Universities may become arm of the government propoganda machine. The institutions are being assaulted because the majority of people with university level education (not to be confused with a community or 2 yr level) will be liberal. I mean liberal in a classic sense, not the way the rightwing has tried to redefine it. You must be able to challenge the status quo or you haven’t really learned enough. Note also that challenge does not always mean to change.

Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 11:05 AM
Comment #133309

I was reading thru the comments and alot of people are complaining about the Red Teams “style” of “debate” or approach to a subject.
i.e. not much substance — but lots of promoting fear over some vague “threat”
Professors a “threat” to students and somehow our society
Gay Marriage is a threat to the “sanctity of the institution of marriage”
Sex is a threat to the culture (notice the comment by Horowitz that the left think Sex and drugs are ok, but nothing else is — so red team doesn’t like sex??? where are they all coming from?? — test tubes??)

back on track
Sadaam was a “threat” to the US (an impotent dicator that was confined to his little corner of the world — get real)
Notice a trend
whatever they don’t like is a “threat” to some sort of vision of a way of life that I don’t quite comprehend
Also do you ever notice that they NEVER quite are able to articulate exactly how these thing are a “threat” — they just are, and if you don’t know, then you must agree with them and you become part of the “threat” yourself
Could the answer be as simple as to put team red on a high dose of anti-paranoid drugs???
Something in the water perhaps
(or — are they smoking too much weed behind the barn and becoming paranoid THAT way??)
I am tired of all these rantings over vague threats that are never explained as to how they pose a threat
Ciao

Posted by: Russ at March 14, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #133310

I really dont see a problem with the ideology of proffessors. I argue with my proffessors all the time, I’m a liberal to a certain extent, but really I am a utilitarian, and I have a tendency to contradict people telling me things simply for the sake of deconstructing their argument.

I’ve never had a problem with a proffessor grading me based on ideology, even in classes where I wind up fighting with the teacher daily. They usually have a great deal of respect for my tendency to speak my mind.

One last thing I forgot to comment on, In the original post Jack said:
“We all know that the Supreme Court had to force some universities even to ALLOW military recruiters on campus. The extremists have taken over.”

The reason they had to force the campuses to let the military recruiters on campus is that the military is a discrimantory employer. I personally protest any recruiting because they violate the civil rights of homosexuals. I don’t care about any of the reasons the biggoted military leadership gives, the fact of the matter is that the military discriminates and needs to either change or be forced to change by withholding funding and ceasing recruiting activites.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 11:38 AM
Comment #133312

Iandanger

Since you are a liberal, you probably disagree within the allowed parameters of liberal thought, so you might not feel the wrath of the liberal establishment.

Re 17 year olds having formed opinions - I hope not. If you have formed your opinions by the age of 17 there is very little chance they are considered and thoughtful and they certainly are not based on broad and continuing experience.

Young people tend to have strong opinions, but they are as changeable as Wisconsin weather and the wind blows hard in both directions. It is just that given their short experience, they think that maintaining a point of view for a year or so is a long time.

Re the military and gays - most ROTC was pushed off campus before the issue was important. Besides, the military is a government institution. If you want to change it, you have to do it through democratic or political means.

Finally, universities, as I understand, ARE still allowed to ban recruiting. They just can’t get any money from the government, which is a fair trade if you really want to stand up for your beliefs.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 11:51 AM
Comment #133314

iandanger

Pulling that old discrimination card always gets a mile or two. I’m being generous. Everybody discriminates and on a daily basis. What’s wrong with that. Keeping queers out of the military is a good decision. At one time they were considered security risks but we have become so smart and wise that we don’t go there anymore. And by the way queers use the queers to describe themselves, so I can use it too.

Posted by: tomh at March 14, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #133316

If there are too many liberal professors, then where are all the unemployed conservative Ph.D.’s who can’t get faculty jobs?

Posted by: bobo at March 14, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #133317

The problem is not in the scientific areas of study, like math and chemistry, it’s in areas like political science and economics. Because most professors are liberal, they teach in line with their beliefs. As a recent graduate (with a minor in political science) I have had my share of political science classes, and I can tell you that in my experience, there were very few professors that taught both sides of an issue. I found myself only hearing the left side, and when I’d go home and talk to my dad (who is pretty conservative), only then would I get the other perspective. Sometimes I’d agree with the professors, sometimes I’d agree with my dad, however, the point is that very rarely would professors teach both sides of the issue. We didn’t read both liberal and conservative writers, we would read only liberal. Now, understandably this is only one person’s experience, and I did go to a pretty liberal school, but in hard sciences you are taught multiple theories, whether or not the professors agree with them…. So why is this not the case in other, ‘soft science’ areas??? Regardless of how ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ the university is, both schools of thought should be taught and discussed. How educated are we when we don’t know or understand where the other side is coming from?

Posted by: e at March 14, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #133320

The threat to our educational system comes from people like Horowitz - who wish to quash intellectual freedom and speech - rather than from any “dangerous” professors. The fact that such a person even gets the time of day here at WatchBlog - which should be devoted to the honest airing of ideas - makes me want to weep. The rightwing nutjobs would kill the goose who lays the golden eggs merely because they don’t like the way it honks. Talk about PC gone insane.

As for recruiting on campuses, the Court had its say. The system works. Let’s see if the Court will protect the nation from the horrors of Horowitz.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at March 14, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #133324

“Pulling that old discrimination card always gets a mile or two. I’m being generous. Everybody discriminates and on a daily basis. What’s wrong with that. Keeping queers out of the military is a good decision. At one time they were considered security risks but we have become so smart and wise that we don’t go there anymore. And by the way queers use the queers to describe themselves, so I can use it too.”

I try and control myself when it comes to this sort of thing. I have a tendency to get angry, and if you said something like that to my face, i probably wouldnt be able to maintain my composure. But you are not here in front of me, so I’ll just play nice on this one. You are wrong. Not allowing Gays in the military is a sign that they are still considered second class citizens. there is no reasonable explanation for the policies, especially since the Dont as Dont tell policy means gays are allowed as long as they deny who they are. This needs to stop because as long as Gays are treated as lesser people by individuals like you, tomh, our country is not living up to any of the ideals we find to be so essential and defend daily.

Jack, Im a Utilitarian, and more importantly, I don’t let my political beliefs be known to anyone in my classes. I’ve attacked liberal proffessors on issues spanning from abortion to resistance to the war in Iraq, my own beliefs have nothing to do with academic pursuits. If you do not attack and challenge authority at all times, you are wasting your potential as an intellectual. I am a liberal, in that I believe in a market economy, I believe in absolute liberty, and I believe that there must be equality accross the board. Because of this i support free education, that sort of thing, because I think every person should be allowed to fulfill their potential.

But I am a utilitarian, so for the time being i support Liberal foreign policy (something I don’t necessarily agree with in theory), Social Security, the Tax Code, and various other things that I would change overall.

At the Same time as being a liberal, I agree with the theoretical propositions of traditional Communism, something which is very unpopular in my university. Essentially, I read a lot of philosophy and attempt to argue every side whenever possible.

One of the problems with debate is a defintion of the terms. Liberalism is a form of government as proposed by John Locke and perfected by others. Social Democracy is similar to what Rousseau suggested, with the good of the whole trumping the individual, Communism is Marx, Socialism is a number of thinkers including Marx with a number of others before and after him presenting a very broad theory with lots of different aspects.

More importantly, I don’t see any problems in my classes of students being discriminated against because of ideology. More than half of my Political Science classes are generally made up of conservatives (that means i have to sit through presentations of policy papers suggesting that abstenace only education is the best form of sex ed, HAH), I debate them as well as the liberals, and I honestly don’t think either side is as good as id like, and thusly I refuse to join the Republicans or Democrats at my school, instead im going to be the president of the campus green party as of next semester.

Now, in terms of opinions, I am 19 years old and I don’t presume I’ll have the same ideas when im 21 as now, and I dont have the same ideas now that I did when I was 17 and starting college, but my point is that I had attained what John Locke would call reason, and as such I am fully able to do my own legwork when it comes to politics. I read and argue and make up my mind for myself. Have since I was about 13 and realized my Fascist father was wrong about most everything. (yes I said fascist, Mussolini is my fathers personal hero, he believes fascism is the ideal form of government)

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #133330

iandanger,

Well said. Your Dad may like Benito but he & mom(?) seem have done OK with you. Reminds me some of the me of the 70’s; big ego, excess self confidence, think I know a lot, maybe even some humility. Some comments:
Avoid absolutes: “perfected by others”
Don’t let the ego subtract from others points of view: “don’t think either side is as good as id like”
You don’t have alot of experience, be willing to listen to those who do and challenge your own assumptions. (I know you said you did but do you really?)
Good luck with Greens. I hope you decide to stay around here for a bit. The occasional new and literate view is needed, especially when it generally agrees with mine…

Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #133331

A lot of you smart people with so called bachelors and masters degrees can’t even spell! So I don’t think people with degrees are so smart after all! Let’s get back to the basics earlier in your education, can we?

Posted by: Michael Bonacci at March 14, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #133332

Our Universities ARE the best. So are our cars, and electronics. Unfortunately I think Curtis Mathis went out of business. Which means if my 20 year-old TV ever does give up the ghost We’ll have to buy a cheepy foreign job for the same price.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 14, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #133333

“Don’t let the ego subtract from others points of view: “don�t think either side is as good as id like”
You don’t have alot of experience, be willing to listen to those who do and challenge your own assumptions. (I know you said you did but do you really?)”

I was reffering to my campus only, the parties are full of people without very many ideas. I mostly hang out with the libertarians, but in Maryland, Libertarians are doomed to failure. The greens on the other hand actually have a chance.

I also regularly engage my father in debates about many of these issues, which provides me about as solid a rightward perspective as possible.

I certainly don’t think I have a solid grasp on a lot of issues, and I try and read as much as possible.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 12:57 PM
Comment #133338

Aldous,

Whar, pray tell, is so ridiculous about Homeland Security. We will all be serving a one world dictator and speaking some language foreign to us if we are not valiant and vigilant on our borders. I for one would like to see many mor controls put up to end illegals from slipping through. I also agree with the comments on PC and the limited debate. We need more debate from the people and not from so called literary elitists.

Posted by: John at March 14, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #133339

ian,

I hope I didn’t sound critical, we don’t know each other and my data set on the ‘actual you’ is pretty small. I was just being (trying to be) constructive.
Here’s a challenge: Could you argue convincingly that a fascist is simply a pro-business liberal?

Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #133340

Iandanger

You don’t need to answer and I don’t mean any disrespect, but I am curious. Is your father an ethnic who is smart but not well educated, worked all his life and feels the rich fat cats have mistreated him?

I ask because he sounds like my father. In my father’s case, he kind of admired Stalin. People with these sorts of backgrounds and experience have an affinity for strong men and collectivist dictatorships like communism or fascism, but it is more an emotional than a thoughtful reaction. It also might be a reaction to you. When I came how with all sorts of book learnin’ my father felt outclassed intellectually. His defense was this dogmatic “cut the crap” strongman.

I couldn’t argue with it because it was so outragousI used to get really mad at the old man, but now that he is dead and I have had a chance to think about it, I have come away with a different point of view.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #133343

Congratulations John and taking a quote out of context! Homeland Security is very ridiculous for foreign students trying to study in the US . It makes it harder for them to study in the country and because it gives many foreign students the impression that they are unwelcome here.

Posted by: Erika at March 14, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #133346

I still see hypocritical liberals right here on this page. On one hand they say folks like Jack and others like him are trying to force a certain point of view and damn the opposite point of view.

But if you read what folks like him and me say, we’re just saying their should be no opinion at all endorsed by a professor … while the liberals apparently seem to continue to support the idea of liberal professor idealogues. Yet, liberals will still label their view (“You can’t force your opinion BUT OUR PEOPLE STILL CAN!”) on this matter as reasonable … which is just plain laughable.

Posted by: Ken C. at March 14, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #133347

Erika,

So should we scrap homeland security because it might cause extra admin work and processing for foreign students? Is that really the worse possible scenario in your mind?

Posted by: Ken C. at March 14, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #133349

It’s not a matter of admin work. It’s a matter of perception. The good students do not want to come here because they feel unwelcome. If it were only more paperwork, that would be fine, foreign students already have to deal with a lot of it.

Posted by: Erika at March 14, 2006 2:02 PM
Comment #133350

This discussion reminds me of a discussion I once saw on American attitudes towards judges verses European views. Americans think that judges should be completely neutral. Europeans think that is impossible and should just be as neutral as possible. While the former may be better for judges, I do think the latter attitude is better for professors. Professors should not have to repress their opinions. They should bring their opinions up when they are relevant to the class but also create an environment where students are free to express their own opinions, even if they are conflicting.

Those of you advocating neutral professors are addressing the wrong problem. The problem that needs to be address is figuring out how to make sure that students can complain if a professor makes students feel that opposing opinions are unwelcome.

Posted by: Erika at March 14, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #133353

Jack,
My dad comes from a poor family out in Michigan. He grew up Catholic with 12 brothers and sisters, and was extremely smart. He was lucky enough to get himself through school (acquiring a very large debt in the process) and had acchieved somewhere in the area of a phd
(he has a habit of pissing people off, so none of us are sure if he actually has his Phd or not, because he angered the staff in the Government and Politics department at the University of Maryland, and they were, for a time at least, preventing him from actually having the degree. He has issues when it comes to lying, and as such when he says he has a phd, none of the family is really sure.)
He is disabled though, and so doesnt have a job. this means that he really sits around complaining about politicians most of the time. I used to fight with him, now we have amiable discussions about politics, he’s just a little crazy, something i suppose i cant do anything about.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #133354

1) A good professor knows the difference between stating his own opinion to generate discussion vs. holding students accountable to repeating those opinions with an impact onto grades.

2) The rightwing is more interested in suppresion of opinion because it might not agree with their’s vs. the leftwing is more interested in ensuring that all opinions are expressible(1) A good professor knows the difference between stating his own opinion to generate discussion vs. holding students accountable to repeating those opinions with an impact onto grades.

2) The rightwing is more interested in suppresion of opinion because it might not agree with their’s vs. the leftwing is more interested in ensuring that all opinions are expressible(real word?).

Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #133356

Iandanger

With some variations, it sounds very familar.

Dave

The right wing is no more interested in supressing opinion than the left wing and both extremes are likely to supress. The left currently does more of it.

Most speech codes are left wing inspired. Most of the time when an article in a campus newspaper provokes the campus administration, it is most often the lefties who are mad. The left wing heckles and throws pies.

I am for free speech. I don’t care what people say, as long as they are not violent or advocating immediate violence. Let’s have that as our only speech code.

But the left sometimes mistakes speaking with being listened to. Who doesn’t know what prominent leftists think. Who has not heard of people like Michael Moore or Cindy Sheehan? We just don’t want to listen. That is the other part of free speech.

Take the example of the military. The left wants to ban them. Banning is not free speech.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #133357

iandanger
I do not treat homosexuals as second class persons. In this country everybody is a citizen, period. I go by that standard. I have friends who call themselves queers and they are homosexuals. You judged me by the use of one word that I treated queers as second class citizens. Wrong buddy.

Posted by: tomh at March 14, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #133358

I am amazed at the presumption by those on the right that these “children” are being indoctrinated by, God forbid, liberal professors.

We have seen what, two or three high profile cases, and from that we have to surmise that our universities are going to hell in a handbasket?

Hannity has been whining about this Hitler comparison for weeks. He has gone as far as to request that “conservitive” students tape their professors, so that he might “expose their wrong thinking” to America.
This is gotcha politics at it’s worst.

Jack,

You are the one that always advocates a free market.
If these students and there parents are soooo upset with this, why aren’t they going through the proper channels to complain?
And then if their complaints aren’t addressed to their satisfaction, why aren’t they voting with their feet and their wallets and moving their studies to a university that is more in line with their thinking, uh, sorry, ideology?

Posted by: Rocky at March 14, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #133360
The right wing is no more interested in supressing opinion than the left wing and both extremes are likely to supress. The left currently does more of it.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 02:38 PM

You thought there was a war on Xmas too, right? Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #133361

I hate codes of speech, I’m a true liberal, I believe in liberty, you should be able to say what you want and deal with the consequences. If you want to wear a Nazi uniform in the middle of downtown baltimore, you sure as hell should be able to. Can’t guarantee the peacefulness of the dissent though.

basically the free flow of ideas is essential to utilitarianism, and besides that, my favorite commedians are all ones that push the boundaries of what is acceptable. I will rue the day of the death of political correctness.

Still, talking about how its good to keep queers down in front of me isnt going to have nice results, similar to if someone used a racial epitaph and was talking about keeping black people or hispanics out of whatever business you like, be it government or law or anything like that. I’m touchy, but its because ive dealt with too many biggots to be appologetic.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #133362

tomh,

The word itself doesnt matter, call them gay call them fags call them queers, what you are advocating is discrimination. If you were not allowed to join the military, werent allowed to marry the person you love, and in many other places were discriminated against, you would probably react pretty strongly about it.

To me, the oppression of one class is the oppression of all of us, and as such I refuse to back down on this issue. If you cannot admit that you are actively encouraging discrimination, and in turn the general attitude of hatred toward a large segment of our population, that is your own problem.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 2:58 PM
Comment #133369

iandanger
Every day everybody discriminates about somebody or something. I do not seek oppression of anybody. Anybody can marry anybody they choose to that is within the law. Same sex marriage is illegal and immoral. The whole reason for a male and female gender is to procreate. Procreation cannot be done by two women or two men who are married to their own gender. There are many arguments against homosexual activity. The arguments that have surfaced just in the last few years do not negate what has been the moral fiber of one man and one woman in a marriage for over 6,000 years. Remember Lots wife turned to a pillar of salt because of her love of Sodom and Gomorrah. NAMBLA wants to negate age of consent so that they can have their immoral ways with a man/boy relationship. Polygamy is now being pursued by the ACLU as a legal relationship. If you peek around the corner animals are right in line. Back to what got me here. Homosexuals have been kept out of the military because of national security. There have been a number of cases where homosexuals where compromised. One of the most notorious is Kim Philby. Am I wrong to think that a pedophile should not be in charge of a day care center? Am I wrong that a bank robber should not be placed in a financial position of trust? The bottom line is that homosexuals should not serve in the military because of national security.

Posted by: tomh at March 14, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #133375

Jack,

Wonderful delivery of thoughts here. I couldn’t agree more. What this makes me think is that our “leaders” are looking for the best and brightest. But, they assume they come from Ivy League educational institutions or colleges at least. If Ivy league scools are the most desied locations to pick leaders to represent America/the common man. Why is it that the common man doesn’t go to school there? People hear an education level and automatically think, “Oh well, he has a master’s from Brown he must be smart.”. I have met a lot of dumb doctors in my day and they have more education than I could ever dream of getting. I think I’ll use them as an example here. Dr.’s have theoretical knowledge because of what they learned in school. They studied what responses to stimuli indicate the issue, and eventually bring them to a diagnosis. I think it ,ay be that application in our “leadership” positions that cause our politicians to do what they assume we want them to do. Which is the “well, nobody seemed to complain about that decision” mind-set that keeps bad politicians in office. How many average Americans are given information on the happenings in the government on a daily basis. Maybe the common American would be more well informed to make a choice on a political leader if they knew more about what he/she did for them. I know it takes the individual to listen. But, why aren’t politician’s voter records on bills and laws shown to the voter at the end of every year? Then, put into tearms the average American can fully comprehend so, the average American is informed as to what they are voting for on election day. Ignorance in the common man is due to lack of education by those in power. If people’s demand to know what was going on was met, expectations would rise and so would the standards of acceptability of politician’s actions. Just me maybe but, I would like to know what my representatives are saying I want and how I feel life should be. But, you have to be Sherlock Holmes to find out what all happend in a year and Hitler to flood the streets with the newly found propaganda. Because, the Ivy League grads use bigger words and are in a more elite club and, they just happen to be the one’s running the show. So, yeah it is pretty shitty but, what do we do to change this injustice to the common man?

Posted by: chad at March 14, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #133378

Rocky

Our universities are among our most important assets. They will not disappear. But they can be made less relevant.

Think back when John Kennedy became president, he went to Harvard etc for his new ideas. Now the best (at least the most actionable) ideas are more likely to come from think tanks or semi independent scholars. Or universities have created semi independent institutes to bypass the main structure.

Not all subjects are the same. The hard sciences have resisted better. So have Business Schools and Law Schools. Decision makers pay attention to something that comes out of the Harvard Business School a lot more than they care if it is from the Dept of Sociology. Why is that? (not a rhetorical question, BTW).

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #133388

JACK i thought lately the dems wanted to install the draft?

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at March 14, 2006 5:08 PM
Comment #133389

Jack,

“Not all subjects are the same. The hard sciences have resisted better. So have Business Schools and Law Schools. Decision makers pay attention to something that comes out of the Harvard Business School a lot more than they care if it is from the Dept of Sociology. Why is that? (not a rhetorical question, BTW).”

You are aware that I haven’t attended a university or collage, that what I know is from experience.

The hard sciences may have resisted this “liberal” movement because there is little room for argument in the math or physics depts.

These soft sciences are open for discussion because that is what these subjects are all about, discussion. Political science, to me seems like a completely subjective course.

When a liberal professor says that all he was looking for was discussion, why is it that the right rolls it’s collective eyes and says, “yeah, right”?

Are we to condemn the vast majority of “liberal” professors for the objective silliness of a few?

Posted by: Rocky at March 14, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #133391

tomh,

What you are saying is baseless, if someone is homosexual they are not in any way less trustworthy. The problem I assume you are reffering to would be people who are in the closet being blackmailed into revealing information, which has nothing to do with out homosexuals serving. If you think that homosexuals are somehow more likely to defect to communist russia like philby, then I really have nothing more to contribute to that discussion.

The issue of marriage: I dont care. Mary 16 peole, a million, what does that have to do with me? I am not concerned with anything anyone else does in their personal life, that is not my business, if you want to do heroin and have sex with tons of men and women, it is not my possition to stop you. the only point where government can intervene is where somethign is actually harming someone else. i dont care if someone does heroin or cocaine, but if you steal to pay for your habit, its off to jail. The primary tenant of utilitarianism is that if it makes someone happy and does not harm another (animals are included in this case) it is not the jurisdiction of the government. So, if someone wants to marry their horse, I dont care, unless they attempt to molest the horse, which is harmful and illegal. If someone wants to marry 3 women, I don’t care, unless he is treating them as slaves, which is sometimes the case, then its time to step in. Our government cant spend its time telling people how to think, we need to allow uninhbitted thought and expression in order to continue to be ideologically productive.

relating what NAMBLA does to all homosexuals is like relating the Posse Comatetus or various other nutjob terrorist organizations to the NRA, its bad logic. Explain to me, using reason rather than emotion and examples (pedophile being in charge of a daycare center) how in any way allowing gay people (we already do, we just require them to stay in the closet) to be in the military. I’ve never heard a reason that wasnt pure biggotry, but maybe you’ve got something original and you can change my mind.

P.S. What if i think it is immoral to kill animals, should I start to push legislation to stop you from eating meat? Should I come to you rhome and tell you what you can and cannot eat? No, morality is each persons business, good fences make good neighbors.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #133394
Homosexuals have been kept out of the military because of national security. There have been a number of cases where homosexuals where compromised. One of the most notorious is Kim Philby. Am I wrong to think that a pedophile should not be in charge of a day care center? Am I wrong that a bank robber should not be placed in a financial position of trust? The bottom line is that homosexuals should not serve in the military because of national security.

Congratulations that’s the biggest load of bullshit I’ve heard today! So your argument is basically that we ought to keep gays out of the military because, as a rule they are untrustworthy, unmannly, and as far as treating others goes, on a par with pedophiles? Wow thanks for the info, buddy!

Posted by: Amani at March 14, 2006 5:32 PM
Comment #133402

Jack’s drunk the Kool-Aid. He no longer discusses, he accuses and rebuts relentlessly and mindlessly. The amazing thing is that this formerly thoughtful conservative who used to be willing to rationally consider various points of view has become more and more polemical as the incompetence of the Bush administration has become more obvious to everyone. He now basically spouts the conservative talking points, complete with links to people like Horowitz in a feeble attempt to make it seem like intellectual argument.

BTW, I am a “hard science” faculty member at a top-tier research university and the ranks of the faculty lean heavily liberal in politics. The problem is that the facts have a liberal spin, and with thinking people the counterspin from the right doesn’t have much effect. We are used to parsing an conjecture and comparing it to the data and to questioning a highly selected set of facts that don’t draw a complete picture. It’s what we do. And funny smelling arguments are usually dismissed after some chewing over.

So don’t talk to the poor ranting man over there in the corner. His hero has turned out to have feet of clay and the lies he told are slowly being revealed despite his best efforts. So forgive Jack his lashing out at any convenient liberal targets. He’s a man in pain and must be pitied.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at March 14, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #133406

Amani, iandanger

I am really thankful you are not my personal chef. Your mixture of what ifs and could ofs and mixing statements sure would give a person a gastrointestinal problem. You just don’t understand national security. So, we won’t go there. There are some personal situations that over the years have been negative behavioral situations. We really are not that smart or wise that we can in a few short years rename those behaviors and call them normal and reasonable behaviors. Narcissism and hedonism comes to mind when I read your response. Self centered and if it feels good do it. That is not responsible behavior. Just because SCOTUS says sodomy is legal does not make it right morally. These are behaviors that break down family as we knew it for thousands of years. As far as “rights of homosexuals” for their culture, their are no special rights for homosexuals. The government has entered into a liberal mantra area by forcing the Catholic Charities in Boston to place children with homosexuals, which is contrary to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church in MA now is being denied their rights to practice their faith. It will continue to go that way even though 80% if the American public want marriage defined as one woman and one man.

Posted by: tomh at March 14, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #133409

WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME, WHERE HAVE ALL THE REAL DEMOCRATS GONE? ATTEMPTING TO REDEFINE WORDS LIKE, “LIBERALS” IS REDICULOUS! IF YOU THINK THAT ANYONE BUYS IT, YOUR ONLY FOOLING YOURSELVES. “LIBERALS”(TO KEEP FROM REFERING TO YOU AS SOCIALISTS, COMUNISTS OR JUST PLAIN, HATERS OF AMERICANS) ARE SO FOND OF ACCUSING PEOPLE OF McCARTHYISM. IT’S ONE OF THE OLD FALL BACKS. WELL IF YOUR “LIBERAL” TEACHERS WOULD’VE TAUGHT ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT JUSTIFIES THEIR POSITION, YOU WOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT McCARTHY WAS RIGHT, ATLEAST ACCORDING TO DECLASSIFIED KGB FILES. SO FROM NOW ON ACCUSING SOMEONE OF DOING SOMETHING THEY DIDN’T DO WILL BE KNOWN AS A “KENNEDYISM”! AND THEN YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE NOW BEING REFERRED TO AS “THE LYING LEFT”! BUT, AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, YOU KEEP THINKING AND ACTING LIKE, ANYONE WHO DOESN’T HOLD THE SAME VIEW OR OPINION AS YOU IS A DOLT OR AN IDIOT. WE CAN SEE YOU COMMING A MILE AWAY, EINSTEINS.

Posted by: BOB RAMOS at March 14, 2006 7:12 PM
Comment #133416

Jack:

You are a typical Republican: If you don’t like anything, you attack it.

You don’t like liberals. So you attack them.

You don’t like how universities are developing. So you attack. You say they use PC. What you mean by PC is what liberals ask for. And yet you are asking for a PC of your own - get rid of “100 dangerous professors.” What makes them dangerous? Is it that Horowitz and you don’t agree with their opinions? You do not consider them PC?

When it comes to business, you say “laissez faire.” When it comes to academia, you say “we need control.” It should be the other way around.

We need independent thinkers of all sorts in universities in order to develop as a healthy society. Leave the professors alone. Allow the various universities to do their job.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at March 14, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #133417

I think our colleges and universities are diverse enough to protect us from this ominous intellectual collapse you folks keep predicting.

It seems like the most vocal cultural critics on the right see this in eschatological terms. Even one Liberal spouting their opinion off with equal volume to one of their people is the end of the world.

So much of the political history of interaction between the paries is colored with the Fifth Column view of history. Rather unfortunate really. It means you can’t rest while we exercise our rights as Americans. You have to make sure we’re not letting the terrorists, or the communists or the UN (or whatever group you’ve decided will try and destroy us all) in through the backdoor.

Meanwhile, you folks let all the nice lobbyist and businessmen do what they want unopposed. Now corporate interests deserve a fair hearing, but their interests must be weighed against (not pre-emptively assumed to be the same as) the interests of the public. Again we get into eschatology though, as any regulation that hinders the making of the profit gets made out to be the start of an economic apocalypse. Same for taxes or any other issue. One false move (generally defined as one to the left) and all will be lost.

I think America is a little stronger, and more robust than that. Excuse me if I think the millionth pronouncement of the fall of western civilization is a bit off the mark.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 14, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #133419

Paul and Stephen

I don’t fear the fall of the U.S. or even the university. What I see is universities being bypassed. Decision makers no longer trust whole university departments. Professors no longer get the respect they used to.

When I search for useful advice, I go to think tanks, independent institutes or scholars. I wouldn’t think of asking a the average professor of African American studies for constructive advice on the race problem, nor would I seek management advice at a Department of Sociology.

This is sad. They used to say that in my home state of Wisconsin that the boundries of the university were the boundries of the state. It was the university’s mission to help the people of the state with problems they thought were important. That idea now seems a little quaint, but it was a good one.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #133422
When I search for useful advice, I go to think tanks,,,

Sure, because we all know how much think tanks like the National Center for Policy Analysis welcome a diversity of opinions.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at March 14, 2006 9:15 PM
Comment #133425

Going to think tanks is like going to the GOP or DNC for your info. Each think tank is nothing more than a glorified political machine carping the positions of those who fund them.

Posted by: Aldous at March 14, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #133430

Obviously I don’t understand National Security, because being homosexual in the military doesnt seem to equate to even being relevant to National Security to me. Tell me, why would America be less secure if we allowed the gay soldier to come out and further gay individuals to join the service?

In other matters, when you talk about morality, you need to remember, I don’t believe in your God, and I don’t think you are correct. I consider it wrong to eat meat, to profit in any way off the suffering of others, including animals, to harm other people in any way, etc. but that is all my personal belief system. I don’t expect you to stop the senseless slaughter of millions upon millions of animals every day, because to you this is not wrong. You’re close minded about morality, thats your business, you want to stand on a corner in Washington and tell me what to do with a big ol sign, go right ahead, but the moment you try and make a law to limit my liberty, you are entering a state of war with me, as defined by Locke, and it is my responsibility to defend myself with as much force as necissary. Go ahead, tell me that I’m a hedonist, of course I pursue a life concentrating on ending desire, so there isnt anything in the judeo-christian rules im violating.

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #133442

Reed

The National Center for Policy Analysis is a complier, not strictly speaking a think tank.

Aldous

Think tanks have a point of view, just like university departments. But they tend to produce useful advice and background.

It is becoming more and more true that conservative scholars tend toward think tanks and liberals tend toward university departments.

The point is that universities are losing their edge in this respect, and their presumption of neutrality. This would not have been possible in the 1960s or 1970s. That is how much the world has changed.

There is also a problem with the university model. People used to go to university when they were young and then not go back. In this day and age of continuing education this makes less sense.

Rocky

Re university, you learned a lot more than most people get in university. That is an example of the “continuing education” I am talking about.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #133447

More background on the state of academia

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #133452

Jack,

From your last link;

“Jonathan Kozol’s books — in praise of Cuban-style classroom indoctrination and “disobedience instruction,” which instructs teacher “change agents” in how to use stealth in nurturing skepticism of authority in students — are required reading in education schools”

When I went to parochial school in the ’60s, we were taught to question authority, and to “dare to be different”.
Neither of these precepts were pronounced “subversive” at the time.

The call to go back to the roots of education has been a drumbeat for decades, yet nothing has happened. Up to now, there still has been no great movement, other than home schooling (which to my mind has more to do with regligous beliefs than grades), in primary education to change the way we educate our children.

I still blame the failure of the public school system on the apathy of parents, who seem to be more interested in giving “little Jane or Johnny” a comfortable place to live than an education.

Posted by: Rocky at March 14, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #133454

tomh: Since you feel it so pertenent to expound your morality to me, let me do the same for you: What causes unnecessary suffering to another being without a good reason is evil. What causes a voluntary love is good. YOUR system “of what ifs and could ofs” often makes about as much sense to me as your posts. Personally, I find it amusing that you can look at the enormity of the universe and your own speck of existance and still believe you understand all the details.

Posted by: Amani at March 14, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #133455

In terms of the dangerous liberals infiltrating the schools (k-12), I was told that if I participated in the walkout I organized in highschool I would be arrested, and sat the walkout out in the principal’s office. I got suspended a lot for speaking my mind in highschool.

My college campus is just kind of dull when it comes to politics (we have a great public policy school, but that is all bureaucracy related stuff, none of the meat and potatoes issues)

Posted by: iandanger at March 14, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #133465

so those who have most studied and researched the ‘soft science’ fields are liberal? while i find this hard to believe, it does occur to me - if the *experts* are liberal, i would not consider it very intelligent to bring this ‘fact’ to light.

neocons; ‘all the experts disagree with me! wah!’

so we should treat the opining of a layman as equivalent to the knowledge of college professors? good argument?!

also, consider the religious right’s attack on the ‘hard sciences’. i don’t hear any complaint about the attempt to bring religion into biology class?

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 14, 2006 11:45 PM
Comment #133475

Amani
Where did I say I understood all the details. I searched all over and I honest to goodness could not find it. Enlighten me. Sure I know a lot, but there is a lot more I don’t know. I have experienced a lot, but there is a lot more I have not experienced and don’t want to experience. I have a broad education background. I serve on four different boards of charitable organizations. I deal with all the rottenness of life on a daily basis. I see broken homes. I see distraught children. And I have not seen it all nor do I want to. Just a few words why I am where I am. Good night.

Posted by: tomh at March 15, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #133477


Dave

2) The rightwing is more interested in suppresion of opinion because it might not agree with their’s vs. the leftwing is more interested in ensuring that all opinions are expressible(1) A good professor knows the difference between stating his own opinion to generate discussion vs. holding students accountable to repeating those opinions with an impact onto grades.

O really? When was the last time the cops drug you out of you home and locked you up for expressing your opinions? Today? Yesterday? Last week, Last month? Last year? When?
If what you said was true everyone on this blog would be in jail.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 15, 2006 1:11 AM
Comment #133482
Where did I say I understood all the details.

I confess, you did not say those exact words, but the implication is there that you know enough, at least, to judge a person’s character based on some of the non-abusive, consensual details of their sex life. This doesn’t square with my own and others experience, or with common sense, yet you insist it is a fact. I have known a few gay people who were abusive and many who were not. The overall quality of their character had little dependency upon their being gay and their being gay had little dependency on their character.

I deal with all the rottenness of life on a daily basis. I see broken homes. I see distraught children. And I have not seen it all nor do I want to.

But there is joy in life, too. There is such a thing as love and goodness, even in the most desolate places. Surely this is why you are so active in charities?

Posted by: Amani at March 15, 2006 1:46 AM
Comment #133484

I once had a conservative instructor in college teaching intro to politics. He was a business attorney. I was very liberal then. On his first day in class he assigned something like 20 books for the semester to the mostly full lecture hall.

During the 2nd class session, the lecture hall was only 1/3 full, the rest having dropped the course. During this 2nd session, he handed out the syllabus, it contained one text book for the whole course. It was brilliant. The man understood the marketplace.

Also, during the 2nd class he pulled out his wallet, opened it, and a 6’ long trail of plastic unfolded revealing all manner of credit cards and other cards. He said, THIS is what Politics IS, and this is what Politics is all About. He said those of us who grasped this concept that politics is all about money and who gets it, and who doesn’t, would pass his course easily. He was true to his word.

He was conservative, but, he was an outstanding instructor and I enjoyed his course immensely, though he and I continually debated the place for ideals and ethics and utopian standards in American politics. I got an A as I recall. He was afterall, quite prescient about what would happen when conservatives achieved one party control over government for the most part. It is now all about money, who gets it, and who doesn’t, with abortion and religious expression thrown in as distractions to hide the fact that it is all about who gets the money, and who doesn’t.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 15, 2006 1:53 AM
Comment #133488

tomh:

good night by the way.

Posted by: Amani at March 15, 2006 2:37 AM
Comment #133499

I think anytime there’s an institution that Republicans don’t have full control over, standard right-wing procedure is to declare that it’s failing, that it’s unpatriotic, and (horrors of horrors) that it’s biased.

Academics have long been a target of the right’s culture war, it’s attempt to undermine the institutional support for liberalism (real and perceived) in this country. Why should Jack depart from that long tradition of destructive politics now?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2006 7:52 AM
Comment #133506
I think anytime there�s an institution that Republicans don�t have full control over, standard right-wing procedure is to declare that it�s failing, that it�s unpatriotic, and (horrors of horrors) that it�s biased.

This is absolutely right. If conservatives controlled every institution in this country besides, say, organic grocery stores, O’Reilly and Rush and friends would have to kvetch about how they are corrupting America. Every time someone in the business compared the Dear Leader to a Nazi, he would get months of coverage. These are the people we trust to feed our children! They must be stopped!

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #133508
2) The rightwing is more interested in suppresion of opinion because it might not agree with theirⳠvs. the leftwing is more interested in ensuring that all opinions are expressible(1) A good professor knows the difference between stating his own opinion to generate discussion vs. holding students accountable to repeating those opinions with an impact onto grades.

O really? When was the last time the cops drug you out of you home and locked you up for expressing your opinions? Today? Yesterday? Last week, Last month? Last year? When?
If what you said was true everyone on this blog would be in jail.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 15, 2006 01:11 AM

Not sure what the relationship is between my post and your rant. Supression of opinion doesn’t require incarceration. Just look at the DickBushRove slime machine and what it did to McCain, O’Neill, et. al.
But, we’re not up to the level of 1984 thought crimes yet. Soon enough if the neocons retain power, but that is not looking good. I mean it is looking good because they are going to be out of power by years end. Posted by: Dave at March 15, 2006 8:37 AM
Comment #133509

“America is built on an extremely strong and compelling foundation. It can easily withstand few professors spouting radical opinions or even lies.” — Don Gray

You are right. And we have withstood worse. But I have the right to complain when it is my tax dollars that are used to support dissident professors spouting anti-American drivel.

Posted by: Ray Clary at March 15, 2006 8:41 AM
Comment #133512
I went to the liberal University of Wisconsin at a liberal time. You could argue with your professor and sometimes win. I like the free exchange of ideas because sometimes you convince the other person; sometimes he convinces you, but always you get to see other points of view. We had plenty of weirdoes, but what we didn�t have were enforceable speech codes. People could ridicule you and argue against you, but they couldn�t shut you down. My impression is now they can.

I don’t know about these “PC speech codes” in general, but this was my experience: I went to Indiana University in the 90’s. In those days, and maybe still today, there was a uncredentialed preacher named “Mad Max” who would stand in the middle of campus and rant about the evils of homosexuality. Loudly. (He should have tried out for the opera, because he could really project.) Sometimes students would argue with him. He had no connection to the university, but they couldn’t rid of the guy if they wanted to because he was on public property.

The IU newspaper published David Horowitz’s notorious “advertisement” about slave reparations. The administration criticized the editors for not running opposing viewpoints in the same issue, but they didn’t say it was wrong to publish the ad at all.

We also had a “Miss Gay IU”. I’m sure some conservatives felt oppressed by this fact, but you were free to speak your mind on the matter. Mad Max certainly did.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2006 8:46 AM
Comment #133518
But I have the right to complain when it is my tax dollars that are used to support dissident professors spouting anti-American drivel.

Posted by: Ray Clary at March 15, 2006 08:41 AM

Two comments:
- You can “complain” about anything you want. Would you agree that you have no right to decide the issue for private universities?
- Since when is calling BushII an evil incompetent asshole being anti-American? It is anti-Bush and is probably very pro-American. Posted by: dave at March 15, 2006 9:18 AM
Comment #133522

Diogenes

Religion has no place in the science classroom. Creation science is about as valid as Marxism. It is BS and not science. I would certainty keep it out.

That is one of the points I am making in this article. Acdaemia should be about finding truth, not political ideology.

I don’t believe in any impediments to inquiry.

The experts don’t disagree with me (us). It depends on how you define experts. I think most experts who actually study the real word know that markets work better than government fiat. Free marketers so effectively won that argument that the counter argument sounds like flat world theory and can survive only in a hothouse environment where it is protected. Most of the disagreement is normative not descriptive. In that there can be no experts.

Woody

We had a guy on our campus called “Jed Smock”. He was like your Mad Max. He put on a good show. Maybe it’s the same guy. He would start out saying:

“The University of Wisconsin is full of drunks, and drug takers and wicked fornicators.” Most people didn’t disagree. In fact some were proud of that, especially the fornicator part (although for many of us it was an idle boast). But then he would go on. “And you are all going to Hell!”

These guys can still speak freely. I worry about debate in class. Here’s a hypothetical (and I don’t know the answer). If a freshman was asked to write about the most admirable black woman in history, and he chose Condoleezza Rice, would he get flack from most professors?

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2006 9:40 AM
Comment #133523

Full disclosure: I’m a political science professor with a PhD from a Big Midwestern U. My entire dissertation committee was conservative, but then, like many contemporary political scientists, I run with economists and statisticians, not humanities types. The chair of my PhD department was a consultant to Bush 41, and one of the senior faculty ran for Congress as a Republican in 94.


Anyway, I came across this article in the Duke U student paper, written by a conservative student in the aftermath of David Horowitz’ visit:

http://www.dukechronicle.com/media/paper884/news/2006/03/10/Columns/Warning.Dangerous.Column-1683874.shtml?norewrite&sourcedomain=www.dukechronicle.com

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 15, 2006 9:43 AM
Comment #133526

Jack,

“Jed Smock”. What a name for a fire-and-brimstone preacher! Dickens would be jealous.

To answer your question, I think that the vast majority of college faculty would be delighted to read a cogent, well-written essay about the greatness of Condi Rice. Are there some who let their biases decide their grades? Probably. But that is why there is a process to appeal your grades. If you conservatives think they are getting shafted on their grades, then by all means present the evidence. Someone could even build a website for papers that got “biased” grades. Transparency can solve a lot of problems.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2006 9:56 AM
Comment #133527
If a freshman was asked to write about the most admirable black woman in history, and he chose Condoleezza Rice, would he get flack from most professors?

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2006 09:40 AM

See (1), below.
If it were well written and supported, my bet is even your friend W Churchill would give a good grade. But, if it were about Shirley Chisolm, I bet a neo-con prof would flunk you.

I will repost:

(1) A good professor knows the difference between stating his own opinion to generate discussion vs. holding students accountable to repeating those opinions with an impact onto grades.
2) The rightwing is more interested in suppresion of opinion because it might not agree with their’s vs. the leftwing is more interested in ensuring that all opinions are expressible(real word?).
Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 02:20 PM


r^2,
So you’re one of those intellectual elite, eh!? Does it make you laugh and/or shake your head when you encounter posts such as:

Because, the Ivy League grads use bigger words and are in a more elite club and, they just happen to be the one’s running the show. So, yeah it is pretty shitty but, what do we do to change this injustice to the common man?
Posted by chad at March 14, 2006 04:15 PM

Posted by: Dave at March 15, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #133544

Jack,

“If a freshman was asked to write about the most admirable black woman in history, and he chose Condoleezza Rice, would he get flack from most professors?”

I can’t imagine she would. The students at my university are overwhelmingly conservative, religious, and Republican, and I am, of course, fairly liberal. I teach quite a bit of Intro to American Government, and I assign a lot of short “critical thinking” essays, so I evaluate a lot of articulations of conservative viewpoints.

It’d be easy to write an A essay about Dr. Rice as the ‘most admirable black woman in history.’ Agree or disagree with her politics, her track record of success is amazing. Period.

The question is, can the student deploy relevant facts in support of her opinion and write in a clear, organized, and convincing manner. Period.

There are over 400,000 professors in American higher ed. Some of them suck abysmally, just as there are miserable failures in every profession. Certainly, it seems like the humanities and softer social sciences seem to attract more of the pontificators than other disciplines, but let’s be honest: that Marxist lit professor probably has virtually no impact at all on the median student, beyond learning how to tolerate idiots and blowhards. The latter is probably the single best real-world skill professors like this can impart.

And they exist on the right as well - I often hear one of our history faculty use his classroom to repeat Limbaugh and Hannity-esque slander and vilification. I once TA’d for a far-right crackpot who was the best classroom teacher I ever saw.

Personally, I find myself bending over backwards to give legitimacy to views that I find abhorrent, and I try to be provocative all across the ideological spectrum. It’s good customer service, and I take my students and their tuition dollars very seriously.

Dave,

Yup, I’m a proud part of the intellectual elite. I’m from a blue-collar family, financed virtually all of my education myself, a veteran, and am a damned good professor. Like Chad, I don’t have a lot of respect for the American aristocracy that the Ivies crank out at the undergrad level.

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 15, 2006 11:04 AM
Comment #133551

r^2
Now that’s not nice, I am one of “Ivies”. Although I met my share of what you called aristocrats, they weren’t the majority (except probably within the MBA tracks). Most of us were just smart and hard working. Perhaps that’s changed since I went.
Nowadays it’s like watching burlesque when the middle and lower economic classes right wing rail against the “elite intellectual” yet these “elite” are a mixed set with the same people the right wing support in their next tirade. I.e. money first pure capitalist philosophy suits who in reality laugh and look down disparingly at the sheep who enrich them. Believe me, they do laugh. Just look at the boiler-rooms and “Only the poor pay taxes” attitudes.

Posted by: Dave at March 15, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #133552

Arr

I think you hit my point when you talked about Marxist lit.

There are only so many hours in a day and only so many days in a four year education. If you are getting stuck with Marxist lit or the various liberation courses, you are not studying useful or beautiful things. It is a free country and people can do as they please. Fortunately, the market does sort these things out after college, which is why an MBA is worth more than an MA gender studies. It also helps explain why Marxism is totally discredited everywhere but college campuses. They got no place else to go.

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #133558

Why are these universities having trouble finding physicists that believe in intelligent design over the theory of evolution? They must not be looking. Riiiiiiiight.


Posted by: Max at March 15, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #133559

Jack,

I know it was your conversation with r^2, but let’s do a critical review of your post:

There are only so many hours in a day and only so many days in a four year education. If you are getting stuck with Marxist lit or the various liberation courses,
You are assuming Marxism is a required course. I can’t imagine a semester of Marx is a requirement anywhere in the US, I could be wrong…
you are not studying useful
Isn’t all knowledge useful? It helps to tell the “good” from the “bad” but mostly depends on a persons ability to understand and incorporate
or beautiful things
Is this a referral to liberal “arts”?
It is a free country and people can do as they please. Fortunately, the market does sort these things out after college, which is why an MBA is worth more than an MA gender studies.
True, but the MBA is worth shit today, unless it’s from a high powered school and then mostly for the persons contacts. We only hire MBAs with techincal degrees, otherwise their other skills are too limited. The MA in Gender Studies might be very helpful as a counsellor in a rape crisis center or in bias litigations, etc…
It also helps explain why Marxism is totally discredited everywhere but college campuses. They got no place else to go.
Cute, but irrelevent and unsupported by your prior assumptions. But the same could be said for neocons and the GOP.

Posted by: Dave at March 15, 2006 12:28 PM
Comment #133560

When my friend’s school made the decision to not let military recruiters on campus, the president sent out an email explaining that he felt the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was unconstitutional. That’s all this was about. Get over it.

I also pity Bushies. I’m not totally over their betrayals of this country’s ideals and their placing a huge burden on my children, but I worry that so much reality denial will land some of them in mental institutions.

Posted by: Max at March 15, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #133579

Jack,

I don’t entirely disagree with you. Where I think you’re off base is the idea that students are “forced” to take biased courses. The evidence that I see is that students have more choices than ever.

At my institution, we have a University Studies (gen ed) distribution. Students have to take some number of classes to satisfy the distribution. For example, I am teaching a 300-level university studied course this semester (classical political philosophy - so I dug your “good and the beautiful” comment). Each student needs, I believe, 2 300-level courses to graduate. There are, literally, 110 courses that fit the requirement, spread through every department.

Surely, we can’t ALL of us be propagandizing? You take my classical thought class, you read the hell out of Plato, Aristotle, and Aeschylus. You analyze the texts. You compare and contrast. And of course, in my stat class, there’s no room for ideology, unless we’re measuring it.

You don’t want to take “The Social Construction of Gender Identity in Childrens’ Lit?” I don’t blame you. Don’t take it. Take my course. Not sure how to choose? Use the info at your disposal - ask friends, ratemyprofessors.com, whatever. Take responsibility for some of your education.

And regarding Marx, if you can read Capital and NOT find that his criticisms of laissez-faire capitalism have merit, you’re as shallow a thinker as the hypothetical professors you excoriate.

When did so many conservatives become victims?

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 15, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #133606

Arr

Re Marx - I found that what was good in Marx was not original and what was original was not good. His criticism of the market is sometimes valid (if dated even at the time, since he was using old data) but you can find them in many places. It is the way he puts it together with the class struggle, materialism, and dialectic crap that makes it silly.

I take your point about reading these things, however. A lefty professor made me read Marx. Before that I didn’t really know how bad it was.

Re Greek - I studied classical Greek and read Plato. Many of the references don’t come through as clearly in the English translations. I expect if they did, many of the homophobes would avoid him. I don’t advocate that, BTW, just an observation that I wonder if you have in your class.

Re taking things voluntarily. That is fine. But if a university has too many weirdo majors its student body will decline and if those in the marginal majors give out better grades it might be luring people into a time waste or worse a manipulation. I had a roommate who was not fond of study. He majored in engineering and had to maintain a 2.5 grade average (as I recall), so he double majored in engineering and African-American studies. He got Ds in engineering, but balanced them with the easy As in African-American studies. He was happy. His professors were happy. But I am not sure I would like to drive across a bridge he built.

Dave

All knowledge is useful in that sometimes you learn that something is not useful and can be avoided. It is like saying that every failure just shows you a way that something cannot be done. But besides these cases, some knowledge is not useful and it is not all equal. You have to weight the cost of acquiring it (time, money, opportunity) versus the knowledge. Some things you study just as truth or beauty, so not everything fits this paradigm, but most college courses do.

Re MBA - they make more money on average than gender studies majors. If the market decides gender studies is more valuable, so be it. But generally it won’t.

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #133616

jack,

Since when is money the only measure of worth?

Some more knowledge:

I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge. Igor Stravinsky
I want to suggest to you today, that unless we have a tolerant attitude toward mistakes - I might almost say “a positive attitude toward them” - we shall be behaving irrationally, unscientifically, and unsuccessfully. Now, of course, if you now say to me, “Look here, you weird Limey, are you seriously advocating relaunching the Edsel?” I will reply, “No.” There are mistakes - and mistakes. There are true, copper-bottom mistakes like spelling the word “rabbit” with three Ms; wearing a black bra under a white shirt; or, to take a more masculine example, starting a … war in (Iraq). These are the kind of mistakes described by Mr. David Letterman as Brushes With Stupidity, because they have no reasonable chance of success. John Cleese
Posted by: Dave at March 15, 2006 3:14 PM
Comment #133621

Dave

I specifically mentioned times when money was not the measure.

Re mistakes - great. We make them. We should learn from them. But we don’t need to seek them out or do things that are reasonably certain to be mistakes. All knowledge is not equal.

Your own quote backs up this view. As John Cleese says, there are mistakes and there are mistakes.

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #133642

Aldous:

What is your source on the following:

Did you know that the anti-slavery movement started from Universities?

Did you know women’s suffrage started from Universities?

Did you know anti-segregation started in Universities?

It’s easy to throw it out there, and maybe it’s true, but you won’t find this information in a high school or university American History text written by “university professors”. None of the “famous” abolitionists were from universities: Walker, Garrison, the Grimke sisters, Douglas…

Posted by: Scott at March 15, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #133674

Scott,

Actually most history textbooks (for k-12) are written by school boards and committees, which is why they wind up missing so much. As a history major, those books aren’t even whigish, theyre just crap (99% of them).

iandanger

Posted by: iandanger at March 15, 2006 6:38 PM
Comment #133783

Dave
I don’t see anyone on the right trying to oppress anyone’s opinion. I do see however the left trying too.
The only opinions that the left is interested in hearing is their own. Everyone else better not have or voice one unless it agrees with theirs.
Bush and Co. are on the left so you can’t use them as an example. Given this give me one example where anyone on the right oppresses anyone’s opinion.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 16, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #133800

iandanger:

Agreed, most text books are dry digests of history written for survey course and are meant to be supplemented with other material. Generally lacking in detail, they do hit the high points though.

However, the question still isn’t answered…and I’ve never seen a text book in any subject written by a school board; committees of professors yes; school boards no.

So, what’s the source?

Any study of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era would start with the universities. Not so of WWI or WWII. A lot of names come up when you think of desegregation - King, Brown, Parks - but not “Kent State”.

My point is, Aldous throws it out there that three of the most important social movements in American history STARTED in universities. If it’s true, great. I’d like to read about it. Never heard that one before. (Frankly, I don’t buy it. Most social movements of the 19th century started in churches.)

If it’s not true, it’s just another example of what has come to pass as “informed” debate. It doesn’t matter what you say as long as it sounds good.

Posted by: Scott at March 16, 2006 12:54 AM
Comment #133820

Ladies and Gentlemen, the following is a post from someone who espouses liberal/dem views mostly:

“I think America is a little stronger, and more robust than that. Excuse me if I think the millionth pronouncement of the fall of western civilization is a bit off the mark.”

If I was gymnastically talented enough, I’d have completed a full set of cartwheels down my hallway. Comments like that make me proud of all (well, most) Americans.

Posted by: Ken C. at March 16, 2006 4:45 AM
Comment #133833

Jack,

As I said in my post; the MBA is worth sh!t and we only hire those with technical undergrad degrees. Skills from a typical MBA prgram are fairly useless. I didn’t say they weren’t compensated, after all they’re being hired by other people with MBAs. IMO, the “Gender” based jobs I listed add a lot more to society than a typical MBA.
You are also trying to equate learning about Marxism with implementing a Marxist system. The first is learning about a proletariat focused philosophy, the second is the mistake(not as bad as the one some people made when they voted for BushII).

Ron,
You do not need physical force or violence in order to suppress free speech. Here are 2 examples of backwards rightwing thinking which are consistant with oppresion of free speech: (thanks to r^2 for the link)
“I’m hesitant to give you the microphone considering you came here to fight the exchange of free views” said by conservative moderator to liberal questioner.
http://www.dukechronicle.com/media/paper884/news/2006/03/10/Columns/Warning.Dangerous.Column-1683874.shtml?norewrite&sourcedomain=www.dukechronicle.com

The second is the daily suppresion of differing viewpoints within the GOP and promulgation of venomous statements like “if you are against the war in Iraq you are a traitor”. Also includes the smear campaingns against people like O’Neill and Clarke and numerous others.

Posted by: Dave at March 16, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #133851

Jack,

Did you actually READ the quote from John Lewis before you posted it? Lewis was chagrined that for American institutions like his university,

the highest per-se loyalty automatically must be to the U.S. government
as opposed to loyalty to our country. And you accused him of not being patriotic. That is a huge logical fallacy.

You assume that “patriotism” means unswavering loyalty to the Federal Government, as opposed to loyalty to this country. If that assumption is true, then by your own definition all conservatives were unpatriotic during the Clinton Administration. And considering the latest polls, it looks like the conservatives are going to be unpatriotic again after the next election!

Posted by: ElliottBay at March 16, 2006 10:35 AM
Comment #133883

Elliott

A little more background. Princeton got the money so that it could help train people to go into government and make our country better. I know that it is not in style in either liberal or conservative camps to admit that smart and honest civil servants can make a difference, but I think they can. In any case, I think that is a valid goal. Princeton used much of that money for other purposes. The guys quote is just silly. The nation and state and the government are not the same things, but in a democracy they depend on each other.

Posted by: Jack at March 16, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #134058

aldous, the anti slavery movement started in a small hamlet in upstate new york called peterboro. it was the hot bed of the anti slavery movement in the 1850s, the famous freedom fighter gerrit smith lived there please look him up on the web,most of it was church based, remember( john brown) he is buried there gerrit smith was a very close friend of fredrick douglass. also someday if you get up there in peterboro ny go to the national abolitionist hall of fame. also the first womens rights movement started in senaca falls ny in 1848 that would also be in upstate ny.not to far from my birth place of elmira ny where mark twain met his wife ms olivia langdon. mark twain lived in elmira for almost forty years and is buried there. many abolitionist lived in elmira also. and it was a very large part of the underground railroad network system and we are very proud of it.

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at March 17, 2006 2:28 AM
Comment #134174

Jack,
I now understand why I am always misunderstanding you. In this example I read what the person is saying and search for his meaning… you read what he says and search for your own meaning.

It is because of the levels of grey I see versus the black and white of your world. You see the statement, “The university should resist a blind commitment to nation-state parochialism” as meaning patriotism.

I see it as a call to avoid nationalism… the chauvinsim and jongoism. You know… the nationalism like Nazis? We never learn do we? “The White Man’s Burden” in another guise…

How can a call to not blindly following our government be wrong? Our constitution was designed with a mistrust of power… thus the Bill of Rights and the Checks and Balances. No one should blindly follow their leader… are you advocating that we should?

Will you have that same zeal when the Republicans are no longer in power? I am not saying anything about 2008 or any other year… just the inevitable change that will occur.

Did you show the same support with the previous President and his decisions? Remember, it isn’t about oral sex or whether or not he inhaled or not… but supporting the principles of American as advocated by the President? Or, did you pick and chose? Did you blindly follow the government of a political party to which you are not affilated with?

Should the universities turn out goose steppers? Automontons? Trained in the “hard sciences” that can build V2 rockets and not be concerned with the moral implications of where their country is going?

And people wonder why the Republican party is so often compared to the Nazi party. Culture is to be sneered at… Ooops, only other cultures because ours is the epitome of perfection. To imply otherwise is to be unpatriotic or “multicultural”.

Possibly a bit of understanding of other cultures… particularly those not in our country would be of benefit if we believe that we are now responsible for them.

How about:
“The quality or state of being parochial; especially: selfish pettiness or narrowness (as of interests, opinions, or views).”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parochialism
Or
noun
1 parochialism
a limitation of views or interests like that defined by a local parish
http://www.wordreference.com/definition/parochialism

Parish in this case can be thought of a possibly Americans believing that all of the world has the same motivations, interests and desires as we do? Kinda like in the movie? If we build it they will come?

Did you notice the word “blind” in the sentence? Often times sentences have qualifier words that are there to give a very specific meaning… they should not be ignored because that would be “dishonest when you discuss the intent of the person writing the sentence.

I am not exactly sure what you mean by “entitlement majors”? Knowledge is of value if it falls into _________________ category? I am surprised that you are able to evaluate so easily the value of college majors and their impact on humanity. I guess that the space program did nothing but put us on the moon? You know where the next soulution for peace, cancer, human advancement comes from based upon an innate ability to value a college course? Excellent!

Again, a loaded term with tons of connotations and no real substance.

Once again it seems as if the “Party of Education” shows its true belief of knowlege. It is not of value unless it supports their agenda… otherwise it is anti-American.

Maybe if the Republicans would have listened to those crazy left-leaning, intellectuals we would not be in the mess we are.

Posted by: Darren7160 at March 17, 2006 4:06 PM
Comment #134255

*smack*

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 17, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #134272

Darren

When people say things, they are not entitled to their own meaning. That goes for me too. If people misunderstand me, I have to try to explain in a different way.

I think you read too much into the statement. I read him more literally.

In any case, do you not believe that we should try to train competent civil servants?

I don’t know your politics, but given your opinion of the state, you could not be a liberal or a democrat and be consistent. I don’t trust the state in general, but we Americans have a pretty good government.

And finally, Princeton took the cash with the promise to try to train people for government service. If they don’t want to do that, they should give the money back.

Posted by: Jack at March 17, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #134279

uh, jack,

the more literal interpretation belongs to darren, as you well know.

“When people say things, they are not entitled to their own meaning.”

the person who gets the final say on any message which they convey is in fact they, themself. essentially, they *are* entitled to their own meaning; it is the reader who must attempt to ascertain the meaning, not to develop their own - at least not if they intend to attribute the product to the speaker.

try using the meaning they intended. you know… the obvious one.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 17, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #134344

Jack,
In a dialouge yes. In a weblog yes. That is because the communications is designed for that purpose… I say something, you question or repeat back what I say in your own words to see if you understand.

In the case of reading a person’s words without the opportunity to get feedback , as a responsbile consumer of words, I have to do the work required to understand his intent. That means to look for all the words and try to assign them the importance he meant.

One of the reasons so many times we hear that something was taken out of context is because if a small portion of the text is quoted we lose the real meaning that we would have if we knew what was said before and after.

I am not aware of any inconsistency in my beliefs about the state. However, I take it as a compliment that you cannot tell. That might be because of the shades of grey I mentioned. No one political party can meet all the needs and beliefs of a person. If they do, then I would guess that they are conforming their ideas to the party.

Independent thought is based upon intellect and knowledge instead of “because the professor, government, political party or pundit says so.” I believe that this is where our educational deficit is… not so much the math and sciences, but in the reasoning.

We need to teach people to be consumers of knowledge. Like comparing melons in the market, we need to handle the ideas and beliefs… weigh them against each other based upon their own merits.

Politically correct classes and instructors swings both ways… even in high school. My daugher is dealing with a conservative teacher in her senior year who is promoting President Bush’s agenda 110% His opinions are stated as facts (she is smart enough to know the difference) which shall not be questioned. She calls me after class sometimes and asks me to say something liberal so she can decompress. Why doesn’t she speak out? Because of fear of retaliation. It goes both ways.

One last question. Please Jack, could you explain the non-rigirous entitlement majors. Like I said before, it sounds like one of those loaded terms with a lot of emotional impact but no real substance. I may be wrong and I want to give you the opportunity to clarify.

I cannot think of any college classes that fit the connotation that the expression creates in my mind. To me, knowledge cannot be constrained to vertical boundaries. I never know when or where I might make connections based upon something seemingly unrelated. In education that is the theory of constructionist learning. We construct new learning based upon previous knowledge. Often times from unrelated fields of knowledge.

I am tempted to assume some classes that you might be thinking of but that would lead to my interpreting what you are saying based upon my beliefs and that would be dishonest. In this type of communication I have the ability to ask what you mean.

Posted by: Darren7160 at March 18, 2006 7:53 AM
Comment #134399

Darren

I am thinking of any class where you don’t need to study much. There are lots of them. I dislike any majors that don’t require either higher math or foreign language or both. I don’t think you should get out of an American university without a strong statistics class.

Re interpretations, I return to the circumstances around the statement. He was objecting to the requirement that the money donated to the university in order to train civil servants for diplomacy and administration be used for those purposes. YOu can read what you want into the actual words. I am pragmatic about these things. What matters is the action that results.

The reason I did not think you could be liberal was that American liberals advocate larger government. If you believe government is evil, you can’t do that.

Diogenese

You have no standing to talk about getting the intended meaning. You have on several occassions not only told me that my intended meaning was not the real meaning, but also told me that because I was influenced by a thinker I never read, I could not even tell when I was doing it. So if you are willing to drop the Straussian crap, I would be willing to think you believe in people intending to say what they want.

Posted by: Jack at March 18, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #134417

“Staussian” crap? “entitlement majors”?
If the right wing started to sound like they actually understood what they were talking about, instead of just reapeating the GOPers catchphrase of the week, then maybe there could be an intersting discussion.

later y’all

Posted by: Dave at March 18, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #134425

Dave

I don’t know what Straussian means. You have to ask Diogense and Adrienne about that. They are experts. Evidently it is a kind of conservative original sin.

I think I made up the term entitlement major, so I can define it as a course of study where who you are and what you believe is more important than how you are and how you think.

Posted by: Jack at March 18, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #134430

Jack,
I did not want to put words into your mouth, that is why I really wanted a definition for the entitlement classes. I do have to say though that your definition… well, it lacks definition.

I still hesitate to name any classes that you might consider entitlement classes because it would be dangerous for me to do that.

Are you basing your statements and opinions on experience or on interpreting writings of others.

I have to ask because you are very liberal with your interpretation of writings… chosing not to read what the person is saying… instead you, “I return to the circumstances around the statement. YOu can read what you want into the actual words (his actual words). I am pragmatic about these things. What matters is the action that results. (as you interpret them to mean)”

This shows a shocking denial of his intent and your twisting his words to create the results you wish his words to mean. He was very clear. Very specific concerning the type of behavior that concerned him… “The university should resist a blind commitment to nation-state parochialism”

This can mean critical thinking, worldy aware, ethical civil servants… not sychophants like we have now.

I do find it interesting though that after two attempts to find out what you mean I am still no closer to the answer. You did acknowledge that it was a term you made up, but it really doesn’t give specifics… just classes that aren’t “hard enough”?

Knowledge is only of value if it is difficult? Okay. Not that people might never be exposed to different views, literature, history, cultures, art, music, economic or political systems, native American issues… I am not saying that any of these meet your definition, but that they are classes that may or may not meet the math and foreign language requirements.

Math is a good thing. I would not deny that. However, with all the math classes I have taken I have never had to do 1/100th of the stuff that was taught…

Statistics yes. Sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, geography, political science, economics (micro and macro). What good is the knowledge of the numbers without the intelligence and the breadth of knowledge to interpret them?

Colleges are not technical schools. I sometimes wish they were because in my eagerness to get on with my life it would be nice to not take so many classes. But, I do not deny their value. I really didn’t think that I needed 19th century English literature for my minor in social science but I enjoyed the class for the new things I learned. I probably never would have read Frankenstein and understood it without the class. Keats, Byron and Wordsworth.

I believe that just because one person does not especially value something does not mean it does not have value. If that were true, then through my value judgement half the tv shows and channels would be off the air… However, some people enjoy watching others stranded on islands and stabbing each other in the back. Some like to watch others homes being redecorated. Some watch Cops for a voyeristis thrill… Great. To each their own for their own reason.

There is an excellent theory on intelligences. Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Some are good with math, some with words, some are visual, some are tactile… Each person has different levels of intelligneces. I do not believe a person is an idiot or doesn’t understand the historical significance of the Marshall Plan because they don’t know how to factor a binomial.

Measurement of the value of knowledge based upon its math content… or its commercial value I guess is one way to quantify beauty, worth, culture, significance, contributions.

Here I will paraphrase what I believe you are saying to see if I understand… you do not believe that American Universities should be dealing with much more than math, science and foreign languages. Classes should be judged and approved based upon a metrics of partiotism, capitalism, contribution to our GDP and adherence to the “majority” culture of America. Any class or professor deemed to be too “liberal” will be released and replaced by one that is deemed to be acceptable to the _____________… who decides? You? Me? The republican party until the democrats are back in the majority? Maybe we can borrow the snooper program from the NSA and use it to filter lectures for the “wrong” words?

As far as big government. That has been the boogey man used since the hopes of the 1960’s that we might be able to create an environment where all people could have an equal opportunity to the benefits of America.

I personally don’t buy the whole big government democrats stuff. If you want to you can go to
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy07/hist.html and pick which numbers you want to illustrate that I am wrong.

As far as I can see, this Republican administration has done much more to increase the power and intrusiveness and size of the government.

Posted by: Darren7160 at March 18, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #134459

Darren

I have a degree in ancient history. I am not an advocate of the polytechnic model for all universities.

You are interpreting too broadly.

Princeton took money in order to train future diplomats and civil servants. Princeton used the money for other things. Not all universities have the duty to train future government employees. Princeton does IF it keeps the money.

I am a Republican, but I believe that government service in our democracy is a noble thing.

This is what the man who took the money says, “What bothers me is the unspoken premise that, with respect to any American institution dealing in public affairs, the highest per-se loyalty automatically must be to the U.S. government….The university should resist a blind commitment to nation-state parochialism”

I don’t know how many ways you can interpret that. He says that the highest loyalty should not be the U.S. government. All he needs to do then is to give back the money and he can be loyal to whomever he considers a better master.

As for the other part, I don’t say we need to snoop on universities, but rather that universities are making themselves less relevant. I love universities and that is why I care that they are doing this.

Universities need to change their model. I am currently taking three courses - all of them are online and none of them are traditional university courses. Universities are in the position that the big three automakers were in 1970. They have enjoyed a kind of monopoly status and they don’t see that they are losing it.

Posted by: Jack at March 18, 2006 11:51 PM
Comment #134557

Jack,
Interstingly, a higher calling than patriotism might be considered a part of religous belief, can it not? I mean, people who are consciencous objectors and will not kill for their country could be considered unpatriotic.

What I like to do it to explore the ideas and see where they can go. We abhor these terrorists because they are willing to die for what they believe their God is wanting them to do… so they are willing to lay down their life for God. We see that is unbelievable. However, they believe that there is a definte afterlife and this life is of smaller meaning.

Now, we honor and call heros those who willingly die in the name of our nation. One that is not omnipotent with no promise of afterlife. Just a promise that if we prevail we will continue our ideals. Ironic in a way.

My problem is a blind (as he used the word) adherence to anything (even political parties). I believe that his fear was to the more extreme.

Bequests are granted usually with strings attached. It is up to the university to either abide by the terms and accept the money to to turn it down. It is upto the person administering the money to determine whether or not the money is being used as intended.

What I love, is that like corporations, universities should understand that money is fungable… they can say, “Sure, we will take your money and put it where you want!” Then they cut the funding to that particular school or field and put the money saved into somewhere else… Companies do it all the time. Net result? The endowed classes are operating on the same budget with no appreciable improvement while other classes, fields, majors or schools within the university gain the benefits of the endowment.

Nationalism is much more than patriotism… it lead to Nazi Germany where they believed that they were only regaining their national pride and place in Europe to which they were entitled. The Serbian aggression to create a Greater Serbian sphere of influence was clearly a nationalist movement.

The study of the nation building and the nationalsim leading up to the start of WWI is interesting. Sure, there were innane interlocking treaties that bound each country to defend its treaty partner regardless of the who was the aggressor, but unreasoned patriotism was a major influence. Nations, as we know them today were still relatively young.

France after their revolution wanted to spread democracy throughout Europe. I know that there were a lot of things going on… Marie was the neice of the Austrian Empress and all. But, they fervently believed that they had a duty to use military force to create democratic socities in other nations… which quickly turned into Napolean declaring himself Emperor… the old adage about “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

We need to guard against people using the guise of partriotism, religion (Christian and Muslim) and other high sounding ideas who will lead us onto paths we don’t want to go.

I love America, but I have to admit it is a qualified love. My only true unconditional love is to my children. Each other love in my life is because of a reason. I wish to defend America because of its ideals, because it is better than any other country I could ever live in. Not because I was born here and owe it something. To think like that is kinda like thinking that we are supposed to be here to serve the government instead of the government supporting us (I do not mean in the welfare sense, but in the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness and the protection of our Rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights.

I will not support my government right or wrong. To me, that would be the epitome of stupidity… supporting someone acting wrong.

This is as it should be I believe. I also believe that it was created this way by our founding fathers… to not give blind obedience to the government, but to hold it up to scrutiny and demand that it abides by our ideals. To have a free press and freedom of speech so we can speak out without fear of retaliation from our government. I always say, popular speech really doesn’t need the protection… it is the unpopular speech that needs it.

The Humanities in colleges are what separate the colleges from the tech schools. Sure, I would hire a technician from DeVry in a heartbeat. A welder from our local community college. You betcha. However, for quite a long time it has been believed that a university is a place to create a person who is more than a technically competent person.

I have had many college courses where I disagreed with the Professors… some I challenged and some I just fed back their garbage to get the grade I needed. I have had bad liberal and conservative professors.

I just do not see colleges and universitites becoming irrevelant as long as, as a nation, we respect and value the breadth of the education they are receiving. If we look for math or science only trainde people then we will be in trouble.

Ever read Frankenstein? Of the many issues prsented in her book, the one that struck me very strong was, “Just because we can do something, does that mean we should?”

Ethics in science and medicine, cloning, stem cell research, Dr. Mengela’s experiments… all of these types of issues required thinking that was outside of the narrow field of their science. We need scientists and a society that does ask whether or not we should be doing something just because we can. I don’t think we will get that out of a purely scientific or technical education.

Thanks for the discussion.

Posted by: Darren7160 at March 19, 2006 12:31 PM
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