“Adventures in Academia: The Stuff of Fiction” by Margaret Wente (G&M)

If it isn’t obvious by now, I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet over the way that universities operate. Shockingly, this article appeared in the Globe and Mail (not exactly a bastion of rational argument). But Wente nails this one. What she describes is NOT out of the ordinary, nor will her comments be surprising to any open-minded individual who sets foot on campus. As a side note, I ran across this article on social media accompanied by the ravings of a number of ‘liberal arts’ students. What I found there was indistinguishable from self-parody as comment after comment reinforced the main tenets of Wente’s argument.

Adventures in Academia: The Stuff of Fiction (link)

We’re Back!

Well, that was a much longer hiatus than what I had initially planned. I’ve been immersed in research, exams, and romantic languages for several weeks. That said, I’ve got a ton of material to share, and plenty of thoughts to get out. Expect a fair bit of material over the next while.

Just to play a bit of catch-up, here’s a short commentary that I put together back in May (or thereabouts) when this was whole issue was a little fresher. While the controversy has died down a bit, the underlying issues haven’t, so here’s my take on it.

Relevant background links: Here and Here

The Kipnis Controversy

Laura Kipnis is right, and her critics prove it.

Kipnis talks about sex between students and professors, which seems to set many people on edge. But she’s an academic critiquing academia, so naturally this is the example she uses. She could just as easily have talked about the kindergarten teacher marrying the principal, the hygienist dating the dentist, Dr. Smith sneaking a quick kiss with Nurse Brown, or the CEO having a romantic weekend getaway with his secretary.

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Hitting the Links

A harsh yet truthful critique of contemporary ‘Liberal Arts’ programs at university by Thomas Sowell.

Mark Steyn takes on religious freedom legislation in Indiana. Wry hilarity ensues.

On the same theme as above, National Review contributor Deroy Murdock examines freedom of association in light of the kerfuffle in Indiana.

Hitting the Links

Thomas Sowell on the ‘living wage’. The idea of arbitrarily raising minimum wages without regard to market forces or the real value of labour is a perfect encapsulation of activism  conducted without regard to consequences. Low-wage jobs are like the on-ramp of earnings success: the steeper the ramp, the more people get stuck at the bottom.

Here’s The New York Times with a great piece on the withering of thought in contemporary universities.

A dissident voice commenting on American race-relations. Thoughtful, but also comes with a language warning.

Academic Caviar

Tuesday’s are when I’ve planned to share academic articles that I find to be of great interest. While the intent is to share pieces of fairly recent vintage, I think that I’ll go with a bit of a throwback for this week. Here’s Samuel P. Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations”. Detractors like to quibble with Huntington’s word choice and definitions, but considering that this article come from 1993, it’s hard to argue that the piece hasn’t held up.

N.B.- Provided you haven’t used up your free monthly article from Foreign Affairs yet, this link should work well for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to register or Google-search an alternate copy.

Link: “The Clash of Civilizations”

Much Sound and Fury: Popular Conceptions of the Global War on Terror

“America is not at war. The Marine Corps is at war. America is at the mall.” This thought was scrawled across a whiteboard one day in Ramadi, Iraq.[1] It was apparently put there by a Marine who had spent a fair bit of time ruminating about what was bothering him; enough time, in fact, to distill his thoughts into as few words as possible. The statement belies a great chasm between the popular imagination of conflict, which has largely been ginned up by the chattering classes, and the realities of the modern world. Never before has so small a proportion of the West’s citizens been involved in major international conflicts, nor have they ever been as far removed as they currently are from the hard edges of life that are so evident across much of the globe. The result is that fundamental, often deliberate, misunderstandings are used by academia and the media to provide fodder for unwarranted and ill-informed critiques based on partisan politics and ideological conformity. Think of it as an international game of intellectual ‘Gotcha’.

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