Academic left

Our Rotten Liberal Arts Colleges

Featured image I have a hypothesis that I’ve not yet published anywhere, but it seems like the propitious time has arrived. My hypothesis is that while places like Berkeley, Colorado/Boulder, the University of Wisconsin, etc. have the rap for being the most politically correct and radical institutions of higher education, in fact they are relatively sane compared to small, elite private liberal arts colleges. I believe that most small private liberal arts »

This Week @ Yale

Featured image With all of the holiday commotion I have neglected to put up notice here of my final visit to Yale for this semester, this Tuesday at 4:30, in the same location as before (WLH 207, 100 Wall Street). Sponsored by the William F. Buckley Program, I’ll be giving a lecture on the topic of equality. I’m going to begin with the droll opening line from Peter deVries’s novel The Prick »

Needed: A Modern-Day Aristophanes

Featured image I was reading an old lecture on Aristophanes by Leo Strauss when I came across these very usable sentences: When about to enter a place at which we are meant to laugh and to enjoy ourselves, we must first cross a picket line of black-coated ushers exuding deadly and deadening seriousness. No doubt they unwittingly contribute to the effect of the comedies. Strauss had in mind of course the typical »

How to Wreck Universities: Make Them Free

Featured image One of the high priority items for the incoming Democratic House is to make college free. It is perfectly understandable why Democrats would want to do this. Just look how successful they were at making health care more widely available and affordable with Obamacare! No, that’s not the reason. Noting that people with college degrees tend to vote more Democratic, one way to generate more Democratic voters is to have »

It Has Come to This: Academic Samizdat

Featured image We have come to the point where even liberal academics in good standing will feel the wrath of leftist orthodoxy if they depart from the party line. So what to do? Imitate the late Soviet Union, and start a samizdat literature. I heard several months ago that this new initiative was in the works, but now it is official. A group of scholars from across the political spectrum is launching the »

Harvard: Stop Pretending!

Featured image As the lawsuit by Asian-American students against Harvard proceeds, our friend David Lebedoff–one of whose degrees is from Harvard, if I remember correctly–weighs in, with Harvard’s motto, Veritas, as his polar star: Karl Marx, who today’s undergraduates think was that curly-headed guy honking at Groucho, proclaimed in his own turbulent time that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Well, he had to get something right. But who »

Free Speech on Campus? Not For Conservatives

Featured image You know that, of course. This story is just a drop of water in the ocean of officially-sanctioned campus leftism. At the University of Minnesota, there is a bridge over the Mississippi River on Washington Avenue. (BTW, it won’t be long before Minnesota Democrats demand that Washington Avenue be given a new name.) University organizations of all types are given space on the bridge to post signs. The college Republicans »

When You’ve Lost the Socialists. . .

Featured image A lot of people inside the Grievance Studies camp are lashing back at what’s being called “Sokal Hoax Two”—the faux articles submitted and accepted for publication in various supposedly “premier” academic cultural studies journals. Even though the three hoaxsters, like physicist Alan Sokal who punked Social Text 20 years ago, consider themselves liberal or progressive, leftists are saying their hoax articles are a right-wing provocation, or something. But it turns »

Political Correctness, and Other White Elitist Fads

Featured image I’ve seen several people observe that the anti-Kavanaugh protests of the last few weeks in Washington were demographically embarrassing for the race-conscious left. I recall seeing one comment that the composition of the protests was “whiter than a suburban country club.” But a new study just out from a British study group makes the left’s fanaticism about diversity and political correctness look even worse. The study, Hidden Tribes: A Study of »

PPS on the Grievance Studies Scandal

Featured image Steve had a “Postscript on the grievance studies scandal” about the project of three liberal academics placing nonsense articles in leading postmodernist/identity politics journals. I have a PPS. Jillian Kay Melchior’s updated Wall Street Journal story on the hoax is accessible here on Outline. The Australian site Quillette has posted “The Grievance Studies Scandal: Five Academics Respond.” It is prefaced by this editor’s note: For the past year scholars James »

Where Do We Go From Here?

Featured image Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court tomorrow, bringing to a close one of the most appalling episodes in American political history. The Democrats’ shameful treatment of Robert Bork in 1987 has distorted our politics–not just the politics of the Supreme Court–for the last 30 years. But the slanders the Democratic Party directed toward Kavanaugh were, if anything, even more disgraceful. We will feel their impact for many »

Postscript on the Grievance Studies Scandal

Featured image In my item here Wednesday about the project of three liberal academics to place nonsense articles in leading postmodernist/identity politics journals, I argued: I can tell you that if you get a couple of drinks, or a shot of truth serum, into the average liberal professor in any traditional academic social science department, and some of the humanities, he will confess that he knows the “scholarship” of the various politicized »

My Critical ‘Critical Theory’ Theory

Featured image Everyone is buzzing today about the revelation of the three academics—James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian—who placed over a dozen complete hoax articles with various premier “cultural studies” or “identity studies” academic journals. All three professors, it should be noted, consider themselves left of center, as does Alan Sokal, the New York University physicist who placed a hoax article about the supposed subjectivity of physics in the postmodernist journal »

Attention Yale Alums: Last Chance to Help Jamie Kirchick

Featured image If you had a chance to listen to Episode 77 of the Power Line Show back in June, you may recall that I spoke with journalist Jamie Kirchick, who is running a petition campaign to get on the ballot for election to the Yale Corporation board as the Alumni Fellow. Jamie is disgusted with the drift of Yale toward abject political correctness, and wants to raise a ruckus on the »

That’s Zinncredible

Featured image I’ve never bothered to declaim on the fundamental shoddiness of Howard Zinn’s scandalously popular People’s History of the United States, in part because I simply can’t get through it. Every few pages offer egregious errors of fact and even more tendentious interpretations of facts, such that it is impossible to take seriously. I’d rather read Heidegger or grind my teeth. Certainly an honest history of America (or any country) should »

Thinking About Liberal Presumptions

Featured image Thesis: the presumption of liberalism that they have absolute truth and perfect justice on their side—that theirs is “the side of history”—makes liberals intellectually lazy and unable to think seriously. Now for the evidence. Start with a sympathetic liberal witness, Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of a well-written if not entirely persuasive book a few years back entitled Rule or Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party. »

Annals of Economic Illiteracy

Featured image I have in previous posts lamented the trend of economics to turn increasingly toward a math-exclusive quantitative discipline, in which old fashioned instruction in political economy—the kind of inquiry that produced economists like Hayek, Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, etc—was being abandoned to our detriment. On top of which, I have also noted, many economics departments in major universities are moving to reclassify themselves as STEM fields, for a variety of reasons—the »