We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“A decade or more ago, I used to have conversations with journalists who reflected that their industry’s business model was collapsing, but who somewhat sheepishly hoped the collapse wouldn’t come until they reached retirement age. Now I have the same kind of conversation with academics.”

- Glenn Reynolds, Mr Instapundit himself.

29 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Regional

    In Boganstan the Climate change faculties in the so called universities are becoming very worried as the previous Labor government left finances in a perilous state have put climate activist professors and lecturer’s sinecures at risk as the taxpayer funds 75% of university running costs and the Prime Minister believes AGW is a load of crap. The next Federal Budget will have the Banshees rising from the underworld to howl their despair.

  • Paul Marks

    In the United States academia is a TRILLION Dollar government backed loan farce.

    It (academia) pushes leftist propaganda – at the expense of the taxpayer.

    Yes I know there are a few exceptions (such as Hillsdale and Grove City College), but generally speaking universities are the dens of liars (who justify their lies in Plato, the founder of the Academy, style greater-good ways) and parasites.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I just recently applied for an academic post in Psychology in the states. Feel free to boo and hiss all you want. The application stated I must demonstrate my commitment to “social justice” in my application.

    I viewed that as akin to trying to vet on the basis of how a person votes. “Social justice”, in and of itself would be a good thing. Just as “the right to choose” is a good thing.

    The problem is, these are codewords for something else entirely.

    I’m surprised a US university can get away with such clearly political vetting of candidates. They wouldn’t get away with writing “candidates must demonstrate their commitment to free market libertarianism”, so why do they get away with equally politically loaded statements that lean to the left?

    I pretended I didn’t know what they meant and wrote my application with reference to how a good education can (in theory at least) enable greater social mobility and allow individuals of all backgrounds to work themselves out of poverty. That is, in an ideal world, education can contribute to a “Just Society” as opposed to “Social Justice”.

  • Regional

    Jaded Voluntaryist you’re a recalcitrant backsliding recidivist trouble maker, whatever that means. The universities in Australia are of one mindset and anyone who didn’t endorse AGW was fired

  • Jaded Voluntaryist: If you get the job, be yourself as fully as you can, as early as you can. Closeted reformers do no good. “Social justice”, like all other forms of hyphenated justice, is simply the standard leftist agenda in one guise or another. “Pull the lever, get a pellet” on political issues is a faustian bargain to get or keep employment.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Although currently working as a lowly postgraduate teaching assistant, I already do my best at that TSI. I pretty massively undermined a “feminist interpretation” of some research I was asked to teach.

    It was easy. I gave them a summary of exactly what I was told to say, then I told my class “I was asked to teach you this perspective, but can any of you see any problems with it?”

    I don’t tell them what to think. I do tell them to question everything.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Retire?
    Retire?
    Hasn’t anyone realised that the new medicines and discoveries that will extend all our lives probably means that retirement will not be allowed until you are at least 100!? If that?
    Your super fund will turn into your rejuvenation account.
    The future aint what it used to be!!

  • Julie near Chicago

    regional said:

    “Jaded Voluntaryist you’re a recalcitrant backsliding recidivist trouble maker….”

    Perfect. ***Standing ovation***

    . . .

    Be proud, JV, and stay faithful to the vision that earned such praise. Would that the same were said of me!

    P.S. Your method as a T.A. strikes me as eminently sensible. It’s possible your students may actually learn something. If so, don’t let it get around. ;>)

  • I don’t tell them what to think. I do tell them to question everything.

    This is the only correct approach, including with your children. Keep it up.

  • Eric

    I pretended I didn’t know what they meant and wrote my application with reference to how a good education can (in theory at least) enable greater social mobility and allow individuals of all backgrounds to work themselves out of poverty.

    What are the odds you’ll actually get the job with an application like that?

  • Regional

    Alisa,
    To be of the one mind set for a university makes that university irrelevant, in the commercial world it will spell disaster, but to paraphrase, go ahead and jump you mother fuckers.

  • “generally speaking universities are the dens of liars”

    Speaking as one who has just graduated with a BA (in Western European History) from a nominally conservative university, allow me to say that Mr. Marks is guilty of massive understatement.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Q. What is the opposite of diversity?
    A. A university?

  • Regional

    Sanity Inspector,
    You mean we’re fucked?

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    What are the odds you’ll actually get the job with an application like that?

    I don’t know Eric. I do know they are zero if I don’t apply.

    There is always the possibility that the person doing the hiring is not the person who wrote the bullshit advert. In which case, he might look favorably on my carefully worded application.

    I’m not convinced surrendering academia wholesale to the authoritarian left is a good idea. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. I’d like to try and be the latter.

    A single dissenting voice among the lecturers on an undergraduate course could impact thousands of lives for the better.

    And of course, I lose nothing by trying.

  • I agree JV, but unfortunately you may in fact lose by trying – things such as promotions etc. There’s a price to be paid for everything, including telling the truth.

  • Mr Ed

    As a science graduate and former ARS (Academic-Related Staff) – post-grad Genetics researcher in a British university, I would like to point out that in the science departments at Universities, there is still a great deal that requires physical attendance in order to develop scientific skills, practical lab ‘wet’ work, and whilst the automation of science has come on leaps and bounds in the past 25 years, there is still a need for scientists to understand not just why you do experiments but how you do them as well, so physical teaching, which is expensive and time-consuming, as well as potentially hazardous, is likely to remain, so that students learn what is going on and can see scientific work happening for themselves and learn what cannot realistically be developed in vitro. Having said that, the current crop might not always have the answers, staff of the generation above mine would often be seen putting pipettes with their mouths to suck liquids up, even if they were using a deadly phenol-chloroform mix. Nowadays, hazards are far more controlled, and costs will have gone up accordingly. It was amazing back then how often men in the mid-20s thought it amusing to seal a piece of dry ice in a plastic tube and place it in a colleague’s lab coat pocket to await the inevitable explosion.

    From what I recall, science departments were full of types who thought that government funding was essential and there was the sort of expectation that government funding would come along, but they were not politicised in any meaningful way, and had very little agenda, but of course they did real science, there were no Climatologists in those days. Science teaching may last longer in the traditional model than the Arts courses, but do any English Literature graduates really need to have physically attended a University?

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Well indeed Alisa, I may not go as far in my career as someone who tows the line. But I’d like to think I have a secret weapon in that regard – I’m actually good at my job. Having the right ideology can only get you so far if you absolutely suck at teaching and research.

    In any case, what I meant was that I lose nothing by applying. Indeed, in the short term I stand to gain. At the very least I might get an expenses paid trip to the US for an interview, if nothing else ;-)

  • I wish you all the possible success in the world, JV.

  • Laird

    Good luck, JV. If you do “win” that expenses-paid trip to the US be prepared for the indignities you will suffer upon entry. Once you’re here, though, see as much as you can. It’s a very interesting place.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not normally go back to threads now (my inbox was so full I was chained to a computer all day, not good for my health – so I do not press the button on notify comments), but I am glad I did in this case.

    J.V. – it is not just a matter of predicting how you vote.

    A commitment to Social Justice to get a job in phycology.

    A commitment to Social Justice.

    A commitment to the doctrine that all income and wealth rightly belong to the collective and should be “distributed” by some collective power.

    No it is not a “codeword for something else” – it is incredibly serious in its own right.

    This “commitment to social justice” stuff is creeping in everywhere.

    And that means that non Reds have two alternatives.

    Either become Reds – or pretend to become Reds.

    Sorry “but well I have taught you Social Justice but can any of you see any problems with the doctrine” is not going to work – because the STUDENTS have to “demonstrate a commitment to Social Justice” also.

    Universities and the rest of the “Public Sector” (including “charities” funded by taxation) have to go.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I think your rather overstating the case Paul. The present problems do not mean we have to burn down every seat of academic learning, that is most definitely throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Academic learning had a place in pre statist society and it will have a place in post statist society.

    Not all academics are “reds”. In my department I only even know the politics of two people. Yes, one is a socialist, the other is an anarchist of some unspecified flavour.

    My colleagues are mostly apolitical, or no more political than anyone else. For the most part they are interested in psychology, not politics our ideology.

    Much of academia’s reputation for being left wing comes from the vociferous Chomskys of the world, aided by smelly undergraduates who hand out socialist newsletters while failing their art degrees.

    Don’t think my “social justice” and “feminist interpretation” experiences were common. In fact, in 9 years of working in academia, they are my only such experiences. The rest of that time was spent studying, teaching and researching psychology, which is pretty much what you’d hope a psychologist would be spending their time doing.

  • James Hargrave

    No need to pretend that you don’t know what ‘social justice’ means, since it has no meaning whatsoever: it is liberal/left, feel-good, goo.

    And, in Boganstan, where I am currently, the impression from the universities is of a deeply provincial, self-satisfied, narrow, leftist monoculture in institutions that are beyond parody for their own over-managed, micromanaged, badly-managed, head up arse admiring the view, policies on everything (often conflicting), ability to execute next to nothing, etc.

  • veryretired

    JV—good luck on getting the new position.

    My only request, as you get into your teaching duties, is to take every possible opportunity to subvert the dominant paradigm. (How’s that for some jargony, academic bs, huh?)

    How could you do that? Just continue to teach as you have already stated you currently do.

    Tell your students to think independently, empirically, and resist intellectual bullying.

    It may cause you some trouble from the usual suspects, as there is nothing more threatening to the politically closed academic mind than an independent one, but you will be doing your students a true service.

    And, from what I have gathered from your contributions here, you will sustain your own values. Not a bad hand to play…

  • Jason

    JV, I wish you all the very best of luck. As an anthropology undergrad at LSE, I entertained vague ambitions of going on to postgraduate work and an academic career, but the swift realisation that correct consciousness required every piece of writing to end “…and it’s all the fault of the post-colonial European capitalist phallocracy” scotched that in short order.

  • Paul Marks

    Oh I do not want to burn down the universities J.V. = any more than I want to burn the BBC.

    I just want to end all subsidies to them – especially subsidies via the students.

    I am glad that the bias is not normally as blatant as in the two examples you give.

  • DocMartyn

    “putting pipettes with their mouths to suck liquids up, even if they were using a deadly phenol-chloroform mix. Nowadays, hazards are far more controlled, and costs will have gone up accordingly. It was amazing back then how often men in the mid-20s thought it amusing to seal a piece of dry ice in a plastic tube and place it in a colleague’s lab coat pocket to await the inevitable explosion”

    Mouth pipetting phenol-chloroform is not as bad as you think, much nicer than pyridine.
    We used metallic sodium to make ethyl-ethers, using 95% ethanol, as undergraduates.
    Are you seriously suggesting that eppendoff/dry ice bombs are now frowned on? Kids today are such wimps.