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]

“Big uni”

“Climate alarmists and Corbynistas (the former increasingly a front organisation for the latter) often put the word ‘Big’ in front of industries which they dislike — Big Pharma, Big Oil. Those of us who do not share their views should copyright a comparable concept — Big Uni.”

Charles Moore, Spectator, (behind paywall).

I like the term, and intend to use it. Here are some more paragraphs from the item for those who cannot get through the pw:

As universities grow larger, and their average intake therefore dimmer, they become more intellectually uniform. Almost no one in British academia, except for emeritus professors whose careers cannot be damaged by their frankness, speaks in favour of Brexit or dares challenge any assertion made about the dangers of climate change (green research projects, after all, attract stupendous sums of public money).

Those universities — Britain has many — which have long and proud traditions increasingly scorn them, removing portraits of their dead benefactors and thinkers, deciding that a Latin grace is offensive, a student debating society with a paying membership (such as the Oxford Union) elitist. Throughout the election campaign, BBC Radio 4’s Today is travelling the country, presenting the programme from university premises. This means that the audience and subject matter are automatically skewed against the Conservatives and (much more important) against any plurality of view on anything. Big Uni is probably the largest cartel in modern Britain.

Another idea, riffing off the late Pres. Eisenhower, is to refer to this phenomenon as the “university-politics complex”.

Meanwhile, here are worthy books from the US by Glenn Reynolds and Bryan Caplan on the growth of state-driven Western higher education and the downsides of that.

11 comments to “Big uni”

  • Mr Ecks

    The issue is not one of nomenclature but the means whereby these marxist scumbags are to be broken.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Should not that be:
    The university-media-politics complex?

  • Paul Marks

    It used to be the case that every major university department in the humanities or social sciences had at least one conservative (real conservative – not just a supporter of the Conservative Party, who may not be conservative at all) – perhaps only a token nod to fairness, but better (much better) than nothing.

    Now that is gone – most university departments have no conservatives at all, and even the conservative books in the libraries have been quietly removed, or moved to places where they are unlikely to be found by students (who, these days, are told to go for specific books in specific sections of the library and basically just repeat what they are told in their essay) – or not so quietly, for example Jack Wiseman’s library of free market books at the University of York.

    In the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge some colleges were known to be conservative friendly – Oriel and Christchurch at Oxford, Peterhouse at Cambridge But this is less and less true over time.

    Essentially now there is the University of Buckingham (which is conservative friendly) and all the rest of the universities – which are Progressive (i.e. pro Collectivist – pro ever bigger and more interventionist government).

  • staghounds

    The fact that all the schoolmarms agree about something just proves that it is right- they are the cleverest people after all!

  • In the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge some colleges were known to be conservative friendly – Oriel and Christchurch at Oxford, Peterhouse at Cambridge. But this is less and less true over time. (Paul Marks (December 9, 2019 at 10:09 pm)

    In my day, any mention of conservative colleges at Oxford would have begun with “the Magdalene Machine” – unless of course discounted by your censure:

    not just a supporter of the Conservative Party, who may not be conservative at all

    And there were colleges – e.g. Brasenose, St Peters – whose eccentric or insular characters tended to resist their being whipped into any political orthodoxy. But I suppose the point about a long march is that it takes a long time (and is a wild misnomer of its ChiCom original, whose reality differed grotesquely from its propaganda myth).

  • knirirr

    Posts such as this always seem odd to me, for they point out what nasty left-wing places universities are yet the horrors mentioned in the quote from the Spectator do not match my experiences.
    Have I somehow managed a 100% success rate in selecting jobs at universities/departments that are not left wing? Do I somehow fail to notice leftism which surrounds me on a daily basis? I wish I knew the answer.

  • knirirr (December 10, 2019 at 3:29 pm), when I was at Oxford, university politics was happily somewhat uncoupled from actual politics. It was the place that had denied Maggie her honourary degree – but it had been necessary to have a vote on it. However I observed that the tone of given departments varied depending on who led them. I had the luck of working where helpfulness was the norm. The history department had a less high-minded air, each would-be academic postdoc being aware all were competing for a limited anglospheric pool of posts. I can easily envision how such a department’s spirit could blend with SJW tactics, but in mine the top people would have had to change for it to do so.

    It’s good news if you’ve experienced University departments today where, if the conversation veers to politics, neither side need fear career consequences from speaking, nor expect career benefits, nor the undergraduate curriculum teach wokeness.

    (Commenters with university age children might be glad to know where these are.)

  • Mr James Ironside

    Surely Big State is begging to be played out…..

  • bloke in spain

    Universities are a medieval institution, whose demise is long overdue. They exist, not to disseminate knowledge but to restrict it. They’re nothing more than the last remnant of the guild system, redundant the day the printing press was invented. They continue to thrive because they hold a virtual monopoly on higher education & credentialization. Bomb them, bulldoze the rubble & sow the ground they stood on with nuclear waste.

  • Paul Marks

    I stand corrected Niall – thank you Sir.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall — Long March etc. — “Chicom original”? I suspect a slip of the finners, as I thought that was Adorno’s contribution, or else Gramsci’s?