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

Because they will take them

Not long ago, a committee for determining who receives a prestigious annual American Geophysical Union award was reconstructed to be more diverse (especially, more representative of those who who had “been very vocal” about the need for such diversity).

To the new committee’s dismay, however, the membership had apparently not been reconstructed enough in all fields. As per the usual process, peer-submitted candidates were whittled down to a shortlist of the five best in each field and submitted to the committee, but in one field:

Every nominee on the list was a white man. “That was kind of a bit of a showstopper for me,” said Helen Fricker, a glaciologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one of the five committee members. (quoted from a Scientific American article)

The same statistical techniques that the field’s researchers use in their work could have been used to show this was not so very surprising, but the reconstructed committee members did not see it that way. They refused to choose any of the five.

The resolution of this is ongoing but I think we know something about the person (I use this word advisedly) who will (probably) ultimately ‘win’. My post is to say we know something else about them as well – something that an (in)famous man explained about how his yet more (in)famous boss chose people.

“The wicked, who have something on their conscience, are obliging, quick to hear threats, because they know how it’s done, and for booty. You can offer them things, because they will take them.” (Hermann Goering to his lawyer at Nuremberg)

Who will consent to receive an award that is ostensibly for skill in science, knowing that their peers in the field (peers who have, incidentally, chosen a woman for the award in the past) think them less worthy of it than five or more candidates passed over for being the wrong race and sex? Answer: someone woke enough to take it on those terms. So, while the proportion of women and men of colour in the field of ice science is relatively low, I offer the speculation – or rather, the moral hope – that it prove neither so low nor so corrupt that the one who agrees to take the award will necessarily be the one judged worthiest within that subgroup by their peers.

In other words, I hope the one who takes it will indeed belong to a minority – the minority of those who can be offered such things because they will take them.

11 comments to Because they will take them

  • bobby b

    If you wish to establish a new system of the world that disdains merit (as some unfairly-bestowed quality that enslaves those poor wretches who lack it), your first step is to devalue pride in merit.

    Thus, Affirmative Action hires must never feel like the frauds that they are – they must consider that their wokeness and victimhood supplies all of the true qualifications necessary to be elevated. They have not been elevated in spite of their lack of merit – we have merely found that other qualities are more necessary, and that they happily possess those other qualities.

    This is all fine and well, until the bridges start to fall down. But, until then, there will be no shame allowed for the meritless who are rewarded specifically for their lack of merit.

    And thus, everyone who has ever felt inadequate for any reason will inherit the rapidly-failing Earth, so long as they help to empower the right people.

  • Ferox

    How did they know all the nominees were white men? Is that sort of information part of the nomination process? And if it is … there’s your problem, right there.

  • JDN

    How did they know all the nominees were white men?

    And, more to the point, who among these men identify as white?

  • Ferox (October 25, 2021 at 10:28 pm), I think no viable committee could help but know the candidates’ details. This is not a written exam, such as could be marked on paper against a number code, where the general protection offered by blind marking now gives an unforeseen (and woke-resented) protection against modern fashionable prejudices. If some professor’s submission details includes an important result or a key analysis, well known to everyone in the field and often cited (the candidate’s discovery of it being a major reason for their peers’ nomination), then members of the committee, to be remotely competent to assess the skill of an ice scientist, will likely know (and may well have met at conferences) the paper’s author(s).

    So the question is merely whether the sinister pallor of ice has attracted into the field a flood of white supremacists whose bigotry the committee can only defeat by going to counteractive extremes, or whether (as is stated by certain insider critics of this), the process has already been pushed to enhance the chances of minority candidates, making this is a typical example of the woke refusing even a biased-towards-them process if the countervailing pressure of reality means it does not always deliver the intended result.

    JDN’s quip (October 26, 2021)0 at 1:10 am) is very just, but the same obstacles to hiding the candidates’ personal details will allow the committee to distinguish all who self-identify in jest from any who self-identify for real (even while double-think makes them insist no one ever self-identifies falsely). Indeed, the committee may inevitably know their relatively few coloured colleagues well enough to recognise any that might fail the Joe “If you don’t vote for me you ain’t black” Biden test.

  • Paul Marks

    Either one believes in talent and hard work – or one does not.

    Disney is one of the most “Woke” Corporations – but it half owns a television show called “Forged in Fire”.

    This is a show where people compete against each other to forge knives, swords, axes (whatever the judges set them).

    Occasionally a women or a non white man wins this show – occasionally. One could change the show so that a “representative” number of women (over half) and non white men won, but then the show would be pointless – as it would no longer be about who made the best knife (or whatever).

    To some extent the same is true in the sciences – one can make them “fair” by DESTROYING them. But then they would be pointless. One would be handing out prizes in various sciences to people who had contributed nothing of importance – the whole thing would be an exercise in lying (as much of history already is – with inventions and good deeds being attributed to people who were NOT responsible for them), an exercise in BAD FAITH.

    The standard response of the people who now control the universities (and everything else) to the above would be – “you RACIST, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, Islamophobe…..”

    That is why learning in the West is going to collapse – and it is why China (and other nations where “Woke” considerations are not in control) are going to take over the sciences.

    Who the Gods wish to destroy they first drive insane – and Western institutions, even in the physical sciences, are increasingly controlled by insane people. By the way – many of these insane people are WHITE and MALE.

    “Straight white males” have invented all the insane doctrines that are destroying the West – not just Frankfurt School Marxism, but also American “Pragmatism” (the denial of the existence of objective truth – so that if you want someone who is no good at a science to win a prize it it well-why-not, and if temperature figures do not fit your theory – just CHANGE THE DATA), French “Post Modernism” (Relativism mixed with Collectivism) and on and on, “straight white males” invented all of them – every crack brained false theory.

    So “straight, white males” do have a lot of bad things to answer for.

  • Paul Marks

    “Make this of three metals” – the person handed in something made of two metals.

    And in another episode of “Forged in Fire” the same man (yes he was invited back), was told (with the other contestants) “use this round to put a handle on the blade” (this is normal in round two of the show).

    The college teacher (yes he was a college teacher – teaching smith work) handed in a tool without a handle on it.

    One could still declare “you have won – well done!” But who would watch a show that was so obviously rigged?

    One can even hand out science prizes to people who have contributed nothing to the various sciences – but, again, what would be the point?

    If the sciences in the West are going to be controlled by people who think like this (and that is what is starting to happen) then the sciences will be destroyed in the West – and the West will be destroyed.

  • bobby b

    Paul Marks: There are a number of shows (like “Forged . . .”) that I have eagerly tried to watch – shows about restoring old cars, renovating houses, rebuilding old mechanisms, etc. – only to find that they are simply another variant of “reality” show, with absolutely no time or attention given to the actual work which is (I thought) supposed to be the subject of the show. Very frustrating, and sad to know that my hobbies can’t support an audience.

  • Stonyground

    The Repair Shop, on the BBC, goes into a fair bit of detail about how stuff is renovated. There is a huge variety of items restored. Often stuff that has no real value, except to the owners, is restored. This stuff just wouldn’t be worth fixing if it wasn’t for the show and the fact that it makes good telly.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – that is a pity.

    Still Forged in Fire is, I think, a good show. Even if it does gloss over a few things – such as the tempering process.

    Another show you might like is “Forged in Steele” – a British blacksmith by the name of Steele. I believe he now lives in Montana.

  • Stonyground

    Odd coincidence, a new series of The Repair Shop has just started. Today’s subjects, an arcade machine, a fairground horse, a middle eastern musical instrument called a tar, and a barber’s chair.