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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 – Universities cannot withstand the assault on objective truth

After expressing my general admiration for the course, I raised my misgiving in the following way (and this is nearly an exact quote): “We need to keep in mind that we’re a state university. Our mission is to pursue, ascertain, and disseminate objective truth, and to equip our students to do the same. Given that mission, I don’t think we can list a learning outcome that requires students’ assent on a matter of personal morality. The other learning outcomes are fine. You don’t need that one, so I’d just cut it.” My colleague was fresh out of graduate school and not yet tenured, which (theoretically) put her in a vulnerable position. Nevertheless, she became apoplectic; so angry, in fact, that she had difficulty getting out her first sentence. “I can’t believe people still think that way!” she spluttered. “Queer Theory has deconstructed objectivity!”

Mark Goldblatt, The Approaching Disintegration of Academia.

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Universities cannot withstand the assault on objective truth

  • Chester Draws

    I bet she understands objective truth when it comes to her pay packet.

    The universities don’t have the balls to play the game back, but it would be hilarious to see the woke have to defend logic and facts or lose their pay and status.

  • lucklucky

    Universities are the creators of woke.

  • bobby b

    Funny. I thought deconstructing objectivity was now the entire point of academia.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    I stand with Chester.
    One might add that they concur with the objective truth that there’s no such thing as objective truth.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. The problem is the destruction caused by this insanity will also be with us a long while. I don’t expect a major recovery in my lifetime.

  • David Roberts

    Those of us who are convinced of objective truth, if we are correct, must be able to out manoeuvrer those not so convinced. Thus instigating an improved human future. What’s our problem?

  • Martin

    From the article

    So, I let the matter drop. The course was approved without revision by the School of Liberal Arts, and went on to gain approval by the curriculum committee.

    Most of the article is behind a paywall so maybe I’m doing a disservice to the author but this appears to be the problem. I’ve said elsewhere but I do think the wokesters are posturing when they put on this relativistic rhetoric. As has been said above if you tried to tell them that their insistence on being paid each month was silly objective reality that could be deconstructed they’d be apoplectic with rage. But if people won’t call them out or at least try to use their own rhetorical rope against them, they get away with it.

  • Paul Marks

    Johnathan Pearce is correct – this madness (such as describing people who work in “Queer Theory” as “scholars”) will not last – the terrible problem is that it has destroyed academia and produced a generation of people who have a very poor knowledge base (indeed much of they think is true – just is not true) and lack real Critical Thinking (as opposed to Marxist Critical Theory – Critical Thinking and Critical Theory sound similar, but they are totally opposed) skills.

    These people do NOT tend to recover when out in the “real world” – and they have one very important skill, they know how to flourish in a bureaucracy (government or corporate bureaucracy – or “third sector” bureaucracy).

    In short the people now in charge of most things, public and private, are deeply harmful – what they believe to be correct is false, and they lack the Critical Thinking (as opposed to Critical Theory) skills to change their opinions.

    Essentially that means that every large organisation, public and private, is going to go through some very bad times – as, due to their bureaucratic skills, it will be very hard indeed to get these people out.

    It is, perhaps, not going too far to describe this as a “lost generation” – and it is certainly not just about people educated in the “liberal arts”, as the madness has been spread all over the education system and the media (including the entertainment media).

    How does society deal with losing a generation?

  • GregWA

    With all respect, Paul Marks, it is not so much a “losing generation” as a lost but destructive generation, as I think you’ve said.

    I can’t help but focus on the “destructive” part: they want to destroy my ability to buy and use energy in all forms–including their green sources since they oppose the technology elements (mineral mining, battery wastes) ultimately required to enable it. They don’t know or care that this kills millions in the developing world.

    They oppose farmers being able to farm in the ways that have produced more than enough food for 8 billion, and will certainly feed the new billions who will join us in the coming decades. Although that growth is now in question.

    They have no compunction shutting down the world’s economy, killing millions, because big science and big pharma tell them there’s a threat (one that can ONLY be answered by big pharma’s products)! Their destruction is widespread and it can be measured in lost lives whether energy, pandemic or food related.

    They are fine with elections that are run any way at all so long as they like the outcome. So the answer to “how does society deal with a losing generation” is not “get out the vote”.

    How do we deal with a personal threat? We will each deal with it in our own way, but as I’ve said before the main reason the masses who oppose all this don’t rise up is they have a lot to lose. They have jobs, houses, lives outside of politics (so they think…the politics is coming to them whether they like it or not!) Although this year, they now have less. And when what they have gets small enough and they flip to thinking they have nothing to lose, all hell is going to break loose.

    Most here are better students of history than me but I vaguely recall an observation about revolutions: they are hard to control and the guilty are not the only ones to suffer. I fear for my adult children–they will be the ones to deal with the fallout of all this.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    I can heartily recommend this Triggernometry interview with Prof. Stephen Hicks, author of the excellent book, Explaining Postmodernism. It cuts through to a lot of the BS that is currently going on in Higher Ed. at the moment.

  • The Pedant-General

    “I vaguely recall an observation about revolutions”

    Also, they happen very slowly, then suddenly all at once…

  • Ben David

    … so this weenie with tenure was too weak to challenge the nonsense – or likely he wanted to appear young and hip to radical chic, rather than assume his adult role as a mentor/reality checker.

    And now he’s complaining that the hippies have shat all over his office during their ideological sit-in.

    Thanks for nothing weenie.

  • Ben David

    Paul Marks:
    These people do NOT tend to recover when out in the “real world” – and they have one very important skill, they know how to flourish in a bureaucracy (government or corporate bureaucracy – or “third sector” bureaucracy).
    That has not been my observation.
    They only succeed when they are allowed to bully, or when the organization has already been captured ideologically.

    They are terrible at human relations, don’t see anyone else – like all narcissists, inherently devious. They don’t have a long game, don’t have the skills to build alliances.
    They go straight to haranguing self-righteousness and threats.
    When challenged, they crumple.

  • Paul Marks

    Ben David – bullying and capturing an organisation ideologically is what bureaucracy is about.

    If you have not done so recently I suggest you have a look at the little book “Parkinson’s Law” – which shows how organisations so-very-often do not work.

    However, if you you challenge them – and that crumple, then that is good I salute you Sir!

    J.P. Thank you for reference – I will click on the link.

    Greg WA – can you not see the loss of potential?

    Vast numbers of human beings turned into a waste of space – indeed, as you point out, worse than a waste of space, turned into something which is harmful and destructive.

    And how can a society survive when so many of its young (and not so young now) people have been so ruined?

  • Zerren Yeoville

    And this, folks, is how the phrase ‘it’s academic’ has come to be a slang term denoting something trivial or irrelevant or unworthy of the consideration of sensible people dealing with the real world. Is it any wonder Peter Thiel established a fund that gives gifted young minds a financial grant to avoid going to university?

    Ultimately, how is the supposed discipline of ‘Queer Theory’ any different to the efforts of the Laputan intellectuals in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ who were convinced they could extract moonbeams from cucumbers?

  • Paul Marks

    Zerren Yeoville.

    I suspect that the inventors of these leftist doctrines (the inventors – not the average activist) know this very well – that they create things such as “Queer Theory” to MOCK academic work, and the life of the mind (reason – including moral reason) in general.

    Ayn Rand came to the same conclusion about some of the leftist intellectual leaders long ago – that they were spitting on reason, knowing very well what they were doing.

  • Paul Marks

    Why is it necessary for the State to set up a “Fashion Institute of Technology”?

    Why did Professor Goldblatt go along with a “LGBT themed sociology course” being a good thing for such a place to teach? Some sort of of stereotype about fashion designers tending to be homosexuals?

    Why did Professor Goldblatt (a tenured Professor) give up his proposed change to the course?

    And, of course, his young colleague did believe in objective truth (although they thought they did not believe in it) – his new colleague believed that, to pass the course, someone would have to show support for the LGBT cause – because the young colleague believed that cause to be morally righteous, objectively so (although they would be enraged to have the matter expressed in that language).

    Therefore, to the new colleague, someone who went through the course and then said, at the end of it, “homosexual acts are morally wrong” would have failed the course, would be giving the objectively wrong answer.

  • lucklucky

    Precisely Paul.

  • lucklucky

    Btw after the institutions takeover has anyone have any remains of surprise at speed Nazis could control Germany?

  • Paul Marks

    lucklucky – yes indeed the National Socialists were especially strong in the education system, they dominated student organisations when they were getting very little support among the general German public.

    As you know, this system of ideas was building on existing ideas that already dominated German intellectual circles – and so could sweep through the institutions with little intellectual resistance.

    American schools and colleges (and this is generally true of the Western world) have long been dominated by Collectivist ideas – this final push to de facto outlaw dissent, was the logical end state. Yes former President Obama helped it along with the (mis) use of Title Nine of the Civil Rights Act (pretending that Freedom of Speech “harmed historically disadvantaged groups”)

    People such as Herbert Marcuse seemed amusing to creative men such as Walt Disney – someone like Mr Disney would have been vaguely aware that there was a Marxist by the name of Herbert Marcuse teaching in California, but the idea that the ideas of this faction of Marxist could ever dominate the thinking of Disney executives would have struck Mr Disney as utterly absurd.

    But when people have no other world view (no real set of beliefs) they are very vulnerable to any ideological attack.

    Consider someone like Bob Iger – rich (very rich), “well educated” (which means expensively educated – sadly nothing more), “cultured” (superficially) and supposedly very powerful – but also a bit insecure, under all the arrogance, and in awe of “intellectuals” and their “ideas”.

    A classic Duke of Orleans type – “Citizen Equality” whose “friends” may well remove his head at some point.

    As “Stalin” said – “gratitude is an emotion felt by dogs”.

    The people that Bob Iger has helped will not spare him – to them he is just another rich-straight-white -male.

    And if he plays “I am a member of the oldest minority” card – his “friends” will just laugh, as they skin him. He will find out, the hard way, that they do not like Jews (regardless of the ethnic origins of some of the families of the original Frankfurt School).

  • Paul Marks

    If anyone points out that Mr Iger had a humble origin – I do not deny it.

    What I am thinking of is what he has turned himself into – not what he started off as.