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Samizdata quote of the day – university schadenfreude edition

“Liberals and centrists seem to have paid attention to conservative boycotts of Bud Light and Target. Then came the scandal surrounding Ibram Kendi’s antiracism center at Boston University. Having burned through over $20 million, he now faces an inquiry from the university. Kendi’s disgrace cracked the window—and the horrific responses to the Hamas attacks opened the door. And yet it is only now—after all the histrionic and outraged statements about #MeToo and BLM and Ukraine and Roe v. Wade—that universities are discovering the virtue of institutional neutrality.”

Jacob Savage

14 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – university schadenfreude edition

  • Paul Marks

    The universities, indeed the education system in general, is institutionally corrupt – American taxpayer funding, including government backed “student loans” must be ended.

    The roots of this go back a very long way – Richard Ely (who was influenced by German interventionist “economists” such as Gustav Von Schmoller and, in turn, was an influence on both “Teddy” Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) was trying to drive out conservatives and Classical Liberals from universities in the early 1900s (the Orwellian named academic freedom campaign – a group that still exists and targets Hillsdale and the other handful of universities where there are still conservatives or Classical Liberals) and John Dewey (of the Pragmatist School of American Philosophers) was busy trying to undermine education for younger people – High School and below.

    But the key twist has been the concept that anti leftist ideas “harm” “marginalised and disadvantaged groups” – this 1960s Herbert Marcuse idea (that Freedom of Speech is “Repressive Tolerance”) is now, post Barack Obama (it really became dominate during the Obama Administration – for obvious reasons, given the ideological background of President Obama himself) all over the place in the institutions – including Big Business.

    That “Ibram Kendi” was a fraud was obvious – even his name is fake (he made it up). But had he been a bit more intelligent (“what is racism?” – “errr, um, errr – it is having racist beliefs and doing racist things, leading to racist outcomes”, “but what is racism or racist?” – “I have just told you! You must be a racist to keep asking me the same question!”) and a bit less greedy he would never have fallen.

    Various BBC “historians” tell endless lies about black history (and lots of other things) but they do not just steal the money they are given, they actually produce the books and television programmes they are paid to produce.

    Thus they do a lot more harm than “Ibram Kendi” did – and will continue to do a lot more harm.

    As with the “Black Lives Matter” organisation – it is not the people who stole the money and spent it on big houses (and so on) for themselves that are the problem, it is the hard working activists (and there are many hard working activists) who spread their lies and other poison to this day, who are the problem.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    Apparently big donors are pulling out from Harvard over its views on the war.

    Now maybe my dropping a subscription to some apologist organisation won’t have the same financial impact but if enough people do so the effect grows and grows. The BBC (for instance) are perhaps hoping that current criticism of their own stance will ‘blow over’, it has before. But people are starting to build a mental history of previous disappointments. One day the BBCs failures will no longer ‘blow over’.

  • Paul Marks

    There was a famous boxer in the 1960s who was named after a great 19th century Kentucky fighter against slavery – someone who, for example, fought off a gang of pro slavery people armed with guns, fought them off armed only with his bowie knife. And who bought cannons (privately bought cannons) to defend his home against pro slavery forces.

    But later in life that boxer “forgot” the true story of the person he was named after, and just called him “a slave owner”. The boxer renamed himself after an ancient Arabian slave trader famous for his paleness (mistakenly the boxer called him “one of our people” – meaning black people, in reality the man was very pale for an Arab and could be picked out in a crowd because of how pale he was) who called black people “raisin heads” and said they looked like Satan. The boxer also made up stories of being discriminated against in shops in Louisville Kentucky – stories he had not told when he was a younger man, because the stories were not true.

  • Paul Marks

    DiscoveredJoys – Harvard has a long history of vileness.

    It had an anti Jewish quota system in the past – and had anti Asian quota system till at least the Supreme Court case of early THIS year.

    Harvard was also the first major Law School to teach that the United States Constitution was a “living document” that should be “interpreted” out of existence. It was doing that in the early 1900s.

    The fact that Harvard is considered the most “elite” university and that powerful parents spend money and pull strings to send their children there to “network” and get “good jobs” in the Corporate and Government bureaucracy, tells us a lot about the corruption of American culture, and of the culture of the Western world in general.

    In much the same way, the New York Times – a totally dishonest (utterly corrupt) newspaper, is the most “elite” newspaper in the United States.

  • Fred Z

    At best universities are pretending to be discovering the virtue of institutional neutrality.

    Their administrators are corrupt, socialist liars.

  • Paul Marks

    Fred Z.

    Yes – both the administrators and the academics (academics who are not – are forced out, or are never granted higher degrees in the first place).

    The idea that American, or general Western, universities will fundamentally reform is mistaken – the universities, like all other institutions in the Western world (from Big Business to the churches) are rotten – rotten to the core.

  • lucklucky

    that universities are discovering the virtue of institutional neutrality

    Where is the evidence of that?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Where is the evidence of that?

    Panic, judging by one or two responses from principals of these places.

    It is early days. It is increasingly dawning on the general public that Higher Ed. is, in large parts, a cesspit, and needs drastic reduction, with far more focus on young people taking a vocational route post-school rather than going to higher ed. A problem is that, because of government interference in labour market contracts, more and more firms require college-level degrees , never mind diplomas, for even the most menial of jobs. That’s where some of the rot has started. Another point, made by the likes of Jordan Peterson, is the way that the US teacher training establishment has a lock on how schoolteachers and others get trained, and is now under the way of the Left, to a large extent. The whole ed. establishment of North America and much of the rest of the West needs to be drastically reformed. Break the teaching unions, etc. It needs the equivalent of the deregulation of trucking and aviation in the late 70s.

  • Snorri Godhi

    A lot of people seem to be shocked, shocked! by the reaction of American academia to the latest pogrom.

    My first reaction was:
    On what planet were those people, when Ward Churchill, Susan Sontag, and Noam Chomsky reacted to 9/11?
    On what planet were they, when GW Bush reacted to the Danish-Cartoon Jihad?
    On what planet were they, when us on Earth heard Jeremiah Wright yell “Goddamn America”?
    (I could go on but i won’t.)

    That was my first reaction.
    Now i think that every one of those, and subsequent events, made a fraction of delusional people (including yours truly) “mugged by reality”.
    And i am not talking about the reality of Islamism: I am talking about the reality of American woke insanity.

    I reckon that it is a race between the increasing insanity due to the worsening American diet, and the increasing number of people mugged by reality.

  • Fraser Orr

    Entirely off topic, but something that has been spinning in my brain as worthy of promotion…. It has always bothered me that we have a word in English (from German) schadenfreude, meaning taking joy in the misfortune of others. It is a kind of sad thing that such a word is necessary, and it always kind of bothered me that there was no word for the opposite. However, I recently discovered that Hebrew does have such a word פירגון pronounced firgun which means exactly the opposite — taking joy in the success of another, with no ulterior motive. Isn’t it sad that we don’t have such a word in English. I think we should do for Hebrew here what we did for Germans from their bleak lexicon and adopt it for English… You guys can make it happen!

    I suppose it is easy to remember — the mind picture it brings to me is watching someone at the range firing and gun for the first time and delighting in the experience, and being part of that happy energy. Obviously crazy lefties wouldn’t share that same feeling at the range, but in my experience they don’t much feel joy except by means of schadenfreude anyway.

  • William O. B'Livion

    that universities are discovering the virtue of institutional neutrality.

    Where is the evidence of that?

    Panic, judging by one or two responses from principals of these places.

    That’s not evidence that they have discovered the virtue of “institutional neutrality”, only that they are roaches caught in the spotlight and are scurrying for the shadows.

    Then there is that “institutional neutrality” is a morally bankrupt position.

    Universities have a history, historical traditions, and a historical purpose.

    One of those traditions, the most important of those traditions, was the notion that truth was discoverable and knowable. The second would be the notion of free inquiry (admittedly not always honored, but more often than not).

    They have been defecating on both of those from great heights for two or three generations now, and the rest of the world is starting to figure that out.

    “Institutional Neutrality” would say that the arguments of Islamic “Scholars” about Women (https://canadafreepress.com/article/muslim-rape-culture-and-lara-logan) including “”Scientific research had shown that women’s hair emitted rays that drove men insane.” and that husbands CANNOT rape their wives.

    There are rules to modern pluralistic liberal societies. Neutrality towards those who would destroy it in favor of some barbaric death cult is batshit insane.

  • Colli

    I like the idea, but don’t you think something like “confelicity” would be easier to understand and remember?

  • Fraser Orr

    @William O. B’Livion
    There are rules to modern pluralistic liberal societies. Neutrality towards those who would destroy it in favor of some barbaric death cult is batshit insane.

    I don’t agree. This seems to be a tame version of “silence is violence.” Personally I think Universities should shut up about everything except their specific mission — educating students and producing useful scientific research. It seems to me that society is requiring every institution and organization to have a publicly expressed opinion about every political issue of the day. It is part of the general problem that politics is far to important. I think that government action is sometimes necessary, but they feel the need to stick their nose into everything. And making every company, university and institution to take a political position on everything is just part of that whole nasty trend.

  • Paul Marks

    Like all other Western institutions are saturated with “Critical Theory” Marxism – for example the idea that Freedom of Speech “harms disadvantaged and marginalised groups” who are “oppressed” by the capitalist “power structure”.

    That “silence is violence” was pushed even by the Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States in 2020.

    The lady insisted that everyone must be an active “Anti Racist” and say XYZ, not stay silent.

    The lady appeared to be totally unaware that she was pushing “Critical Theory” modern Marxism.

    As for the universities – they can not be reformed, the decay has gone too far, DEFUND them.

    Cut off the money, including the “student loans”, cutting off the money is what Ayn Rand rightly called “The Sanction of the Victim”.

    Ayn Rand died in 1982 – so that shows that this decay of the universities did not start recently.

    Indeed one can trace it all the way back to the late 19th century – getting worse and worse over time.