52 Comments
Apr 17, 2022Liked by John Carter

Just here from El Gato (commented on your "federalism" comment) - So much substack/so little time! - most days I am bookmarking 2 or 3 additional substack sites. I am printing this out for careful reading. I wanted to spend my life in "the academy" but got booted out in the first job crash of the 1980s. Now? - I am so happy not to have found a place there; imagine reaching retirement age and looking around and seeing the sort of place you were leaving; the place you had dedicated your professional life to ... it must be SO depressing!

Expand full comment
author

It's incredibly depressing, yes, if you're an embittered idealist as I am.

It generally seems that everyone who escapes is initially sad to leave, but before long are thanking their lucky stars and much happier than they were in the ivory tower.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022Liked by John Carter

I read it. Much more depressing than I expected.

I had formed an image of the current academy; sort of an updated “two cultures” configuration (are you old enough to remember that famous debate circa 1950s?) - in which one culture was the “departments” (especially the science tech depts) – the academic side of the house - sort of keeping the other culture (the administration – with its fast expanding DIE bureaucracy) at arm’s length. That would be the “ticking the box” approach you raise.

But no? - Not at all? - No arm’s length – but full and genuine acceptance by the academics? By which, for example, a person who has spent much of his life reading; whose livelihood depends on it – can only scoff at the tragedy of blindness with “ablelist” one liners?!

Depressing.

You say very little about COVID. And the way, that after a couple decades of preparation, the academy embraced in a death grip like way that operation – every.single.one.of.them! … Sort of a dream come true way of enhancing the totalitarian grip. The masks in particular now make more sense to me: a fully visible (rather than merely verbal / cognitive) way of signaling compliance and submission.

Did you hear of the North Korean refugee?– graduated from Harvard last spring (as I recall) and then remarked (probably on social media) – re: Harvard: “North Korea wasn’t as crazy as this”.

Ha! I thought, amusing hyperbole. But no. She meant it quite literally.

Expand full comment
author

COVID is discussed much more extensively in the subsequent piece in this series. Briefly, my argument is that the total collapse of academia's ability to fulfill its essential functions was a crucial enabling factor for the madness of the last two years.

And yes, it's very depressing. DIE insanity hasn't been universally embraced, but the small number of skeptics and holdouts have learned to keep their heads down as the ideologues have become more vocal and influential. Lately, remaining quiet has ceased to be an option, as it is itself a source of suspicion. As the politburo member who was executed for being the first to stop clapping, insufficient enthusiasm is now an indicator of secret opposition. The 'two cultures' strategy was always at best a holding action; the purely offensive strategy of the administrative culture was always destined to conquer the purely defensive strategy of the academic departments that didn't want to participate in ideology.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022Liked by John Carter

thanks - I will look at the others in the next few days- "first to stop clapping" that's funny.... and rather makes my point about the masks - secret opposition (or not clapping) no longer possible. ... ah, but the demographics are not favorable - undergrad enrollment down in near record-breaking ways both fall of 20 and 2021 - people on some life long gravy-train or other completely lose sight of the possibility of the gravy running out.

Expand full comment
author

Indeed. There's a big reality check coming for higher ed. It's in a bubble. Young people are starting to sense it's a bad deal and staying away. A lot of universities will probably go bankrupt in the coming years.

Expand full comment
Apr 20, 2023Liked by John Carter

True. Despite being an academic moth most of my life, and proud to be third generation university educated woman, I'm not much keen for my kids to go to university at all. I quite feel sorry for them to have to go to school soon, and the moment any of them tells me they don't want to go anymore, I'm pulling them out. I'd prefer they learn some real skills. Education is now, at best, an exercise in short term memory.

In South Africa, there's many reasons why universities are degrading, lot of them political, but majority due to lowering the criteria in line with disastrer called basic education.

After I was told that I should not expect first year science and engineering students to be able to... wait for it... "think" (apparently, this only happens later, at about third year). .. and that I must give them at least 2/3 previously seen test questions, I decided that if I'm going to do a meaningless and stressful job, I may as well go into corporate and be paid shit lot for it

Expand full comment
author

I'm a third generation university graduate myself, and my niece and nephew - still in elementary school, but old enough to start thinking about it - are not terribly enthusiastic about higher ed. It's tragic what's happened there ... much of my anger is wounded idealism.

Expand full comment
Apr 20, 2023Liked by John Carter

Btw, man, I'm really, really, enjoying your stuff. I can't believe I didn't know about this blog. Thanks so much. I follow quite a few subs, but this is such a breath of fresh air, it's great.

Expand full comment
author

I'm glad you're enjoying it so much. That means a lot.

Expand full comment
May 14, 2022Liked by John Carter

I just can't wait till our defense industries are 100% staffed by gender fluid pan-sexual POC womyn. That should make winning the next war in Ukraine a piece of cake.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2023Liked by John Carter

That is funny. And horrifying at the same time!

Expand full comment

We are SO outgunned (oops!) in military readiness and weapons development. The great danger is that such a country, facing humiliation, will be tempted to use nuclear weapons.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2023Liked by John Carter

Fried gold man, superb and spot-on.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2023Liked by John Carter

I resigned my university tenure (medical) in 2014 after beginning gradually pulling out over 6 years. This was before the hockey stick DIE process of the last several years, obviously. I left because the university had transitioned from a faculty-centric system (given that the faculty provided the medical care, the research and the teaching) , to a top down command-control structure where the university president dictated her ignorance down to the faculty. To be clear, this began before Obama, but accelerated under the Obama culture. I saw it happening, recognized it as the fascism that it proved to be, ad escaped what had been a distinguished career. Fascism is what progressivism is all about.

Expand full comment
author

People usually point to woke faculty as the problem, because they're the most visible. It's really the administration. This is why dissolving the universities is necessary and good. The competent faculty, the genuine scholars and scientists, will find audiences online. The administrators will not, and they will lose all power to dictate to scholars their beliefs.

Expand full comment
Jan 1Liked by John Carter

Yes, I worked as contractor at an Ivy League U in the late 1990’s. I was shocked to learn that there were as many staff as students. I imagine it’s worse than ever. And the ratios of administrators to faculty is ridiculous. Many in positions of influence create their own little fiefdoms.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2023Liked by John Carter

Very much agree. Administrators rule the medical field (academic and otherwise) and doctors (academic or otherwise) let them do it. Most just want to practice medicine, teach and/or do their research. So they don't put the effort into controlling the HIPAA wielding, clipboard carrying useless admin weanies. Time to stop subsidizing these centers of indoctrination and twisted spaghetti thinking.

Expand full comment
author

Ironically, with their willingness to give up administration of their own workplaces in order to focus on their teaching and research, they have gradually been stripped of the ability to actually teach or research.

A very important lesson, there.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2023Liked by John Carter

'The price that good men pay of avoiding politics is to find themselves ruled by idiots.' -Plato

Expand full comment
author

You'd think professors of all people would have known this.

Expand full comment
Apr 11, 2023Liked by John Carter

So no sign of my instant favourite IED yet; the best take their time to arrive 😏

Expand full comment
author

Yeah I didn't hear IED until a couple months ago. A friend took exception to DIE, and he came up with that as an alternative.

Expand full comment
Apr 11, 2023Liked by John Carter

In my timeline, it's of barsoomian coinage 😊

Expand full comment
author

I must popularize this.

Expand full comment
Jan 17, 2023Liked by John Carter

Bit late, coming here from your latest post in the series.

"...The thought-policing language games so beloved of the cultural Marxists have conquered the daily discourse of scientists just as thoroughly as they have the humanities departments. You see this everywhere in the sciences, now."

Indeed. In The Glass Bead Game -- a work that I think says much about our situation, and, to readers and potential readers, a note that it is not the presentation of some academic "utopia" but a critique of such, noting its dangers and responsibilities -- someone somewhere says that the post-WWIII society realized they needed academic freedom -- including freedom from ideological demands -- not as an expense luxury for the humanities, but because if Truth is not held as an ideal, the rot will spread, and the bridges won't stand up either.

You find this sort of thing at a lot of "dissident but not entirely alt" Right sites, like Unz.com; the humanities are inherently a bunch of Marxist claptrap, best dealt with by finally getting around to eliminating them altogether; bright White kids should be directed to the "hard" sciences rather than wasting their time elsewhere, etc. (For some reason, they simultaneously disparage psychology but base most of their ideas on IQ, HBD, etc.). Needless to say, Our Enemies had and have other ideas about how useful the humanities are; that's how we got here. (Another curious fact: despite their legendary high IQs, Our Enemies themselves find it useful to devote lots of time to the humanities).

As per usual, the Left offers bullshit, the Right responds by surrendering.

Expand full comment
author

Indeed. The sciences are crucial, but so are the humanities. Cultural influence demands engaging with both. Conservatives thought they could retreat to the science departments and just ignore the zombie army, but that clearly didn't work.

One of the inherent contradictions is that a commitment to truth demands a willingness to engage with dangerous ideas. That was the wedge the Marxists used. Simply banning them would give them countercultural cred.

Expand full comment
Apr 20, 2023Liked by John Carter

Yeah, social sciences end up being in HR which drafts the policies and pre-screens the candidates 😐

Expand full comment
author

HR departments were a crucial strategic error on the part of owners. Hiring and firing is the primary sovereign power in a corporation, akin to the power of life and death held by a king. By delegating that, HR became the de facto sovereigns

Expand full comment

I've lightly considered the idea of returning to academia to pursue new studies and actually research something rather than play-researching. It's been odd seeing the hard science area I'm looking into have fewer GRE (and GRE subject) requirements for DIE reasons, even though I hate the GRE and would also tick one of their DIE boxes. My opinions on academia have never been favorable, but I concluded it was a necessary evil if I ever wanted to start a research career. I guess I'm right about the "evil" part.

At least in the mean time, I've decided to read through textbooks and learn the course material on my own. If the academy ever become tolerable enough to go to grad school, maybe I'll at least have knowledge of the material before formally taking courses.

Expand full comment
author

Unfortunately, as it stands there's really no good alternative to graduate school if you want to pursue a career in research. A doctoral credential is essential, and there's really nowhere else to build up the research experience necessary to be effective - the latter can't be absorbed from textbooks.

Expand full comment

The positives are that at least the local universities don't require clot shots, and... actually, I think that's it. Looking at course syllabi for those unis, I'm amused seeing physics and chemistry professors putting their pronouns in or trying some inane grading scheme to discourage bad grade distributions.

I've heard bad-but-not-specific things about one department I was looking at, where people have said there have been reputation, legal and academic dishonesty issues. (I left a program specifically due to that and their propensity to label anything that didn't follow their orthodoxy as "academic dishonesty.") I don't know if that really limits my choices given I never intended to stay in academia (I'm one of the lowly types who always wanted to go into industry) after obtaining a PhD, but it's made me have to be more open-minded on which programs I look at.

Expand full comment
author

Ah, the pronoun people. I've learned to distinguish between departments where everyone lists pronouns (indicating it is now policy), departments with lots of pronouns (heavily suborned by woke but not yet captured), and departments at which pronouns are rare (these are the places to go).

Expand full comment

I find it incredible that the promotion of the corporate ESG score from the Blackrocks of the world has trickled down into all branches of academia. It's amazing and brilliant and I don't mean in a positive way that promotes anything in truth. The sheer audacity of the authors in regard to this Marxist dreamspell that we are all suffering thru I have no words for as it speaks to insanity,inversion, and ultimately nihilism. Thank you though John for your writing in describing how this evil plays itself out within acedemia

Expand full comment
author

Horrifying, is it not? It's seeped into everything. Even, as we found out yesterday, into the Secret Service.

Expand full comment
Feb 17Liked by John Carter

This reminds me of the Academy that Gulliver finds on his travels.

https://hekint.org/2017/02/01/gullivers-visit-to-the-academy-of-lagado/

Expand full comment
Feb 16Liked by John Carter

I think you give the academy too much credit. I doubt if any of them know Latin to see the double entendre of DEI. It reminds me of the advertising agency employed by the European Union to promote the unity of their said entity and used a painting by Breughel of The Tower of Babel to illustrate unity. You really can’t make any of this up can you.

Expand full comment
author

Subliminals work best when they're just at the edge of perception.

Expand full comment

If only the academy was at the edge of perception. Better still falling over it!

Expand full comment
Jan 2Liked by John Carter

I particularly liked this line. "Academic discourse, characterized by impenetrable jargon at the best of times, has become a submarine mine field of accepted nomenclatures continuously evolving into deeply offensive expressions of various isms and phobias under the savage selective pressure of the rabid status games played by academics desperately scrambling after the small and shrinking number of jobs. Self-censorship, as everyone knows, has become pervasive - in an environment where yesterday's mandatory vocabulary is today's cancellable hate speech, the only safe expression is to say nothing."

Expand full comment

My daughter had to live thru this and somehow emerged with her brain, thoughts and faith intact at the University of Michigan. She challenged the crazy thoughts they tried to indoctrinate her with, to no avail, like the infamous "Genderbread man" and other such nonsense. Of course, there was the OB who told her pre-med health club that they 'had' to do abortions because this was 'health care'. Nope, that's an elective procedure NEVER required for the life of the mother. And no, they have a religious exception always. She eventually changed her major.

Expand full comment
Jun 14, 2023Liked by John Carter

> When everything is potentially offensive, all communication must be as indirect as possible, and the result is that clear communication using direct and precise language becomes impossible. The result is an increasingly noisy system, from which it becomes ever more difficult to extract useful information. Inevitably, just as clear speech aids clear thought, the reverse is also true, and the minds imprisoned in this matrix become themselves noisy and deranged. It is no accident that our intellectuals, or at any rate our professoriate, have gone collectively mad.

Also it's literally ableist with respect to Aspies (and ND in general). Geoffrey Miller wrote "The Neurodiversity Case for Free Speech" https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58e2a71bf7e0ab3ba886cea3/t/5d15648877784e0001d77bd1/1561683080779/2017+neurodiversity+free+speech.pdf

> Newton wouldn’t last long as a ‘public intellectual’ in modern American culture. Sooner or later, he would say ‘offensive’ things that get reported to Harvard and that get picked up by mainstream media as moral-outrage clickbait. His eccentric, ornery awkwardness would lead to swift expulsion from academia, social media, and publishing. Result? On the upside, he’d drive some traffic through Huffpost, Buzzfeed, and Jezebel, and people would have a fresh controversy to virtue-signal about on Facebook. On the downside, we wouldn’t have Newton’s Laws of Motion.

> In this article, I’ll explore the science of neurodiversity, and how campus speech codes and restrictive speech norms impose impossible expectations on the social sensitivity, cultural awareness, verbal precision, and self-control of many neurodivergent people

Expand full comment
author

Yes, precisely. The campus environment is hostile to precisely the sort of genius - high-IQ, high-openness, low-conscientiousness - that Newton was archetypal of. Which is one of the reasons progress has slowed so dramatically, I think.

Expand full comment
Mar 10, 2023Liked by John Carter

When I got out DEI hadn't really made the insane inroads into the hard sciences yet, but they were nonetheless still becoming quite the joke. My department went through and pruned a bunch of non-productive faculty who were cashing 6 figure checks and doing *literally* nothing for years. There were maybe 3 truly productive faculty of those who were left, my PI was NOT one of them

Expand full comment
author

The sheer laziness of so many academics isn't really their worst feature in my opinion. In many cases I think there should be more laziness - the root of scholar is the Greek skhole, leisure or idleness. Their function is to think deeply. The publish or perish mentality results in manic research behavior that floods the literature with large quantities of (at best) incremental results, with the result that little genuinely new gets done. I think many of the lazy tenured scholars essentially get burned out from that; combine this with the pointless emptiness of academic research, and it's not hard to see why many of them just say, fuck it.

Expand full comment