The Intellectuals’ Assault on Intelligence

The current class of intellectuals, whether inside the universities or outside as a product thereof, now flout the principles of logic and reason far more than their relentlessly mocked uneducated rubes ever did.  Complex issues requiring thoughtful analysis of probabilistic tradeoffs and consequences are replaced with simplistic models that would have left the intellectuals of yesteryear aghast.  Where complicated continuums are warranted, binary scales are substituted in which anything besides absolute purity is considered evil.  False analogies, poor pattern recognition, hasty conclusions, misjudging the whole by a part, ascribing false motives and meanings have become the artisan bread and butter of the pontificating patricians.  Double standards abound in which moving goalposts of unethical or even criminal behavior are applied to capture political opponents, while flexible extenders are granted to liberate supporters.  Political opponents, along with groups they may be associated with, are defined by their worst moments or qualities or members, regardless of how insignificant.  Conversely, supporters and their associated groups will be defined by their best moments and qualities and members, no matter how meager.  Finally all the abuses of logic and reason are wrapped up in shiny packages called science-data-facts with great big bows called decency so that those who refuse such offerings are taunted, censored, blacklisted, and ultimately criminalized.

This attack on reason is the symptom of a cause that has its origins in the great saboteur of free thought: pride.  Without acknowledging the limits and intrinsic instability of the intellect, there is a tendency for our natures to err in favor of self-interest.  The intellect takes the back seat to our reptilian passions or, even worse, becomes the servant of the reptile.  Confirmation bias takes over as pride, greed, envy, vengeance overpower the intellect.  Pride will shift the objective of knowledge-seekers from truth to self-glorification, agendas that often conflict.  The intellect is apt to pervert itself not to enlighten and explore, but to deceive and conceal.  To achieve virtue, the intellect is dependent on humility — humility to mistrust both the completeness of our own understanding and the purity of our own motives. Humility is necessary to acknowledge how easily we go from rational to rationalizing when our desires are strong enough to sacrifice not only our nobler sensibilities, but also the welfare of others, especially the ones we never cared for to begin with.  It is in that humility where we will find the humanity that will save us from destroying the lives of others in our intoxicating prideful pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil.

Hat tip: The Intellectuals’ Assault on Intelligence

Source: American Thinker

Joseph Epstein Is Right about the ‘Dr.’ Problem

The education degree is mediocre, and blocks school improvement.

In his now-infamous piece of snarky commentary, Joseph Epstein criticized the proliferation of doctorates over the past half-century, reserving special derision for honorary doctors such as entertainers, and for doctors in education such as Jill Biden.

Perhaps more important than how we or the media may choose to refer to Dr./Mrs. Biden, the outsized focus on whether to use the honorific for a doctor of education helps explain why the past 30 years of public-education reform have underperformed. It is not teacher unions, but educational administrators with doctorates in education (the Notorious Ed.D.) like Jill Biden who run American public schools. That means we cannot substantially reform schools while leaving the Ed.D. program as it is intact. And so, to question the inherent value of that degree is to tease at this dilemma — and will invite the kind of backlash we have seen over the last several days.

Incidentally, I am a party to this fight by association, just not on the side with which I agree. My own American Educational Research Association (AERA), like all professional associations, is essentially an interest group. We are education professors in the business of producing degrees in education — so an attack on the Ed.D. is an attack on our jobs. Within 48 hours, AERA’s executive director issued a statement calling Epstein “misogynistic,” while advising other newspapers to have “second thoughts” about publishing such ideas.

I find it concerning when organizations representing professors advocate censorship. Indeed, the fact that the AERA seeks to silence Epstein rather than debate him is telling. What’s more, within days of the Wall Street Journal commentary, Northwestern University erased lecturer emeritus Joseph Epstein from their website, in order to support “equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

While Epstein is acerbic like H.L. Mencken, incoming first lady Jill Biden does seem to truly care about her students and profession. (Back in 2012 we each wrote essays for Academic Questions about how to improve colleges; Biden’s addressed mentoring.) Yet in a free country, impolite gadflies play important roles in improving society. And on this matter regarding doctorates in education, Epstein is quite right. Other professors consider the Ed.D. a marginal degree, whose very mediocrity and ubiquity block school improvement.


Epstein seems grouchy, and Jill Biden herself may have been an ill-chosen target for his scorn. But that doesn’t alter the fact that the Ed.D. is an academically weak degree whose holders limit school improvement. If we want to make schools more academic, the Ed.D. must reform or die.

Source: Joseph Epstein Is Right about the ‘Dr.’ Problem

NY Times Columnist Exposes The Deep Deception Of The NY Times’ 1619 Project

Bret Stephens has done a public service in exposing the 1619 Project for what it is: An agenda-driven attempt to impose a false and misleading history on our children. The post NY Times Columnist Exposes The Deep Deception Of The NY Times’ 1619 Project first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion .

Source: NY Times Columnist Exposes The Deep Deception Of The NY Times’ 1619 Project


But I was inspired to think about a Pigouvian tax on a societal institution where that is clearly not the case: Higher Education. As we have been assured by all the leading authorities, 1 in 5 women who attend college is raped. We thus need to tax higher education institutions at a level sufficient to compensate the 20% of their female students who are victimized. Taxes laid on gross revenues would probably be passed on to students, so we’ll need to tax the real stakeholders in universities who — since there are no shareholders — are faculty and staff. Assume an average damage of $1 million for a rape — surely no one would dare suggest a lower figure — multiply that by 20% of the female student body size, and apply that tax to faculty and staff salaries. That may not generate enough revenue, but we could also tax gross sports revenues — where taxes can’t easily be passed on –to make up the difference.


Why black graduates of the USC Marshall School of Business may start finding it hard to get international jobs

Back in January 2016 Victor Mair, professor of Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania, started an interesting discussion in the blog “Language Log” about a common Chinese word that sounds like a racial insult in English. Professor Mair wrote, As soon as I read “a phrase that sounds uncannily like the N-word” in the first paragraph, I knew exactly what my colleague’s friend was talking about.

Source: Why black graduates of the USC Marshall School of Business may start finding it hard to get international jobs