Category Archives: universities

Nihilistic alienation in America

The folly of welfarism and affirmative action

Dalrymple ventures to indict

all the efforts undertaken in recent years by government welfare programmes and institutions that practice affirmative action, such as universities, to ameliorate the condition of underclass blacks.

He points out that,

far from ameliorating the situation, the billions spent on welfare programmes, and the intellectual ingenuity expended on justifying the unjustifiable in the form of affirmative action, have resulted in a hatred that is bitter and widespread among those condescended to in this manner.

Bayoncée’s world-historical importance

Dalrymple reports that the musicology department of Copenhagen University is to offer a course on the ‘music’ of Bayoncie.

To judge, he notes, by the number of Google entries devoted to this fourth-rate popular singer, she is 25% more important than Hitler and three times more important than Lenin.

He comments:

Philosophical relativism, the denial that there is any objective basis for judgments of worth, has become almost an orthodoxy in humanities departments. And if there is no real difference between good and bad, why go to the trouble of studying the difficult when the easy is just as good?

He notes another trend,

the commercial imperative under which universities operate. To put it crudely (and as academics often put it themselves), they need bums on seats. What better way to get them there than to ‘study’, as if academically, what the students already know and like, and to flatter them into believing that their taste is impeccable?

Like a butterfly to an entomologist’s board

The essays of Simon Leys, writes Dalrymple,

often combine delicacy with irony—a combination that few writers, especially in our times of stridency and parti pris, achieve.

Dalrymple cites the opening of Leys’ An Introduction to Confucius:

If we consider humanity’s greatest teachers of wisdom—the Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Jesus—we are struck by a curious paradox: today, not one of them could obtain even the most modest of teaching posts in any of our universities.

Leys goes on to explain:

The reason is simple: their qualifications are insufficient—they have published nothing.

In two sentences, writes Dalrymple, Leys

has pinned, like a butterfly to an entomologist’s board, the bureaucratic sickness that has overtaken our institutions of higher learning (and not only those institutions). There is no madness more difficult to treat than that which believes itself sane, and there is no irrationality greater than that which believes itself perfect.

It is no surprise that Leys

retired early from his university chair because the university no longer bore any resemblance to what it had once been, and misled students and the rest of society into believing it still was. A community of scholars had become an organisation of foremen on a production line.

Postcards from Costa Mesa

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-15-11Political correctness

Olga Pérez Stable Cox is professor of human sexuality at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa. She recently delivered herself of the view, in the course of a lecture at the college, that the election of Donald Trump, whom she described as a ‘white supremacist’, was ‘an act of terrorism’. Moreover, she said, ‘we have been assaulted’.

Ms Cox should not have spoken in this way, Dalrymple contends.

As a characterisation of events in America it is so inaccurate or imprecise, at the same time so feeble and inflammatory, that it bespeaks either an inability to control herself or a lack of intellect (or both), neither of them admirable qualities in a university lecturer.

The lecture theatre, he says, is no place for teachers to express their raw political opinions to young people who are dependent upon them for good marks.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-12-26A North Korea of the soul

On the other hand, says Dalrymple,

the student who recorded and spread her comments widely was also acting in a destructive fashion, perhaps without fully realising it. If everything we say or do can be recorded and published without our consent, we shall soon be living in a North Korea of the soul. No conversation will be truly private, no group of people will be trusted not to contain its digital Judas. The only safety will be in silence.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-09-56How to parry

The proper response to political correctness, Dalrymple argues,

is not unbridled insult, or vituperation that is supposedly equal and opposite to whatever it is that political correctness asserts. It is resort, incessant if necessary, to reason, which may employ irony and mockery but not crudity.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-36-23 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-37-33 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-38-02screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-09-42 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-08-41 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-08-17 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-07-47 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-07-11 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-56 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-39 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-17 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-00 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-04-49

Multiculturalism breeds terrorists

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 21.32.25And patriotism is left to the savages

In Britain, writes Dalrymple,

patriotism has been left to the brutes: the kind of ignorant savages who tattoo a bulldog on their biceps and Made in England round their nipples, and who in equal measure revolt and terrorise the cheaper resorts of the Mediterranean.

The intellectual’s

equation of patriotism with xenophobia, and pride in past achievement with an arrogant superiority complex, has left a population demoralised and without any belief in its own nation. Orwell saw this happening. It has created a vacuum for the English Defence League to fill.

Many of Britain’s homebred terrorists

are not culturally isolated and alienated figures, cut off from mainstream British life by ghettoes and the multicultural nonsense that leaves them unable to speak English. Nor do they derive their suicidal-utopian fantasies from an unalloyed Islamic tradition. Their utopianism is at least as much secular as it is religious, though their religion is one that lends itself well to political violence.

Many of them are educated,

if attendance at a modern British university counts as an education; they have jobs and prospects. No, they have seen British values and culture close up, or at least what British values and culture have become, and they don’t like them.

They are quite right not to do so.

The fact that their response is grotesquely disproportionate and even more stupid than the culture they despise does not alter the correctness of their apprehension. Better a live slut than a dead pedestrian, say I; that does not make me pro-slut. It means only that I detest terrorism and its works as among the worst of evils.

In reacting as terrorists,

the young Muslims are following Bakunin and the Baader-Meinhof gang as much as the Koran. It is not for nothing that they go to Western universities.

Just because multiculturalism is not a major direct contributor to home-grown terrorism

does not make it right. On the contrary, it is a sentimental and harmful doctrine that turns the mind to mush, is evidence of an underlying indifference to real lives, and is a provider of pseudo-work for lots of people such as community organisers.

Multiculturalists, with their doctrinal sentimentalism,

are seldom interested in the culture of others. Very few of them read books in foreign languages, for example, let alone immerse themselves in the Pali scriptures or the writings of the Sufi. I don’t blame them: it is the work of a lifetime to be able to do so, and we each have only one lifetime, to say nothing of limitations of ability and inclination. But let us at least not pretend that our interest in other cultures extends much beyond their cuisine.

Multiculturalists rejoice at mass, and indiscriminate, immigration,

not because they are admirers of, say, Somali political philosophy, but because they want the culture of their own country to be diluted as much as possible, for only by rejecting what they have inherited do they think they can show their independence of mind and generosity of spirit. Let the heavens fall, so long as I am thought (by my peers) to be a free thinker.

The multicultural mindset or emotionset, characterised as it is by extreme sentimentality,

seems to destroy the critical faculties, if not the brain itself.

Almost by definition, multiculturalists

are not interested in the national interest. The world is their oyster, and they demand that we all swallow it.

The unlucky country for intellectuals

Unforgivable historian

The unforgiven: Keith Windschuttle

If you are unhappy in Australia, writes Dalrymple,

you have to consider the possibility that the problem lies with you rather than with the conditions that surround you.

This

is a disagreeable thing, particularly for an intelligentsia, which is deprived by it of a providential role for itself. What does an intelligentsia do when a country is already as satisfactory in its political arrangements and social institutions as any country has ever been? Intelligentsias do not like the kind of small problems that day to day existence inevitably throws up, such as termites in the woodwork: they like to get their intellectual teeth into weightier, meatier problems.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 09.05.36What could be a weightier problem

than a prosperous, fortunate country that was founded upon genocide? Clearly, if it was so founded, an intelligentsia is urgently needed to help it emerge from the dark moral labyrinth in which it exists, hitherto blindly. For only an intelligentsia is sufficiently used to thinking in abstractions to be qualified to act as guide to the nation.

Yet Australia

has not cherished its intellectuals. It has not accorded them the respect to which they think they are naturally entitled. Indeed, until a couple of decades ago it was common practice for Australian intellectuals to flee their country and live elsewhere, so strong was the anti-intellectual atmosphere of their county. Australia was not a lucky country as far as intellectuals were concerned. Intellectuals in Australia are not taken as seriously by the public as they take themselves. Besides, there are now more of them, and competition for attention is therefore greater.

Some members of the philosophy faculty of the University of Woolloomooloo

Michael Baldwin, left, and the Bruces, philosophy faculty, Woolloomooloo University

Then Keith Windschuttle published The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, which destroyed the idea that there had been a genocide of Tasmanian aborigines carried out by the early European settlers of the island. The debate that followed publication proved that Windschuttle was right.

This was quite unforgivable of him.

There is nothing much more attention-grabbing

than the claim that your current happiness and good fortune is founded on a pile of bones. With a bit of luck, this claim will even turn people neurotic and increase the need for therapists. It is hardly surprising, then, that when someone came along and challenged the version of history on which intellectuals’ newfound importance in society was to be based, they threw their dolly out of the pram, as the prison wardens in the prison in which I worked used to put it to describe the actions of a prisoner who had lost his temper. The dispute was not just a matter of the interpretation of the contents of old newspapers in Hobart libraries: it went to the very heart of the intelligentsia’s self-conception as society’s conscience and natural leaders.

The Western longing for victimhood (reader discretion advised)

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 23.24.25TRIGGER WARNING: the material that follows may cause upset or distress

Content alert: this doctor-writer’s observations about the human condition are known to cause trauma in the weak-minded

Supplementary trigger warning: the term trigger warning may itself be triggering to some victims

Dalrymple writes that

what is most interesting from the cultural point of view about the preposterous nonsense of trigger warnings for Victorian books is the obvious thirst or desire for victimisation that they express.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 23.27.41Victims

are the heroes of the politically correct; their victimhood confers unique moral authority upon them ex officio. And since many would like to be a unique moral authority, it follows that they would like to be a victim. The fact soon follows the wish, at least in their own estimation; and this, of course, provides much work and justifies much power for the self-proclaimed protectors of victims.

University teachers become

the curators of figurines of the finest porcelain, which only they are allowed to touch.

The university, mother of mediocrity

The effects of the expansion of tertiary educationScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 08.00.03

The length of education, or attendance at supposedly educational establishments, is not the same thing as education.

Guerrilla movements in the last half-century or so in Latin American countries, seeking to establish totalitarian utopias, were caused by the expansion of tertiary education, not by peasant discontent.

The graduates of that education

found after obtaining their diplomas that the only work available to them, if any at all, was beneath their new status as educated person, a Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 08.06.26status that formerly would have entitled them to both respect and an important position in society. If they found work, it was work that they could have done without having gone to university. Bitter disappointment and resentment was the natural consequence.

The equivalent in the West

is the bureaucracy that administers increasingly politically correct regulations. In this way people who have gone to the considerable trouble of obtaining a tertiary education that is of value to them neither vocationally nor intellectually may avenge themselves upon an unjust world.

Man’s reptile brain

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 23.04.35

Intellectual: a genus of lizards native to North American and European universities

Positive discrimination, if not socialism itself, is the antisemitism of intellectuals and of their political and bureaucratic allies

Quotas, writes Dalrymple,

are divisive and discriminatory….The number of categories into which humanity can be divided is infinite: only some categories can be favoured, leaving others resentful and liable to seek political redress.

Quotas

not only politicise life but embitter political life. They formalise favouritism, reinforcing the problem they are meant to solve.

Quotas inflate the role of government,

for someone has to enforce them….The demand for equality (of a kind) undermines freedom because private associations are no longer able to make the rules they wish, a necessary condition for a liberal society in which government is not overweening….The imposition of quotas is founded on the belief that everyone is a bigot unless forced by fiat to be otherwise. This is a dismal view of human potentiality.

Quotas are condescending towards those favoured but unjust towards those not favoured.

You cannot have positive discrimination without negative discrimination, often towards minorities (actually everyone is a member of many minorities). You will end up with a virtual numerus clausus such as operated in élite universities in America against Jews until quite recently.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 23.34.16Those who favour quotas use

a form of argument similar in form, and not dissimilar in content, to that used by antisemites. How come so small proportion of the population should achieve such prominence in academia, publishing, journalism, the media, retailing, industry, banking, finance? The only conceivable answer is that this sector, through some subtle and conspiratorial informal organisation, manipulates itself into prominence. On this view, the Swedish academy that awards the Nobel prizes for science is some kind of front organization for a shadowy conspiracy.

The only solution to the injustice

is countervailing political action. This kind of argument, of course, featured prominently in Nazi propaganda and, alas, was highly effective. It appeals to Man’s reptile brain.