Non-Western

Our history department just announced that Latin America is now listed under “non-Western cultures.” Of course, we never asked any Latin Americans how they feel about this idea. We also haven’t heard any explanations on how the words “Latin” and “America” are non-Western.

Advertisements

How to Turn a College into an Online Diploma Mill

More and more students are saddled with the diagnosis of social anxiety or something similar. This means they can’t participate in class or show up at all and professors have to accept this and provide “alternative accommodations.”

The only alternative accommodation for people who aren’t there is online learning. Once we achieve a critical mass of students who are too sick to be anywhere but locked up at home, we’ll have no choice but to go online.

I used to be the greatest supporter of disability services. And then disability services became all about keeping students out of school and forcing us into the kind of teaching that can be canned and dropped online.

During the same period of time, the number of students in wheelchairs and with physical disabilities plummeted.

In the first year of college, I was so painfully shy that I would go hungry and thirsty all day to avoid the extreme suffering of having to buy a cup of coffee. But the courses I was taking all demanded constant and active participation. I didn’t lock myself at home with a diagnosis (which, thankfully, wasn’t readily available back then.) I cured myself. And I’m happier as a result than people who expect the world to modify itself to suit their individual quirks.

We are doing a disservice to the “socially anxious” students and paving the road to becoming online diploma mills in the end.

Money Isn’t the Problem

We keep hearing how all problems in higher education stem from lack of money. Money, money, money! The states are putting up less money! If only they put up more money, then…

What? What would happen then? How would all the riches in the world prevent colleges from turning into cesspits of fanaticism and idiocy? Money makes things worse. I know both Concordia and Middlebury. Concordia is swimming in money. It built up half of downtown Montreal with gleaming skyscrapers. Middlebury is very rich. Yet people get screamed down, beaten up, and thrown out. How did money help?

Money makes things worse in higher ed. People who do actual teaching and research never see it anyway. Money hires us more party apparatchiks and builds palace-like quarters for them. They destroy education with their assessment practices and equity efforts that fill the campus with students who shouldn’t be in college. Then we can’t attract anybody but these unprepared students. So we need more money to pay for gimmicks like stadiums and access services that award everybody a disability so that they don’t have to study.

It’s a vicious circle where more and more and more money makes students and professors poorer and dumber.

Wall of Shame

Shame on Concordia University in Montreal for disinviting a Harvard scholar because he didn’t pass an ideological purity test.

Shame on Middlebury College in Vermont for disinviting a Polish philosopher because he didn’t pass an ideological purity test.

This is precisely what Byung-Chul Han talks about when he discusses the new totalitarianism of the fluid world. He probably would be disinvited, too.

No government is forcing these people to censor. No external coercive apparatus makes them destroy the life of the mind. They are self-castrating eagerly and willingly.

Audible Questions

Folks who use Audible, LibriVox and Co! How do you afford it? A single 30-year-old novel by Wallace Stegner costs $38 on LibriVox.

And please don’t tell me about all the free stuff with expired copyright. What is there among it that I haven’t read and have interest in reading?