The Best Link of the Week

Please read this. It’s a letter by a professor from Berkeley who is currently the only person at Berkeley worthy of that title.

It is extremely sad that the only person at Berkeley who has something of value to say about the current events has to do so anonymously.

13 thoughts on “The Best Link of the Week”

        1. I know two young women who have been active in these “protests.” A family with an income in the low $200,000 (which in our region is like low 2,000,000 in New York). The girls got very fancy educations. One has a graduate degree. But one only found a boring bureaucratic job. The other one came back to live at home. The dating life isn’t working out.

          Then suddenly there are fun, exciting protests where you can meet guys. Of course, they are totally into the protests.


      1. // I think the “overproduction of elites” thesis explains a lot. Although I would amend it to “overproduction of wanna be elites”.

        The article was very interesting, but unfortunately offered not even a direction for searching solutions. Is the answer to limit the number of students accepted into universities? If yes, how does the article’s thesis go together with the disappearance of working class jobs?

        If one adds “overproduction of elites” thesis to “overproduction of working class,” the result adds up to “overproduction of people” .


        1. It’s not the lack of jobs per se that is causing the revolt of the elites. It’s the lack of glamorous, exciting jobs that make them feel important, that don’t demand much work, and that allow for endless “self-actualization.”

          And it’s the same with their incapacity to form families. It’s not marriage partners that don’t exist. There’s an equal number of boys and girls born in every generation. It’s the lack of a partner who is like they’ve fantasized: completely problem-free, always accommodating, endlessly affirming and actualizing, and wealthy.


  1. I read it cannot be from a historian. Liked many things in the letter but wanted to ask what you think of those comments on Rod’s blog and whether they affect your opinion in any way.

    Rod said: “I am pretty sure that it is not actually from a historian at Berkeley. There are only four black people on the history faculty there, and it would be far too easy to identify the author.”

    This commenter said what I immediately thought of myself while reading the letter: ” the internment of Japanese people and the holocaust (which didn’t even happen here), didn’t last 350 years? How are the situations even comparable? I’m asking that as an economics major who studied poverty and paths to development in Africa as a senior thesis.”

    Other commenters added:

    “This alleged history professor seems to have written “Cleo” when he meant Clio. It reads like a Boomer email forward to be honest.”

    “Rod, there’s a whole bunch of claims and not a single link in this letter. Some of the claims are very easily debunked, such as the one linking BLM to ActBlue:

    A debunked conspiracy theory about Black Lives Matter, ActBlue, and Democrats can be traced to far-right message boards

    “These are all reasonable points that are worthy of debate. There is one thing that bothers me though, which is the use of the term “Democrat party”. That’s a crude and vulgar formulation used more or less exclusively by right wingers. That doesn’t prove anything by itself, but I would not expect even a conservative academic to use that phrase apparently without irony. It detracts from the credibility of the piece.”

    My favorite theory:

    “My money is on the letter being the work of a provocateur. Anyone responding positively to the claims is obviously unWoke and would be instantly hounded out of his/her job, if not doxxed and physically attacked/possibly killed. Does anyone remember Chairman Mao’s “Hundred Flowers” campaign ? “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend”—only to purge those scholars who actually DID come forward.”

    🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. –My money is on the letter being the work of a provocateur. Anyone responding positively to the claims is obviously unWoke and would be instantly hounded out of his/her job

      Could as easily be a provocation by the other side, aimed to turn Berkeley history faculty (who, according to conservative stereotypes, must be super-woke just by virtue of being at Berkeley) and woke people in general against each other, suspecting and investigating each other. Using the tendency of woke people to police each other against them…

      As long as some people believe in culture wars too much, we should be concerned with the possibility that something that looks interesting and engaging is in fact war propaganda…


  2. Important and extremely concerning development via Mike (quoted parts since the number of free articles per month is limited):

    // The Millennial Mental-Health Crisis
    Suicides and overdoses among young adults were already skyrocketing before the pandemic started. Now experts fear that the situation is going to get even worse.

    recent research shows that Millennials—people born from roughly 1981 to 1996—are more likely to die prematurely from suicide and drug overdoses than previous generations were.

    Perhaps that’s to be expected, given the turmoil Millennials have faced in recent years. After scrambling up a slippery career ladder during the Great Recession, Millennials were slammed with the opioid epidemic. Billions of narcotic pills were shipped to parts of the U.S. where people had few opportunities, but plenty of pain.

    Millennials are financially and generally stressed, and it’s driving some of them to extremes. Older Millennials snapped into adulthood after 9/11, fought in two wars, entered the job market during a recession, and are now weathering a global pandemic in overpriced one-bedroom apartments.

    In a report published last year by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, economists Mark Duggan and Jackie Li found that mortality rates for people from ages 25 to 34 had risen by more than 20 percent since 2008. “That is, mortality rates among millennials ages 20 to 34 were substantially higher in 2016 than among their counterparts from Generation X when they were [their age] exactly 16 years earlier,” they write. The main contributors to the increase have been suicides and drug overdoses, and the increase was highest among white people.

    Therapists who treat Millennials told me that many of their clients feel frustrated and embarrassed that they aren’t able to afford “adult things” such as houses and vacations, either because they don’t earn enough or because they are handcuffed to enormous student loans. Marriage can alleviate loneliness and ease financial strain, but Millennials are getting married later than previous generations. “They feel that they shouldn’t be in this situation,” says Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist who works at Weill-Cornell Medical College. That can cause shame, and shame is “one of the bigger drivers of suicide.”


  3. Interesting post re “All Human Conflict Is Ultimately Theological”:

    // Liberalism as a lived faith centers around an anti-liturgy, the Festival of Reason, which celebrates and re-enacts the dawning of rational freedom against the dark background of unreasoned, obscurantist tradition, equated with a system of oppression, or at best, idiotismus. If I may be forgiven a self-quotation:

    Light is defined by contrast, so the Festival requires that the children of light spy out and crush the forces of darkness, who appear in ever-changing guises, before the celebration can be renewed. The essential components of the Festival are twofold: the irreversibility of Progress and the victory over the Enemy, the forces of reaction. Taken in combination, these commitments give liberalism its restless and aggressive dynamism.

    why do liberal institutions and intellectuals react so much more aggressively towards Poland, Hungary, and Brexit than to Saudi Arabia or China, when the latter must be far worse on any measurable dimensions of interest to liberalism? The only answer is that the first group embodies, for liberalism, the horror of retrogression, which profoundly threatens the liberal soteriology of continual progress. From the standpoint of the Church of Liberty, what Saudi Arabia does is the equivalent of simply not attending Mass; but what Poland has done is the equivalent of disrupting the ceremony and trampling the Sacred Host.


  4. When we discussed feet washing, the idea of those white people feeling guilty or ashamed about a thing had always seemed strange to me. Found this nice explanation (the rest of the article doesn’t say anything new):

    // Jesus, God himself incarnate as man, washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. The disciple Peter objects to this and doesn’t want Jesus to lower himself. Jesus replies “if I don’t wash you, you don’t really belong to me.”

    The white people washing feet are only pretending to lower themselves. In reality, they’re symbolically placing themselves in the role of God. For white people, woke anti-racism offers a way to worship themselves. “White privilege” is a purely subjective concept that allows unremarkable white people to recast their own ordinary lives in a flattering light. It’s not enough to simply point this out and laugh at it. The religious nature of the woke has real policy implications.



    1. Oh, of course, absolutely.

      I keep saying that “white privilege” is a polite way of saying “I’m superior to black people.” Because it’s true. All of this, the white privilege, the feet-washing, it’s an exercise in hubris.


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