Anti-corporate Friends

Went on Facebook, discovered that the most leftist, anti-corporate friends are posting gushing, unironic “thank you, Pfizer!!!!! I ❤️ Pfizer” pieces, closed Facebook, and now am struggling to hold down the desire to vomit.

Patrician Mentality

This is so delusional, it’s even kind of sad. Rufo did the boring grunt work. And did it, and did it, and did it again. That’s why he got results. A vapid gesture like that letter will never have an effect. It’s infantile, childish behavior that expects these kinds of things to work and produce results.

It’s the perfect illustration of what I described in the previous post. Patrician mentality of spoiled brats.

(For the non-US readers, Chris Rufo organized parents to stand up against indoctrination in schools, delivering a victory for Republicans in the Virginia governor election. Cathy Young signed a letter with a bunch of other people mildly squeaking something vague about illiberal ideology. Now she thinks that the results Rufo achieved are due to her single little squawk. Truly, many people have no perspective at all. And if you aren’t subscribed to Chris Rufo’s newsletter, please do. If nothing else, the guy is a study in relentless, hardworking, steely determination.)

Free Speech U

A university is a place that teaches mostly Spanish 101, Calculus 2, Introduction to the Study of Geography, Composition, and Beginners Something-Something. The first two years we do remediation because students come to us utterly bereft of the knowledge of history, geography, English grammar, foreign languages, geography, etc. The second two years we try to teach some marketable skills. The reason why I don’t teach big ideas isn’t the woke police. I’m simply too busy teaching where the continents are located and that a complete sentence needs a conjugated verb. The most important question at a university isn’t who is going to teach the big ideas course but who’s teaching the 26 sections of beginners composition and 18 sections of Calc 1.

I looked at the proposed course offerings for the new free speech university in Texas. The university is a great idea, and I wish the fine folks organizing it every success. But they are a university like I’m a Chinese guy with a beard. They are a debate club for retired scholars or bright children of Silicon Valley software developers. The only students that can have an interest in what they are saying, the capacity to comprehend it, and most importantly, the leisure to pursue it are the tiniest of elites.

The left-wing indoctrination in colleges that is absolutely real and absolutely overwhelming doesn’t happen at the level of big-ideas courses about Plato. It happens when you take 101, and then 102, and then 201 and so on, and the professor is the person who is always there, always helping, always seeing you in their office where you go to cry and share that your very first girlfriend broke up with you or your mom has been diagnosed with cancer or your 3-year-old has been spiking a fever for 3 days. And since you are human, you get emotionally attached to that professor. And you want to be like them. That’s when it happens.

There are many people who want to teach big ideas. But the real impact rests with the grunts who teach the intro courses and explain where Mexico is on a map and what the Cold War was on the most basic level and hold office hours in the same room for 15 years and spend most of their time correcting “would had did” on the final papers. So don’t tell me who will teach about the perception of Plato’s thought in the late Middle Ages. Tell me who’ll be teaching German 101, how you will pay them, and how you’ll make sure they are with you and only you for a couple of decades. In higher ed, this is the number one issue.

It’s always the grunts who win. Always. The people who do the boring, repetitive daily work. But an extracurricular free speech activity club is a cute idea that I support. It will have zero impact on the general state of higher ed and will soon become as ideological and un-free as the phenomenon it wants to oppose but that’s the way of all humans.

Chaos and Change

Putin’s troops are shelling Ukraine with large-caliber mortars today in the most aggressive attack in years. In the meantime, the Polish border is being breached by Russia from the side of Belarus by fake ‘migrants’ in a replay of the 2015 European migration crisis. None of this was happening while Trump was president.

I understand that there are so many problems currently in the US that nobody can care about Ukraine and Poland. But it’s all part of the same issue. Instability and chaos at home and abroad are being created on purpose by our leadership to carry out an enormous political and economic transformation. The chaos is supposed to overwhelm us and prevent us from resisting or even noticing what’s happening.

There’s still a whole year before the midterm elections. Think about how much more damage these people can create in another year.

Reinforcing Identity

A common thread in Bykov’s trilogy about Stalinism is how obsessed the Soviets were with being the first and the best in everything, even clearly useless things. In X, Bernard Shaw is visiting the USSR and is proudly shown a huge, beet-red cucumber. The writer fails to understand the value of the cucumber. Is it tastier than the regular one? No, it’s barely eatable. Then what’s the point?

“But it’s so big!” the proud Soviets exclaim. “And such unusual color! Have you ever seen anything like it before? Nobody else managed to do it but we did!” That nobody even tried creating inedible red cucumbers doesn’t matter.

Then the writer gets introduced to the largest sow in the world who doesn’t give piglets and can’t be used for meat. But she’s big! That’s the animal’s entire purpose, to show that nature can be twisted into any shape humans want.

Finally, Shaw is treated to a spectacle of cockroaches dressed in costumes. Again, “we were able to do it! We dressed cockroaches!” is what brings joy and a sense of achievement. The purpose of the exercise is to reinforce a sense of identity, even if it’s utterly useless.