Calcified Brains

Yesterday, I spoke to a bunch of academics about a new round of austerity cuts at my university. Everybody here knows what I have to say about austerity, so I won’t repeat myself.

In response, one of the academics informed the group completely seriously that austerity exists to hand control over education to “the church.” Which church remained unspecified. When I inquired gently about the basis for such a conclusion, the academic in question said that the Franco dictatorship made her think of it.

It’s incredible how ossified people’s brains are. Especially people in academia. The world has changed in so many ways since Franco. In particular, the economy has been massively transformed. And the role of religion in Western societies collapsed. But we are still sitting here, terrified of an utterly imaginary takeover by religious people who are nowhere in evidence. We’d do anything to avoid learning anything new but we expect students to learn.

17 thoughts on “Calcified Brains

  1. Reply to: Calcified Brains

    The so-called Christian Right in this country seems to be growing in influence. If They get their way, someday we will have death penalty for adultery, for example. I grew up in this tradition and am all too familiar with it. For decades it was in decline, but with Trump (ironically) it has returned and is growing in influence.


      1. “That’s exactly what neoliberal capitalists want us to believe.”

        How on earth does a budding Fundamentalist Christian totalitarianism benefit the neoliberal view? This is not a belief of mine, it is a lifelong experience.


        1. Have you checked out that scene recently? Like, I grew up around fundies too, back in the 80s and 90s. Some of them were in fact crazy people, and there was a lot not to like.

          But you’ve apparently been out of the loop for a while. Have you taken any time to update your database?


          1. Only seeing the policies of universities such as Liberty and Regents, and my own undergrad school, as well as people I went to high school with. (I graduated in 1961.) I have been a practicing follower of the Old Gods and Goddesses since the mid 1980’s.


            1. The Old Gods and Goddesses are far more benevolent deities than Progress!

              But I strongly encourage you to update your notions about conservatism and the Christianity/politics axis. Things have changed a lot since the sixties.


            2. The only thing nobody is planning to take away from us is sexual freedom. Our standard of living, our wealth, such as it is, our little material comforts, all that will be taken away. We are brainwashed into worrying about the loss of sexual freedom precisely because nobody wants to take it away.

              We are experiencing one of the largest instances of mass immiseration in history. And we aren’t noticing that we are being impoverishment because we are so distracted by the utterly imaginary threat of having our sex lives curtailed.

              Nobody cares about anybody’s sex life. It’s our property that’s being taken away. Today, right now, right this moment.

              Talking about universities, their largest problem by far is austerity. My universe has a blanket hiring freeze with no end date in sight. People are overworked, quitting in droves. This is our #1 problem.

              I know, it’s useless. I’m clamoring in the desert. People will notice when it’s too late.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. IKR?

                Are people really having so much awesome sex outside marriage that it’s the most important political issue in existence? From the complaints of the single people I know, it doesn’t sound like it. Meanwhile, Christians have been so completely co-opted by the sexual revolution that the idea we’d legislate against it at this point is laughable.

                Liked by 1 person

        2. Like seriously. When I was growing up in the 80s, liberals were nice people who lived across the street and liked to go camping and had a “save the manatees” bumper sticker.

          Now? I mean, it was hard, but I’ve had to update my priors about lefties since then. I still try really hard to be friends, remembering that when I was little they were nice people who wanted basically the same things my parents did: low crime, a decent school system, the freedom to speak their minds without fear of retribution, the freedom to raise their kids with their own values… normal stuff.

          Maybe I was wrong about them when I was a kid. Maybe that was all just a facade. I prefer to think it was real, and that they’re going through a bit of temporary insanity, and we can go back to being friends without walking on eggshells about everything, sometime in the future. But… I don’t know. The list of things I can’t mention around my liberal friends and family is getting longer and longer. We used to be able to have friendly debates about things we disagree on, maybe patronize each other a little. Now… as soon as they find out a point of disagreement, it’s all screaming denunciations. It’s scary. My “back away slowly” technique is getting a heckuva workout the past couple of years.

          Are you sure it’s just the conservatives who are scary?


        3. I’m honestly curious what events and policies you are observing that lead you to the belief in incipient Christian (fundy or not) totalitarianism.


          1. Other examples of Christian attempts to control everything: The schools, especially in TX and FL, are working to prevent children from learning about different lifestyles. They are also laundering history. If I recall correctly, TX scarcely mentions Jefferson at all in public school history classes. They seem to want to return to a time when daily Bible readings and Protestant Christian prayer were a daily part of school. This was the case when I was in public school. It is likely why Jews and Catholics avoided public schools if they could afford any alternative.


            1. There is no greater horror than daily Bible readings in public schools and forbidding activities like Drag Queen Story Hour. Which one is more likely to cause someone to lose their job today, I wonder…

              Do you actually have children in a public school right now? There is no way on this Earth I would subject my child to one and the threat of daily Bible readings is nowhere on my radar.


            2. Ummm… Yeah. What RR said. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since reading from a Bible in a public school was even a possibility? Not in my lifetime, and I’m over forty.

              In the most recent poll I saw, 69% of Americans still self-identify as Christians. Only 22% actually attend church every week. Conservative folks are over-represented in that set, but that 22% still includes the doggedly faithful attendees of liberal churches. So I’d guess the actual percentage of Americans who are conservative Christians is somewhere between 11% and 20%. We are a small and shrinking cultural minority now.

              We are outnumbered by more than four to one, but if you just read the propaganda, not only are we still a majority, but we’re basically Huns on horseback, burning cities and pillaging the countryside on our way to attack your peaceful Democrat urbs. I have a hard time picturing it but hey, whatever floats your boat man. Out here in reality, all the actual conservative Christians I know are deeply ambivalent about any kind of religious political action that isn’t geared toward basic preservation of our right to be Christians and not be discriminated against for it.

              Reality check here:

              1) When was the last time you heard of someone being fired or discriminated against for NOT upholding Christian beliefs?
              2) When was the last time you heard of someone being fired or discriminated against for upholding Christian beliefs?

              Which scenario do you think is more likely in the current year?


    1. Yep, we are just taking over the whole dang world right now. We are beasts! See how ferocious we conservative Christians are, stalking the land, imposing our values on everything, threatening good people with death and imprisonment for everything we don’t like! BWAHAHAA! Gosh I’m terrifying. Clearly I would eat you and all your children if you didn’t have a Democrat administration to protect you. And watch out! We control the government, and the internet, and the universities, and the public schools, I mean crikey, we could just come get you any minute now and haul you off to conversion therapy. I’m sure you are worried every single day that the conservative Christian mob will find out you smoke pot, or went out dancing, or that you’re gay, and they will get you fired from your job for it, trash you on social media, show up to protest outside your house and threaten you and your family with violence. It’s terrifying to think of all the Christians out burning and looting in the heart of America’s cities, and not even getting prosecuted for it. Lock your doors! Hide under the bed! Someone might try to evangelize you!

      I know, I know. We don’t actually do that. But we’re scary because we have guns and we don’t agree with you on everything. That must be terrifying. Have you considered therapy? Maybe you should get out and meet some actual conservatives?

      Have you seen church attendance numbers lately? Retention stats? Ever checked out how well our own kids are upholding Christian virtues? Hint: check out the stats for abortions by religious affiliation. Christians have abortion rates virtually identical to everyone else’s. Same divorce rates, too. We have bought into modernity just like everyone else. But you think we’ve actually got the political will left to oppress you. Well… I guess it’s nice if someone assumes from my internet persona that I’m six feet tall. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have to stand on a chair to reach things in my own kitchen.


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