The Guild

This analysis has to sting:

Now, as soon as anyone from this non-institutional world produces effects within the institutional orbit, it is actually a really serious survival reflex for all institutionally privileged intellectuals to play the morality card (“no platform!”). If all these strange, outside autodidacts are actually smart and independently producing high-level intellectual content you don’t have the time to even understand, let alone defeat or otherwise control, this is an existential threat to your entire livelihood. Because all of your personal identity, your status, and your salary, is based directly on your credentialed, legitimated membership card giving your writings and pontifications an officially sanctioned power and authority. If that door is opened even a crack by non-credentialed outsiders, the whole jig is up for the respectable bourgeois monopoly on the official intellectual organs of society.

Murphy understands that protectionism is the real story, and the Internet is the ultimate context. What began with textile workers has now reached the functionaries of higher education, and they know it. Creative destruction is coming.

Quotable (#206)

The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.

Chronic Neo-Lysenkoism and other pathologies of the left-dominated academy are patiently detailed by John Tierney. (As the reflexive loop of ideological self-confirmation goes, if you don’t know the broad outlines of this story already, you almost certainly aren’t interested in learning about it.)

Quotable (#158)

Kristof in the NYT:

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

The Gramscian-triumph hangover wasn’t supposed to be this uncomfortable.

Quotable (#56)

Some exceptionally high-quality curmudgeonry from Arthur Krystal at The Chronicle Review, advancing a significant thesis:

Ironically, the last great surge of ideas in the humanities was essentially antihumanist. And because the academy eagerly embraced and paraded these ideas, the humanities themselves began to shrink. For when literature professors began to apply critical theory to the teaching of books they were, in effect, committing suicide by theory. […] … what the postmodernists indirectly accomplished was to open the humanities to the sciences, particularly neuroscience. By exposing the ideological codes in language, by revealing the secret grammar of architectural narrative and poetic symmetries, and by identifying the biases that frame “disinterested” judgment, postmodern theorists provided a blueprint of how we necessarily think and express ourselves. In their own way, they mirrored the latest developments in neurology, psychology, and evolutionary biology. To put it in the most basic terms: Our preferences, behaviors, tropes, and thoughts — the very stuff of consciousness — are byproducts of the brain’s activity. And once we map the electrochemical impulses that shoot between our neurons, we should be able to understand — well, everything. So every discipline becomes implicitly a neurodiscipline, including ethics, aesthetics, musicology, theology, literature, whatever.