Thursday, 3/30/23


Alarming if true

Over a third of our college seniors couldn’t show any significant cognitive gain for their college years.

Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni via William McGurn.

Saucing geese and ganders

[T]he wrongs wrought by [university DEI policies] are three: First, by folding socio-political goals into the process for tenure and promotion the policy conflates those ends with professional qualifications. This conflation infringes academic freedom. Further, were it to become acceptable for a university to commandeer its faculty toward socio-political ends, made part of the faculty’s professorial obligations, there would be no principled reason why those who fund the institution—the legislatures—should not impose those socio-political ends that they hold dear.

Prof. Matthew Finkin, Diversity! Mandating Adherence to a Secular Creed.

Note well that last sentence, particularly if you commend DEI and contemn Ron DeSantis’s dealings with New College Florida.

What happens on campus doesn’t stay on campus

For a long time we tolerated campus behavior much as we used to tolerate the behavior of toddlers. They’ll grow out of it, we thought, when they enter the real world. But the joke was on us. They graduated into the real world and started to impose their views on it. Weak-kneed managers, eager to protect their privileges and preserve a quiet life, couldn’t face the hostility they’d get from their employees and a media of the same ideological mindset always willing to air the grievances.

We see the implications—occasionally bursting into the open—as when the New York Times forced its opinion editor to resign for publishing an article the radicals didn’t like, or Google dropping a Pentagon contract because employees objected to helping the U.S. defend itself. Most of the time it advances without publicity, as steadily, day by day, the former campus totalitarians make their way in the “real world.”

It’s time employers started to resist, and began to educate their employees—the hard way if necessary—why free speech is so important.

Gerrard Baker, Employers Need to Put the Squeeze on Woke Intolerance.


AR-15s and Whole Foods

If the Red Ryder BB gun is an artifact of an America in which little boys dreamed of growing up to be cowboys, then the omnipresent AR-pattern rifle testifies to a world in which the great masculine ideals are SEALs and snipers. SOCOM stands for “Special Operations Command,” but you’ll see that acronym deployed at least as often in firearms-related marketing material as you will in actual military reports.

(Incidentally, I was going to link to a “SOCOM” example above, but I am at the moment working from the cafe of a Whole Foods Market, which apparently employs a digital nanny that blocks U.S. gun-manufacturer websites. The link to the Communist Party of China works just fine. It’s a funny old world.)

Kevin D. Williamson

When polling reveals nothing useful

I am not particularly worried about a new poll everyone keeps talking about that shows collapse of civic virtues.

It’s not just that a knowledgeable pollster counsels caution about this particular due to a change in the pollster’s methodology (internet polling verses phone interview). It’s that I’ve already noted, polling aside, collapse of much about America and I don’t find quantification of it worth my time.

Progress in the 21st century

In the 21st century, Progress means the unbounded forward march of commerce and technology. And any effort at all to set any limits on that forward march, by calling for limits on the free global movement of low-skilled labour, for example, makes you far-Right by definition. As for asserting a sexed limit to self-identification, this also amounts to standing athwart the march of commerce and technology, yelling “Stop!”.

Mary Harrington, What Posie Parker learnt from Brexit

An arresting phrase

… the difference between what [J.K.] Rowling says she believes and what her critics claim she does.

J.K. Rowling Addresses Her Critics

Is Rowling a notorious liar? Are her critics clairvoyant? Are they grievance-pickers?


Hence the old parable about a vacationing New York businessman who gets talking to a Mexican fisherman, who tells him that he works only a few hours per day and spends most of his time drinking wine in the sun and playing music with his friends. Appalled at the fisherman’s approach to time management, the businessman offers him an unsolicited piece of advice: if the fisherman worked harder, he explains, he could invest the profits in a bigger fleet of boats, pay others to do the fishing, make millions, then retire early. “And what would I do then?” the fisherman asks. “Ah, well, then,” the businessman replies, “you could spend your days drinking wine in the sun and playing music with your friends.”

Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks


Radical reformers

the Ukraine episode showed how Trump and DeSantis, each lionized by their admirers as men of conviction, are opposites in a sense. Trump has extreme instincts but was deterred repeatedly from following them by his advisers while in office. DeSantis, by contrast, works his will routinely in governing Florida but retreated toward a mainstream position on Ukraine when his initial reaction proved too extreme for some of his fans.

Who is the candidate of disruption between the two? The radical who doesn’t know how to govern effectively or the effective governor whose radicalism is shallow?

Nick Cattogio

The “Christians” of Coeur d’Alene

On Wednesday, as the frenzied mob of Trump enthusiasts desecrated the US Capitol, I had to go into Coeur d’Alene to run a few errands. On the street I saw a group of men and women gathered together, glued to their phones in ecstatic glee. I went into a store, where two men approached me to check if I’d heard the wonderful news about the invasion of the Capitol. They announced that the people are taking power, and this is just the beginning of a new revolution.

“And when the revolution arrives in this town,” they told me, “we’ll be driving all the liberals and BLM people into the hills.”

…[W]hen these men announced that they hoped the storming of the Capitol would culminate in the violent expulsion of their political rivals from town, I replied, “In a free society, people have the right to be jerks if they want to.” I was shouted down by everyone in the store. “Not anymore!” they yelled. “Things are different now.”

Robin Mark Phillips, 1/11/21

For all its piety and fervor, today’s United States needs to be recognized for what it really is: not a Christian country, but a nation of heretics.

Ross Douthat, Bad Religion

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