The Beat Goes On

I’ve followed up my piece at Crisis Magazine  about the New Dunciad that was linked here with suggestions for how to smarten up. Like the first piece, it was inspired by discussions at the New York Orthosphere meetup group. Basically, I say we need more of a sense of authority and the transcendent, and also a stronger element of learning through apprenticeship.

I’ve also supplemented my handwringing at Catholic World Report about What Are Catholics to Do? with part II and part III on the same topic.

9 thoughts on “The Beat Goes On

  1. “How often do our leaders say or write anything that would be of interest if a different name were attached? Can anyone imagine Hilary Clinton thinking something she isn’t supposed to think?” This has been true for three decades and is most evident in the vacuity of the collective production of the university presses during that time and continuing in the present. The elite paradigm of “diversity” leads to stultifying intellectual conformity.

    • I don’t think there is. If you look at the map on the “offline” page though it looks like there’s a cluster of interested people there. Why not email the address given on the page and try to organize something?

  2. Pingback: This Week in Reaction | The Reactivity Place

  3. From the suggestions link:

    First, most demands for educational and professional certification should be eliminated. The multiplication of such demands is based on the belief that people can’t do anything without special training, because the only knowledge that counts is organized technical knowledge. If we cut back on those requirements people will get back into the habit of doing things as a matter of common sense and everyday human functioning.

    It’s a little hard to tell what the author has in mind here. There are a lot of occupations in the United States which are subject to what is called professional regulation (two examples: lawyers, dental hygienists). In such a profession, you must hold a license, normally issued by a state government, in order to be able licitly to practice the occupation. The requirements of the license generally are 1) to complete a certified course of study in a school, 2) to pass a certified paper-and-pencil test, and 3) to occasionally take certified continuing education courses. There are minor variations. Sometimes there is an apprenticeship instead of or in addition to the test, for example. Sometimes the continuing ed requirement is absent. The certification is typically done by a professional association, usually composed of members of the regulated profession but sometimes by a members of a closely related association.

    The dental hygienist, for example, normally takes a two year course of study at a community college, then a paper and pencil test, and then continuing ed courses which may be offered by community colleges, universities, or sponsored by private companies. The lawyer gets a BA, then a JD each from accredited institutions, then takes the bar exam, then takes continuing ed. For lawyers, the process is regulated by state bar associations, composed of lawyers. For hygienists, the process is regulated (in most states, I think) by the dentists’ professional association.

    These professions can usefully be divided into highbrow and lowbrow, according to whether they require a BA as part of the process (lawyers, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, etc) or not (hygienists, plumbers, various medical technicians, etc). The lowbrow education process normally has very little brainwashing in it. Hygienists learn things like the names of and normal structure and function of teeth, for example. The highbrow education process normally has quite a lot of brainwashing in it. Not coincidentally, the lowbrow education process happens in emphatically non-elite institutions: community colleges and for-profit training institutes.

    I don’t see any rightist argument for doing away with lowbrow professional regulation. These regulations along with their associated professional associations are the modern day equivalent of guilds. Our enemies hate guilds; we don’t. Getting rid of lowbrow guilds and chipping away at some highbrow guilds is a longstanding item on the evil elite’s to-do list, though it has not been high on that list.

    These guilds are offensive to the elite in about the same way that guilds historically were offensive to liberals. They raise wages for the untermenschen. They are now, as unions used to be, a major mechanism keeping semi-skilled laborers in the middle class. They get in the way of efficiency-enhancing innovation (just why do pharmacists and optometrists get paid $100K/yr to do jobs a trained monkey could do?). Guilds are important intermediary institutions and thus impediments to elite power.

    Getting rid of or greatly reforming highbrow guilds is less problematic to us. The benefits are greater in that you could eliminate lots of brainwashing this way. The costs are lower, as these guilds are already elite institutions, so that their loss would probably end up being a net loss for the elite rather than a net gain.

    The biggest bang for buck from our point of view would come from getting rid of licensing for schoolteachers. Their “education” is more or less pure brainwashing. Their professional associations are more or less perfect toadies of the elite. And there is pretty much nothing to teach them anyway. How hard is it to teach things to children? They are learning machines by nature. The only way to fail to teach them is through training in what doesn’t work, which training is the only non-brainwashing activity on offer in Ed Schools.

    I don’t pretend to know when the elite will get around to sweeping lowbrow guilds away, but it will be a bad day for us and for America when they do.

    • Milton Friedman included professional certification in his list of modern innovations that stifle an individual’s ability to choose a profession for himself. As noted above, lawyers determine qualifications for entry into that field, and dentists into dentistry. This is true for most professions. One effect is to lower the number of people practicing, which in turn increases incomes for the limited number of practitioners. (I’m certain I’m not presenting his point well at all.)

      The counterargument that occurred to me is protection of the public against the unscrupulous. Anyone could print out a fraudulent diploma and have it professionally inked, then hang out a shingle. We can’t possibly know everyone’s background, and many would be disinclined to find out. So they trust “Doctor” Smith, and end up paying for it dearly when he fails to treat them correctly.

      It seems to me that there is some happy medium between letting anyone do whatever job he wants and leaving the public to sort the wheat from the chaff, and the current situation, but I don’t know what it is.

    • What I mostly had in mind was the demand first for a high school diploma and now for a bachelor’s degree before you can apply for any kind of job. Beyond that most of the certification requirements I’ve run into haven’t been guild-like. Guild training is apprenticeship, which I approve of. The requirements I’ve run into have to do with taking academic courses, often quite irrelevant academic courses, which aren’t guild-like at all. As a lawyer for example I found the first year of law school useful and the other two mostly useful for brainwashing and supporting the professorial class. As you suggest the situation might be quite different for plumbers and dental hygienists.

      • OK, I understand. You are thinking primarily, then, about what I am calling highbrow professions and also the de facto requirement of a BA for becoming a manager or upper technical type (programmer, engineer, actuary, …). I could not agree more with what you are saying, then. The typical BA degree is not only useless but actively harmful. It is a certificate demonstrating that you have gone through an extensive course in brainwashing.

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