The Inhumanities

Over at What’s Wrong with the World the redoubtable Lydia McGrew has one of those posts making a point that’s obvious in retrospective, except that (almost) nobody said it before. When conservatives decry all the emphasis on sending students to major in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and call for a renewed emphasis on the humanities to produce well-rounded persons, they’re ignoring the obvious: The humanities have almost uniformly become cesspools of leftist perversion and idiocy. Sending students there does far more harm than good.

In response, reader Gerry T. Neal proposes a name for the newly-befouled districts: The Inhumanities.

So we may define any department or discipline ostensibly dedicated to English, Philosophy, Classics, History, or one of the “Studies” (Queer, Chicana, Black, etc.) as part of the Inhumanities unless it demonstrates clearly that its purpose is the study of truth, goodness and beauty.

33 thoughts on “The Inhumanities

  1. Pingback: The Inhumanities | Neoreactive

  2. Alan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind broached this issue and came to the same conclusions in 1987, if memory serve. There was a book by Dinesh D’Souza called Illiberal Education that appeared not too much later than Bloom’s. I started graduate studies in 1984. It was already difficult to find sane instruction. E. L. Gans, who directed my dissertation, was one of the few faculty members resisting the reduction of the humanities to another branch of “dialectical materialism.” Weirdly, I also learned a great deal from Hasan El Nouty, an unreformed Stalinist, concerning whom one knew exactly where he stood.

    “Deconstruction” always made extravagant claims for itself (“I’m BIG THEORY!”), but the distance between the claims, as vain as they were, and the intellectual and personal qualities of the claimants was always vast.

    Sometimes little things tell a great deal. Once, while teaching in Michigan in the 1990s, I had a beer with the local “claimants.” We were all on separate tabs. The biggest “claimant,” whose speech was full of righteous denunciations of greedy people who voted for Bush, on rising to depart, left a miserly tip of one dollar and some change on the table-top. Taking a few steps from the table, he suddenly retraced them, as if compelled. Re-appropriating his dollar, he generously left the few bits of change for the hard-working waitress.

    • Re-appropriating his dollar, he generously left the few bits of change for the hard-working waitress.

      I worked in a tipped job: Leftists are the worst tippers. It’s an even greater predictor than race, which is also a pretty good indicator of what someone will tip you. I was a pizza delivery guy at the 2012 election: I cannot recall a decent tip from someone who displayed support for Obama. The evil rich Republicans were usually pretty generous, though. Somehow, many of the other pizza delivery drivers managed to complain about that one rich guy who didn’t tip them and how they needed some kind of socialist action to fix the problem: *Facepalm*.

  3. Common knowledge, but worth saying. Every field is corrupt in schools, the Inhumanities worse than STEM subjects, but even there, you will have a left wing teacher who will find some way to mock Christianity and blame males for all the ills in the world. Do not go to college expecting to learn anything. Literally, you are going for the piece of paper and a good brainwashing. That’s it.

    • In STEM, the leftist foolishness is generally not related to the subject, and is only occasionally added as a side comment by those professors whose leftism drives them to proselytize in the classroom. One can still learn something valuable and true in most STEM courses.

      In the “inhumanities,” the leftist foolishness is the essence of what is taught.

      • Yes, very true. And this is why one should avoid the Inhumanities like the plague. What they teach there, in the general, is something you can educate yourself on very easily if you are interested. I NEVER took a course on politics, and yet I probably am more acquainted with the subject than anyone at the college I went to who actually took the course, simply because I read and write on the subject in my own time.

        One thing that really grated on my nerves, in history, the changing of BC and AD to BCE and CE (they have the same origin, and turn at the same point in history for exactly the same reason) and yet this is simply to secularize the subject. Total degeneration.

      • Once in a basic math class I was teaching how to calculate an interval of years from a BC date to an AD date. The textbook used the correct terminology; it was several years ago. A student asked why they were now using BCE and CE, and I told her the truth: Because they don’t want to mention the name of Jesus Christ.

      • Yup. “Jesus” and “Christ” and the Cross all have magic power that lefties and Jews respect and fear. Hence the special Jewish mathematical addition sign that does not have a descender (therefore technically not the magical “sign of the cross”), the terms “Common Era” [CE] instead of “Anno Domine” [AD = Year of our Lord].

        Oddly enough, Jews and Muslims have their own competing year numbering systems. The Jews date everything from Creation.

        In Israel, this year is called “5775”, not “2015”. Check out their newspapers, government documents, etc. on the web. Weird, that. Most Jews believe in Creation about as much as they believe in Jesus, yet they love their Creation-based year numbers. 🙂

        The Muslims date everything from Mohammed.

      • Numbers guy,

        In addition to your comments, I’m pretty sure I’ve read somewhere that the Jews take 200+ years off of creation because it helps their polemic against Jesus’ genealogy, since most Christian dates have always put it at ~4000 BC, give or take a few years (Thus, it would be around ~6000 if the Jews actually went by the book).

  4. I teach English in a small state university and nudge students away from grad school in English quite often. I suggest that, at least, they take time off to read deeply and widely in literary classics. One of the benefits will be that, if they do go to grad school, they will be better prepared to recognize worthwhile stuff if they encounter it, and also to recognize baloney. I am boycotting the English conference hosted on campus this week, having told the faculty member most responsible that it would be hypocritical for me to nudge my students to go. It is a bit weird to be trying to nudge my best students, especially, away from my field. But what can you do?

    I ask the Shakespeare students to look at this award-winning essay, and tell them: If you like this, then you’d probably like grad school.

    http://www.english.org/sigmatd/pdf/publications/Review14.pdf

    I give them some other odds and ends, too. I hope this helps them….

  5. The more I begin to study literature, the more I realize how fundamentally anti-Christian most of it is. One of the best takes I’ve ever read on this comes from science fiction author John C. Wright. He was reviewing James Joyce’s magnum opus Ulysses, which is sometimes called the greatest book of the 20th century.

    … the West turned away from everything wholesome, normal and good, and erected new and shocking idols to whatever was tasteless, meaningless, anti-heroic, and antinomian. ULYSSES by James Joyce is their paramount written work… These works of modern so-called ‘art’ are called art because, and precisely because, they are the opposite of art: they are insolent trash. They are deliberately ugly, deliberately untruthful, deliberately vicious.

    And of course, after Ulysses came Finnegans Wake, which declared open war on the very concepts of communication, language, knowledge, truth, and existence. The thing about STEM majors is that, for the most part, they’re still about seeking truth, and accomplishing good. In the university arts departments however, any truth or goodness that slips through does so entirely by accident.

    • Prolifist: I argue the opposite. Actual literature – the classics, from Homer to Henry James – tends to affirm Tradition. That is precisely why the Left wants to displace it, and has largely done so.

      • I should have said ‘modern literature.’ I agree that a lot of older literature can be beneficial. Even so, I guess I do take a dimmer view of classic literature’s value than some other Christians. “Tradition,” though similar, does not always equal “Christian” (Cf. Mark 7:8-13). A careful theologian would doubtless find many instances where Greco-Roman thought and writing is flatly opposed to Christian doctrine.

        Older literature may have more truth and value, but that can cause problems too. Less discerning readers may not be able to spot the places where the classics subtly diverge from Christianity. This makes them, in one respect, potentially more troublesome than obvious pieces of garbage like Finnegans Wake. In any classical education, it needs to be remembered foremost that our faith remains the ultimate standard by which all art must be judged.

  6. Alan: I agree with you, based on longtime first-hand experience, that what is still called the humanities side of a liberal arts education is today either insipid (at best) or toxic (quite often), and that it is reasonable that reasonable people should probably avoid it. Nevertheless, an actual humanities curriculum, such as one might have encountered pre-1950 in a small private college, would be as valuable today as it was then. As it is unlikely that that curriculum can be reinstated in the state colleges and universities (and even the “private” institutions today are in effect state affiliated), what practical steps might Traditionalists take to reconstitute real humanities education outside the established institutions?

    • In response to your question, Tom, the first thought that flashed through my mind was “It is up to those of us who partake of this tradition to do what we can to teach it to others.” As a professor in the Humanities, you can teach what needs to be taught, and fathers, for example, can resolve to teach it to their children.

  7. The education that is presently available presents traditionalists with a dilemma. The humanities have become the inhumanities – a place of indoctrination into egalitarian, multicultural, anti-Christian, anti-white, anti-male, anti-straight, politically correct dogma of every imaginable kind. It is tempting for the traditionalist to turn to something like STEM. The problem is that STEM does not provide what traditionalists would – or should at any rate – regard as an education. Some of the earliest traditionalist concerns about the drift in education (Stephen Leacock, “Literature and education in America”, 1909, Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Lost Tools of Learning”, 1947, Richard M. Weaver, “Ideas Have Consequences”, 1948, Hilda Neatby, “So Little For The Mind”, 1953) were that it was heading in the direction represented by STEM – specialized, technical, training that is useful and pragmatic but starves the mind and soul. Unfortunately, the education in the classical humanities these traditionalists championed, is largely unavailable these days except through the autodidact method and a handful of, mostly religious, private institutions determined to keep the old tradition alive.

    • I’m perhaps more inclined to play up today’s possibilities for private study. The internet, for all its faults, has made it remarkably easy to read works that previously would have been completely unknown. I have absorbed Traditionalist works from authors that hailed from Russia, Romania, France, Spain, Italy and beyond, all without any help from the dreck liberals who “taught” at my college.

      It would be great to have academies where true humanities could be studied, in regard to history especially which is so perverted in schools today. Unfortunately, without a Reactionary state, this is just not possible, not because the Modern state won’t aid in the creation of such things, but rather because if they existed in a meaningful way, the Modern state would find a way to crush them.

      Until then, the scholarship has to be done by you. You can’t rely on being taught the truth that nourishes the soul, you have to seek it out. That is the harsh lesson for the sane men of the West.

      • In Czechoslovakia between 1968 and independence, secretive, ultra-private, dissident liberal-arts institutions came into existence. Any that were detected were crushed, but not all were detected. In the USSR, samizdat functioned similarly. How do we begin to organize?

      • @ AR
        You already know how it worked — internet. Imagine the internet without the techology, just people and typewriters. If you knew the address you had access to the right information.

        What I miss at the Orthosphere: growing library and perhaps something like traditionalist wikipedia. Libertarians have their Mises Institute with library, courses and other stuff. Couldn’t that be an inspiration?

      • You’ve identified the means of production and of delivery, but there is more to it. How did teachers and students find one another? How were the activities administered and coordinated? How was the curriculum determined? And so on.

      • I was writing more about how the samizdat was spread around.

        Don’t expect anything sofisticated. What was called underground university were simply lectures given to a group of people, mostly students interested in knowing more than they could learn at the official university. That’s why they knew each other. The lectures were given in private apartments which were quite crowded place because poeple talk… They also invited guests, even from abroad. I think Scruton was once or twice in Brno (Czechoslovakia).

        And, I don’t think the situation in Czechoslovakia 68-89 is comparable to that of US nowadays. You still enjoy much more liberty than we did and have technology that our former dissidents could only dream about. I believe that you as a teacher certainly know enough of what you need to know. The experience from Eastern Europe only suggests that it is possible to “go unofficial”.

      • You can start by supporting a true leisure class among conservative/traditionalist people. Once you have that, you can have a life of the mind without leftist hornswoggle all over it.

  8. I am pro-STEM precisely because that is at least unpervertible objective knowledge. I like the fact that from the angle of liberals entirely apolitical STEMmers are far too conservative, for they dare to believe in things like some statements are true or false, or some solutions are better than others. It is amusing.

    • How is STEM unpervertible objective knowledge? It seems to me that the S in STEM has been entirely perverted. How many science classes, from elementary up through university levels, are not taught from a positivist perspective – that science has superceded and made obsolete older, more primitive, ways of understanding the world such as myth and theology? How many science classes teach rather than attempt to hide the facts about racial differences? Can you not see the day coming, if it has not already arrived, where the science classroom will be a pulpit for proclaiming the message that sexuality taxes a myriad of natural forms and that the old idea of heteronormality is debunked bigotry in this day and age? Indeed, at a deeper level than this, modern science and technology are based upon a perversion of the idea of knowledge. The traditional understanding of knowledge was that knowledge is worth pursuing for its own sake and that while all true knowledge is interconnected in a unified whole there is a hierarchy to it in which knowledge of the material world is at the bottom, knowledge of the good, true, and beautiful is higher up, peaking ultimately with the most worthy knowledge, that of God. Modern science and technology is based on the idea that knowledge is the means to the end of shaping the world around us and bending it to our will and so only knowledge of the material world is “real” knowledge worth pursuing.

      • Bruce Charlton and Wolfgang Smith both argue persuasively that science has indeed been perverted. Charlton argues that it has been perverted methodologically over the last three or four decades, while Smith (echoing Guenon) argues that it has been perverted substantively over the last few centuries, in just the fashion Gerry describes.

      • My daughter and her family are visiting the Field Museum of Natural History today in Chicago.

        She makes the mistake of sending me a photo of herself and son Toby (almost 5 years old) standing in front of a display window which has only a mirror and this caption in red on the glass: “Who is this primate?”

        So much for the sciences. My reply: “Ah yes. The theory that lacks empirical evidence and denies the Creator.”

      • The only way I can see that is because some STEMers do like having a correct answer to a question, which is itself a radical right-wing ideal according to our postmodern leftist friends. However, it cannot be said that science has not been tainted by modernism. Often, the scientists will present things as true they really don’t know. They’ll even present things that they know to be false to convince children of theories that they consider essential, when the only thing they are essential to is their cause to destroy the Church.

        At this point I’m skeptical of the whole scientific enterprise, going all the way back to square one with a certain Galileo. I think they tell us all these things are necessary for technology, medicine, and whatever else, when they’re really not. In fact, I’d be willing to bet so many scientists focused on creating anti-Christian cosmologies and prehistories actively harms technological progress, if only because some of the greatest minds are too busy building secular theologies to actually do real work.

      • Thank you GTN. That being said, I prefer the science classes in college because sure they may ignore the obvious Darwinian unfitness of faggotry and queerdom and the differences amongst the races, atleast I don’t have to read drivel by homosexual Jewish agnostic communists or lesbian African-American female “poets” with lupus and read about the structuralist and post-colonial aspects of racism. Or something equally stupid and preposterous.

        Science has gone to the shitter after 1945 and the infiltration of Freud and Boas types into formerly hard or “hardish” scientists.

  9. As a current college student, I just have been BSing my way through college because I know I am being scammed. BSing a bunch of fanatics is quite easy and really funny and amusing.

    • Svar,

      Enjoy the comparative leisure time school brings. Seriously, life gets much worse “after.” Go to a graduate school and study something interesting and not marketable- like Classics. We need less people as cogs in the liberal-economic machine.

      • I believe in education, ISE. I just don’t believe that the current school system can give me that. Education is a life-long process. I believe in reading books by minds far greater than mine. As for college, I believe it’s a scam in which I pay money to buy the hope of a job not the spiritual formation that education brings. I have had to learn many of the non-math things of the world by myself.

        That being said, I agree with the leisure stuff. I enjoy making new friends, talking and spending time and having new experiences with my Knights of Columbus friends at the Catholic group and my frat boy friends (two groups that have significant overlap). Hell, I expect to meet my future wife in college. College is an experience for sure but as a service it is most definitely a scam.

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