Article of Possible Interest

Farewell Faculty 01

The James Martin Center has published Part II of my article, Leaving the Blight of Higher Education.  Part I dedicated itself to a discussion of how the liberal regime that controls the institutions of higher education in our former republic has, through massive and continuous indoctrination, transformed the student body from a cohort of young people that was at least willing to learn into a mob-minded mass whose primary function is to monitor and denounce any infraction of the racialist totalitarian regime of political correctness on campus.  I gave an account of the havoc that the anti-morality of denunciation works on any attempt to impart a genuine higher education.  Once the slogans take over, thinking stops.  I wrote how this conversion of the student-body into a quasi-police force increasingly disgusted my wife and me and led, in part, to our decision to retire from teaching – a task to which we had dedicated our lives.  Part II, “Farewell, Faculty,” turns its attention to the instructor-side of the equation.  My wife and I taught at what I call Upstate Consolation University for twenty years.  The faculty committees that hired us in our respective departments (Foreign Languages in her case and English in mine) were firmly liberal in their political convictions but not politicized in the totalitarian way of the contemporary Left.  This, too, would undergo a transformation.  As older faculty members retired and newly graduated holders of the doctorate – most of them from state universities – replaced them, the character of the department changed.  The intellectual level dropped, lower and lower, until the difference, in this regard, between the teachers and the students became minimal.  The character of the two groups also merged.  And at this point the urge to police, to betray, and to punish made any exercise of curiosity about the human condition or openness to knowledge impossible.  An adolescent narcissism made itself universal in students and faculty alike as the behavior of undergraduates became the behavior of the faculty.

I draw an excerpt from Part II, which I preface here with a back-reference to a passage in Part I that acknowledged, with an allusion to the American philosopher George Santayana, the wide general knowledge of the “Old Guard” of professors, so as to contrast them with the “New Guard.” –

As the Old Guard went into retirement a cohort of new assistant professors filled up the department’s allotted tenure-track lines.  The new phase of aggressive Affirmative-Action recruitment insured that this replacement-generation of instructors, overwhelmingly female, differed starkly in character from its precursor-generation.  The new hires came to the institution from the politically radicalized graduate programs of the state universities.  Whereas the Old Guard corresponded to a literary-generalist or dilettante model – terms that I use in a wholly positive way – the arrivistes brought with them only their narrow specialisms, as encrusted in their conformist political dogmas.  Mention Santayana to the Old Guard and chances were good that any given one of them would be familiar with the drift, at least, of the philosopher’s work.  Mentioning Santayana to an arriviste produces a blank stare.
Richard Weaver’s notion of “Presentism” makes itself relevant to the discussion.  By “Presentism” Weaver intends a mental restriction that has steadily eroded the modern, liberal view of reality.  This mental restriction, as he puts it in his Visions of Order (1964), manifests itself primarily in a “decay of memory.”  Weaver writes, “Wherever we look in the ‘progressive’ world we find encouragements not to remember.”  Today it is not an “encouragement,” but rather a demand not to remember, as the profligate monument-defacement and statue-toppling of the times so savagely demonstrate.  The anti-historical dementia has fully infiltrated graduate studies and through them has colonized the literary branches of higher education.  The unending pageant of neologisms and slogans that now makes up “literary studies” illustrates this anti-developmental development.

11 thoughts on “Article of Possible Interest

  1. It looks to me that the world government is working to (all but) shut down higher education; and soon. Here in the UK as of 2020-21 – universities are a sham even of the pathetic sham universities of a year ago. The age of higher education seems to be almost over.

    I know of a first year student at Cambridge (to mention a somewhat well known institution) who spent a whole term last year without seeing a single member of staff face to face. So much for the vaunted personal tutorial/ supervision tradition.

    Of course, all the traditional student extra-curricular activities such as team sports, debates, singing, music, drama, dancing, dining, cafes, chapel etc. – are either completely closed or vestigial. If people went to residential college for the social life, plus a certificate – now they don’t get the social life. Indeed, most have been confined to their rooms for weeks at a time.

    By any reasonable definition, the most co-famous UK university in the world has entirely given up on what would (for centuries and until a few months ago) be called education. Yet the fees and expenses have remained the same.

    Since these conditions are a direct consequence of the new totalitarian regime, it is likely that the situation will not get significantly better: probably this is just the start of a very complete collapse. Why pay lots of money for… nothing?

    OK – so what does it mean? Maybe there is no longer any perceived need for masses of leftist indoctrinated young adults. Why would that be? Perhaps docile, passive obedience is going to be enough for the new normal; and clearly that is very achievable equally with or without college. Look around…

    After all, one plan is that nearly everyone will be all-but confined to their homes, living off whatever state credits they are allocated… well, actually, that is substantially the situation here and now. All that is required is to make permanent what has been actuality for most people for much of the past year – with prospect of at least months more to come.

  2. The noveau regime is ruthless, but, being ideological in its basis, it is not very bright. State colleges in the USA earn most of their money — what they don’t take from the taxpayers — from the residence halls. The residence halls at Upstate Consolation University, to give one example among many, have been emptied. The administration has been silent about the revenue loss, but it can only be tremendous. I would expect that, next year, the chancellor will announce the shutting down of peripheral campuses and a consolidation of students in central locations. Whether this is a plan, I know not, but how can it be anything other than inevitable, given the endless extensions of the lockdown? The disaster, when it comes, will be the effect of fiats imposed by the unified regime of all institutions, so that, if it isn’t a plan, it will be a case of the governing power having shot itself in the foot.

    The collapse of monopoly education controlled by the state will be a good thing. Tens of thousands of salaried frauds will lose their overpaid sinecures.

    Added subsequently: In the four or five years before the Wuflu, the local real estate market in the areas adjacent to the Upstate Consolation University campus was robustly active. Speculators built hundreds of luxury “student apartments” and even provided a private bus-system to take residents to and from campus and into town. These are now suffering from the same low occupancy as the dorms. The impact on the city economy has got to be ponderous, but again, we have not heard about it. The lockdown mentality has already shot itself, not only in the foot, but in the kneecap, in the belly, and in its head.

  3. Pingback: Article of Possible Interest | Reaction Times

    • I agree although it would have taken telepathy, probably, to clue us in to each other. It’s a pleasure to be a collaborator with you on The Orthosphere.

  4. @Tom – re shooting in foot etc (I will not say anything about your misue of the term, since it has now become almost universal… oops, I already said it!,,,

    That aside, this is a very important question – whether destroying the economy was an accident of the low level politicians; or (as I believe) an intrinsic part of the plan of the global level Etsablishment – the people who are working for a great reset/ agenda 2030 world; who I read to be advocating a massive reduction in the world economy.

    Why? Well again there are proximate and distal reasons; but at this level the reasons are to do with an attempted engineering of the *damnation* of the masses. Or perhaps even a purely negative – “Sorathic” as I call it – kind of demonic destruction, related to sheer hatred of God’s creation.

    But, either way – nothing primarily to do with the economy.

  5. Graduate programs are the root of the problem. I’m liable to the grass-is-greener fallacy, but the graduate school regime seems to work reasonably well in the sciences, but not at all well in the humanities. In both cases it places a capstone of specialist arrogance on top of a base of undergraduate miseducation, but graduate programs in science produce scientists and graduate programs in the humanities produce barbarians. As you say in your paper, there is no “formation.” So what we get is “lipstick on a pig,” the trappings of a scholar on a philistine soul. Some of this is inevitable. I came out of graduate school with plenty of lipstick on my snout, but lipstick and snout soon became, for me, a source of shame.

    Graduate programs pervert the mind with two principles: methodology and “the literature.” The principle of methodology underlies all academic bigotry, since methodologists are as loyal to the deliverances of their method as devotes are loyal to the oracles of their god. The principle of “the literature” turns every academic discussion into frivolous gossip about people who are not in the room. Voegelin taught me the perils of methodological bigotry, and then I looked around and noticed who was all on fire for methodology. As you note in your paper, “the literature” is always absurdly up to date, as if one could learn anything from people who breath the same dank air one is breathing one’s self. Once again, I think the situation is different in the sciences, but presentism is death to the humanities. It is impossible to expand one’s imagination by reading authors with an imaginary that is all too familiar (apologies for the barbarism of “imaginary” as a noun).

    • It started in the humanities with the “New Criticism,” which treated the “text” (its coinage) the way a mineralogist treats a rock — without reference to its maker. Where there is no maker, there is no meaning. There is only method. From the “New Criticism” to “Deconstruction” was then only a short walk of about half a city block. The autism of the “New Critics” and the “Deconstructionists” goes together with their narcissism. It takes centuries to build up a broadly literate culture, but only one generation to destroy it.

      • Bad critics are always trying to upstage creators. I suppose this is rooted in envy. It is evident in the way that critics love books that allow them to show off their critical virtuosity. It’s the death of art when authors and artists succumb to this, and begin to produce books and paintings that are nothing but gymnastic equipment for critics. When critics ignore the maker, they are really just saying, “look at me! look at me!”


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