Shaking up the Universities

This is interesting. I don’t have all that much contact with education anymore, other than college sports on TV occasionally. But I read a lot, and a lot of the nonsense on the internet comes out of various colleges. There is a backlash starting, just ask Mizzou or Evergreen, even Oberlin is starting to feel it. I don’t think that Harvard’s stupidity with its endowment is part of the backlash, but it sounds like that investment officer may well be a product of the left wing academy.

In any case, this is from Steven Hayward of PowerLine who is trapped at Berkeley.

I’ve been predicting, […] that universities would soon begin to divide into two entities—the STEM fields and related practical subjects (i.e., business and economics), and the social sciences and humanities, which would start to shrivel under the weight of the degradations the left has inflicted over the last 40 years. The number of students majoring in the humanities has declined by two-thirds since around 1980.

Here’s part of what I said at Arizona State:

I think we’re already seeing the beginnings of a de facto divorce of universities, in which the STEM fields and other “practical” disciplines essentially split off from the humanities and social sciences, not to mention the more politicized departments.

At this rate eventually many of our leading research universities will bifurcate into marginal fever swamps of radicalism whose majors will be unfit for employment at Starbucks, and a larger campus dedicated to science and technology education.

I added, incidentally, the interesting fact that a new trend is starting to occur in economics. Not only is the discipline subdividing itself into “general economics” and an even more math-centric “quantitative econometrics,” but several economics departments are formally reclassifying themselves as STEM departments for a variety of reasons, but among them surely has to be wishing to disassociate themselves further from other social sciences.

Well, now we have some concrete evidence of this crackup starting to happen. The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point campus announced last week that it intends to cut 13 majors from the humanities and social sciences. Inside Higher Ed reports:

Programs pegged for closure are American studies, art (excluding graphic design), English (excluding English for teacher certification), French, geography, geoscience, German, history (excluding social science for teacher certification), music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish.

The even better news is that some tenured professors are going to be laid off. Naturally, the faculty are not happy. Who’s next?

More at the link, of course.

That is on the whole good news, I think. You all know that I have a firm belief that the humanities provide the solid foundation for a well-rounded man or woman. But they are no longer, in many cases, teaching the humanities, they are indoctrinating left-wing ideas in the kids.

But departments that think Howard Zinn writes history, or that one can teach English without Shakespeare, have no salvage value. They are totally useless. Time to send them to the landfill, and find something of value to replace them.

This may be the only way to fix it, knock it all down, salvage what little might be usable and start over, and pay attention this time.

This is going to take some time, so one is advised to buy futures in popcorn. Gonna be a lot of leftist shrieking. It’ll sound better than most of what passes for music these days, at least.


The Weekly Nonsense

Pretty good idea, I think!

That one is rated as fake – but true.

And that’s the problem with parody accounts, she’s apparently stupid enough to tweet this, so it’s hard to parody.

Of course!

As usual, mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine.

Have a good one!

And the Trumpets Sounded

Blogging is a funny thing, often you end up having friends, all over the world, who you are fairly sure you’ll never meet. I’ve met people from every continent (but Antartica) and quite a few have become friends, and a fair number of them have been featured here, over the years.

One of them is TonyfromOz, who told us this week about his ten years of blogging. His actual career (and the reason he started blogging) is a fairly close parallel to my own, and I was going to talk about it today. But Tony got superseded today. I hope he understands, actually I’m sure he will. Maybe some other day.

This summer will mark my seventh-anniversary blogging, and yes, I still enjoy it, although it is occasionally a strain, to find something to say, and to keep it suitable for work, as we say. Over that time many other bloggers have come into my life, and sadly a majority of them have gone, almost all are missed.

Sometime in the fall of 2011, I got a like from an unusual source, danmillerinpanama, the Gravatar showed a gentleman about my age, in a quite nice Panama hat. The likes continued to come as did mine on his blog, and so did occasional comments both ways, and something unusual here reblogs both ways. As I came to know Dan, I found that in some ways our outlooks were similar, and in some, they were quite different. We were both wise enough to understand that did not preclude our friendship.

Dan’s personal blog is here. One could profitably spend some time there.

One of the more interesting things is that we both greatly admired Robert E Lee, not least for his conception of duty. Our outlook on the world was quite similar.

So today I was very saddened to read on Warsclerotic, where he was the editor, in addition to making some posts on his own blog, that he had passed over. They were kind enough to share what Dan’s wife, Jeannie had written.

Dear Joe,
Dan asked me to communicate with you should he not make it through the latest of his health problems.
He felt a deep connection with Isreal, with Warsclerotic, and with you, Joe.
Please forgive my delay in communicating with you.  It, as you must know, has been a tremendously difficult time for me.  I needed some time to recover even the tinyest bit of perspective.
Please keep him in your prayers.
Best,  Jeanie
Here is what I wrote to our families:

Dan and I started our adventures together almost 26 years ago. Over the years, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve won and we’ve lost. Always, our

​mutual ​

love and respect made it possible to overcome the inevitable obstacles that present themselves over a lifetime.

Dan died last Sunday afternoon. I will miss him forever. He has preceded me in this last and greatest adventure of all.

As was his wish, I will spread his ashes over the finca he loved so well.


Rest in peace

​ and
Namaste, My​Darling

Curriculum Vitae and subsequent life:

Herbert Daniel Miller was graduated from Yale University, cum laude, and the University of Virginia Law School where he was notes editor of Law Review and a member of The Order of the Coif. After he graduated, he joined the United States Army JAG Corp where he was Special Courts Marshall Judge for the Country of Korea. Upon returning to civilian life, he joined the law firm of Koteen and Naftalin in Washington, D.C. until he retired as a partner in 1996.

Thereupon, he and his wife cruised in the Eastern Caribbean as well as Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia in their sailboat, Namaste. They achieved their Dive Master certificates in Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. In 2002, they reached Panama, spending a month in the Kuna Yala Islands on their sailboat before settling in Western Panama.

He leaves behind his wife, Jean Fiester Miller, his son, Nicolas Miller, his daughter, Elizabeth Korchnak and his sister, Margaret Zilm, his nephews Andrew and Gregory Zilm, as well as three grandchildren.

There are a certain number of us around, who have known each other (through our blogs) for years, and have become friends. Dan was a leading member of that group for me. After all, not that many American bloggers post YouTubes of Harlech Men or Scotland the Brave and connect them to our posts. He taught me much, while never denigrating anything I did.

One of our favorite quotes from General Lee was this:

Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things.

You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.

Dan epitomized that outlook, he’ll be mourned and missed for many a day here.

Rest in peace, dear friend. As our Navy friends say, “Fair winds and following seas”.

We’ll take the duty, amongst us.

And may God give comfort to Jeannie and his family.


Secularism and Religion

Many here are aware that the basis of western civilization is in our Judeo-Christian heritage. Often we merely assert this, since we have known it all our lives, but it can be examined fruitfully.

I admire Melanie Phillips greatly because not only is she a very good writer and speaker, she is fully capable of thinking through things. And she does so here. Yes, this is a long read, but I think you’ll find it valuable to read the whole thing.

It has become the orthodoxy in the West that freedom, human rights and reason all derive from secularism and that the greatest threat to all these good things is religion.

I want to suggest that the opposite is true. In the service of this orthodoxy, the West is undermining and destroying the very values which it holds most dear as the defining characteristics of a civilised society.

In truth, in the United States, we don’t hear it explicitly very often, but in Britain, it is quite common in my experience. Not to mention very strident, not only from the secularists, but from Randians, and other assorted libertine groups.

Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamisation of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Actually, it goes back specifically to the French Enlightenment. In England and Scotland, the Enlightenment developed reason and political liberty within the framework of Biblical belief. In France, by contrast, anti-clericalism morphed into fundamental hostility to Christianity and to religion itself.

“Ecrasez l’infame,” said Voltaire (crush infamy) — the infamy to which he referred being not just the Church but Christianity, which he wanted to replace with the religion of reason, virtue and liberty, “drawn from the bosom of nature”.

[…] Instead of God producing heaven on earth, it would be mankind which would bring that about. Reason would create the perfect society and “progress” was the process by which utopia would be attained.

Far from utopia, however, this thinking resulted in something more akin to hell on earth. For the worship of man through reason led straight to totalitarianism. It was reason that would redeem religious superstition and bring about the kingdom of Man on earth. And just like medieval apocalyptic Christian belief, this secular doctrine would also be unchallengeable and heretics would be punished. This kind of fanaticism infused the three great tyrannical movements that were spun out of Enlightenment thinking: the French Revolution, Communism and Fascism. […]

In the Sixties, the baby-boomer generation bought heavily into the idea propounded by Herbert Marcuse and other Marxist radicals that the way to transform the West lay not through the seizure of political or economic control but through the transformation of the culture. This has been achieved over the past half century through what has been called a “long march through the institutions”, the infiltration into all the institutions of the culture — the universities, media, professions, politics, civil service, churches — of ideas that would then become the orthodoxy.

From multiculturalism to environmentalism, from post-nationalism to “human rights” doctrine, Western progressives have fixated upon universalising ideas which reject values anchored in the particulars of religion or culture. All that matters is a theoretical future in which war, want and prejudice will be abolished: the return of fallen humanity to a lost Eden. And like all utopian projects, which are by definition impossible and unattainable, these dogmas are enforced through coercion: bullying, intimidation, character assassination, professional and social exclusion.

The core doctrine is equality. Not the Biblical doctrine that every human being is owed equal respect because they are formed in the image of God: equality has been redefined as identicality, the insistence that there can be no hierarchy of values of lifestyles or cultures. There can no longer be different outcomes depending on different circumstances or how people behave. To differentiate at all is to be bigoted and on a fast track back to fascism and war.

So the married family was kicked off its perch. Sexual restraint was abolished. The formerly transgressive became normative. Education could no longer transmit a culture down through the generations but had to teach that the Western nation was innately racist and exploitative.

Subjective trumped objective. There was no longer any absolute truth. Everyone could arbitrate their own truth. That way bigotry and prejudice would be excised from the human heart, the oppressed of the developing world would be freed from their Western oppressors and instead of the Western nation there would be the brotherhood of man.

All this was done in name of freedom, reason and enlightenment and in opposition to religion, the supposed source of oppression, irrationality and obscurantism.

At the heart of it was an onslaught against the moral codes of Christianity. Those moral codes are actually the Mosaic laws of the Hebrew Bible.

[…] What they [Western “progressives” and the Islamists] also have in common is hostility to Judaism, Israel or the Jewish people. The genocidal hatred of Israel and the Jews that drives the Islamic jihad against the West is not acknowledged or countered by the West because its most high-minded citizens share at least some of that prejudice. Both Western liberals and Islamists believe in utopias to which the Jews are an obstacle. The State of Israel is an obstacle to both the rule of Islam over the earth and a world where there are no divisions based on religion or creed. The Jews are an obstacle to the unconstrained individualism of Western libertines and to the onslaught against individual human dignity and freedom by the Islamists. Both the liberal utopias of a world without prejudice, divisions or war and the Islamist utopia of a world without unbelievers are universalist ideologies. The people who are always in the way of universalising utopias are the Jews.

Do read it all, and there is a deal more than I have given you. The full title is: Secularism and religion: the onslaught against the West’s moral codes. It is simply a superb examination of where our basic morality came from, and how it has allowed us to exceed former civilizations by orders of magnitude, and how it has come to be endangered.

Crossposted from All along the Watchtower.


Disloyalty has its Rewards

So, was anybody paying attention surprised when Rex Tillerson got fired? I thought not. And pretty much for the reason, you thought, too. From the Free Beacon, via Ace.

It was Rex Tillerson’s job to go out to the European states and sell them on this.

Instead, of course, he walked back from what Trump was demanding and instead made softer offers he was never authorized to make — to appease Iran.

You know — gross insubordination of the actual chief foreign policy officer of the United States. And also, appeasement of Iran, in a way that the TruCon Crying Eagle Brigade like to pretend they’re opposed to.

The abrupt firing Tuesday of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson follows months of infighting between the State Department and White House over efforts by Tillerson to save the Iran nuclear deal and ignore President Donald Trump’s demands that the agreement be fixed or completely scrapped by the United States, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

In the weeks leading up to Tillerson’s departure, he had been spearheading efforts to convince European allies to agree to a range of fixes to the nuclear deal that would address Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program and continued nuclear research.

While Trump had prescribed a range of fixes that he viewed as tightening the deal’s flaws, Tillerson recently caved to European pressure to walk back these demands and appease Tehran while preserving the deal, according to these sources. The Free Beacon first disclosed this tension last week in a wide-ranging report.

White House allies warned Tillerson’s senior staff for weeks that efforts to save the nuclear deal and balk on Trump’s key demands regarding the deal could cost Tillerson his job, a warning that became reality Tuesday when Trump fired Tillerson by tweet.

And you know, I’ve been around business all my life, never once have a known a boss who would tolerate one of his chief subordinates working directly opposite from his goal, it never has happened and it’s not going to. It just cannot be tolerated. There is a lot of room for discussion, even argument, about any plans, but once the decision is made, one is expected to get on board or quit, anything else is simply disloyal. Looks like Tillerson thought being loyal to Trump was somehow beneath him, well now he has no reason to be.

This was an interesting pick anyway if I understand correctly, he was recommended by Condi Rice. While I find her impressive in many ways, many of her foreign policy ideas do not jibe with mine, nor do I expect they do with President Trump’s either.

The Free Beacon also says that they reported on the Iran deal last week, and they indeed did. This is part of what they wrote:

Iran is undertaking a massive buildup of its ballistic missile program, sparking fears of a “second Holocaust” amid sensitive international negotiations that could see the Trump administration legitimize Iranian missiles capable of striking Israel, according to multiple sources familiar with ongoing diplomatic talks.

As the Trump administration and European allies continue discussions aimed at fixing a range of flaws in the landmark Iran nuclear deal, sources familiar with the progression of these talks say the United States is caving to European demands limiting restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

While the Trump administration went into the negotiations with a hardline stance on cutting off Iran’s ballistic missile program, it appears the United States [that is, Tillerson — ace] is moving closer in line with European positions that would only regulate a portion of the missiles.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the ongoing talks told the Washington Free Beacon U.S. officials [Tillerson] have been backpedaling on key demands originally proposed by President Trump in order to preserve the agreement and appease European allies who are eager to continue doing business with Tehran.

Senior Trump administration officials recently told the Free Beacon the United States is prepared to abandon the nuclear deal if European allies fail to address what it views as a range of flaws in the nuclear deal that have enabled Iran’s missile buildup and allowed it to continue critical nuclear research.

However, it appears the United States is losing ground in the talks, moving closer to the European position, which includes what insiders described as only cosmetic changes to the nuclear deal that fail to adequately address Iran’s massive missile buildup.

Yeah, does anybody really think Trump is going to sign onto a deal that makes Israel more vulnerable? Yeah, me neither. And if this is what our Secstate was agreeing to, and it appears it is, the firing was justified, for sheer disloyalty to his boss. Just plain got too big for his britches, and got swatted down for his trouble. In fact, it was long overdue, this turned out to be one of the worst choices Trump made, and in one of the most important slots.



A Stormy Teacup

John Hinderaker at Powerline makes a very valid point, I think. Is this light breeze about Stormy Daniels leaving you unmoved? It sure is me, here’s why.


Worst case, Trump paid Stormy Daniels. But he didn’t kill her. That distinguishes him from the Liberal Lion of the Senate. If you want a scandal, and a cover-up that succeeded to a remarkable degree, look no further than Chappaquiddick. The Democratic Party conspired to cover up Ted Kennedy’s crime–manslaughter, in a particularly vile form–to preserve his political viability, at the cost of an innocent young woman’s life.

To this day, most people have no idea what the Chappaquiddick scandal was all about. That is how successful the Democrats’ cover-up has been. Most Americans assume that Kennedy was guilty of drunk driving and negligently causing the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. But the truth is much worse.

Several books have told the real story, but the movie Chappaquiddick may finally blow the lid off the Democrats’ cover-up. Based on the trailers, it apparently will tell the truth: that Ted Kennedy, after driving off a bridge into Poucha Pond, escaped from his car but made no attempt to save Miss Kopechne. That Kopechne didn’t drown, but eventually suffocated for lack of oxygen as she waited for Kennedy to rescue her. That Kopechne could have been saved if Kennedy had simply called the local rescue squad. That Kennedy was such a self-centered coward that he left Kopechne to die, concerned only for his own political future. That instead of calling for help, he walked back to the house where his party was still in progress. That when he arrived, he tried to convince his cousin Joe Gargan to say that he had been driving the car. That he never did call the police to report the accident, but rather spent the night trying to concoct an alibi. That the Democrats fixed the legal process so that Kennedy would pay no meaningful penalty for the death he callously caused. That Kennedy pretended to have been injured in the accident in order to excuse his cowardice, and wore a neck brace to Kopechne’s funeral to further that lie.

Frankly, I was disgusted at the time, and I’m as close to outraged as I get that anyone, anyone, who thinks Teddy Kennedy was or should be, a role model, or even a decent human being thinks they have the ground to criticize anything anyone else does both risible, and absurd.

How silly is this whole thing? This silly.

Looks to me like all this crap fake news thrown up by the Democratic press machine has a very definite odor about it – it stinks of fear. The fear that the American electorate has seen through them, and their hypocritical charade.

They should be scared, cause I think it’s true. There’s room for an opposition party in America, but I’m not sure there is room for a purely anti-American party. Time (and elections) will tell, I suppose. But I’m not overly worried about it these days. I mostly ignore the cloud of dust the left made by the Democrats running in circles very fast, so should you, and to a point, so should Trump, there are things needing doing, and when we’re dealing with nonsense, we’re not doing them.

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