Tuesday 24 November 2015

Oh, America

You know there's a 'but' on the way when someone starts with a list of credentials ...

I'm a big fan of the USA and these are my credentials.  I have family there (US citizens).  I have three times been employed by American companies, and thrice thrived.  I have done a lot of business there, and made most of my money there.  I have travelled frequently, not only to New York (which is easy for Yurpeans) but to other, less atypical US cities if you'll pardon the double negative like Chicago, Houston and Dallas.  I am a big believer in American positivism (political as well as business), even if it has often been my role as token Yurpean to inject a note of realism from time to time.  I am even more a believer in the American attitude that runs: if the deal you're proposing works for us, we'll do it! (as compared to the wretched traditional Yurpean response: since you're the one proposing the deal, we'll only do it if we get 95% of the benefit ... actually on second thoughts we won't do it at all).  After the financial crisis I staked quite a lot of my money on the proposition the USA would recover faster than Yurp.  And in my soldiering days I have worked alongside fine, professional American military types as an ally.


Recent developments in American universities really make me wonder whether the great nation is slowly committing suicide, in some sort of decline-and-fall melt-down of decadence that would gratify a chinese marxist theoretician (not to mention an islamist).  Item 1:  'generation wuss' - we've looked at this a couple of times - which as well as whimpering in its 'safe spaces' is now throwing a massive chain-reaction tantrum, seemingly to prove there is no future for rational discourse there.  Given the massive proportion of Americans who attend university (as least, to 'study' for one of their very dubious first degrees) this could be a bit of a problem unless decisively countered by the grown-ups in a confident assertion of rational values.

Item 2:  'generation meds'.   At face value it seems that not only can these coddled, contemptible narcissists not survive outside a 'safe space', they even need to be doped up to the eyeballs with prescription drugs for their precarious collective mental health.  

This can't possible be a generation fit to carry forward the flame.

Or am I just showing my age?  There must have been similar reactions to the Class of '68 and their LSD-addled anti-war protests.   American first degrees are rubbish, but their doctorates are not, so clearly they sort things out in the long run - or used to.

Still - doesn't appear to bode well, does it ?  Someone tell me please I'm wrong.



Electro-Kevin said...

Class of '68 have fucked the west.

Yes. You're right to be concerned.

Professor Pizzle said...

Marxist totalitarian control in the West happens is a ratchet.

Class of '68 was one, there was another in the 80's, and we're living through the latest. After each bout of complete lunacy it's supporters calm down (a bit) then carry their insane worldview out into the world of govt, media, arts where they settle down, feed off the public tit, and raise the next set of lunatics.

The world gets used to stupider and stupider ideas. Insanity becomes the norm. Proposing sanity becomes heretical.

The ratchet turns, clicking another notch.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. With Trump as Commander in Chief, it will all be over soon.

Elby the Beserk said...

Nick, this has been years in the making, and as I am sure you know, goes back to the Frankfurt School, and their recognition that if Marxism could not destroy us, then a long quiet march through the institutions by the "cultural theorists" would. As it has. The multiculti/diversity/equality parade has been flaunting its finery in Academia for a very long time - "The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus" is a first hand account of this from over 20 years ago. The whole intent of identity politics is to divide people, to emphasise their differences rather than the common ground, and it has been extraordinarily successful.

I highly recommend Scruton on this, here, there and everywhere in his writing, and for a full dissection, Kenneth Minogue's "The Liberal Mind", over fifty years old, pinpoints what was starting to happen, and his "The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life", from 2010 goes into what has happened in depth. Gripping, but not pretty reading. FUBAR would sum up his conclusions, in one perfect acronym.

The current complete aned utter insanity of "safe spaces", "micro-aggressions" and so on are simply the latest manifestation. Ws it Genet who said the universities should be turned into prisons? Whoever - they were right. Those who have brought this about should be locked up.

Elby the Beserk said...

ps. I'm "class of '69" - but never bought into the politics, which, frankly, bored the tits off me. But yes, it is my generation which is responsible for this, and if it meant anything, I'd apologise for them. Instead, here's a look at one of us...


Terry Eagleton in conversation with Roger Scruton.

Eagleton became a don just after I graduated; a friend I had went to his tutorials, in which he taught them rousing IRA songs.

I rest my case. Another **** who has lived a life at ease thanks to all that he rails against. Indeed, a total and utter ****.

Raedwald said...

The US example has dragged *most* of UK Academia down the drain. Our first degrees - unless firsts from Russell group universities - are little more than old A levels. It's been thus for some while - and the reason I went back to do an MA in the '90s.

It was dreadful - raised from the mire by one truly exceptional US academic, my supervisor Paul. UK academics had by that time joined the crazy US race to publish or die - and boy, did they publish; mostly semi-literate rubbish, verbiage, prolix jargon-filed ordure. Unreadable for the most part - but the publishing credit was the thing, not the content or meaning. They weighed rather than tabulated their output.

My septic hero had his own hero. An Oxford academic of the 1920s/30s with just MA as a post-nominal who published only two books in his lifetime, both of which are still current as academic texts, and written in a succint, almost sparse and very beautiful English with absolute precision of meaning. Much of it made my brain hurt. I understood absolutely why Paul had fled US academic life but I fear he was an island of academic excellence in a sea of dross and pseudo-scholarship. I really hope he found tenure in some superlative college and still teaches and supervises as he did me.

This is far, far, worse than '68. Both the UK and the US could close 75% of universities and overall national scholarship would diminish only marginally; if 100 random UK professors vacated their chairs and left the country, the average level of scholarship in the UK would actually increase marginally. It's really that bad.

Steven_L said...

After the financial crisis I staked quite a lot of my money on the proposition the USA would recover faster than Yurp

But I thought you shunned equities and just bought bars of silver?

Bill Quango MP said...


UK Oxford student is under personal attack because he said he didn't need to attend a 'rape seminar' in order to know not to rape women.
As he said ..I already knew that. And the people that don't, aren't likely to bother coming..so its a waste of time.

Bad news for him.

Toys R Us have decided to no longer separate their toys by gender after 'complaints about stereotyping' from parents.
This caused people such as myself to do the eye rolling "Oh FFS! Limp wristed gender-blenders poncing about irritating everyone.."

On the phone in about it, [on lefty radio} almost 100% of parents explained how their offspring was a boy who enjoyed a dolls house, or a girl who had a Buzz Lightyear outfit, so this was a good idea.

Completely missing the point that if boys and girls are already playing gender free, then the current separation won't make any difference. Except to distressed grandparents who won't even know what section to go to, to even begin to buy the wrong present for a five year old girl.

{Age present will be next - Ageist - Some kids develop quicker and slow learners mustn't be discriminated against with hurtful 'suitable age' signs in case they feel they are underachieving in the key 7-10 lego construction area..}

There are one or two of these types of stories every day. And the opinionated have strong opinions on them.

I was going to mention the Starkey comments. Now that man, courts strong reaction. He's baitertainment for the twitter generation.
But he isn't evil. He isn't wicked. He isn't even misguided.
He just holds strong opinions and isn't afraid to express them even in front of a politically correct student demographic, who would have a fit of the vapours at the thought of having to hear an unkind word.

I'm in the Nick camp.
And this nonsense should be stopped.

Start with ridicule and work our way up to expulsion.
If that doesn't work...well by that time those bleeding heart liberals will have allowed ISIS to be here and the problem will resolve itself.

CityUnslicker said...

I wasat UNi in America, having stuided at Leeds. Leeds is a bastion of the labour party and the mirror reading masses were not so interested in politics but seriously interested in partying and drugs.

Apparently, Leeds produces a good cadre of labour politico's every year. It is in reality a well hidden minority sport.

Also, no one ever saw the dons enough to know their political views anyway.

By contrast in the US, the teaching there was extreme marxism, campus life was highly regulated and due to this stricture rape and assualt was also out of control as kids rebelled against it.

Only in supine environments like Oxbridge does this nonesense get anywhere in the UK. In most of the universities everyone is far too busy getting laid or high to give a shit about politics.

The US was more pernicous by far as it was the academia and owners who drove the PC culture and then tried to enforce it.

dustybloke said...

Speaking as an expert in history (albeit in that narrow field known as "memory" - and that's getting worse) it seems to me that an empire lasts as long as the core can absorb the number of useless nutters that exist in any society.

If the ratio of useless nutters to solid citizens exceeds the capacity of said citizens to carry them around, then that society will collapse and ownership of the territory will pass to the leaner, meaner new group that understands the real world.

So a country in which roving bands of inspectors decree that the correct ratio of men, women and transgender types become blacksmiths will have a cavalry that carries its horses. The band of warriors whose horses have been shod by by big, burly blokes will thrash the loonies and take over.

The question then becomes; how far have the Smartie tube counters infiltrated the body of American society?

My own view is that having entered via the anus they are lurking somewhere in the region of the tonsils...

Thud said...

My experiences of America are pretty similar to yours (I live there several months a year too)and yes what is happening is a monumental disaster for us all.

Elby the Beserk said...

Oh America indeed....


"Black-clad protesters gathered in front of Dartmouth Hall Thursday night, forming a crowd roughly one hundred fifty strong.

Ostensibly there to denounce the removal of shirts from a display in Collis, Dartmouth's student center the Black Lives Matter collective began to sing songs and chant their eponymous catchphrase. The band then marched into Baker-Berry Library.

“F*** you, you filthy white f***s!” Tweet This

“F*** you, you filthy white f***s!”

“F*** you and your comfort!”

“F*** you, you racist s***!”

These shouted epithets were the first indication that many students had of the coming storm. The sign-wielding, obscenity-shouting protesters proceeded through the usually quiet backwaters of the library. They surged first through first-floor Baker-Berry, then up the stairs to the normally undisturbed floors of the building, before coming back down to the ground floor of Novak Café.

Throngs of protesters converged around fellow students who had not joined in their long march. They confronted students who bore “symbols of oppression” such as “gangster hats” and Beats-brand headphones. The flood of demonstrators opened the doors of study spaces with students reviewing for exams. Those who tried to close their doors were harassed further. One student abandoned the study room and ran out of the library. The protesters followed her out of the library, shouting obscenities the whole way."

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Anonymous said...

America as a nation is IMGO doomed by its demography - what the blogger Steve Sailer calls "core America" is shrinking while "fringe America" grows. A neat graphic here shows core v fringe in relation to Mitt Romney voters.


The US oligarchs have managed the neat trick of depressing working class wages by importing vast numbers of Mexicans (even in 1989 I found I needed holiday Spanish to get by in many Chicago bars) and simultaneously depressing middle class wages, especially in STEM work, by importing H1B staff who once their feet are under the table only recruit their coethnics.

Meanwhile there's been a huge (and unreported for years) increase in white death rates - a bit like post-Soviet Russia, and perhaps with similar ultimate causes.


China will play a long game here, they only need to wait ...

Anonymous said...

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has some great insights into US campus culture here - The Yale Problem Begins in High School


One possibility for the school Haidt is talking about is the private Lakeside School in Seattle, which Bill Gates and Paul Allen attended. Haidt gave a talk there on October 21.

"But then the discussion began, and it was the most unremittingly hostile questioning I’ve ever had. I don’t mind when people ask hard or critical questions, but I was surprised that I had misread the audience so thoroughly. My talk had little to do with gender, but the second question was “So you think rape is OK?” Like most of the questions, it was backed up by a sea of finger snaps — the sort you can hear in the infamous Yale video, where a student screams at Prof. Christakis to “be quiet” and tells him that he is “disgusting.” I had never heard the snapping before. When it happens in a large auditorium it is disconcerting. It makes you feel that you are facing an angry and unified mob — a feeling I have never had in 25 years of teaching and public speaking.

After the first dozen questions I noticed that not a single questioner was male. I began to search the sea of hands asking to be called on and I did find one boy, who asked a question that indicated that he too was critical of my talk. But other than him, the 200 or so boys in the audience sat silently.

After the Q&A, I got a half-standing ovation: almost all of the boys in the room stood up to cheer. And after the crowd broke up, a line of boys came up to me to thank me and shake my hand. Not a single girl came up to me afterward."

Anonymous said...

ND - don't know if you read old comments, but this sums up US academia pretty well

"[...] it inevitably happens in a commonwealth thus revolutionized that liberalism abounds in all directions, due authority is found wanting even in private families, and misrule seems to extend even to the animals that witness it. Then the father fears the son, and the son neglects the father. All modesty is banished; they become far too liberal for that.

No difference is made between the citizen and the alien; the master dreads and cajoles his scholars, and the scholars despise their masters. The young men assume the gravity of sages, and sages must stoop to the follies of children, lest they should be hated and oppressed by them."

Cicero, "On the Nature of the Gods", 45 BC.

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