David Thompson


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April 14, 2012



Oh, and swiped from the previous thread, Dear Leader 101.


And Kate McMillan reminds us, drily, that the children are our future.

Oh my.


Berkeley must make anyone who escaped from the USSR quite homesick, and not in a good way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP8jNwvvLJo


Nick Cohen is not a writer who has impressed me before, but here's a snippet from an essay of his in StandPoint magazine, on the subject of anti-Israel (possibly anti-semitic) viiews on the left:

"For Arabs, the European Left is proving a disastrous influence. The spirit of the Hitler-Stalin pact lives on in the coalition between white leftists and the Islamist religious Right. Such alliances are scandalous. They can bring no good to Arabs in general and Arab women in particular. They expose the insincerity of the anti-sexist and anti-racist principles that leftists claim to hold. Yet they are tolerated almost without comment. Islamists are against the West in general and Israel in particular, and the Left can ignore the sufferings that theocrats impose from Iran to Gaza"

His point about the "insincerity of the anti-sexist and anti-racist principles that leftists claim to hold" is interesting, and ties in with the discussion here the other day about casual hypocrisy of the defenders of Diane Abbott.

Many on the left are sincerely anti-racist - but are trying to square the circle with their curious moral relativism, and for political reasons.



“Berkeley must make anyone who escaped from the USSR quite homesick, and not in a good way.”

As Zombie says, what’s striking is the “matter-of-fact nonchalance,” the normality of such presumption. As we’ve seen before, the sheer arrogance in play is extraordinary – yet apparently commonplace. How did we get to the stage where so many lecturers in literature, education and ‘cultural studies’ presume they have any business ‘correcting’ the political views of other people’s children, as if they were entitled, as if it were their primary function? The whole thing has an air of grooming and predation. That, or pure psychodrama.

black mamba

Pretty recently I attended some graduate level Archaeology classes at an Australian university. The instructor began by explaining at length that, in her view, the main function of an archaeologist in Australia was to agitate for Aboriginal political causes (I am not exaggerating). The next class she "taught", that same day, with most of the same students, kicked off with her asking us all to answer a list of kindergarten-level get-to-know-you questions: "what's your favorite smell?"; "what was your first pet's name?"; "what's your favorite book?" - that kind of thing; oh, and by the way, who were our favorite and least favorite politicians, and why? (I was the only one who refused to answer the last question.)

I didn't finish the semester.

Mr Potarto

When the Cameron movie came out I knew a primary school teacher who had heard of the Titanic, but the whole hitting of the iceberg was a complete shock to her.


David, the Jere Surber link is very funny (and the comments too). Nicely done.



The Surber episode was interesting because the more he attempted to defend his position, the more parochial, small-minded and dishonest he became. The chutzpah was remarkable. An egalitarian professor of philosophy who believes himself vital to the turning of the world (and deserving of its riches) because he and his peers are so much more enlightened than mere surgeons and engineers, having “trained [themselves] to think in complex, nuanced, and productive ways about the human condition.” And yet he couldn’t address basic criticisms or defend his own claims in good faith. He simply condescended.

But still, he’s leftwing and egalitarian, and that’s what makes him better than us.


He's strongly in favour of egality, just not for those who disagree with him.


Interesting statement by Zombie: Furthermore, the “authority figures” controlling academia are no longer uptight conservatives

I think he is wrong here. Academia has always skewed to the left and that status caused Hayek (amongst others) to remark upon the fact http://tinyurl.com/d4k2agp

Rather I think that what happened was that the old left typified by Kennedy (anti Communist) was overtaken by the New Left (Weathermen, Identity politics, Environmentalism)



I’d say Surber inadvertently illustrates why the political lockstep he enjoys is so dulling to the mental activity that he claims to value. Faced with serious and specific criticism (from across the political landscape), he seemed comically unprepared. Reading his responses, you could easily get the impression that he’d never before argued with an actual non-leftist, merely sneered at second-hand summaries of their alleged views, as framed by his peers.


More level-headed rational thought from the Guardian.

In Barbara Ellen's piece there - thoughtfully entitled "'Postnatally depressed' dads? Give me a break" - she variously describes depressed fathers as "sulking", and suffering from "Womb envy".

She manages to get a mention of Ted Bundy into the article - presumably lest we forget that fathers have Y-chromosomes, just like this mass-murderer. I cannot see how else he fits in to the story.

Then she mentions a couple of statistical studies (to give the impression that she's really done her homework) before sweeping it aside with her considered opinion that these men are all "exhausting narcissists" engaged in "sulky self-absorption"

Proof - if we needed it - that the Guardian cares.

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