Explaining Academia: The Gamma Delusion Bubble

I’ve pretty much said all I can say about academia.  But sometimes another’s words are too good not to share.

As I’ve said elsewhere, I find “Game” as a whole to be about 30% useful / 70% spergy bullshit; I find no meaningful difference between self-anointed “players” hashing out who is or isn’t alpha / beta / delta / whatever and a nerd herd discussing the arcana of Dungeons & Dragons character classes.  But still — you’ll never find a better thumbnail description of professor behavior than this:

The second-most terrifying statement for a Gamma is to admit that he doesn’t know something. A Gamma constantly speaks of having knowledge in areas he most certainly does not. Being ignorant for a Gamma is being discredited as a person, so they will do what is in their power to bluff, obfuscate, and redirect people so others don’t see their ignorance…

…The most terrifying statement for a Gamma is admitting he is wrong about something.

RTWT. Learn to dress up your Gamma Delusion Bubble in 50-cent words, and you’re 90% of the way to a PhD in the humanity of your choice.

Explaining Academia: What He Said

I like the cut of Kurt Schlichter’s jib.

Understand that the purpose of modern American “education” is not to educate students. It is primarily to provide cushy, subsidized sinecures for liberal administrators and faculty while, secondarily, providing a forum to indoctrinate soft young minds in the liberal fetishes du jour. Actually educating students is hard, and a meaningful education is anathema to liberalism. In the liberals’ ideal world, the universities would simply fester with leftist nonsense and not even bother with trying to teach their charges anything at all. And today, it’s pretty close to being the liberals’ ideal world.

RTWT.
N.b. to our three regular readers.:  The writer is conservative pundit Kurt Schlichter, not the Weimar Republic’s penultimate Chancellor, Kurt von Schliecher.  Since, you know, it’s me posting this.

Note the Contrast

For the second post in a row, I have nothing to say that Stacy McCain hasn’t said better, at greater length.  So please RTWT.  For my part, I’d just like to emphasize the contrast.  No, not this one:

The contrast between the paunchy, balding Mr. Hicks and the rest of the [condominium] complex’s residents was stark. Many were aspiring professionals and academics at a premier public university. Mr. Hicks was unemployed, taking night classes at a community college in hopes of becoming a paralegal. He spent long hours in his apartment with a collection of at least a dozen guns, including four pistols and a Bushmaster AR-15. Mrs. Hicks told her lawyer that Mr. Hicks would stare out the second-floor window, obsessing over neighbors’ parties, patterns and parking…

That’s from a New York Times thumbsucker about Craig Hicks, the guy who shot those Muslim girls over a parking space.  The media, of course, was really really really really really hoping he’d be a right-wing gun nut, but — surprise surprise — he was a militant atheist Rachel Maddow fan.  But since he did to the Religion of Peace what they so routinely do to us, they couldn’t just memory-hole him, or outright lie about him…. so in comes this Jonathan Katz hack to do some cleanup.*

The contrast I mean is with one Jared Loughner, who — surprise surprise — was also a leftwinger:

Remember the Tucson Massacre of 2011: Because the shooting targeted a Democrat congresswoman, it was instantly assumed by the media that Jared Loughner must be a right-winger. It turned out, however, that Loughner was a psychotic who had become obsessed with a left-wing 9/11 “Truther” video called Zeitgeist. Because I spent several days researching the Zeitgeist phenomenon in the wake of the Tucson Massacre, I can assure you that this would have been a fascinating subject for the New York Times or one of the major networks to do an in-depth report about. However, once it became clear that Loughner was not a right-winger, liberals instantly lost interest in his motive and there was never any real media follow-up on Loughner’s Zeitgeist obsession.

McCain says the media “lost interest” in Loughner’s motives because of their biases.  But it was much worse than that — they lied about him first, and so extensively that I have liberal friends who to this very day insist Loughner was a right winger.

McCain’s point — which is right, and sensible, and just — is that we should call these freaks what they are: Moody loners, Creepy Little Weirdos, psychos.  We should leave the politics out of it, because crazy gonna crazy, and the particular form it takes is usually random.  I’ve said as much myself — if The Bad News Bears had been playing instead of Taxi Driver when John Hinckley went to the movies, his psychopathy would’ve manifested in some other, totally different way… but he still would’ve been a murderous psycho.

This is an honorable thing, as I say, and if we lived in an honorable world it would be good and sufficient.  But we don’t.  The media is going to politicize these things for all they’re worth, because the media are Cultural Marxists to a man.  That’s what they do — that’s all they do — and if they can’t just bury it, as they do with even the most horrific black-on-white crimes, they will spin it into irrelevance (as with Hicks), or outright lie about it (Loughner).

Every time a conservative’s cell phone rings in a theater, somebody blames Rush Limbaugh.  We need to get in their faces.  Somebody needs to demand that Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, etc. denounce Craig Hicks.  We need to do this every day, until no lefty cultural figure, media stooge, or politician can step out the front door without being called on the carpet for Hicks’s “extremism.”

Turnabout is fair play.  Let’ make those fuckers play some defense for once.

 

*McCain says Katz has “commendably done more reporting;” I assume McCain’s tongue is so far in his cheek that it’s coming out his left ear.

Explaining Academia: Shameless Merchandise Plug

Robert Stacy McCain of The Other McCain has his Sex Trouble series out as a paperback.  You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than a Wymyn’s Studies department, and McCain has read all their shrieking.  He explains it far better than I can.

 

[Full disclaimer in case you need one: I don’t know Mr. McCain and have no commercial interest at stake.  This post is strictly a public service announcement].

Explaining Academia: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Behold the A+ student:

B-uDP6fWkAE9mr8If you have internalized all the principles outlined in Explaining Academia, this…. organism…. is not only being consistent and logical, but Brave.  So, so Brave.

I may post some more in the “Explaining Academia” series if the mood strikes me (or the market demands), but y’all can consider this picture your final exam.  If you can read that thing’s statement and say “yeah, ok, I get it,” you’ve passed with flying colors.

Questions?

Explaining Academia: True Lies

Vox Day, on another GamerGate victory:

The chief exploitable weakness of SJWs is that they always lie. Always. So, destroying their credibility is a simple matter of doing the research, finding the lies, and then exposing them to their employers, associates, and audience.

Tactically, this is sound advice.  What I want y’all to understand, though — and what I hope I’ve demonstrated in this series — is that “lies,” like “truth,” don’t really exist in academia.  Spend four years studying the liberal arts, and you’ll be unable to handle concepts without (metaphorical) quotation marks.

SJWs are the A students.  They learned their lessons all too well.

Flip back through “Explaining Academia,” and you’ll see that Lying For Justice is a logical consequence of their position.  When it comes right down to it, that’s the takeaway from all this:  Even though the underlying premises are either

  • a) batshit insane;
  • b) tautologies; or
  • c) both,

the conclusions derived from these premises are perfectly consistent and logical.  If all human interactions are power games (Foucault), and if “truth” is relative to its “interpretive community” (Postmodernism), and if “interpretive communities” are epistemologically sealed social classes (Marxism), then “truth” is whatever you need it to be in the heat of the battle.

Because if you win, then your provisional, tactical “truth” — that which in normal English we call a “lie” — will become, in reality, the Truth.  Your “interpretive community” has prevailed, and since everything — everything — takes place solely at the level of “discourse,” it matters not a whit that your “interpretive community’s” statements of “fact” are light years from observable reality.

There is no “reality” to the academy; there is only discourse.

 

This is How It’s Done

As I said, I have no dog in the fight, fiction-wise.  And the one book of Mr. Correia’s I picked up didn’t do it for me.  But oh my sweet Lord, THIS is how you do a fisking.  I really have to buy one of his books, even if it sits unread for ever, as a thank you for these posts.

My favorite part?  Oh, there are so many, but it’s probably this, when he’s comparing the “privilege” of a rich whiny Trust-Fund Trotsky to his “Portuguese Dairy Farmer Privilege:”

I know when I think of marginalized lives, I think of mooching off your rich friends while playing tourist.

I only say that because I grew up with all that fancy Portuguese Dairy Farmer Privilege, where I got to have an alcoholic mother and a functionally illiterate father (who is way darker skinned than Tempest), where I got to spend my formative years knee deep in cow shit at 3:00 AM, so that I could later work my way through Utah State (only after getting a scholarship for my freshmen year because I knew a whole lot about cows), to then spend my adult life working corporate drone jobs of increasing difficulty and skill requirements, all while writing on the side while I supported my family, until I could make it as a professional author.

Lecture us more about privilege, Tempest. It’s fascinating.

RTWT.

Explaining Academia: The Zeal of the Converted – UPDATED

In many ways, academia is a cult.

Ufo-Cult_Love03No, really.  I can’t swipe the whole thing, but, for Pete’s sake:

  • The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.  Karl Marx, call your office.
  • Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.  Wear a Right to Life t-shirt to class and watch what happens.
  • Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).  Re-read the Explaining Academia series, and tell me that’s not mind-altering.
  • The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).  Do you serve vegan free range soy gluten-free water?
  • The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.  Most humanities seminars are little more than struggle sessions.

Et cetera ad nauseam.  Read the whole thing.

Like other cults, academia has limited appeal.  Unless you went to a strictly religious school or — wisely — didn’t go to college at all, I guarantee you’ve been exposed to everything I’ve written about in the Explaining Academia series.  You probably don’t even remember it, as it didn’t “take,” just as streetcorner preaching doesn’t take for most people.  “Oh, you say the UFO is hiding behind the Hale-Bopp Comet?  Fascinating.  I, umm…. I’m going to go stand over here now.”

"Let me tell you about Karl Marx"....

“Let me tell you about Karl Marx”….

There are others among us, though, for whom these nonsensical ravings are the key to life.  This is their story.

Let’s take it from the top.  From the moment you step foot on campus, you’re told that Race, Class, and Gender are the only important forces at work in the world.  These simply bounce off many people, the way fitness freak jargon bounces off a lazy bastard like myself.  “Yeah, sure.  Carbo-loading.  VO2max.  Feel the burn and so forth.  I, umm…. I’m going to go stand over here now.”

Yeah, this dude's got a PhD in biochemistry

Yeah, this dude’s got a PhD in biochemistry

For others, this declaration seems trivially true.  You’d be a totally different person if you were of another race, class, and gender, no?  But, as an old buddy of mine used to say, if your aunt had balls she’d be your uncle.  What’s the point?  You just repeat it on the test, then forget it.

But for a small segment of the population, this declaration isn’t just true, it’s The Truth.  It explains everything.  Most importantly, it explains why they’ve felt like rejects their whole lives.  Like they’re the only ones who get it.  Why were all my high school classmates obsessed with fashion?  Advertising – capitalists creating a market through status signaling.  Why won’t that cute guy talk to me?  Patriarchy.  Why do I feel so lost and incomplete, even though 75% of the world’s population would trade places with me in a heartbeat?  White privilege.  Throw Sexuality into the mix, and you’ve just explained — in simple, easy sentences — why every limp-wristed pimply dork in America feels like a loser.

In one fell swoop, you’ve flipped the script.  Now the cool kids are the losers, because they don’t have access to the arcane knowledge you do.  They are slaves to Madison Avenue and hormones; you are free, a member of the intellectual elite.

Everything builds from there.  As David Stove pointed out, we’re all at least somewhat susceptible to Gem arguments.  Most of us don’t really believe that the tautology “whatever will be, will be” absolves us of all our obligations…. but it sure is a handy way to get out of doing something unpleasant.  And Gems are especially tempting when combined with an appeal to ignorance — we can only know what our Race/Class/Gender situation allows us to know, after all…..

Section break!

Section break!

I’ll give you an example.  In 1979, terrorist-sympathizing Literature professor Edward Said published Orientalism, which more or less founded (or, at least, mainstreamed) the discipline of Postcolonial Studies.  Here‘s how he defined his key concept:

Orientalism is a style of thought based upon ontological and epistemological distinction made between “the Orient” and (most of the time) “the Occident.” Thus a very large mass of writers, among who are poet, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators, have accepted the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, “mind,” destiny, and so on. . . . the phenomenon of Orientalism as I study it here deals principally, not with a correspondence between Orientalism and Orient, but with the internal consistency of Orientalism and its ideas about the Orient . . despite or beyond any corrsespondence [sic], or lack thereof, with a “real” Orient.

Most folks, if they bothered to sit down and translate this from academese, would say all that gobbledygook is just a pretentious version of Kipling’s “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”  Which anyone who has ever watched anime knows, and the gulf only grows the more you know (try learning an Asian language if you don’t believe me).

And because this is trivially true, normal folks are tempted to draw a trivial conclusion — that, while it’s probably a good idea for historians and literature professors and whatnot to know what ” poet, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators” thought about their subjects, it doesn’t much matter for the rest of us.  If we want to know the “real” “Orient,” we’ll go there; meanwhile, everyone knows that stereotypes are just that. So why, normal folks might ask, is this Edward Said cat such a huge deal in egghead circles?

It has to do with “the Other.”  Said didn’t invent this term, nor its ugly verb form “Othering,” but he popularized them.  According to Postcolonialists, people think in terms of their own group, and groups are defined “dialectically” or “discursively.”  I only know I’m “white,” say, by contrasting myself to “black,” and the more precisely I know “black,” the more secure I am in my “whiteness.”  What it is to be actually black, I neither know nor care, because they exist only as Other to me, as a mirror of my whiteness.

Have you spotted the Gem yet?

Look closer

Look closer

This way of “thinking” is incredibly seductive, because there’s nothing — literally nothing — it can’t reduce to “discourse.”  And once you’ve reduced a subject to “discourse,” you’re completely argument-proof.  You can say the most ridiculous things, and nobody can prove you wrong, because proof itself is a “discourse,” a “technology,” a “social construction.”

I know what you’re thinking.  Since you’re a devoted reader of Rotten Chestnuts, you recall The Ishmael Effect, another brilliant Stove-ism (seriously, I cannot recommend this guy enough).  If you don’t feel like clicking, the Ishmael Effect is

The claimed ability of some philosophical theory to escape from the fate to which it condemns all other discourse.

If I can only see the world through my “discourse,” then how do I know my “discourse” is true?  If “whiteness” is defined against “blackness” and vice versa, then how can anyone really know anything?  Come to think of it, if we can only see the world through the lens of our “class situation,” then how did you, Karl Marx, see beyond your own “class situation” enough to tell us that nobody can see beyond his class situation?  Marx’s answer, as we know, is “shut up, that’s why,” and when a Bolshevik kommissar is holding a gun to your head and shipping you and your whole family off to Siberia, it’s remarkably persuasive.  Profs don’t have that kind of power (and would, in fact, be the first ones shot if their beloved Revolution ever actually came to pass*), but they do have the gradebook, which is sufficient in a college classroom.

But, again: That’s “logic,” comrades, which we all know is just another bourgeois “social construction.”  Ishmael claims and Gem arguments aren’t supposed to be logical.  They’re para-thought, a kind of intellectual bandage to let you jump from a trivial truth to some huge, portentous claim about Society.  It’s not supposed to be true.  It’s just supposed to feel good.  Why does ____ have it better than me?  Because Patriarchy.  Or “white privilege.”  Or capitalism.  Or whatever.

And y’all can trust me on this, because I’ve been there — this way of “thinking” is incredibly powerful.  It’s intoxicating.  It’s like you see the Matrix for the first time.

seeingthematrixYou can’t help but generate all kinds of exciting new insights.  You couldn’t shut them off if you tried!!  On paper, “A is A, therefore B” is retarded, but in a classroom, where authority figures with big degrees and published books pat you on the head every time you trot out another Gem, it’s an indescribable rush — you were right all along, and all those jocks and cheerleaders who made life hell back in high school can suck it!!!!

Is it any wonder, then, that these people venture out into the world wide web and behave as they do?  Is it any wonder that professional academics and pundits, whose entire worlds are designed to never let reality intrude, can speak and act and vote as they do?

 

 

*”War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals!” – VI Lenin.

UPDATE 2/20/15: SciFi author Sarah Hoyt has some good observations along these lines Full disclosure: I don’t read much science fiction** (or, really, much fiction at all) and could care less about the Hugo Awards.  But since the terminology is central to some of her points, please note that “Sad Puppies” is a campaign started by writers Larry Correia and Vox Day to make fun of rabid rabbitry in the Hugo Awards.  They set out to prove that the Hugos are nothing but the SJW Award for Excellence in SJW Propaganda, and they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams — the fact that Vox Day’s story finished behind “No Award” in its category because of an orchestrated SJW campaign to vote it down without reading it proves, in the bunnies’ sad little brains, that the Hugos are NOT just a clique of Social Justice Warriors upvoting their own stuff and excluding all other viewpoints regardless of merit.

Got that?  Now, they’ve decided to do it again this year, this time (if I’m reading it correctly) to really stick it to the Rabbits by voting on a whole slate of (mostly) conservative-ish writers like John C. Wright and Brad Torgersen.  Notice the Rabbits’ very first line of attack.  Hoyt writes:

Yesterday I took a shashay down to Otherwhere Gazette, where someone in the comments of the posts was asking what the difference was between us and the SJWs, except they had a college degree and we didn’t.

She goes on to show that — as you might suspect — these folks are in fact tertiary-educated in most cases.  But that doesn’t matter.  The point, to the leftoid, is that having been to college confers such superior virtue on a cult member that nothing else matters (and I’d bet my bottom dollar that if Hoyt et al waved their degrees in the Rabbits’ faces, the next move would be “those aren’t real colleges” or “those aren’t real majors”).  The point is not the education as such — meaning, mastery of facts and concepts.  “Education,” to a leftoid, means “knowing the code” and being able to play the silly little word games that pass for intellectual discussion.  I can render a passage of, say, Judith Butler into the vulgate*** faster than you can; therefore, I am Smart and you are Stupid.  That’s all there is to it.

 

**To be fair, though, I have read bits and pieces of at least some of the authors in question…. which is more than any Social Justice Rabbit who is actually voting on this stuff can say.  I’ve read about half of Vox Day’s George R.R. Martin knockoff A Throne of Bones and thought it was exactly that:  a competent Martin knockoff.  Which is why I didn’t finish it — my weird schedule meant I had to re-read as much as I read, just to keep up with the plot.  I read John C. Wright’s Awake in the Night Land, which is the best book you’ll never read twice.  I mean that as a compliment — it’s fascinating, and I really enjoyed it, but it’s very dark and very deep and very weird.  I tried a Larry Correia book and it just wasn’t for me, though I can see how he makes his money.  His epic beatdowns of leftoids on his blog, though, are priceless, and I should probably donate the price of a book or two to him just for that.  I’ve never read anything other than blog posts by Hoyt or Torgersen.

***Notice I said “render into plain English,” not “render comprehensible.”  No translator is that good.

 

 

Take Wisdom Where You Find It III

Vox Day also runs a “Game” site, Alpha Game.  Wherein we find this handy checklist.  I can’t swipe the whole thing, but I will point out:

 

  • In the past year you can’t recall a single serious online discussion you were wrong about anything.
  • In the past two years you can’t recall one discussion with any friends or family in which you were wrong about anything.
  • When you are having an argument with someone and it appears you are wrong, the most common belief and defense is the other person simply doesn’t understand what you are saying.
  • When discussing matters with someone and you think you are maybe, possibly being shown to be wrong you start to get snarky, crack lame jokes, and immediately try to change the subject.
  • If someone holds an opinion contrary to yours, and you don’t think you have a good defense immediately to hand you start to look for unrelated ways to disqualify the other person as at least knowledgeable about the subject, and even going so far as to disqualify them as a good person or even a person at all.
  • Definitions are tenuous for you and words can be redefined at leisure during a discussion. If someone quotes the dictionary and it disagrees with your definition they are arguing unfairly and the dictionary is wrong.

Gosh, that sure sounds like some folks we know!  The “Game” community has an almost ivory tower-ish lingo, so it’s hard to determine just what “Gamma,” “Delta,” etc. mean (though I’m sure there’s a list somewhere, and that there have been doctrinal disputes to rival the Council of Nicea).  Let’s just assume that “Gamma” means “twitchy internet troll.”  Browsing through the category might give us some insights as to how these creatures develop, and how they think.

This is a public service announcement.

 

Take Wisdom Where You Find It II

Basically, let me give you my lecture on research. I don’t know if I should say this—but when I hear about all of these complex models that weight the evidence of 70 indicators, that is pure bullshit. I am old enough, I can say that.

Okay, now defend it.

First of all, I defy anyone to find 70 indicators that are specifically independent of each other and that have anything to do with stock prices. If you do, you get the prize. But even if you did, the model would be immense. Let’s just cut that roughly in half, to make it simple, and say we had a 38-factor model. Let’s make it simple again and say that there are only five ways to interpret each factor—very negative, negative, neutral, positive or very positive. So how many different patterns of 38 indicators would you have to recognize to understand the implication of each possible mix of indicators?

A very large number, I’d bet.

The formula is 5 to the 38th power. Now, there is a thing in statistics called degrees of freedom, which says that in order for a model like that to be anything but mush you would need about 2 million years of data. Even if you only have 10 indicators—which brings into the mix just about every macro analyst out there, there still are not enough degrees of freedom to say that the model is worth anything. This is what is so counter-intuitive—the effectiveness of a model is inversely related to the number of factors that are components of that model. The fewer the factors you use, the more reliable the model becomes. This is the exact opposite of what most people think, but if you start with just one factor and then add another you now have 25 different possible outcomes—and it’s possible to measure that accurately, if you have enough data. But if you add another factor, the potential outcomes go up to 300 or so. So my shtick on research is: “Find the one, two or maybe three factors that are the most effective.”

[From the comments at RWCG, here.  The original piece is linked here].

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I give not one single corn-laden shit about “global climate change.”  How many factors would you need to accurately model the temperature of the entire Earth?  A 38-factor model needs 2 million years of data; a whatever-huge-number-of-factors model would need a lot more.  And we’ve got, what, 40 years’ worth of actual climate data?  Even assuming the non-“adjusted” numbers still exist?

Not even Squirty can do that kind of math

Not even Squirty can do that kind of math