Brights, Clevers, and Intellectuals

Continuing with our “college is a huge scam and you’d be far better served going to barber school” series, this Stacy McCain piece is worth a ponder.

People, especially Europeans and their American SJW mini-mes, love to claim that Americans are “anti-intellectual.”  That’s wrong.  Most Americans don’t give a rat’s ass about intellectuals, it’s true, but that’s not because we hate intelligence.  We admire intelligence, probably more than any other country in the world (cf. the fact that we invented everything that makes the modern world worth living in, and paid the inventors handsomely for it).  What we hate are the kind of glib, superficially clever eggheads who proclaim themselves “intellectuals.”

These are the vast majority of people on campus today.

It’s easy to tell when a professor really loves his subject.  These are the folks who gush over Joyce’s use of adverbs or the finer points of medieval canon law.  They are, in other words, as nerdy and obsessed as any Star Trek fan, only about subjects far more recondite.  You can learn a lot from those types… unfortunately, almost all of them are white, male, and have “emeritus” after their names.  They’re also the happiest people on earth, because they spent their whole lives getting paid to do something they would’ve done for free, and sharing their joy of it with new generations.

Your modern prof, by contrast, generally hates the subject he supposedly teaches.  No, really — read such pronouncements of a Literature professor as you can decipher.  Just from the fact that you have to decipher it, it’s clear these people are opposed, in principle, to the idea of beautiful language.  Ditto Historians — the typical American History prof thinks Howard Zinn was ok, but didn’t go nearly far enough, and as for historians of Europe… well, you get the picture.  Philosophy profs will tell you that there’s nothing worth knowing, and you can’t really know anything anyway.  Religious Studies profs are all atheists.  Political “scientists” are still rhapsodizing over Eugene V. Debs while clutching their tear-stained copies of What Happened (faced with the stark choice between “our analysis was wrong” and “half the country is irredeemably deplorable,” they all unhesitatingly went for the latter).  And so on.

The root of all this is ego.  There’s a certain type of person I call, for lack of a better term, the Non-STEM Smart Guy.  He doesn’t have to be glib and pretentious; many of them are quite intelligent.  It’s just that their intelligence isn’t remunerative in our current social arrangement.  Worse, the kind of guy whose intelligence does pay in our world tends to be geeky or boorish or both.  Therefore, these snowflakes conclude, society must be overturned, so they can finally get their due.

Take Steve Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism

[The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking]

and apply it to the Liberal Arts — that’s the modern university.  They must be smarter than Donald Trump — and, of course, Smarter Than You — because that’s the only thing that holds their egos together.  So what if a plumber lives a far better and more satisfying life, on any metric that makes sense, than a professor does?  They’re intellectuals, damn it, and you will respect their authoritah…..

… at $45,000 a year ($60K with room and board).  Does this make any sense at all?  Send your kids to cosmetology school.


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12 thoughts on “Brights, Clevers, and Intellectuals

  1. Al from da Nort

    One of Stacy McCain’s better efforts, thanks for the link.

    What he says about ‘status dysphoria’ being the main fuel of Prog. rage rings true enough at a common-sense level. For example, in intel fields finding dissatisfied midlevel bureaucrats is a vital agent recruiting tool. Obviously, since running agents is both time consuming and dangerous, only those with access to important information would be cultivated. But the agent risks more, his very life in some cases, just to get even with the organization he feels has undervalued him.

    You are, of course, correct that one would be far better off getting into a skilled trade than spending up to a quarter of a million dollars pursuing an ever depreciating BA from a lower tier U. To begin with, in many cases (e.g. paid apprenticeships) your cash flow is positive from day 1.

    I have no idea what the answer for the US education system is short of nature taking its course into a bubble crash. In normal industries an era of over-expansion is followed by an era of consolidation (i.e. weeding out of weaker competitors) followed by a new equilibrium. But Big U has defied the laws of economic gravity far longer than I would have supposed was possible. And they have collectively been able to use politics to prop themselves up. Probably there will be a political precipitating factor that none of them see coming.

    1. Severian Post author

      That’s it in a nutshell. Every hardcore Commie revolutionary I know of was a wannabe-intellectual in a society that was just starting to overproduce elites. Had the Russian intelligentsia found a place for Lenin — editor of some second-rate provincial magazine; chair of a philosophy department in Kazakhstan — we never would’ve heard of him. Mao was a failed schoolteacher, Che Guevara a failed doctor, Ho Chi Minh a failed lawyer (as was Gandhi), Stalin a failed seminarian, Marx himself a failed philosophy professor… even your American revolutionaries like Bill Ayers saw that a conventional academic career was out (tenure back then being awarded to real scholars after long years of study), so they decided to blow up some cop cars. Scratch a communist, find a pretentious third-rate wannabe professor.

      Ironically, the very thing our Campus Ches advocate will bring them down. Student loan forgiveness? Oh yes, please! Wiping all that debt off the books will bring the entire college system crashing down, as nobody will loan prospective students a penny. College is as big a ponzi scheme as Social Security — without an ever-increasing supply of chumps taking out huge loans at usurious rates, it collapses overnight.

      (We’re already seeing it now. The hottest new thing in academia goes by various euphemisms, but they all mean “shanghai-ing every status-striver in Shandong Province to pay full out-of-state tuition, room, and board.” Since they all cheat on their entrance exams, don’t speak Engrish, and regard their round-eye professors with open contempt, there’s a large and growing industry devoted to explaining how we’re still upholding academic standards when we give As to obviously plagiarized crap from overseas).

      1. P_Ang

        I taught “Conversational English” for two years as a TA at a four-year University. In addition, I worked with the English- Language Institute for two years assisting foreign-language students with their papers.

        Long story short, in my OWN classes I was repeatedly incensed at the foreign students (and aiding and abetting professors) who refused to use the free-resources available to clean-up their papers, but were repeatedly given A’s for unreadable pablum that was riddled with grammar, syntax, and spelling errors because “they were trying so hard.”

        1. Severian Post author

          I honestly wouldn’t mind that, given that A) English is really hard to learn, and B) most American students these days turn in papers that look like they were translated by Babelfish from Lithuanian circa 1998.

          Our Future Chinese Overlords are a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. They cheat so egregiously that they dishonor their clan if they DON’T put one over on the gwai loh at every opportunity, no matter if it makes sense or not (or is even counterproductive). We know it, and they know we know it, but they also know we won’t do anything about it because we can’t — without the Chinese Politburo floating the tab, we’d be down to a football team, 7402 diversity outreach coordinators, and about 65 students.

      2. Al from da Nort

        Don’t be too down about the cheatin’ Chinese despite their contempt. Actually. you and your colleagues are doing the nation a great geo-strategic service: Recycling all that Walmart trinket money into future trouble for the CCP. Best feature, these grads don’t know how to actually work either their own system or ours.

        The only risk is our moronic elite hiring some of these guys into positions with access to critical information instead of sending them all back. Every Chinese spy I’m aware of in both business and government is a Han national.

        1. Severian Post author

          That’s just the thing, though – China’s liberalizing, which means Westernizing. If I were a good member of the Mao Youth or whatever and they sent me over here, to America 2018, I’d conclude that capitalism really IS as horrible and decadent as Marx said it was. Hell, I’m halfway willing to vote for Sharia law when they inevitably bring it up, just to watch the ivory tower feminists squirm. In other words, I can’t think of a better way of making little fascists-in-training want to turn the clock back to the Ming Dynasty than exposing them to a modern American campus. 🙂

  2. Anonymous White Male

    We no longer have “intellectuals”, a word that originated from the Latin intellectus meaning “understanding”. “Intellectual” is really a combination of INTER, between, and legere, to gather, collect. Contemporary meaning as a noun is “person possessing a highly developed intellect”. In Academia (non-STEM) today, we have “pseudo-intellectuals”, a word that originated from the Latin for “head up ass”.

    1. Severian Post author

      There it is. And one of the reasons are pseudo-intellectuals are so pseu pseu pseudio about it (if you will, and apologies to Phil Collins) is that they — we — damn well know it. I have advanced degrees from places that wouldn’t have even admitted me as an undergrad back in 1960. I myself routinely hand out Cs and Bs for work I would’ve been embarrassed to turn in in junior high; an A paper in a college humanities class now was a “good start; needs improvement” in a 9th grade English class 30 years ago.

      Given that, how worthless is MY degree? I think my students write like concussed chimpanzees; what were my professors saying about ME back in the Jurassic?

      Most academics I’ve met I’d consider “bright-ish.” Some of them, even now, are brilliant and immensely learned; some of them are dumber than a sack of hammers (feel free to guess which departments they’re found in); but most of them are smarter than the average bear… but not by a lot, and they know it. Coming out of college, they were faced with a stark choice: Be the only Customer Service Specialist at GloboCorp who pretends to read Sartre, or stay in school with all the other dorks who pretend to read Sartre. The strain of pretending that this is a satisfying life choice accounts for 95% of eggheads’ observable pathologies.

  3. Jay Carter

    Funny you should suggest taking a cosmetology course.
    Years ago, piss poor and uneducated, I did just that.
    Today I’m more than $1 million dollars liquid.
    And my friend Michael did even better than I did.
    He owns:

    Two years ago, Michael donated $1 million dollars to:

  4. Pingback: FMJRA 2.0: Walk Away : The Other McCain

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