Monday, June 24, 2019

Comprachicos and the Left

[A bit of context for newbies re my issues with leftism and leftist hubris.]

In 1970, Ayn Rand penned one of her most epic essays, "The Comprachicos" (context) the gist of which is to call out the "educational" establishment for mind-mangling practices.  The picture she paints is rather nightmarish and might lead the skeptical to ask whether she is in some delusional late-career stage.

("She was already out there in saying in 1960 that our age is intellectual bankrupt but whoa, she really went way out there after kicking Branden out, calling Kant the most evil man ever, etc.  Was anyone around to keep a check on her anymore?"  I have the Rand-bashers' number; I know the smears and sneers inside and out....)

But one should have a serious look at what an intellectual shitshow ("nightmare" may be going a tad far...) the Left is today and ask how that came about.

I've been reading through well-known libertarian economist Walter E. Williams' American Contempt for Liberty, a collection of his essays from ca. 2008-2014.  (Although he employs neither label, I refer to Williams as a libertarian rather than conservative because peppered throughout the book are explicit appeals to self-ownership and, consequently, to government coercing people into serving others is tantamount to slavery and/or theft.)  His commentaries on the sad state of our educational system - especially as it affects black people - are must-reads.  The nation's schools certify a huge percentage of students as being high-school-educated, who cannot perform beyond an 8th grade level.  (How does that not amount to a form of fraud?)  They do this all the while inflation-adjusted spending per pupil goes ever higher.  The teachers' unions have a stranglehold on the Democrat Party, with all the rent-capture this entails at the expense of the public's best interests.  They fight tooth and nail against reforms that threaten their monopoly position.

Content-wise, the "educators" have systematically abandoned the commitments to freedom and independence from government held by the Founders which are amply documented in Williams' essays.  It falls on deaf "progressive" ears when Ben Franklin is quoted as saying that "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."  Like the intellectual and moral pigs they are, "progressives" cannot help but to demand ever more from the public trough at which to feed (with all their rationalizations about how it's mandated by "fairness," "equity," "compassion," etc.).  IOW, they've come to treat what the Founders considered perverse and destructive as normal and acceptable.

I'm not going to bother providing all the links documenting what a shitshow the academy is becoming these days, especially on politically-related matters (at both private and public universities - meaning it's not a matter merely of a rent-capturing K-12 monopoly but of something more widely explantory: ideology); you're either aware of the extremely-well-documented problem and want to see it fixed, or you're (culpably) unaware and therefore part of the problem.  If there's anything "progressives" lack these days, it's self-awareness.  (Why else do they adopt the label "progressive" if not to display the sense of their own intellectual and moral superiority, which they certainly haven't earned?)

My thesis is this:

Today's leftists are the most loyal products of 'Comprachico' tactics.  Unlike conservative or libertarian students they swallow all too uncritically the anti-America, anti-capitalism, anti-freedom stuff peddled by their mostly-leftist university faculty.  They're the ones calling most stridently for deplatforming of non-leftist views.  They're the ones who couldn't demonstrate a proper grasp of thinkers such as Rand if their life depended on it.  They can tell you all about Che Guevara and Michael Harrington and Cornel West and Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky but not be the least bit conversant with socialism's greatest critics (most notably Mises and Hayek, and of course Rand).  They are smug ignoramuses who "know" only their own side of the case.  AOC (Another Obnoxious Commie) is one famous example of such a Comprachico-ized mind.

They're the ones oblivious to the problem of the lack of intellectual diversity on campuses; after being told about that problem by Haidt and others, they've done nothing to improve (beyond a small percentage of colleges adopting the University of Chicago's statement of free-expression principles).  If anything, they've only been getting worse - doubling down on the systematic dishonesty.  One can see how leftists operate when they run amok, on such social-media sites as reddit (and twitter).  You'd probably have to be immersed awhile in the "default" politics-relevant subreddits (including the philosophy [sic] subreddit) to really get the flavor of the systematically-enforced leftist biases and nastiness toward contrary input (with all the bad-faith mental gymnastics to justify the bias and nastiness, to boot).  Many non-leftists have given up in disgust.

The American political scene today - the goings-on in D.C., state capitols, city halls - is an intellectual shitshow but it's the Dems and the "education" establishment they dominate who merit the lion's share of the blame.

The American Bible Belt (the Red States where, e.g., slavery and segregation were the norm until not so long ago) has a well-earned reputation for anti-intellectualism, bigotry, dogmatism, shunning expert opinion, etc.  The un-self-aware leftists and "educators" can identify the toxicity there for what it is; so why are they so blind to their own?

And if the Left and the "educators" are so intellectually and morally superior, why do we hear little to nothing from them about the (no-brainer) case for widespread philosophical education?

And, heck, where are the professional philosophers amidst all this intellectual bankruptcy?  If the populace could benefit greatly from a philosophical education, don't the philosophers face some kind of moral imperative to promote that solution given mainstream moral criteria, and not just write (narrow-audience) journal articles about moral imperatives and criteria?  ffs already  (I guess this means a wide-open opportunity for Yours Truly to capitalize upon and show up the competition [Rand notably excepted] so to speak, but it shouldn't have had to come to that.  I just want to philosophize, ffs, and the more rational a society of interlocutors to philosophize with, the better....)

[Update 6/25: After sharing this post in my internet circles this video with one John Taylor Gatto was brought to my attention; I surely intend to integrate this material in hopes that it will better enable me to give the hubristic leftist Comprachicos the epic drubbing (updated for the present day, that is) they richly deserve.]