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September 2019

"When the Culture War Comes for the Kids"

George Packer advances a proposition I find quite appealing: the lunatic rage of the extreme Left stems in part from their surprise--even shock--and deep disappointment that their Lightworker, President Obama, did not completely solve all of the country's problems. (The fault is not mostly Obama's; the blame should be on the outrageous fantasies of Liberals about what Big Government can do.)

Around 2014, a new mood germinated in America—at first in a few places, among limited numbers of people, but growing with amazing rapidity and force, as new things tend to do today. It rose up toward the end of the Obama years, in part out of disillusionment with the early promise of his presidency—out of expectations raised and frustrated, especially among people under 30, which is how most revolutionary surges begin. This new mood was progressive but not hopeful. A few short years after the teachers at the private preschool had crafted Obama pendants with their 4-year-olds, hope was gone.

The article, while long, is worth reading for a number of reasons. Just ignore the gratuitous insults of meritocracy. (I'd paraphrase Sir Winston: Meritocracy is the worst of all social and economic systems except for all the others.)

UPDATE: link to article added now.

"From Icon to Just a Con"

Victor Davis Hanson remembers better times on campus.

As an undergraduate and graduate student at hotbeds of prior 1960s protests at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford, I don’t think I had a single conservative professor. Yet there were few faculty members, in Western Civilization, history, classics, or mandatory general education science and math classes, who either sought to indoctrinate us with their liberal world view or punished us for remaining conservative. . . . 

Administrators in the 1960s and 1970s were relatively few. Most faculty saw administration as a temporary if necessary evil that took precious time away from teaching and research and so were admired for putting up with it. Often the best scholars and classroom teachers were drafted for such unwelcome duty, and were praised for their sacrifices of a year or two.

Professors taught large loads—four or five classes a semester for California State University faculty. Conferences were rare. Teaching was still valued as much as scholarship.