My motivation to re-start my own Horror File is a product of last nightís monthly meeting of the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly (i.e., student government). Rather than recapping nearly three hours of proceedings, Iíll just relay the two quotes so incredible I actually wrote them down. My blood is still boiling. (Read more...)
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I compliment your blood for boiling, & the signals from your noble soul that made it do so, Katherine. Academia is the worst repository of snide, sneering pomo-wankerism & a collectivism that is at once insidious & brazen. May your blood never stop boiling at such vileness, which is matched only by the weasel-word "Objectivists" with splinters in their fence-impaled bums who want to appease it.
"You can't educate people. You have to trick them into voting for their own good and for the good of society. "
Wow. That's one of the sickest quotes I've ever seen. Keep your chin up, Katherine. You seem to have a glass-is-half-full attitude toward all that madness over there. Rand's early notes on Atlas Shrugged help me with people like this. In developing Dagny's character, Rand writes:
...it is proper for a creator to be optimistic, in the deepest, most basic sense, since the creator believes in a benevolent universe and functions on that premise. But it is an error to extend that optimism to other specific men. (Introduction to the 35th Anniversary Edition)
This is one of the greatest things I've taken from Rand. If we extend our optimism toward people who haven't earned it we are cruisin' for a self-inflicted bruisin'. The characters from your horror file have definitely not earned any optimism.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Katherine. What contempt these creatures have for their fellow human beings. I'm glad I'm away from such pomo-wankerism here in politically incorrect South Korea. But hang in there, and keep filling those files of yours - there should be a book in all this: The Berkeley House of Horror!
I compliment your blood boiling also, if you need spiritual fuel travel down to Bowers Avenue in Santa Clara where there are hundreds of high-tech companies all crammed into one small space and probably 1 new company formed every 2 weeks or so.
You can find just about everything in the Bay Area. That's what I loved about the place. I lived down in Silicon Valley for 4 years and would drive up to San Francisco to play folk music in my uncle's ad hoc band on the weekends. I once was served Indian cuisine at 2:00 in the morning with a coworker in SF.
During the time I was there, Virginia Postrel held 2 conferences called Dynamic Visions where people like Bob Zubrin (The Case for Mars), Eric Raymond, one of the godfathers of open source software, Greg Stock an advocate for genetic engineering and others held forth. The cool thing was that I could do this on a weekend and it was 5 minutes from where I worked. Christine Peterson also heads up a group called the Foresight Institute which investigates nanotechnology. Our own Phil Coates has a Silicon Valley Objectivists group there.
I didn't get out to Berkeley much though :-) Hang in there!
Katherine: I'm tempted to say, "Well, you ARE talking about Berkeley, for Pete's sakes!", but, you already knew that.
I've had no direct experience with the place. I only know (as so many others) what I've read...over the last 2+ decades. Though I must admit, your 1st quote merely surprised me only a bit, your 2nd one...whew! --- This is supposedly an 'education' factory. Well, the students are being 'educated', but obviously not in anything anyone interested in 'civilization' would find useful. Easy to blame ONLY the 'students' re their attitudes (the experienced Chancellor has no excuse), but keep in mind 1) what 'teachers' they already have there, having been attracted to the place partly for it's decades-made reputation (the Chancellor should be considered representative of most, mesuspects), and, most especially, 2) what kind of 'students' Berkeley attracts...from our education system! Be 'surprised' forevermore, not.
That said, unless you find another place worth going to, hang in there re being a 'department delegate'; I suspect that (if nothing else) you'll learn much about how most of the rest of the world works (in ALL organizations), and be thence prepared with how you think best to deal with such. Consider it a 'learning experience' that just might be worthwhile. --- That is...apart from my above '...unless...'
> Our own Phil Coates has a Silicon Valley Objectivists group there.
Hi Jim: I don't any more - I burned out on it, and its successor SVO is run by Steve Nahm - a member of the original club I started which was based in SF. I'll drop a note to him and see if he would post its information to Solo.
I would suggest doing just that, quoting them on it, in public and repeatedly, using their names. Then maybe throw in a few similar sounding ideas somewhat reversed, I am sure you can think of many. That should be fun. Write a few letters with their names and quotes, too.
You are a trooper but maybe it will help a bit to know that some of us older troopers have been at this since 1962 and much longer! I was at UCSB hearing all this crap from members of that wonderful generation, over and over. "Yes we can stop paying taxes for the war because we don't believe in it but the fact you don't believe in, say, social security, doesn't justify your similar intentions." And on and on. Everyone is owed an education and the rest. You know it. Hang in there, though, since sadly it is this crowd that credentials you as a member of a credible opposition!
"You can't educate people. You have to trick them into voting for their own good and for the good of society. We need propaganda drives, not education." And, "Call it Civil Rights and they'll vote for it."
I basically agree with this and this is why I dropped out of politics -- I worked in politics professionally for eight years (in the US) for both candidates at all levels and ballot measures and propositions. On any given issue unless it is very clear cut like a bill against child molestation you have approx. 40% against and 40% for. The last 20% on average spend less than 2 minutes per week thinking or talking about politics -- so your issue is lucky to get 30 seconds of thought per week in the last month of the election campaign. On election day, about 5% of that 20%, i.e. the people that make the difference between victory and defeat decide who/what to vote for on the way to the polls from their home. If you try to do something like real education you lose. If you resort to half truths and 8 second sound bites, i.e. propoganda and lies -- you might have a chance if its a marginal issue.
Sorry, that is the way it is -- most people don't and frankly shouldn't put too much thought into politics -- they have kids to raise, jobs, family, etc. whether vaguely socialist candidate x or y wins, is of little importance to them and their lives -- you see when voter turnout is like 90% with lots of people campaigning tends to be in countries that are on the verge of or just recovering from civil war or some such disaster.
Mick, I think the essential thing I reacted negatively to in the "You can't educate people" statement was not that education is difficult (which it is) or that people often don't care (they often don't), but that his statement was both hugely hypocritical (his position at Berkeley being the result of years of fine academic education and life experience) and indicated that he basically viewed people as cattle. Perhaps I didn't describe his attitude properly. It was obvious this guy had absolutely no regard for humanity at large - presumably excepting himself the rarified circles he populates - or the basic potentials for reason and achievement that we're all born with. He clearly regarded himself as a fortunate mutant.
In discussing this same incident with several non-objectivists, I was surprised at their relative indifference to it, one going so far as to say, "I'm surprised more people don't just come out and say it." Another basically equated it with souped-up advertising. I guess I draw a line between persuasion and outright fraud. I think it's fine to advertise or persuasively argue your side of an argument and make no bones about being biased; just don't lie for heaven's sake. And general education (as opposed to advertisement) should do its best to present the relevant issues and opposing sides to an argument, then let the listener decide for himself. This guy was clearly opposed to that. I'm against fraud, not persuasion, and persuasion should not masquerade as education.
Therefore, I'll respectfully disagree with your assessment, though I realize that the apparently insurmountable challenges one faces in actually operating in today's political world make it virtually impossible to enact idealism, even the objectivist kind.
What evidence is there to support the belief that people can be educated? All one has to do is look at the history of government to see what has happened. Time and time again, "leaders" have successfully tricked people, manipulated people, and caused them misery and suffering. Did it ever occur to you that some people don't want to know the truth?
Fortunately, education is primarily taken, not given. So, there is hope.
Never "given." At most, well offered. Which always make me scratch my head at all the national and local debates about 'fixing' education, as if that was something that the state could do. Hey, kids just show up, and we'll insert the freshly shined Golden Education Funnel into your gaping maws. We've 'fixed it', it works now. Makes no difference if you are slouching in that chair or not. Could matter less that popular culture is blaring 24/7/365 about nerds and dweebs and geeks and otherwise instructing you all precisely to 'don't try so hard, the problem with inequality in the world is all you frickin' folks taking education seriously. Its meant to be instruction, not a means to develop the only tool of defense youa ctually have against the mob.'
Propaganda masked as instruction is certainly not 'well offered.'
But, well offered or not, it must still primarily be taken.
Those that live by what they claim is an uneducatable beast also die by the uneducatable beast.
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