Hump Day Hodgepodge: Testing Reflections

It’s a busy week here in the world of yours portly.  The end of the first quarter is approaching rapidly, so every spare moment has been dedicated to chipping away at a mountain of history quizzes and tests.  Needless to say, it’s slow going.

As such, school is on my mind—as it is pretty much every waking moment of August through May.  Fellow teachers will understand that teaching is a profession that consumes your mental energy constantly.

Today the school is undertaking the pre-administration of the PSAT, the l’il brother of the SAT, which I proctored this weekend.  Pre-administration is the process whereby students bubble in all of the sensitive personal information on an elaborate Scantron so they can receive their scores—and send them to the gaping maw of the academic-industrial complex.

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250th Day Update

Today’s post marks 250 days of consecutive posting.  That’s a major milestone in my ongoing project to blog daily, which I last commemorated in a substantial way at Day 101.  With this post, I’m a mere 115 days away from reaching a year of daily posts.  So close, and yet—so far.

I tried to find a word that meant “250 days” in the way that bicentennial means “200 years,” or sesquicentennial means “150 years” (from those words, I reason that 250 years would be a “sesquibicentennial”).  My search proved fruitless, though I did learn that 250 is the number of men that rebelled against Moses in Numbers 26:10 (thank you, Wikipedia).

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Conservative Divestment

Conservative readers are likely familiar with the odious BDS Movement—the movement to “Boycott, Divest, and Sanction” Israel because of its alleged “crimes” against legions of peace-loving Palestinian Arabs (oy vey).  Participants in this movement are encouraged to pull their money out of Israeli companies (or companies that do business with Israel), and to refuse to buy Israeli products, thereby pressuring Israel to be even more tolerant (it’s quite ludicrous—I’d wager an Arab Muslim in the Middle East would enjoy greater liberty to exercise his religion in Israel than anywhere else in the region).

Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA has a video for Prager University called “DivestU” in which he argues for another kind of divestment:  denying American colleges and universities donations.

It’s a fairly commonsensical idea:  conservatives are well aware of the corrupting influence of Cultural Marxism on university faculty, and the persistent indoctrination of vulnerable young people at a particularly impressionable moment in their lives.  We’ve all known the friend or relative who came back after a semester of college convinced “xyr” knows everything about the world, possessing a sneering, elitist attitude against everything good and decent (“hugs are an oppressive form of non-consensual affection!  Smash the Patriarchy!”).  Why keep feeding the beast?

It makes sense that we pay tuition—for better or worse (and mostly for the worst), we need that catskin to land a job—but Kirk points out that Americans are voluntarily donating money to colleges, institutions already bloated with federal loan dollars.

Kirk cites that American colleges and universities received $44 billion in donations in 2017.  Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day for 15 February 2019 notes that in 2018, colleges and universities received $46.73 billion, a whopping $1.4 billion of which went to Harvard University.  Harvard already has an endowment of over $37 billion (the benefit of being an institution for nearly 400 years:  compounding interest has lots of time to work its magic).

Indeed, Rasmussen writes that “while there are more than 4,000 colleges in the United States, 28% of that money went to just 20 schools. Those 20 universities serve 1.6% of the total student population.”  Those schools are not conservative bastions like Hillsdale College, but often the epicenter of Ivy League elitism and disdain for traditional values.

As Kirk points out in his video, even if you donate money to a specific school within a college—say, the medical school—money is fungible.  You might think you’re helping train future doctors, but you could easily be funding gender reassignment surgery (read: butchery and mutilation), or an Assistant Vice Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Homeopathic Cultural Healing.  Bah!

Education is a mess in the United States.  Pouring more money into institutions that are anathema to our values and hostile to our way of life is insane and masochistic.

As such, I’d encourage you to avoid donating to colleges and universities.  Put that money to use in better ways, like retirement savings.

Academic Leftism’s Sour Grapes

I received the following piece from a colleague at one of the schools where I teach.  The piece, entitled “The Academy is Unstable and Degrading. Historians Should Take over the Government Instead,” is indicative of how utterly clueless Leftist intellectuals are to their own dominance of not only academia, but the culture and government as well.

The author, Dr. Daniel Bessner, is an assistant professor of American foreign policy at the University of Washington, and, as he makes clear from the piece, an avowed socialist.  Indeed, the crux of the op-ed is as follows:  the academy is crumbling, as tenure-track jobs disappear (and, presumably, as Americans are wising up to its intense Leftist slant and poor track record in re: the job market), meaning Leftist “public intellectuals” need to find new worlds to conquer.  Dr. Bessner proposes the government.

In his diagnosis of the academy’s ills, he argues that the Left has focused too much on taking over the English Department (it’s at least refreshing to read a Leftist acknowledge that it was a self-conscious, deliberate march through the institutions), and not enough taking over the State Department, as it were.

He then proceeds to detail how libertarians moved from the fringes of political opinion to their relative ubiquity today, discussing the influence of Murray Rothbard and the Left’s favorite billionaire boogiemen, the Koch Brothers.

What’s rich about all this hand-wringing is the utter lack of self-awareness.  What about the legions of left-leaning banksters and billionaires pouring money into progressive organizations and schemes?  George Soros is our “boogieman” of the Left, but consider the entire entertainment, corporate (especially “Big Tech“), and academic apparatuses that are arrayed in favor of progressivism’s cause du jour.

The Left has dominated the culture from multiple perches for decades.  If the academy is falling into ruinous disrepair, it’s because Leftists have been running it since the 1960s.  They have only themselves to blame for the drying up of tenure-track gigs, rising tuition, and useless “assistant vice deans of diversity, inclusions, and LGBTQ2+MMORPG acceptance” positions.

One final note:  if President Trump were the dictator these Leftists soy boys make him out to be, they wouldn’t be identifying openly as socialists, nor would they be espousing a socialist agenda—as Dr. Bessner does in this piece—openly online.  That Dr. Bessner does so also demonstrates how successful his comrades have been at normalizing a fundamentally ruinous ideology in the United States (see also:  crazy-eyed Congressbabe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, poster-child for over-credentialed, arrogant college grads who base their entire lives off what they learned in an English 101 survey course from an angry, radical adjunct).

God help us all if Dr. Bessner and his ilk insinuate themselves further into the government.  Drain the Swamp, President Trump!