Date: May 31, 2016

LSE, Angelina Jolie, sexism and the death of Expertise

Full disclosure, I didn’t come up with the phrase, “death of expertise”, thanks to Prof Nichols for that (Buy his book! Really!).

I am, however, fully sympathetic to the stand, that in this age of interdisciplinarity, expertise is usually dead. Education has turned to a business, and the more marketable a name, the more saleable a university or college is, regardless of what they churn.

But, giving the role of a professor to Angelina Jolie stretches the limit and as usual led me to this long twitter debate. On the plus side, it was a civil discussion, which is unthinkable, given the norm of Twitter discourse these days. On the negative side, it was maddening as only academic debates could be.

So, here’re the basic premise of the question.

  1. Why Jolie?
  2. Is it sexist to oppose Jolie’s position as a Prof?

The answer to the first question is here, by Drezner and Shepherd.

The answer to the second question is “are you F-in joking?!” 

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Ben Sasse and Marco Rubio: Only one deserves reverence

On a day when Donald Trump took to CNN and refused to disavow the Ku Klux Klan, and behaved as though he was clueless as to who David Duke was, Ben Sasse penned an open letter to supporters of Donald Trump. The letter gained the young Senator a good deal of publicity, but it also garnered him a great deal of rebuke.

Please understand: I’m not an establishment Republican, and I will never support Hillary Clinton. I’m a movement conservative who was elected over the objections of the GOP establishment. My current answer for who I would support in a hypothetical matchup between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton is: Neither of them. I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option.

The Nebraska politician ended his sobering letter with the following:

Conservatives understand that all men are created equal and made in the image of God, but also that government must be limited so that fallen men do not wield too much power. A presidential candidate who boasts about what he’ll do during his “reign” and refuses to condemn the KKK cannot lead a conservative movement in America.


Thank you for listening. While I recognize that we disagree about how to make America great again, we agree that this should be our goal. We need more people engaged in the civic life of our country—not fewer. I genuinely appreciate how much many of you care about this country, and that you are demanding something different from Washington. I’m going to keep doing the same thing.

But I can’t support Donald Trump.

In May, a few months after his initial statement, Ben Sasse wrote another open letter – but this time to majority America.

With Clinton and Trump, the fix is in. Heads, they win; tails, you lose. Why are we confined to these two terrible options? This is America. If both choices stink, we reject them and go bigger. That’s what we do.

Remember: our Founders didn’t want entrenched political parties. So why should we accept this terrible choice?

He has since continued to hold Trump accountable for his lack of policy, as well as lack of good character. 

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