Author: Maitra (Page 1 of 16)

The ideological war within Western academy

A few weeks back the world woke up to what could quite possibly be the greatest ever scandal in the modern Western academy. Three Anglo-American academics published seven hoax papers in one single year, in top-tier journals, mostly from the field of feminist and gender studies. The papers were remarkable. One of the articles literally was a paraphrase of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, albeit written in a feminist language. It got accepted in a feminist journal.

Anyone who looks up to the Western higher education model as something to be emulated, this comes as a shock and a warning. Ideological disciplines like academic feminism, gender studies, race studies, etc are not that common in other parts of the world, where primary funding for higher education still goes to science, economics and business. But with the growth of student exchanges, research collaborations, and educational departments and campuses spreading, this is a moment of reckoning.

The papers included unscientific garbage, which the hoaxers named as Grievance studies. For example, one paper mentioned fat accumulation and fat bodybuilding is a legitimate idea of health research. Another paper suggested that dog parks are grounds of patriarchy and human behaviour is observable through dogs when they exchange in carnal activities, which demonstrate power dynamics. Another paper said that feminist astrology should replace physics and astronomy. Another suggested that men should be put in chains in classrooms, as a punishment for patriarchy etc. The list goes on, and gives an idea. Unfortunately, most were either accepted or published.

This, needless to mention, is shocking. It’s unbelievable that these disciplines get funded from public tax and are taught at institutions of higher learning. One cannot imagine phrenology, craniometry, flat-earth theory or other pseudoscience will get funded like this, and yet, these disciplines are. Capital spent on these disciplines could be better spent on technology, and public welfare, instead of topics which have zero real-life relevance. However, the social cost of these disciplines is worse. These are the same disciplines which churn out young activists and students, with ideas of feminism and Me Too, and other such social change movements, which then, in turn, are spread in tech sectors and media and other professions. Some of these disciplines and courses are also made compulsory to first-year students, both domestic and foreign, which in turn act as ideological propaganda. It results in the spread of a culture and ideas, some of which will not be welcome in other parts of the globe.

Heather Mac Donald, in her latest book, The Diversity Delusion, highlights the roots to this. 

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Review: The Diversity Delusion

Until 2011, UCLA students English had to take a course in Chaucer, a couple in Shakespeare, and one in Milton as the fundamental works of English literature. Some junior faculty revolted, and UCLA promptly changed its course to studying compulsory papers in “Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory; or Creative Writing.”

According to the course catalog, giants of English literature were irrelevant. but students must study “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.” UCLA’s undergraduates, therefore, had to choose among courses like, “Women of Color in the U.S., Women and Gender in the Caribbean, Chicana Feminism, Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures, and Feminist and Queer Theory.”

Likewise, at Columbia University, a black music undergraduate rebelled against the classics. “Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart? My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of color.”

Read the rest HERE.

Review: The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

 

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America –  Timothy Snyder.

Tim Duggan Books, 2018.

Hardcover, 368 pages, $27.

 

In sum, Snyder’s central thesis is that Russia is a nationalist, hyper-masculine, reactionary great power that wants to return to an age of soft imperium and spread Christian social-conservative ideas across a postmodern, effete, liberal, and secular Europe. This is the cause of Brexit, of European disintegration, the war in Ukraine, the election of Trump, and the overall terrible misfortune of humanity.

This thesis is as simplistic as it sounds and is based purely on conventional wisdom and current liberal narrative. It also suffers from the notable disadvantages of being empirically inaccurate and wrong.

Read the full review HERE

Book Review: The Virtues of Nationalism

History’s revolt against the Liberal Empire

Review: “The Virtue of Nationalism” – Yoram Hazony, Basic Books. September 2018. 304 pages.

Epochal events in history, of course, never stops, and predicting or explaining such events is fraught with dangers, something Francis Fukuyama found out to his credit. 2016 was one such year, where British exit from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump marked the end of the Post-Cold war unipolarity and globalization. At least those are the two events we paid the most attention too. But other than Trump and Brexit, Nationalism in differing forms returned in Hungary, Austria, Italy, Poland, while India, Russia, and China continued on their respective nationalist revival. Yoram Hazony’s new book “The virtues of Nationalism” adds to the already growing literature and seeks to explain the phenomena. Hazony, the President of Israel’s Herzl Institute and director of the John Templeton Foundations’s Project in Jewish Philosophical Theology, lays the blame on the liberal empire and the “globalists” for their imperial overstretch, and often contradictory and incoherent ideas about what constitutes good and bad nationalism.

READ the full review HERE.

At a secret conference in Oxford

I recently attended a colloquium at Christ Church, Oxford, which was organised in utter secrecy, without any social media promotion.  It was a fairly normal conference, without any protest, perhaps due to the secrecy beforehand.

I wrote about it, in The Federalist.

Nevertheless, the secrecy is what was the key takeaway from the colloquium, and perhaps a sign of things to come in Western academy. The Brits lack the enforceable legal right to free speech Americans enjoy. But as Joy Pullmann pointed out, this decolonize madness has now spread to Yale and Stanford, after Cambridge. Statues will be toppled and disciplines ruined, because of historical revisionism, and the whims of a certain section of scholars and academics who choose to act like Soviet commissars.

Oxford especially is under constant assault, as it remains the bastion of free speech, meritocracy and open research and has so far refused to cave in to egalitarian demands of affirmative action and censorship. But as revolutionary and activist tactics spread, secrecy seems to be the only option to continue research without the worry of mob violence.

 

Read it here, in full.

 

 

I also had an opportunity to take an interview of Dr Nigel Biggar, when I was there, for Quillette Magazine.

 

 

 

 

It is now highly unlikely that I will choose to involve any of the signatories in the project, since I have no confidence in their readiness to engage in the reciprocal and forbearing exchange of reasons.

What is more, if I want to hold lectures or seminars on the topic of empire, I will do so privately, since I cannot be sure that my critics will behave civilly. On one occasion recently, I held a day-conference to discuss Bruce Gilley’s controversial article, “The Case for Colonialism,” and found myself having to use pseudonyms to hide the identities of some participants. One young scholar only attended on condition that his name nowhere appear on print, nor his face on any photograph, lest his senior colleagues find out and kill his career.  

Read it here, in full.

 

 

Long essay on the British housing crisis


 

Not my usual style, but I had the fantastic opportunity to write a feature after a long time, thanks to Lapsus Lima magazine, a beautifully designed magazine from Peru.

Here’s the whole piece.

 

 

A Conservative reading of Pinker’s new book

Review: ‘Enlightenment Now,’ by Steven Pinker

I was made to read Steve Pinker’s new tome, by someone very close to me.

To start with, I don’t disagree with his data, or his stance against Post-modernism, for example. But, here’s my review of his attempted, ahistoric Nate Silver-isation of Renaissance.

It’s a good book, even though I disagree with it, gigantic dataset compilation that will provide joy to optimists. True Conservatives, such as yours truly, are however, rarely optimistic. Simply because we don’t believe history is inexorably progressive or teleological.

Excerpt: 

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Before anyone sells you a “short war” with North Korea…

On November 28th, amidst a relative calm, North Korea tested its intercontinental ballistic missile. It was a matter of time, before North Korea managed to develop a system which is capable to reach mainland US. Regardless of whatever Washington might say, North Korea did what it intended to do. They have now successfully demonstrated that their weapons system is capable, and has achieved what we call the minimum credible deterrence, vis a vis an adversary.

There has been a misconception about what North Korea wanted to do. What, for all practical purposes, is the aim of North Korea. The reality has always been, that North Korea wants to survive. The Westphalian state system which ran from the 19th century to 1991, was upended with unipolarity. North Korea internalized the lessons of Saddam, Kosovo, and most importantly Gaddafi. The toppling of these regimes, and the resultant chaos, and the inability of these states to deter any foreign invasion, often at the cost of destruction and personal deaths of the leaders are a stark reminder that there’s no such thing as international order, but simply great power whims. And the recent experience of unipolarity was not uniform.

North Korea’s missile flew around 1000 KM, but went to an altitude of 4500 KM, and stayed up for over 50 mins. The missile trajectory, straight up to the sky instead of angled path shows that it is capable of withstanding enormous atmospheric pressure on reentry. In a normal ballistic missile trajectory, it would cover the continental United States.

The reality has not dawned in Washington, perhaps. Beijing and Moscow understand the fait accompli, but DC is still on with the basest of talking points. That North Korea will never be accepted as a nuclear power (it is), or the fact that North Korean nuclear weapons provide a ready deterrence (it does). The latest salvo comes from Nikki Haley in the United Nations. While she started with long-standing US position of no war with North Korea, she also mentioned that the “North Korean regime would be utterly destroyed” if there were a war between it and the US.

This is not going to happen.

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My Holiday reading list suggestions

I took the final revision class at the University, wished the students good luck, and came out thinking what a year it had been! My PhD is halfway through, all the theoretical chapters are done, and now I’m moving on to the empirical chapters. I almost got back to full-time column writing for so many different publications as well! Not quite my old journalism life, but close enough.

So what now? A month of peace, to say the least. No teaching, but focusing on research, writing, and some casual reading as well. Bliss.

I was talking to a friend of mine across the pond, and showed her my reading list suggestions for the holidays, and she was a tad surprised that there were no fiction in it. Had me questioning, do we need fiction anymore in life, after the last couple of years or is life already strange enough?

I’m a prosaic man almost reaching my mid-thirties, stiff upper lip and all that, but in light of the trend lines in our planet, here’s my Holiday reading list suggestions for the readers. You lot be the judge!

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Dual toxicity of intersectionality and Islamism

Apologies for I have been busy, with some big publications which are out.

The first one, is a result of a thorough case study, where I highlight how the institutions of media, academia and even armed forces are under the attack from the forces of intersectionality. The operational tactics are Infiltration, Subversion and Coercion.

Read it here. “Intersectionality and Popper’s Paradox“. In Quilette.

The second essay deals the flawed priorities of Western Conservatives, as they neglect the two most sacred duties of any conservative government, security of the realm and law and order in the streets.

Read it here. “Jihadist Insurgencies and Conservative Priorities“. In American Greatness.

The third essay is in the same publication, highlighting the changing character of EU and the imperial dilemma it faces.

Read, “Europe’s Imperial Dilemma“.

Finally, in my first essay for Claremont Review of Books, I talk about something which I have been writing about for a while, on how Islamism is now morphing to a simmering insurgency.

Read here. “The Character of Insurgency“. Claremont Institute, CRB.

That’s enough to keep you occupied for a while!

Until next time.

 

 

 

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