condescending, certain, and incoherent – Fredrik deBoer
A rather brave academic working at Brooklyn College in a support role has written a piece on the shallow state of intellectualism that now pervades academia. He paints a bleak picture, one of a group of self-righteous fools in a state of self-hypnosis where assumptions are categorized as facts and Liberal platitudes labeled as grand wisdom. An important consideration when reading the article is that deBoer is by no means a conservative or libertarian. He’s just capable of critical thinking and has a keen sense of observation.
…the internal contradictions and lack of clear theoretical footing were packaged with the aggressive presumption that the conclusions were obvious.This is a constant condition for me: interacting with liberals and leftists who affect a stance of bored impatience, who insist that the answers to moral and political questions are so obvious that every reasonable person already agrees, who then lack the ability to explain the thinking underlying their answers to those questions in a remotely compelling way. Everything is obvious; all the hard work is done; only an idiot couldn’t see what the right thing to do is. And then you poke a little bit at the foundation and it just collapses. I suppose the condescension and the fragility are related conditions, the bluster a product of the insecurity at the heart of it all. You act like everything is obvious precisely because you can’t articulate your position.
deBoer deftly articulates the self-imposed rut that academia is currently lying in due to intellectual fatigue and laziness:
Few things are more deadly to a broad political tendency than a (sic) eye-rolling assumption that there is no work to be done. You combine that with the way challenging questions have come to be seen as themselves offensive, particularly in academia, and you have a left-of-center that cannot do the work of figuring out what it is and what it stands for at precisely the time its mission is most important. Our opposition’s taken control of everything, so how do we respond? Race OR class or race AND class? Neoliberalism or socialism? Identity or economics or both? Wonk autocrats or the grassroots? I know what I prefer. But I don’t know what broad movement will emerge when everyone is so busy being certain about the answers that they cannot articulate or justify.
And this is why Academia is slowly but steadily digging their own collective grave. The people of this country are no longer willing to consider spending $150,000 on a college education that leaves their child both unprepared for a job and socially programmed to be a laughing stock to the rest of the country. Two thirds of this country’s citizens are shaking their heads and/or laughing their asses off at the absurd antics of the precious snowflakes that now populate American college campuses and these targets of ridicule are simply products of the machine as it is currently configured.
This same attitude in a slightly milder form extends to all Leftists in this country and they too have been digging their political grave. During the Barack Obama years, Democrats have been decimated in elections at the state level. Perhaps someone should explain to them that a shared fantasy is not a political platform.