Category Archives: Intellectual

University, the Last Bastion of the Middle Ages

 The Degradation of the Academic Dogma

usc

TIL Robert Nisbet, founder of Berkeley’s Sociology dept., believed believed that the university is the last vestige of Medieval society and that it has been under attack for the since 1945 by something called The Last Reformation.

The core value that has been under attack? That “Knowledge is important”, in the Aristotelian sense of the word. The university was meant, according to Nisbet, to stand apart from society and discover knowledge that could then be used by others. This Ivory Tower of separation is what actually kept the University autonomous as their purpose was only to discover and document, rather than become involved in social matters.

Social Change

Exhibit A, a masters degree in Women’s Studies.
Exhibit B, a Credited course on Male Privilege.

These classes are courses in Dogma, meant to change and lead people’s thinking. Of course there ought not to be solely One Truth, yet these fields of study are not intended to bring about knowledge. Instead,  the new philosophy of Universities is to bring about social change. This change of objective creates a sense of dependency and interconnection that compromises the University’s ability to objectively seek out and communicate knowledge.

In essence, Nisbet was observing the transition of Universities from reservoirs of knowledge to Institutions of  Social Change via the mechanisms that F.A. Hayek wrote about in his essay The Intellectuals and Socialism. Universities today are training camps of social dogma, wherein the average student will walk away a less competent and independent thinker.

We see this in the double standard language of campuses for example: advocating equality and freedom while at the same time denying open debates and shutting down Free Speech. The modern day University has the intended goal of reeducating people to think and believe certain things, instead of just teaching people knowledge.

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Researching this essay led to the following Essay, Blending Social Theory with Effective Actions for Change

Respect Through Offense

 

Respect through Offense

I adhere to the concept of respect through offense. Now, to explain this idea, I am going to paint a picture for you. Imagine a Christian is walking by and sees a gay couple on the street. Now, the Christian and the gay couple give each other a nice long stair. Neither likes what they see. The Christian has a big King James Bible, and the gay couple have cut off shorts with the pockets going past where the jeans have been cut off.

Now, arguably we’re all offended by the cut off jeans, but let us move one. Who is at fault here? The Christian or the gay couple? My vote, neither is guilty. They both offended each other and both deserve to be offended. Offense is not a crime. Not only is offense not a crime, it is a sign of respect.

Weaker Brothers

When you self censor yourself or allow others to make you do that,
out of fear of offending someone else because “they’re weaker
brothers” or such like, You are asserting yourself over them as their
betters or superior. Hiding your opinions from them because you don’t believe they can’t take it. mark-twain-censorship-quote1
Instead, people should expect to be offended now and again. When you respect a person enough to give them your actual opinion, offensiveness and all, you’re giving them a compliment. They may even learn something or have their views broadened.

PC or Opie & Anthony

People can be insensitive, they can forget to think about everyone else in a room and say something rude. There are two ways we can deal with this, either we say nothing which could potentially offend someone (Which is everything) or we expect ourselves to grow up.

Now, I am not talking about going up to people and trying to make them cry. There is a definitive difference between offending someone and harming them.

Harm Versus Offense

To harm someone with your words is to use a connection that bypasses a person’s defenses and hurts them personally. To offend someone is to say something that agitates them. If a person starts a fight over something said, that is offense and not harm. The distinction between the two is when there is a known emotional hurt or vulnerability for a given topic or issue. Harm is done when someone deliberately hits on those topics to cause emotional distress and pain in another person.

Now, let us say a person is lording over a rape victim, making jokes about it, such a person is not just being offensive. He or she is inflicting actual, emotional harm. While there is no law against such behavior per se, it would take a special kind of piece of crap to do that. Anyone and everyone would and should be completely justified in not speaking to such a person.

White Knights

The other issues to consider is when someone takes offense on someone else’s behalf.
Taking on other people’s offenses is a terrible breach of
communication. To be offended on another person’s behalf is
detrimental because there are no limits on what that person may do, especially if the victim is a hypothetical. If someone in the room is not being harmed, there is no foul.

Final Thought

This idea is not a full expression or guide for social behavior. There are times when being confrontational or offensive are neither beneficial, kind, nor constructive. Not everyone is well suited to being offensive either, some folks are just too darn nice!
That said, people do need to try and grow up a little.

Shaping Art Through Sales

A little stream of consciousness. A little too 101 for my tastes but it’s interesting.

The issue of this selective marketing is that it tends to funnel the unprofitable market out of the mainstream market. This then has the effect of collecting these scattered people into generalized groups, which then creates new markets which can be marketed to. Continue reading Shaping Art Through Sales

Equality and Diversity Require Disagreement

Social institutions shape a person’s perspective and direct his or her interactions with the people he or she encounters. The social institutions that exist within a given society are not necessarily in agreement with one another; indeed, they often have different values and priorities. This tension between social institutions serves a functional benefit by freeing the individuals within society from the absolute control and influence of any one group. Society requires varied and separate social institutions in order to fulfill their roles and to remain vibrant. Continue reading Equality and Diversity Require Disagreement

Keeping People to Their Contracts

Following the train of thought that lead to my essay about empowering communities with liberty; I want to write about social change in general. I just had a conversation with a man from Schwan’s, that purveyor of delicious frozen foods.

Did you know that stores may not require a minimum purchase for credit or debit purchases? Some gas stations require at least five dollars for you to pay with credit or debit. Apparently, this is not legal. That fellow from Schwan’s I had a conversation with said that one fellow insisted on paying for a $1.39 pack of gum with his card. When they told the fellow no, he called his bank, who called the credit card company they processed their credit payments through, who then called the company that maintained the register card readers, who then called the gas station company, who then called the gas station and told them to run the purchase for the pack of gum. This story is a mixed bag to me. On the one hand, the man was right and he stood his ground and won. On the other hand, he didn’t change anything. All this man really did was waste a lot of people’s time over a 1.39 pack of gum. Continue reading Keeping People to Their Contracts

My Father’s Boycott

My father was at one time a pastor of a small church in Independence, Missouri. The former superstar of convenience shopping, K-Mart, was up to their shenanigans. They were stocking adult magazines where children could plainly see them. Parents were understandably upset at this and wanted K-Mart to stop. K-Mart however did not seem to care. Enter stage left, my father, the pastor. Continue reading My Father’s Boycott

An Issue of Importance to Me

Our culture is increasingly oppressive, in that people are taught to not speak out or take a stand for themselves and others. From children bullied to corrupt officials going unpunished, we are shown that injustice is the norm to be expected and accepted. Such desensitization and apathy bleeds into all aspects of life, from work habits, to our communal standards of decency and empathy. Unethical behavior towards others is commonplace. The degradation of ethical standards of justice is happening all across the world.

I was told of a prime example of such apathy towards injustice when I lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The president of Bolivia arbitrarily raised the price of gasoline to approximately five U.S. dollars per gallon overnight, which was more than twice the normal price. Public transportation doubled their prices to compensate for the increase in fuel cost. A group of children aged 8 to 12 peacefully complained about the price increase on their way to school. The bus driver dragged them out of the bus, and two additional bus drivers joined him in savagely beating the children. No charges were leveled against the drivers. What lesson could those boys have learned other than that to speak out means being beaten and silenced? Continue reading An Issue of Importance to Me

Changing Society Through Communities rather than Politics: An essay on Strategy and Approach

We’ve all been there when the die hard political guy gets up and preaches that we should all endorse his political views because anything else is tantamount to hating poor people or ruining the country. But, what if I told you that many people think the same of libertarians? That you can just as easily replace hating poor people or destroying the country with tyranny.

The fact is, when someone starts talking about politics, any politics, more than half the room is shutting down and the other half probably won’t do anything with what you’re saying. Politics is not persuasive enough to change the majority of people, and a lot of folks just find it offensive. If you would like to check this out, try going out and speaking to people about politics. Odds are, you will either find someone who disagrees with you, does not want to talk about it, or they agree with you but are still too busy to help out with your group or project. Continue reading Changing Society Through Communities rather than Politics: An essay on Strategy and Approach