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Tags Bari Weiss , Heather Heying , Kathleen Stock , niall ferguson , Peter Boghossian , University of Austin

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Old 23rd November 2021, 06:11 AM   #81
SuburbanTurkey
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The problem with all these "heterodox" thinkers is that they are heterodox about different subjects, and when you group them all together their individual fringe views amount to a comprehensive canon of crankery and woo. The whole point of these faux-intellectuals is that they cultivate an image of the respectable academic while shoehorning in some crank theory, but that doesn't scale very well.

Besides being unified by their reactionary politics and "anti-woke" nonsense, they don't really have that much in common and don't benefit through close association.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 06:31 AM   #82
angrysoba
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
The problem with all these "heterodox" thinkers is that they are heterodox about different subjects, and when you group them all together their individual fringe views amount to a comprehensive canon of crankery and woo. The whole point of these faux-intellectuals is that they cultivate an image of the respectable academic while shoehorning in some crank theory, but that doesn't scale very well.

Besides being unified by their reactionary politics and "anti-woke" nonsense, they don't really have that much in common and don't benefit through close association.
Yeah, this is becoming apparent pretty quickly already, particularly with some of the fall-out between the university people and Quillette. I noticed that Steven Pinker, who has already quit (but says he doens't want to talk about why) liked a Quillette article called "The Enemy of My Enemy" which criticizes those who say they are on the liberal left who jump into bed with the illiberal right. There is a picture of Sohrab Ahmari - a Christian right-winger who apparently dislikes freedom of thought, who is an "advisor" to the University of Austin:

Quote:
Yet, its board of advisors includes Sohrab Ahmari, self-described enforcer of “order and orthodoxy,” as one of only three members who does not hail from academia. A chapter in Ahmari’s recent book asks, “Should you think for yourself?”—a question he then answers in the negative. So why was he invited to join the Austin board? “I told the founders,” Ahmari explained, “that, standing in the ancient tradition of Catholic education, I don't, in fact, believe that the university can or should enshrine mere free speech or free inquiry as its highest ideal. I was pleasantly surprised when they replied, ‘That's why we want you.’”

If anti-woke liberals pursue an ideological coalition with anti-woke illiberals, it is liberalism that will lose out. This strategic error recalls the squandered promise of the Intellectual Dark Web, a name coined by mathematician Eric Weinstein, and popularized by Bari Weiss, to describe a loose network of bloggers and podcasters operating outside the reach of most mainstream gatekeepers. The eventual fate of the IDW reminded us that sometimes a contrarian is a bold independent thinker, but sometimes he’s just an angry crank who likes to say the opposite of what everybody else is saying. This has been harshly exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as some members of the IDW, most notably Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying (the latter of whom also sits on the University of Austin's board), have recklessly promoted anti-vaccine pseudoscience.

The line between “iconoclast” and “crackpot” can be a fine one, and those who understand the value of thoughtfully challenging the prevailing consensus should be more careful in choosing their allies. They should certainly be reluctant to throw in their lot with power-hungry nationalists openly opposed to free inquiry.
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Speaking of which, one of those "liberals" is Peter ******* Boghossian who has this to say to some Hungarian interviewer:

Quote:
How does politics intersect with grievance studies, or, the way we like to call it, fake science? Did politics create grievance studies or did grievance studies engender woke politics?

So everyone is freaking out that Viktor Orbán has defunded some of the university programs. Let me just say this: the mistake in thinking about this is to think about this in terms of right-left. Here’s a much better way to think about it: let’s say that instead of the left, Mormons completely control the entire university system. All of it. Everywhere you go, there’s Mormons at every level: there are Mormon administrators, there is Mormon faculty, they teach students to be Mormons, they institutionalize the Book of Mormon, they have rules about blaspheming the Book of Mormon… Do you think that would be a problem?

I would.

It’s a huge freaking problem. And it’s an even bigger problem if those people have jobs for life. So what other alternatives would Orbán have? There is no alternative. You have to defund these ideologically driven programs. The people who run and teach in them are ideologues—they’re attempting to indoctrinate people, and he did exactly what he should’ve done. And that’s the thing: you don’t even have to be a conservative to see that. Everybody should be able to see that. It’s a problem when an institution has been ideologically captured. Nobody benefits. I would even argue that the people who have been captured by the ideology don’t benefit.
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