Category Archives: Intellectualism

UPDATED (12/20): America: Aphorisms On Conformity

America, Critique, Culture, Economy, FRED REED, Individualism Vs. Collectivism, Intellectualism, Pseudo-intellectualism, The Establishment

In discussion, Fred Reed, Barely a Blog columnist and writer extraordinaire, offers insight that explains my overall experience:

“America has always had a strong economic back and weak cultural mind, being anti-intellectual and given to envy and resentment of the smart and cultivated.”

De Tocqueville, Mencken and others made similar observations. “Certainly Tocqueville in the 19th century, and Solzhenitsyn in the 20th, noted that conformity of thought is powerfully prevalent among Americans,” as Clyde Wilson has observed.

“A glorious commonwealth of morons,” Mencken called America. “The American moron’s mind”—this “mob-man’s” mentality—is that of a “violent nationalist and patriot,” to whom ideas are a menace, and who would always opt “to keep his Ford, even at the cost of losing the Bill of Rights.”

These are all Mencken’s words, not mine. See: “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America.”

UPDATED (12/20):  This Facebook reader has the right approach. Relax and enjoy The Difference. Don’t be an Enforcer.

* Image courtesy of Picture Quotes.

UPDATED (10/15): NEW COLUMN/Video: U.S. Kids Can’t Read, Write Or Do Math, But Are No. 1 In Critical Race Theory

Argument, China, Critical Race Theory, Education, English, Family, Intellectualism, Intelligence, Kids, Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim, Psychology & Pop-Psychology

NEW COLUMN is “Homegrown Retardation A Bigger Problem Than Homegrown Terrorism” or “US Kids Can’t Read Or Do Math, But Are No. 1 In Critical Race Theory.” It’s now on WND.COM, The Unz Review, Townhall.com, The New American, and CNSNews.com.

Excerpt:

America’s crumbling education system is in the news. On October 5th, Joe Biden managed to disgorge some dismal indicators as to the future prospects of America’s youth compared to the rest of the developed world.

Joe didn’t quite say it, but America’s kids, the product of an obscenely well-funded school system, rank last in the developed world in reading, writing and math, making homegrown retardation a far more pressing problem in modern-day America than homegrown terrorism.

Yet conservatives have kept insisting, throughout the Covid lockdowns and quarantines, that kids were missing out on an education because they were out of school.

To paraphrase Joan Rivers, how can you miss out on a rash? (When Madonna accused Lady Gaga of stealing her music, the great, late, lady Joan wanted to know how you could steal a rash.)

A particularly startling fact caught my attention in the Economist. “At 15, children in Massachusetts, where education standards are higher than in most states, are so far behind their counterparts in Shanghai at math, that it would take them more than two years of regular education to catch up.”

This last fact is enormously telling and alarming. It tells you that America’s best schools and students can’t compete with the world’s best.

As the author further quipped cynically, “American children came top at thinking they were good at math, but bottom at math.”

There’s no doubt that American kids are drowning in self-esteem. As someone who had warned, in the early 2000s, about unrealistic, dangerous levels of self-esteem—I would contend that inflated self-esteem and narcissism not only mask failure, but create pumped up nihilists, ready to unleash on their surrounds, unless met with palliative praise.

Yes, self-esteem is the royal jelly upon which America’s children are raised. Our child-centered, non-hierarchical, collaborative, progressive schooling has produced kids who do not believe they can and should be corrected; and when corrected lash out in anger or bewilderment.

Indeed, to listen to our university students speak—is to hear a foreboding amalgam of dumbness and supreme confidence combined. Yet they are often high achievers in the kind of schools “tailored” for just such sub-par output. The achievement Bell Curve has been skewed. …

READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN is “Homegrown Retardation A Bigger Problem Than Homegrown Terrorism” or “U.S. Kids Can’t Read Or Do Math, But Are No. 1 In Critical Race Theory.” It’s now on WND.COM, The Unz Review, Townhall.com, The New American, and CNSNews.com.

WATCH:

‘American Kids Come Top At THINKING They’re Good At Math, But Bottom At Math, Reading, Writing’

UPDATE (10/15/021): It appears that my “American Kids Can’t Read, Write, or Do Math, But Are No. 1 in CRT” beat the news again.

However, whereas my dismal assessment of the state of U.S. kids’ intellect was derived largely from The Economist—an excellent source, despite its liberalism—sources stateside euphemize the dire situation of American kids, writing:

America’s Kids Earn Disappointing Grades on Nation’s Report Card”:
‘I’ve never reported a slide like that,’ an official with the group that administers the Nation’s Report Card said after analyzing the results.”

These results are not compared to other populations in the developed world. As I said, we’re at the bottom.

The NAEP, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what students know and can do in subjects like math, reading, science, U.S. history, civics and geography. Its long-term trends exam is administered every eight years in math and reading only, and reports results nationally by age – as opposed to the other NAEP exams, which are administered every three years and report results by grade level and are broken out by state and city.

The assessment was administered to roughly 34,000 9- and 13-year-olds during the 2019-20 school year, just prior to coronavirus pandemic disruptions to school. Typically, the results also include data for 17-year-olds, but COVID-19 restrictions prevented the age group from participating.

UPDATED (8/30): Book ‘In Defense Of Looting’ ‘Argues’ Looting Is ‘Joyous’, Produces ‘Community Cohesion’

China, Crime, Cultural Marxism, Ethics, Free Speech, Intellectualism, Morality, Race, Racism

We inhabit a culture in which high-brow polemics are banned and banished from the public square by grubby, low-brow, social engineers like Facebook functionaries.

In the same culture, a new kind of Kafka confronts any author whose thoughts veer from those of the mono-cultural mainstream.

Books that enlighten never see the light of day; badly written pamphlets that dim debate find publishers and “respectable” reviewers (for now).

One such immoral enterprise is Vicky Osterweil’s In Defence of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action.

To its disgrace, the Economist has gone along and dignified the author’s hedonistic “argument” from criminality:

Some civil-rights activists fret that the latest events in Chicago will weaken national support for police reform that has grown in the months since Floyd was killed. The Rev Jesse Jackson called the events in Chicago “humiliating, embarrassing” and “morally wrong” on August 10th. Not everyone agreed.

A few radical activists, including some associated with Black Lives Matter in Chicago, argued that looting can be legitimate. One woman, protesting at a police station that held arrested looters, called it a form of “reparations” for white oppression.

This really is a live debate. Vicky Osterweil, author of “In Defence of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action”, published this month, sets out the same argument at book length. Looting by the poor, black or otherwise repressed is a radical tactic that brings welcome change, in her view. Peaceful civil-rights demonstrations are too easily ignored, whereas “riots and looting are more effective at attracting attention to a cause”. The shared experience of looting can also be “joyous”, produce “community cohesion”, count as a small act of “direct redistribution of wealth” and, she reckons, does little harm to those who have insurance. She thinks it also leads people to question high levels of inequality.

Her claims are unconvincing. Those who snatched swag from Gucci or Louis Vuitton in order to sell them on hardly share her anti-capitalist views. Nor is it clear that looting spreads solidarity in poor neighbourhoods. The grandmother of the man shot by police condemned the looting. Ms Osterweil might be right, however, that residents of poor areas, who rarely even set foot in the wealthy central parts of their city, are fed up. Looting is not a helpful way to respond, but the resentment at this disparity is real enough …

Osterweil’s political porn has two rotten reader reviews on Amazon:

1. “Poorly written, poorly reasoned.” One star.
2. “Garbage: terrible ideas and a terrible book.” One star.

Yet, is has a rather good Amazon rank. How you ask? The rank is not market-generated, but is due to the corrupt enterprise of university book-buying. State subsidized university libraries have enormous budgets to purchase  drek with which to indoctrinate your kids. They will pay hundreds of dollars a copy.

Down to its libraries, the American universities are corrupt.

China might control thinking in its universities, but do their apparatchiks promote material  meant to make the people thieving, dumb and decadent? Unlikely, considering that the Chinese have a wicked work ethic, low-crime rates and that criminality is severely punished.

UPDATE (8/30):

Here’s the disgrace of In Defense Of Looting, a “book”: someone read the book, endorsed its publication, someone edited it, someone else set it in type, designed a cover, compiled an index, read the proofs. Now people are reviewing it.

Ashkenazi Jews’ IQ: Judaism Itself, The Study Of Talmud, In Particular, Is a High-IQ Activity

History, Intellectualism, Intelligence, Judaism & Jews, Logic, Reason

This article reduces the reason for Ashkenazi Jews’ aggregate, genetically based, high IQ to Jewish exclusion and suffering: “selection events”:

… the frequent pogroms to which Jews were subject in Eastern Europe would have been “selection events” which would have selected for correlates of IQ such as future-orientation, social skill, planning and simply the wealth needed to escape. Thus, Lynn argued that, even though Jewish IQ was high before the Holocaust, it was probably even higher afterwards.

There are other reasons for the high IQ in Ashkenazi Jews predating the pogroms and the Holocaust. These have to do with the substantive nature of Judaism itself, not least the premium put on the study and analysis of scripture and certainly the study of Talmud. (I would argue that even the study of our Tanach, which Rabbi Ben Shapiro has mistakenly called Torah, does the brain good.)

At the secular, Israeli secondary school I attended, not enough Talmud was taught, unfortunately. Still, the process of reasoning, called pilpul, captivated me; it’s marvelous—magic, really.

There is the Socratic Method and there is pilpul—“a dialectical method of Talmudic study, consisting of examining all the arguments pro and con in order to find a logical argument for the application of the Law and at the same time to sharpen the wits of the student.”

The Talmud is calisthenics for the mind, for sure, but also sagacious.

Whittling down Jewish thinking and achievement over thousands of years to oppression-generated genetic mutations during the Middle Ages has its flaws. The article, “Are Jews Smarter?”, in the New York Magazine, puts paid to such reductionism:

To say that the Jews have a history of emphasizing scholarship is not just the fantasy of ethnic chauvinists and Woody Allen fans. To look at a single page of the Talmud is to understand this, with its main text at the center, its generations of rabbis arguing around the rim. The dialectic and critical reasoning are at its core.”

Remember, too, that the young scholar who did mental gymnastics the best got the prettiest girl …

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