26 thoughts on “Animal Farm”

  1. The modern university in the USA (and in some other countries) is a pyramid scheme operated by a political cult. The public universities should be auctioned off except for the libraries.

  2. VDH’s last two articles have been sledgehammers. His last one named names in what he described as a failed coup. Clearly he intends to no longer attend the DC cocktail parties.

      1. Considering the climate on college campuses these days, his writing is an act of physical and intellectual bravery.

  3. I wish people remembered that AF and 1984 were literally, explicitly about socialist party internal politics.

    They’re not critiques Of Society.

    They’re critiques Of Socialist Parties.

    1. Uh. Actually 1984 was a critique of a lot of things but socialist party internal politics was not as much it as totalitarianism in general.

      A lot of people seem to forget that Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Republicans.

      So Orwell described himself as a ‘democratic socialist’. Fancy that.

      1. It is weird how socialists have some of the best criticism of marxist ideologies. It is also funny that when two marxist groups fight, one of the groups is always claimed to not be marxist, like when the communists and NAZI fought each other prior to WWII.

        In the USA, left and right are about the power of the government. The more powerful and restrictive the government, the further to the left. The right is about limited government, not no government but a limited one. Except in very rare circumstances, totalitarianism is on the left and that is almost always some form of marxism.

  4. except the libraries? How about the scientific and engineering and medical research that goes on there? Just junk it?

    As for the social side of things, the collegefix article (Rand’s second link) has a happy ending in which the university experience does exactly what it is supposed to do for the student. I feel sorry for college liberals – conservatives get much more for their money, as the article illustrates.

    1. How about the scientific and engineering and medical research that goes on there?

      PBS use to claim that without then, who would carry their programming. Well, even Seseme Street is now a HBO product. Discovery and National Geographic networks put on far more documentaries than PBS.

      It wasn’t that long ago that people thought only NASA could get Americans to space.

      The notion that only Universities can do STEM research is not only false, but greater and faster improvements are occurring in the commercial markets. That universities provide research is almost like the horse driven buggy providing transportation. They can and still do, but other options exist and are better.

      1. Do you value basic scientific research ( in which no commercial or deployable application is foreseen any time soon)? Do you think funding for it should be cut back? If not, then can you explain what you had in mind when you claimed that non-university options exist and are better? Or were you not thinking of basic research?

        1. Oh Bob, always bringing the strawmen. First, I have no idea what “basic research” is. I guess you mean virgin undergrads learning about the ways of sex from PhD candidates, and that would require a university.

          But sex is probably too complex a subject for you. It is for NASA. So perhaps you mean research like touching a hot stove burns, eating crayons or boogers isn’t healthy, or wetting your bed causes a rash. I can see how that is basic research, but I don’t see why either a university or markets are needed.

          And who said cut back funding? The notion raised by others is auctioning them off. Maybe you need to do some basic research to understand the difference. You can start with a stove.

          1. Here is an excerpt from a 1953 National Science Foundation report which has a section called “What is Basic Research?”

            A worker in basic scientific research is motivated by a driving curiosity
            about the unknown. When his explorations yield new knowledge, he
            experiences the satisfaction of those who first attain the summit of a
            mountain or the upper reaches of a river flowing through unmapped
            territory. Discovery of truth and understanding of nature are his objectives. His professional standing among his fellows depends upon the
            originality and soundness of his work. Creativeness in science is of a
            cloth with that of the poet or painter.
            Vannevar Bush, in Science the Endless Frontier, says with great
            authority and validity :
            Basic research is performed without thought of practical ends. It
            results in general knowledge and understanding of nature and its laws.
            The general knowledge provides the means of answering a large number
            of important practical problems, though it may not give a complete
            specific answer to any one of them. The function of applied research
            is to provide such complete answers. The scientist doing basic research
            may not be at all interested in the practical applications of his work,
            yet the further progress of industrial development would eventually
            stagnate if basic research were long neglected.
            One of the peculiarities of basic science is the variety of paths which
            lead to productive advance. Many of the most important discoveries
            have come as a result of experiments undertaken with very different
            purposes in mind. Statistically it is certain that important and highly
            useful discoveries will result from some fraction of the undertakings
            in basic science; but the results of any one particular investigation
            cannot be predicted with accuracy.
            Basic research leads to new knowledge. It provides scientific capital.
            It creates the fund from which the practical applications of knowledge
            must be drawn. . . .
            Today it is truer than ever that basic research is the pacemaker of
            technological progress. . . .
            Despite this apparent unconcern for practical ends every great scientist
            has a profound faith that knowledge is an essential value of life. He believes that greater understanding will lead to the greater well-being
            of mankind. Time and again this faith has been justified. The history
            of science affirms the fact that basic research, though seeking no practical
            ends, is by no means “impractical” research.
            Basic research, in terms of its immediate utility, is a game of chance.
            In the search for oil, many a dry hole is drilled, but statistically the
            eventual output far out-weighs the cost. So it is with research.
            From another point of view, basic research is an investment in which,
            if wisely planned, the proceeds from a small portion not identifiable in
            advance more than pay for the total outlay.
            The essential difference between basic and applied research lies in
            the freedom permitted the scientist. In applied work his problem is
            defined and he looks for the best possible solution meeting these conditions. In basic research he is released of such restrictions; he is confined
            only by his own imagination and creative ability. His findings form
            part of the steady advance in fundamental science, with always the
            chance of a discovery of great significance.

          2. Holy crap Bob; why do you read patriarchal misogyny from the National Science Foundation?

            And for this: A worker in basic scientific research is motivated by a driving curiosity
            about the unknown.

            Women can do basic research, and many do it without the need of an university. Seriously, ignore what I said about learning about stoves; I think that is too dangerous for you. If you need an university to do what most infants (even gender fluid ones) come by naturally; then you have an extreme learning disability that I now feel bad about criticizing.

          3. So, which company funded Enrico Fermi’s nuclear pile?
            It is always interesting to watch people ignore reality when in the face of it for political reasons.

          4. Gojira, I’ll answer your question when you first answer what the word “auction” means to you, look up the number of private universities in the US, and look up the number of commercially operated nuclear plants in the US. This is basic research for which your question suggests you are lacking.

            If your notion is that government is better at risk mitigation in developing new technologies, then you’ll find no argument from me. I once made the same point to Rand along time ago. But once the big risks are mitigated, delivery of the technology to the masses is best done by markets, as had been proven time and again. But if you wish, you can also research the advancement of technology in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez made that country into a socialist paradise. That research will go handy into understanding the difference in “auction” vs “nationalizing” or, as may be your preference, “usurping”.

          5. Gojira, I gather from your comment that you are either ignorant of the word “auction” or wish to substitute a strawman for an opponent in debate.

    2. “How about the scientific and engineering and medical research that goes on there? Just junk it?”

      STEM research can be done outside universities, especially in fields that get protested, such as genetics and others, given a key change mentioned by the new Science Advisor, …that many more groups than currently do so begin supporting that research. The near monopsony of the federal government in funding research has been the cause of most of the growth in the distrust of science done inside academia. That, and the biases within social science spreading as far as “climate science” and other “hard sciences” is what walks hand-in hand with the overt “progressive” activism to discredit Universities among the general population that are not yet themselves given over to academicization fostered for the last 50 years within academia.

      1. It is a contrast, Rand’s link to the CollegeFix that suggests a reluctance of university students to tackle the unknown and Bob’s pompous notion that an university is the only place for basic research.

    3. I feel sorry for college liberals – conservatives get much more for their money, as the article illustrates.

      But much of the learning is self taught and not guided instruction. There should be more to college than ideological battles and colleges are also failing at teaching in general.

    1. In point of fact, Bob, universities weren’t designed to support pure research and don’t do so all that well, even when they weren’t dominated by anti-intellectual nonsense (as they are at present.) A university is at root a teaching institution; its purpose is to turn out educated students, and thus to preserve the body of human knowledge. Extending our knowledge has historically been done outside the university – by individuals working alone, or by “learned societies” organized by scholars to present and discuss their inquiries. The Royal Society, not Oxford, is the model of an institution meant for pure research.

      Academies have of late been attached to universities for bureaucratic reasons; it’s easier for the state to direct its funds through large institutions like universities, so pure researchers must join such institutions to receive those funds. It’s always been an awkward fit, and the present climate at universities is making it intolerable.

  5. So I had to go through all that twaddle to figure out this person thinks that high income tax brackets for the rich are somehow “marxist” or whatever. I guess Eisenhower was a marxist then.

  6. It’s true that there’s no limit to the extant than liberals can misunderstand (or just plain fail to get) Orwell’s writings. I’ve seen liberals characterize 1984 as a condemnation of the concept of unending warfare (so Bush BAD!). I’m pretty sure I used to read on the side of the barn that it was a condemnation of Soviet authoritarianism.

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