Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dr. Barbara Oakley revisited: does this tinfoil hat make my head look fat?

by Smitty

Stacy, as an actual journalist, responded to Dr. Barbara Oakley's survey of journalistic motives here. As neither a journalist nor a psychologist, and an amateur student of history at best, allow me to opine on some of the drivers that have tipped journalism in the Democrat, or Progressive, direction.

Dr. Oakley's article begins in Soviet Russia, and is justifiably critical of academia:
Most journalists take a number of psychology, sociology, political science, and humanities courses during their early years in college. Unfortunately, these courses have long served as ideological training programs—ignoring biological sources of self-serving, corrupt, and criminal behavior for a number of reasons, including lack of scientific training; postmodern, antiscience bias; and well-intentioned, facts-be-damned desire to have their students view the world from an egalitarian perspective. Instead, these disciplines ram home the idea that troubled behavior can be fixed through expensive socialist programs that, coincidentally, provide employment opportunities for graduates of the social sciences.
For those interested in connecting the dots, you can read about the Cold War interactions of the Soviets and the US, on a political level in Blacklisted by History. Hint: it was a full-on ideological war, which those sycophants of the Soviets did everything they could to disguise. While she mentions the cretin, she appears unfamiliar with Roger Simon's expose on Walter Duranty.

Eric S. Raymond makes the discussion of Soviet ideological war waged against the US quite explicit in Gramscian Damage:
Americans have never really understood ideological warfare. Our gut-level assumption is that everybody in the world really wants the same comfortable material success we have. We use "extremist" as a negative epithet. Even the few fanatics and revolutionary idealists we have, whatever their political flavor, expect everybody else to behave like a bourgeois.

We don't expect ideas to matter — or, when they do, we expect them to matter only because people have been flipped into a vulnerable mode by repression or poverty. Thus all our divagation about the "root causes" of Islamic terrorism, as if the terrorists' very clear and very ideological account of their own theory and motivations is somehow not to be believed.
Further on:
In a previous post on Suicidalism, I identified some of the most important of the Soviet Union’s memetic weapons. Here is that list again:
  • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
  • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
  • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
  • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
  • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
  • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
  • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
  • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.
Ask Lt. Gen. Pacepa about the related effort to discredit the POTUS. The point is that the Cold War was, indeed, a war. If that point eludes you, refer to ESR: "Americans have never really understood ideological warfare".

Thus, in addition to the growing native affinity for Progressive thought, as explored by Goldberg, there was significant external effort to destabilize the country, possibly roping in current members of Congress.

Of course academia was a target of all this, and the decay produced results explored by Alan Bloom, and wonderfully rendered as a talk at Heritage by Evan Sayet.

Coming full circle to Dr. Oakley's piece, I think she bears witness to some horrible intellectual damage that has been done to the country's academic system. However, addressing the scope and historical roots of the problem with any degree of honesty would trigger a hemorrhage. It just will not happen. A community is just a little lest honest than the worst cretin within. It's tempting to call the current crop of journalists a bunch of Sophists, except that the ancient Sophists probably knew more and thought more effectively.

However, let's not go wasting our hate on these weenies. A proper capitalistic answer, like PJTV to the networks, is to locate and support conservative universities. Learn facts. Understand reasoned arguments. Make liberal heads 'splode. Let's finish on the hyper-cynical note of Don Henley on Dirty Laundry:

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