Vignettes of Human Sacrifice In The Current Year; Two Tough Questions

“Blood alone moves the wheels of history!” Dedicated watchers of The Office may recall an episode in which Dwight is named Salesman Of The Year at Dunder Mifflin and has to give a speech. His frenemy Jim “helps” him by writing a speech supposedly drawn from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, featuring the above line. Apparently, Mussolini did say this, in 1914 when he was he was suggesting that Italy join the Allies in attacking (or defending against, depending on one’s biases) Germany.

It’s hard to see where ol’ Benito was wrong about that. Human history is an endless parade of winners and losers, with the former continually feasting on the latter. Usually metaphorically. Usually. It takes a lot of losers to grease the wheels of Progress, and a lot of blood.

The massive societal changes of 2020 are no exception to this rule. Target and Amazon are winners; small businesses are losers. Capital wins; labor loses. Billionaires thrive; the middle class craters. Broadly speaking, it’s been a year of victories for the Blue Tribe, losses for the Red Tribe, and profound unease for the Greys. Yet the machine requires some Blue blood in the wheels if it is to move smoothly, thus the two profoundly disturbing stories we’re about to discuss and the two tough questions raised by these stories.

The first one is simpler: “The 31 Day Campaign Against QAnon”. It’s the story of Kevin Van Ausdal, a mild-mannered thirty-something man who loses his job, his home, and his wife in an abortive attempt to run as a Democrat for a House seat in Georgia, all in the coure of a single sad month. His opponent is Majorie Taylor Greene, a fit and forty-ish AR-15-toting blonde who, we are reliably informed, is a big supporter of “QAnon”.

(Brief digression: QAnon, for those of you who don’t know about it, is a movement spawned by the message board 4chan. Supposedly, a top-ranking Trump official periodically posts Q Drops revealing parts of a plan within the administration to purge the country of pedophiles, traitors, and corrupt government officials. I don’t personally believe in “Q” — Occam’s Razor says it’s a LARP (live action role play) undertaken by some bored Internet nerds — and much of Q’s supposed “intelligence” is written in the kind of horoscope style that allows it to be wrapped around many different possible outcomes. That being said, Q appears to have directly predicted Epstein’s Pedo Island and all the drama that proceeded from that — plus it’s worth noting that everyone in the major media who is now labeling QAnon a “conspiracy theory” said pretty much exactly the same thing about the Epstein allegations up to and even beyond the point that there was direct evidence of their validity. It’s also worth noting that Tony Podesta purchased, commissioned, and proudly displayed a variety of disgusting child porn during his heyday in the Obama years. Oh well. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, right?)

I know the Kevin Van Ausdal type like the back of my hand. He’s a thirty-something IT worker of the generation after mine that kept our social anxiety and horrifying personal aesthetic while dispensing of the 3SD IQ and the polymath competence that made these qualities even vaguely acceptable in the workplace to begin with. This is not the sort of person who is equipped to handle even the mildest interaction with the public. It’s obvious to me just from looking at a still picture of him, let alone a video. It was no doubt obvious to the Democratic handlers who skulk their way into the Post story as it grinds to its inevitable conclusion, too — but they aren’t constrained by basic human decency as they order him into the front lines of an unwinnable campaign and bully him into making ever-more-forceful statements against his opponent.

Those statements generate anger in return, with which Van Ausdal is ill-equipped to deal. He punches a wall. His wife leaves him with frankly repugnant alacrity. He then realizes that he doesn’t have any money on which to live, forcing him to literally flee the state, abandon the campaign, and live in his parents’ basement, at which point his own people come after him for being a coward. I physically cringed all the way through this story. After all, it’s common for “tech nerds” to do things that are supposed to be edgy or funny or ironic, like running for Congress as a Democrat in Georgia. You see the same thing with Republican candidates in California. It’s always some middle-class computer dude who thinks it would be amusing to have it as a resume point.

In this case, however, the Democratic machine saw this as a change to wage some fourth-generation warfare. They used Van Ausdal as cannon fodder so they could paint the Republicans of Georgia with the QAnon brush. Surely they knew he would collapse in the effort, just as Grant knew he’d repeatedly have to put another ten thousand kids in the meat grinder just to back Lee up ten miles, and they made the decision in similar pragmatic fashion. The whole story is wrapped up with a neat bow by the Post as an example of, uh, the all-powerful might of QAnon in, uh, rural Georgia. I swear, the way the media has been going on about QAnon lately you’d think they had burned two dozen cities to the ground and caused multiple people to get shot in the head, instead of just taking up space on Internet message boards.

All of this leads to a question: Why was/is it necessary that we maintain a two-party illusion everywhere in the country, at all costs? There’s no Democrat momentum in Georgia and no Republican momentum in San Francisco. Who benefits from this idiocy? The answer, of course, is that the two-party system is falsely legitimized by this process. It prevents what would otherwise be a natural splintering of viewpoint between Left and Hard Left in SF, Right and Hard Right in Georgia. Given enough time to flourish, this sort of thing would naturally generate several legitimate political parties and a mode of governance via coalition, as is seen in other democracies. I find it difficult to believe that we would not be better served as a country by such an arrangement. In that situation, Van Ausdal isn’t a sacrificial lamb; rather, he represents a particular viewpoint which may or may not attract a useful number of voters.

The problem with such a model is that it is considerably less amendable to the near-permanent exercise of power by a limited number of moneyed interests. Right now, Bezos&Co. know that they will never need to write more than two sets of checks in order to have a chokehold on American politics. Lately, they’ve only really needed to write one set of checks.

Until that changes, the system will continue to have a need for a nonzero number of Kevin Van Ausdals. Alright, let’s get to the second half of this. Let’s take our flying carpet from Georgia to… Connecticut.

But a little over a year ago, during the Fourth of July weekend, Sloane began to think that maybe it was time to call it quits. She was crouched in the vestibule of the Bay Club in Redwood City, strategizing on the phone with her husband about a “malicious refereeing” dispute that had victimized her daughter at the California Summer Gold tournament. He had his own problem. In Columbus, Ohio, at the junior-fencing nationals with the couple’s two younger girls and son, he reported that their middle daughter, a 12-year-old saber fencer, had been stabbed in the jugular during her first bout. The wound was right next to the carotid artery, and he was withdrawing her from the tournament and flying home… Similar tales of woe flowed through neighborhood gossip channels and chat boards across Fairfield County. The junior-Olympic fencing champion and straight-A student who was recruited by Notre Dame and signed a National Letter of Intent, only to have his application rejected at the last minute because he didn’t take enough AP classes. A top-25 squash player with a perfect SAT score who didn’t even get a reach-out from Amherst. The rower who committed to Yale without properly decommitting from Brown—and was dropped by both. Were elite youth sports working out for anyone? Or was it all a regatta to nowhere?

In this second article, we learn that one-percenter families are spending six or even seven figures to ensure that their children excel in certain sports like lacrosse, squash, fencing, and rowing. Along the way, children receive multiple concussions, families are strained beyond the breaking point, and “exhaustive portfolios” of potential competition are assembled by worried parents before each squash game using nannies as conduits for furtive scouting reports assembled by private coaches at outrageous rates.

Under this strain, the children falter, fail, lose matches — and are promptly assigned a new retinue of coaches and sports psychologists as a consequence. If they can’t keep up? They have to go to Ohio State. (Yes, that is seriously the threat used by a parent in the article.) For every high-flying Harvard admission, there are multiple kids who are crippled for life, emotionally and in some cases physically, and who end up being just like everyone else around them.

None of this stuff was happening when your humble author had his Dartmouth interview (with the chief operating officer of Borden, as fate would have it; he gave me top marks but my high school record of fighting and arguing with teachers banished me to Miami University) so why is is happening now? Well, it’s simple. Ivy League schools love the kids who are produced as a result of this process, and for three reasons. The first is that they can pay full tuition, no questions asked. The second is that they will be good alumni, paying into the endowment with reckless abandon. The last is that they are plausible admissions. This is an era where every college in America is faced with the necessity of justifying every single European-American boy or girl they let in the door. It used to be enough for them to have perfect SAT scores — but the tests have been discredited as racist. Then it was enough for them to have perfect high school records, filled with extra-curriciulars — but those schools, and those activities, are now part of “privilege”. So now we are down to the last line of defense, which goes something like this: “We admit only the best athletes, and it just so happens that the best squash players, unlike the best linebackers, pay full tuition.” Ergo, as a white kid you had better be America’s best squash player, or an Olympic-level fencer, or you’re going to Ohio State.

Which raises another uncomfortable question: Why can’t private American colleges take whomever they want, on whatever terms they want? The Kevin Van Ausdal in me wants to pose this as a logic trap, so let’s give him a chance:

So what if Harvard wants to take nothing but rich white kids from Connecticut for a decade? Since we know that diversity makes everything stronger, and diversity candidates always improve a school, won’t the end result of Harvard’s racist policies be a decade’s worth of underachievers, at which point the school’s prestige will drop behind the other, more enlightened schools, thus proving the wrongness of their wrongthink?

I see this sort of thing on the Internet all the time, by the way: a bunch of Smart Boys who think they can engage their opponents in a Socratic dialogue that ends with a triumphant victory and a knowing sneer as the inevitable logic of their conclusions vanquishes all opposition. Real life doesn’t work like that. In real life you’re lucky if you get O’Brien from 1984, who can at least ponder the hypocrisy of it all with you as he puts your face in the rat cage, but most of the time you just get screamed at by someone with a 110IQ who has absolute power over how you live and die and who is not interested in your autistic fantasy of a Socratic dialogue. An outstanding example of this: the Asian-American applicants who assembled a fearsome and frankly overwhelming amount of proof that Harvard discriminates against them in favor of Black applicants, up and to and including statements from Harvard itself and the results from an internal Harvard audit that reached the same conclusion, only to have a federal court reply, literally, with Nuh-uh, they don’t, and it’s cool even if they do. So much for Smart Boys. The person who said the pen was mightier than the sword never had to engage in an actual pen-v-sword fight.

In the theoretical world, it makes perfect sense for schools to pick and choose their applicants any way they like. In the Real World, admission to Ivy League schools constitutes multiple forms of real power. Being admitted to the school gives you power; being able to control who is admitted into the school gives you even more. For a long time, this power was controlled via social networks of America’s pseudo-illuminati. Then we got a brief Venerable Bede moment of pure meritocracy in the GI Bill years — then the politicians started putting their thumbs on the scale. A whole generation of supremely qualified and exquisitely educated young people, from the right families and with all the advantages, now faces the unpleasant fact that they can be simply wished away by a coalition of Frankfurt School types in the admissions departments. The only possible way out: be five times better than the politically-desirable applicant plus be an Olympic fencer.

Basically, it’s part The Hunger Games and part The Dosadi Experiment.

It would be tempting to close this article right now and note that these kids, like Kevin Van Ausdal, are supplying the blood to move the wheels of history, lubricating a gradual change in the Ivy League from a social selection to an explicitly political one… but that’s not quite right, there’s a deeper level to it, and it goes something like this: America’s elite are playing a game of sorts, using selective pressures. Their slice of the Ivy League pie has gone from 95% to 30% or less — but every member of that thirty percent is now going to be someone who arrives at university as a battle-hardened meritocrat, someone who believes unequivocally that she has earned her place in society through a lifelong death march of practice and competition and study and self-denial.

When it is time for all the Harvard graduates to go out into the real world and compete, particularly in areas like investment banking where there’s no grading on a curve and success is measured in raw dollars, you’ll have two groups of grads. Only one group will know how to get a 1600 on the SAT while simultaneously rowing at an Olympic level. Only one group will know how to perform at their maximum during every waking hour, said waking hours starting earlier and ending later than that of their competition. And only one group will have the ironclad certainty that they have earned their position, rather than having it deemed to them via political or social expediency. They won’t even have the liberal guilt that the wealthy people of my generation have, because how can you feel over-privileged when you know you had to row three hours a day and throw up every evening for years just to get the same college spot that someone else got with a 1200 SAT?

A few minutes ago, I suggested a Frank Herbert novel to you — The Dosadi Experiment — and that wasn’t accidental, because I wanted those of you who know his canon to start thinking about it. Can you think of a world in which the youth of the elite are brought up under strict, almost military-style physical training, endless instruction, perfect discipline? Of course you can. That’s how you get Paul Atreides and Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, these warrior-princes who have been conditioned to advance the interests of their families by any means necessary. The only difference between “Sloane’s” children and Duke Leto’s children is the length of the blade with which they fight! Of course, there will be thousands of kids who don’t quite measure up, who endure all the misery without the attendant rewards, but that’s okay. Even if you don’t believe that “blood alone moves the wheels of history”, then you’ll surely agree with a motto employed by so many of those early-risers out there; you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

42 Replies to “Vignettes of Human Sacrifice In The Current Year; Two Tough Questions”

  1. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    I have to admit that this is an angle I hadn’t thought of and it’s eerily prescient.
    The real reason for going to an Ivy League school isn’t for the education – it’s for the connections, both business and political, and the money that comes with those connections.

    Reply
    • AvatarWill

      Try looking for a job today, if you didn’t start your own thing and made it successful, you’re SOL unless you worked at a “top-tier” consulting firm. No sense in trying to argue about actual experience. It’s astonishing.

      Reply
  2. Avatartrollson

    Hey Jack, from your recent travels what are some places that seemed to you like they would be nice places to live and also had decent mountain biking options nearby?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      If you want lift-service stuff… There’s a lot of nice small-town living to be had around Snowshoe, WV.

      Colorado is the best place on earth to have a mountain bike for 3.5 months out of the year. The rest of the time it’s snowing.

      NorCal has some great riding but it’s NorCal.

      If you don’t need lift-service riding then Bentonville or Eastern TN would have to be the way to go.

      Just my opinion, of course. My son and I will likely try to rent a house west of Denver for next summer so he can focus on his riding during that short season. The rest of the year we will be riding West Virginia and Tennessee.

      I think Angel Fire is the best downhill park in America and it’s not expensive to live up there but again it’s a 100-day proposition. The rest of the time you’re in the corrupt ethnostate of New Mexico, the place where home invasions are commonplace and you can’t park a decade-old Yukon at the grocery store because it will be stolen.

      Reply
      • Avatartrollson

        Thanks. Heard about Bentonville, will check out Tennessee. I suspect in Colorado folks just switch to skiing when not riding.

        Reply
    • Avatarjers

      Hey Trollson. I moved to Roanoke VA four years ago, likely with interests similar to yours, and love it. I also recommend the Blacksburg/Christiansburg area 45 min west along 81. Both have great biking & outdoor rec options. Roanoke has an enjoyable ‘small city’ feel and culture, Blacksburg is a university (VT) town. We’re 3 hours straight south of Snowshoe and there’s not much but national forest in between. If you’re up to ‘earn your turns’ we have 9-10 good riding months a year, 17 good miles of trails on Mill Mountain about a mile from downtown and 60+ miles at Carvin’s Cove, which is an IMBA Silver ride center. Just the Right Gear is the best shop for Cove info.
      I really feel like this place is a hidden gem. But if you’re looking for a small town and not a small city, there are a lot of great little spots along the Blue Ridge. Asheville, Knoxville, Chattanooga also worth a look if you’re thinking cities.
      I’ll defer the downhill recs to Jack. Lack of BMX background, an on-my-feet job and two little boys keep me off the big time jumps and gravity riding.

      Reply
      • Avatartrollson

        Will have a look, thanks! I think the real answer is to just go and check all these places out. Realistically I’m mostly interested in living close to lots of great downhill trails and I have no problem with having to pedal up to the top. A good community with pump tracks and jump spots is a big plus. Lifts are great and all but not something you can do every day.

        Reply
  3. AvatarJohn C.

    It would be interesting if the Ivy League was no longer open to Asians, Jews, affirmative action beneficiaries, and lower classes trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps folks. Then they could be in favor of the students the private schools were built for.. It seems the prestige and fame would drop as that would be the end of all the applications and the staff would probably have to change to better sniff out the fakers and require more “Mr. Chips” like professors. You might see the career success of the new traditional graduates increase. It seems when an organization hires an ivy leaguer, they hope that is what they are getting and not what they get now

    Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      So you’re saying that you want the Ivies to return to the days when they were finishing schools for America’s elite, not academic and research powerhouses, which they became after WWII with the increased admission of Poles, Italians, Jews and those bootstrap folks at whom you like to look down your supposedly patrician nose.

      Reply
      • AvatarJohn C.

        Exactly. When men had to wear, coat and ties to class and attend, so they would know how when it was time for them to be taken seriously. When they had to attend interdenominational protestant chapel weekly so even the less religious had a working knowledge of traditions and duties. There were many changes at these schools when they adopted to new arrivals. Before the schools well served the elite, Now the elites are failures, perhaps because they themselves were failed and abandoned by their educational system.

        Engineers and scientists will always have their trade schools and the masses are served by vocational schools. There was no reason to destroy the ivy league. Standing aside so others could have their ticket punched did not benefit the United States. What other country would be so foolish having laid the golden egg.

        Don’t worry Ronnie, my particular patrician nose attended state schools. A mediocre SAT (1280) doesn’t get you there in my time frame.

        Reply
        • AvatarWill

          Who the hell wants to wear a tie? They still are finishing schools for Americas elite, they just wear hoodies, not ties. You’re a fool if you think they aren’t. There’s just more “Diversity”.

          Reply
          • AvatarJohn C.

            There the same says Will. No they don’t dress the same, or go to chapel, or study the same five feet of knowledge, and ethnically are completely different, but the same I tell you. Will you don’t believe that.

  4. AvatarLynnG

    Jack,
    Fairfax County, Virginia learned the lesson of the Harard case and applied it to Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology (always rated as one of the most difficult public high schools in the nation).

    https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2020/10/parents-alumni-protest-after-admissions-process-changed-at-va-high-school/

    https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/parents-students-of-prestigious-fairfax-county-school-protest-end-to-rigorous-admission-test/2447897/

    https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/10/19/thomas-jefferson-high-school-wants-fewer-asians/

    They ended their race blind admission policy because 70% of the student body was Asian-American, 20% White Americans, and 10% everyone else. As the parents of Vietnamese, Koreans, Japanese students have been saying, their children began the process of learning to work hard in Kindergarden for an opportunity to attend TJ. Now the County Board of Education says that does not matter, we don’t have enought of the right minority. Go Figure….

    Reply
    • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

      They weren’t “Asian American.” They were almost entirely Chinese immigrants who moved to the county specifically so their children, with enough beatings, would be eligible to get into that school.

      Reply
      • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

        Edit-since we can’t edit. I don’t mean that someone born in China can’t be American. I have an egalitarian philosophy about Americanism which boils down to: unlike almost every other country in the world, with the possible exception of France, if you want to be an American then you are. However if you came here with hate in your heart, no intention to stay, you’re just taking advantage of the upper level schools, and you send remittances to your home or worse, then you can fuck right off.

        Reply
      • AvatarNordicGoats

        While I have no doubt there’s a significant Chinese student population, there is a significantly large Indian (dot not feather) community in that part of Virginia. Having had experience with graduates of the TJ STEM high school 20 years ago even then that school was half Indian children of DC area government/academia parents.

        Reply
        • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

          You are correct. In fact one of them is my neighbour now, which is the only reason I know anything about the school, and I like him very much so I went with the Chinese line. Also his family was here before that was a thing and his parents are super cool, so in my book he gets a pass.* The fact that doing so riled up the troll was just a bonus.

          *Please see my post above this before any of youse accuse me of hypocrisy. If youse accuse me of hypocrisy and can form a well articulated argument my initial reaction will be indignation but in a day or two I will consider your argument.

          Reply
  5. AvatarTomko

    “Ohio State…”

    My student career spanned 17 years at 14 schools across North America and Western Europe. Almost 40 years ago, I received my senior matriculation from a Collegiate Institute that was not in the USA. Nevertheless, the most searing insult to those at the back of the class was the threat of being condemned to North Dakota State University (NDSU) for their post-secondary.

    Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      Sure, Ohio State isn’t an elite public school like Wisconsin or Michigan, but it’s not like it’s Ferris or something.

      Reply
  6. Avatarstingray65

    I can’t help but see California as an analogy for Ivy League schools. California for the first 75 years of the 20th Century was the “place to be” if you were law-abiding, talented, smart, and driven – with great jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in motion pictures, aerospace, technology, fossil fuels, and the ports. The coastal climate was heaven, the scenery divine, the cost of living and taxes low to moderate, schools excellent, crime low and cities clean, and government was small, efficient, and effective. As a result the state attracted the best and brightest from flyover country and the East Coast looking for nicer weather and more opportunities. Starting in the 1970s the state started to lurch to the Left and taxes increased, welfare became more generous, immigration laws were not enforced, school enrollment increasingly became based on affirmative action rather than merit, environmentalists jacked up the price of energy and restricted land development making the cost of living and manufacturing costs ever higher, and still perfect social justice has not been attained. Now San Diego is banning grades in the schools because black and Hispanics are getting proportionally too many poor grades, power goes out during heatwaves but electric cars will soon be mandated, and the all Democrat state government has passed laws making pedophilia legal because of their responsiveness to the LGBTQ community. As a result, the state mostly attracts unskilled and untalented people from around the world who like the weather and generous welfare benefits, but who have no respect for laws and American culture, and they fill the streets with tent cities, openly use drugs, poop on the sidewalk, join violent gangs, do poorly in school, and pay zero taxes. Meanwhile the law-abiding and productive are moving out in droves and taking their taxable income with them and the state is collapsing into a feudal society made up of a few tech billionaires, loads of impoverished street people and illegals, and a large group of government workers who get paid to not work during the Covid crisis and Antifa/BLM protests. Only the good weather and nice scenery remains (except for the burned out parts).

    The Ivy Leagues was also the place for the best and brightest from around the country, who were attracted by the excellent academic reputation, and great alumni network that would grease the way to a great career. In recent years, however, the administration and faculty have become increasingly woke and now value diversity over ability, intelligence, and drive. New majors and special support systems are created to allow the diverse affirmative action candidates to progress and graduate without having to struggle with more challenging disciplines, but standards start to slip in all areas as “hard work”, “drive to succeed”, and “merit” are seen as indications of racism, white privilege, and patriarchy. How long will it be before grades are banned – not that it matters much when the average grade is A-? How will the alumni networks react when they hire “diverse” graduates who only seem to be good at social protests and expect to be coddled and promoted because of their pigment, gender, and ethnic features? Sure the schools still have strong reputations and pockets of excellence, but how long will those last with the Californification of the Ivy Leagues?

    Reply
    • AvatarDaniel J

      Are Ivy League schools really that much better academically? I’ve always been very skeptical about claims for most of these higher level universities and their so called superior academics.

      I had a professor teaching Engineering Economics, who got his MBA from Columbia, explicitly say that the curriculum of the school I was tending for it’s MBA program were almost identical. So if the curriculum is the same, that leaves the students and professors. Sure, at the state school I was going to wasn’t all that highly competitive except for the engineering department. So that really just means that if the curriculum is the same if not similar, it just means that graduates overall won’t have as high of a GPA. That doesn’t mean the school and what it teaches is any less capable.

      I went to a really good, IMHO, engineering school, yet Georgia Tech was always considered “MIT of the South”. No, GT isn’t MIT, but GT is highly respected by Software and Engineering companies especially in the south who are hiring tech graduates. I’ve worked with several people with recent degrees from GT and their knowledge was know better than mine or any other engineer getting their degrees from so called sub-standard state schools.

      Fundamentally, the whole College ranking system is just junk. It’s a feedback loop that US News has with these colleges. There was a popular article about how Clemson increased its ranking significantly by doing certain things that have little value to students. Clemson just learned how to play the game.

      I realize that in some professions, like Lawyering, that metrics based on who passes the Bar can indicate the best law school. Yet in some years some state schools have better bar pass rates than the Ivy League schools. In other professions, its all a game to determine who has the better school, and usually the schools with the most influence and most money determine the rules of the game.

      Reply
      • AvatarCJinSD

        My father is a retired mathematics professor who completed his PHD at one decent state school and spent most of his career at another decent state school. The department he retired from primarily consists of Ivy League graduates, which will self-perpetuate except for the required truly low quality diversity hires.

        The funny thing about the Ivy League mathematicians is that they mostly impress one another with their credentials. None of them produce anything that contributes to the world’s comprehension of mathematics, as measured in citations of their work. Meanwhile, my father’s name appears in the titles of other mathematicians works all over the world and his 75th birthday was marked by a conference in his honor in Germany. It wouldn’t surprise me if he has been published more times since he retired than the rest of the department combined.

        Reply
        • Avatarstingray65

          CJ – I do not doubt the brilliance or drive of your father, but do you think he had perhaps a small chip on his shoulder to show up his Ivy League colleagues in publications and citations? They on the other hand, had nothing to prove since their Ivy League degrees already demonstrated their brilliance and superiority – so why work hard at research and publishing when they can retort to anyone who questions their ability with “I have a PhD from Harvard”?

          Reply
          • AvatarCJinSD

            Throughout most of his career, being a full professor came with a nine month salary. The way to get paid the rest of the year was to qualify for National Science Foundation research grants, which you could then draw the other three months of income from. The way to get the grants was to produce notable mathematics and publish it. I’m pretty sure that my father spent enough time on the salary committee to make sure nobody was getting more than a token amount of extra compensation based on their self esteem.

            Being a professor has since become an instrument of redistribution from the private sector to leftists via unlimited student debt, but the Ivy League PHD-holding math professors at his school weren’t printing money during the ’70s, ’80s, 90s, or early 2000s. It didn’t help that one of the snobbish buffoons prevented the school from having a math requirement decades ago, so the precious navel-gazers wouldn’t have to interact with state-quality undergraduates. That simple triumph was enough to sentence the department in virtual irrelevance.

          • Avatarstingray65

            Today those NSF grants are increasingly dependent on how woke the proposals are. “Math as white privilege”, “2+2 = sexism”, “systemic racism in math as an explanation for lack of diversity in math majors and PhDs” (conveniently ignore the white Asians), together with have significant proportion of female, LGBTQ, and people of color as proposal co-authors are the sure way to get federal money today.

          • AvatarCJinSD

            Every fall my father still receives an email from the department demanding his proposal for promoting diversity and inclusion in mathematics. He is still active in mathematics in a number of ways. He even has an office in my home where he works practically every day when my parents come to visit me. But he doesn’t resent walking away from the university when he reached retirement age many years ago.

      • Avatarstingray65

        School quality rankings are almost entirely based on the quality of the students they attract, with some adjustments for research output of faculty and things like average starting salary of graduates. The curriculum will largely be the same across wide swaths of schools, but there are some adjustments made for the capability of the students in terms of reading list quantity and quality, degree of difficulty of the assignments and testing, etc., which show up in the mismatch analysis that finds affirmative action students do more poorly at schools where their test scores are well below the scores for normal applicants, but do much better at schools where their test scores correspond to the normal applicants. Standards do get dropped, however, when schools admit too many sub-standard students in the name of diversity, however, because administration does not want diverse students dropping out or having terrible GPAs that might lead to charges of racism, and hence put pressure of faculty to make assignments and exams more diversity friendly (aka. easier). Unfortunately, there is no innovative pedagogy or brilliant professor who can make dull and unmotivated students into brilliant and driven students, so diversity always ends up watering standards down.

        Ivy League schools have by and large gotten their reputations for academic excellence because they have attracted the best and brightest students and some “big name” faculty, but bright motivated students will do well in any academic environment so the “good” schools benefit as long as they “don’t screw them up”. Unfortunately, all the Leftist university nonsense is screwing up the good students, and not surprisingly destroying the mediocre affirmative action students. Letting people in who don’t have the capabilities to do well, and then telling them they are victims when they fail and passing them anyway, only ends up hurting these “underprivileged” students and also many of the more “privileged” students who would have had their place if not for affirmative action and diversity is our strength mantras. I expect the reputation of the Ivies would have collapsed already if not for the fact that so many lower ranked schools have also followed this diversity is a strength and wokeness doctrine with equally or greater fervor.

        Reply
        • AvatarJMcG

          Your first paragraph perfectly describes the way our military academies have self-destructed. We are on the downhill run as far as our armed forces are concerned and it’s going to be a long, ugly ride.
          Ships colliding with other ships, fighters taking down tankers; incompetence is chewing at the heartwood now. I’ve stated it elsewhere, but it’s time to decommission our nuclear weapons before they are handed on to the generations coming after us.

          Reply
      • AvatarWill

        “Are Ivy League schools really that much better academically?”

        Yes, you can see the difference after having attended a state school after an Ivy for a bachelor’s.

        Reply
        • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

          Wouldn’t that depend on the state school as well as the discipline? I’d hire an engineer out of Georgia Tech or Michigan Tech before I’d hire one out of Harvard or Yale. Also, with the current average grade at the Ivies being an A- (which means most of the kids are C students) how do you determine who is excellent?

          Do you really think that all of the Ivies are really that much better academically than elite public schools like Berkeley or Michigan, or elite private schools outside of the Ivies like MIT, Duke and Northwestern?

          Reply
          • AvatarCJinSD

            I can’t help but to wonder what era Will attended an Ivy League school in. I’m fifty years old, and the rule when I was being recruited by them was that you’d graduate if you were admitted.

          • AvatarWill

            @CJ, graduated in ’05 for the bachelors. Just finished a double masters at a State School that isn’t directional.

            Ronnie, I think specialization is a bit different, but the Big Ivies are still excellent engineering schools and for biology/chemistry.

          • AvatarDaniel J

            Ronnie,

            Yes, and this is the case for Ivey League schools. They excel at Doctors, Lawyers, and business disciplines.

            Getting to engineering actually hire an engineer out of certain state schools even over Georgia Tech.

            Georgia Tech graduates, specifically Electrical or Computer Engineering, IMHO lack any sort of “applied” engineering. Everything they’ve learned is seemingly based on theory. Some where extremely bright but were 6 months to a year behind other students from the nearby state school because they didn’t spend very much time applying. With certain state schools, I also think that many professors are part time and actually have full time jobs working in the field. I don’t know if this is the case for GT.

            We did hire one GT graduate who had his masters and he was excellent, but he also interned for 6 months with a tech company in Atlanta.

      • AvatarWill

        Various NESCAC schools have done this many years, dropping the SAT is not the worst thing in the world, it’s the grade inflation that hurts.

        Reply
  7. AvatarCJinSD

    It might be nice to think that the token number of white cisgender Christians admitted to Ivy League schools are warrior princesses, but the reality is that many of them are the average children of Pedocrat politicians.

    Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      Meanwhile, most of the students of color and uncertain gender who are awarded with Ivy admission and scholarship are children of the wealthy and privileged – Malia Obama for example. It seems that even with the heavy hand of affirmative action, not many kids from the hood or fruit pickers from south of the border have the high school degrees or sufficient test scores to make the grade.

      Reply
  8. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    A friend of mine is a Princeton PhD engineer who left the academic world, where he had been a professor, to start his own independent lab. He’s possibly the smartest person that I know. A few years ago there was massive flooding in the Detroit area, including in his basement.

    Since he’s an engineer, he started looking at it as an engineering problem, discovered how poorly Oakland and Macomb counties were managing their storm and sewage water, and decided to run for county Water Commissioner as a Republican. The local Republican party officials, though, tried to talk him out of it. It seems they already had a candidate picked, one who had lost every previous attempt at gaining public office. He knew nothing about water management or engineering but it was his turn to run for Water Commissioner. Fortunately for my friend, but unfortunately for the other fellow, the guy dropped dead during the primary. My friend lost in the general election but while he was campaigning he’d visit local water treatment facilities, where the workers would be surprised that someone running for Water Commissioner actually had an interest in their work.

    That’s on the Republican side. On the Democrat side, pandering to blacks and women have made the intellectually weak. Nobody in their party is willing to call out morons like Maxine Waters and Debbie Wasserman Schultz for the idiots that they quantifiably are. Add to their kid glove treatment by the media (see how Biden and Pelosi snap at reporters that offer the mildest of critical questions) and they’ve been reduced to rote recitation of talking points.

    Reply
    • AvatarWill

      That’s sad to know that someone competent lost the election. We’re doomed because we elect lawyers and incompetent people.

      Reply
  9. AvatarShortest Circuit

    Gimlet’s Reply All podcast did a whole episode on QAnon, it’s basically a bored guy in South Africa. And that Epstein ‘drop’: Alex Jones had been saying since ever that the rich and famous have pedophilia sex cults, and when the whole NXIVM thing broke, nobody cared. If you google it today, you’d think it’s a simple Amway-type company. QAnon is the same… shoot at everything in the dark and when something hits, post the next jeopardy-laden trope and vanish for weeks.

    Reply

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