Curtis Dahlgren
Orientation for College 101; part III (a Classic!)
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By Curtis Dahlgren
September 3, 2011

"Had I . . . lived the life of a Collegiate Professor, shut up in the narrow walls of a library, I consider that I should have had my knowledge of mankind so confined to glancing through a 'peep-hole' as to make me totally unfit for [my life's work]." — Ferrar Fenton

"WE ARE RULED BY PROFESSORS," says Victor Davis Hanson. With the ascension of Barack Oboma, we can say this is true, directly as well as indirectly (adjunct prof, at least). I believe Woodrow Wilson was our first Egghead President. We should have known better.

Hanson wrote an article — he writes lots of articles, but I believe this one was in 2010 — and I would like to excerpt a few of his quotations. I don't think this is "borrowing" his writing but plugging it. Anyway, he got a PhD in classics from Stanford, but if he had written this piece anonymously, he'd be given the "anti-intellectual" label for sure.

The following are some of his personal observations after many years as a professor himself:

"I farmed before, during, and after the university tenures . . The farm and the life with it were great gifts from my ancestors. Almost every weekend as an undergraduate and graduate student, and then nightly as a classics professor, I returned to the farm. People in the environs there were not hostile to learning; they just assumed that being a professor or writer was, and should be, not any different from welding or tractor driving.

"Living in rural Selma was sort of vaccination against the academic virus of self-importance and collective timidity. . . Fairly or not, I always admired a guy who could feed his family from 60 acres of tree-fruit (I could not) — and especially a lot more than I did an English professor — at least the sort I met over the last forty years."

[I would interject here that the reason for the title of my book "Massey-Harris 101" was it begins with lessons I learned driving a Massey-Harris 101, Jr. from the age of 5 to about 20 (when my career went on to even more "primitive" things such as climbing trees like a pre-Darwin primate). But Hanson asks "What did I learn in the university?"]

LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES

"First was the false knowledge — odd for an institution devoted to free inquiry. The university runs like a 13th-century church in which the heliocentric maverick is a mortal sinner . . .

"Mao killed only a few who needed killing . . . Che was not a murderous thug, but a hair-in-the-wind carefree motorcyclist [etc] . . .

"Only the unhinged even discussed doubts about global warming. Don't question any of the above; it was all gospel — as we see now in D.C., from Keynes to Gorism . . .Doubt any of that, and that laid-back elbow-patched joking prof who told the class 'Call me Bill,' in a flash . . turned into a snarling jackal, screaming, 'I am Doctor Jones, with important publications on climate change and a doctorate from Berkeley! How dare you question me?'. . .

"Looking back at it all, envy seemed the university lifeblood. Most other professionals, you see, were, in comparison to us overpaid . . . Go to campus and the present demonization of Vegas, Wall Street, surgeons, and insurers makes perfect sense."

[Comment: The current President was sold as many times smarter than the previous one, even though he went to an Ivy League school too. And Oboma's economic ideas had always made so much sense in the classroom and faculty lounges (at least to the Marxist profs he hung out with).]

Victor Davis Hanson concludes: "I can only remember two tenured professors who were fired, one a child molester who was 'retired,' and the other a decapitator who was imprisoned . . . Could go on, but you get the picture about the strange habits that arise when you ensure someone lifelong employment, institutionalize unaccountability and groupspeak, and create artificial hierarchies of respect that are not necessarily earned by either teaching excellence, scholarship, or value to the community. After the pension meltdown, a great reckoning is coming to academia and it won't be pretty . . [and]

"What I hear coming out of Washington reminds me a lot of what I once heard coming out of the philosophy or English department. And that is a scary thing indeed."

P.S. Speaking of "theories" that look so good through the "peep-holes" of a college library, how about all those Green Jobs we were supposed to be getting these days? In theory, we were supposed to cure addiction to "foreign oil" without drilling offshore or in ANWAR. It sounded so good in 2008 (to some people at least).

A FEW LINES FROM THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (October 2007):

"In theory, burning a tank of ethanol could make driving even an Indy car carbon neutral. The operative word is 'could.' Biofuels as currently rendered in the U.S. are doing great things for some farmers and for agricultural giants like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, but little for the environment. Corn requires large doses of herbicide and nitrogen fertilizer and can cause more soil erosion than any other crop.

"And producing corn ethanol consumes just about as much fossil fuel as the ethanol itself replaces. Biodiesel from soybeans fares only slightly better. Environmentalists also fear that rising prices for both crops will push farmers to plow up some 35 million acres of marginal farmland now set aside for wildlife conservation, potentially releasing even more carbon bound in the fallow fields . . .

"Around a fifth of the [corn] harvest will be brewed into ethanol — more than double the amount only five years ago."

PPS: If I were to list the undeniably dumbest Top Ten decisions made by the bureaucratic Federal gubmint, subsidizing ethanol would be pretty close to the top of the list.

Some of the other Top Ten would also include "Green" decisions that do more harm to us AND the earth than the previous situation.

The bottom-line is, Junior (Al Gore, Jr.) that we all prefer clean air, but if that's your primary goal just SAY so!

You don't have to LIE. Keep the polar bears out of it.


Polar bears are doing just fine without a federal subsidy!

MORE TO COME.

PPPS: Speaking of "brewing," I just found out that a professor at the U. of California-San Bernardino is going to be arrested for 'allegedly' running a meth production-and-distribution ring with a biker gang. "Smacks" of the online prostitution ring involving a former U. of NM president. Almost "cracks" me up, given the subject of this week's column, eh?

© Curtis Dahlgren

 

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)

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