From The Chronicle Of Higher Ed: “Misguided Nostalgia For Our Paleo Past”

Full piece here.

The paleofantasy is a fantasy in part because it supposes that we humans, or at least our protohuman forebears, were at some point perfectly adapted to our environments. We apply this erroneous idea of evolution’s producing the ideal mesh between organism and surroundings to other life forms, too, not just to people.’

There’s a lot of confusion out there in the popular mind, apparently.  Fascinating discoveries going on right now in genetics, genome research, and evolutionary biology, to name a few.

Because nobody asked, I tend to be skeptical of the Noble Savage,  Rousseau’s State of Nature, and some products of the Nietzschean, tragic, romantic tradition in Europe.  There are also lots of folks milling around America seeking a kind of collectivist utopian harmony in nature, as well.

It can be a long ways to travel to get from Darwin back to God and organized religion (too far for many people) and this blog remains generally agnostic, defensive of the broad, but fragile, traditions necessary for civil society and individual liberty.

It can also be a long way from Darwin to arrive at Natural Rights, Locke’s life, liberty and property, as well as Roman and classical ideas of law and even to Montesquieu.

Check out Darwinian Conservatism, as Larry Arnhart is dealing with many of these ideas.  Here’s the banner from the site:

The Left has traditionally assumed that human nature is so malleable, so perfectible, that it can be shaped in almost any direction. By contrast, a Darwinian science of human nature supports traditionalist conservatives and classical liberals in their realist view of human imperfectibility, and in their commitment to ordered liberty as rooted in natural desires, cultural traditions, and prudential judgments.’

Are there three wings of American movement conservatism: traditionalism, libertarianism, or neoconservatism? Are you looking for classical liberalism? Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

Related On This Site: What happens when you romanticize the aboriginal? Romantic primitivism: Roger Sandall: Marveling At The Aborigines, But Not Really Helping?Repost-Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism ….Roger Sandall At The New Criterion Via The A & L Daily: ‘Aboriginal Sin’

The tragic, romantic German view…Robert Merry At The National Interest: ‘Spengler’s Ominous Prophecy’

Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity”

Peter Levine discusses the Nietzsche connection here.

Did Jared Diamond get attacked for not being romantic enough…or just for potential hubris?:  Was he acting as a journalist in Papua New-Guinea?:  From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit

Darwin and the arts: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

You know, Plato addressed Thrasymachus in the Republic about the will of the stronger: From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘Might Makes Right’…Darwinian Conservatism’…From Edge: ‘Re: What Makes People Republican? By Jonathan Haidt’…Evolutionary psychology and moral thinking: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

Steven Pinker somewhat focused on the idea of freedom from violence, which tends to be libertarian. Yet, he’s also skeptical of the more liberal human rights and also religious natural rights. What about a World Leviathan?: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department

Some Wednesday Links-Esteem And Prestige

The De Blasio Files-From Via Media: ‘Cuomo-1 De Blasio-0

‘De Blasio and Cuomo are still on good terms in public, and the Mayor has taken pains to say that these new developments will not derail his plans. But this is a major blow to his education agenda. Less than six months after winning on an anti-charter platform, de Blasio’s New York City will be even more hospitable to charter schools than it was under Bloomberg.’

Bad news for the unions and their coalitions, better news for charter students.

From The NY Times:

“Giuliani was a prosecutor, Bloomberg was a C.E.O., and so far, Bill’s a political labor activist.”

Don’t forget the children.

Timothy Larsen at The Chronicle Of Higher Ed ‘For the Persistent Ph.D. Impulse, Gentle Persuasion

‘Artists and athletes, like academics in the humanities, have chosen identity-based professions. Unlike those who do a job simply because it is a way to earn money, these careers are also splendid forms of self-expression and prestige. For a pool of aspirants much larger than the profession itself, they hold a romance that is not usually evoked by, say, retail sales or database administration. Being a professor is, in this sense, literally a dream job for many people’

Too few spots, too many people.

On This Site:…Stanley Fish At The NY Times Blog: ‘The Last Professors: The Corporate Professors And The Fate Of The Humanities’From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’,,,Natalie Angier In The NY Times: Curriculum Designed To Unite Art And Science.

What Will De Blasio’s New York Look Like?-Some LinksSandinistas At The NY Times: ‘A Mayoral Hopeful Now, de Blasio Was Once a Young Leftist’Two Links On Diane Ravitch & School Reform

From The Chronicle Of Higher Ed: ‘A Culture Of Evasion’

Full piece here.

‘The dreadful scandal at Penn State reached another level on July 12, with the 250-page report of former FBI director Louis Freeh to the university’s board of trustees, culminating a seven-month independent investigation.’

Don’t damage the brand…

There’s still a large psychological buy-in that college is the only way to “arrive”, get to the middle-class, be successful etc.  While it may still be worth it for many, the core educational mission has been over-run with many other interests in a fiscally unsustainable way.  Think of all the people with a financial, political, or personal interest in higher ed, and the motivations behind the Penn State cover-up, while inexcusable, become somewhat easier to understand.

Thoughts to the victims.

Addition:  A $60 million dollar fine and a 4-year bowl ban.  Paterno’s wins from 1998 own are scrubbed from his record, and his statue was taken down.

Related On This Site:   From Grantland Via From Burke To Kirk And Beyond: ‘Growing Up Penn State’

Via Instapundit: Jerry Bowyer At Forbes: ‘A College Bubble So Big Even The New York Times And 60 Minutes Can See It…Sort Of’

A deeper look at what education “ought” to be… A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking
 

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Nicolas Lemann At The Chronicle Of Higher Ed: ‘Journalism Schools Can Push Coverage Beyond Breaking News’

Full article here.

As you may have noticed, the economic models that sustained traditional media are in serious trouble.  The technology is now available to publish and communicate ideas much more cheaply.

Nicolas Lemann argues that the vital work of keeping citizens informed about how and what their government does and how their society actually functions (how would you achieve this second goal, anyways…through compulsory education?) is always necessary, and can be explored further by journalism schools like his at Columbia.

“Journalism schools not only can replace the original reporting capability that news organizations have lost, but also can raise the level of sophistication in the practice of journalism.

A new curriculum can be forged out of the current circumstances that can be a win-win for journalism students and the communities they live within:

“Like teaching hospitals, journalism schools can provide essential services to their communities while they are educating their students.”

That could work…at least he’s thinking on his feet.

Also On This Site: Bill Virgin says newspapers built up their value, and slowly let it die: From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die?..Who Reads The Newspapers?

Two previous two posts which might have some links of interest:  From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”From The Becker-Posner Blog: The Future Of Newspapers.

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