After sitting in my browser as an open tab for a few weeks, I finally found some time to read Corey Robin’s latest in The Nation, titled “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children: On Friedrich Hayek.”
Here’s a sample—from Robin’s concluding passages:
[According to Friedrich Hayek] The most important contribution of great wealth, however, is that it frees its possessor from the pursuit of money so that he can pursue nonmaterial goals. Liberated from the workplace and the rat race, the “idle rich”—a phrase Hayek seeks to reclaim as a positive good—can devote themselves to patronizing the arts, subsidizing worthy causes like abolition or penal reform, founding new philanthropies and cultural institutions. Those born to wealth are especially important: not only are they the beneficiaries of the higher culture and nobler values that have been transmitted across the generations—Hayek insists that we will get a better elite if we allow parents to pass their fortunes on to their children; requiring a ruling class to start fresh with every generation is a recipe for stagnation, for having to reinvent the wheel—but they are immune to the petty lure of money. “The grosser pleasures in which the newly rich often indulge have usually no attraction for those who have inherited wealth.” (How Hayek reconciles this position with the agnosticism about value he expresses in The Road to Serfdom remains unclear.)
The men of capital, in other words, are best understood not as economic magnates but as cultural legislators: “However important the independent owner of property may be for the economic order of a free society, his importance is perhaps even greater in the fields of thought and opinion, of tastes and beliefs.” While this seems to be a universal truth for Hayek, it is especially true in societies where wage labor is the rule. The dominance of paid employment has terrible consequences for the imagination, which are most acutely felt by the producers of that imagination: “There is something seriously lacking in a society in which all the intellectual, moral, and artistic leaders belong to the employed classes…. Yet we are moving everywhere toward such a position.”
Considering Hayek’s influence among prominent conservative intellectuals, has the twentieth century produced a greater menace to democracy and democratic culture? – TL
Everyone should read this essay by Aaron Bady. It’s the best I’ve seen on the recent history, present state, and deeper issues associated with MOOCs. Bady has fast become the best critic of the trend since the “MOOC Moment” emerged. Now that I’ve read his essay, let me summarize an important aspect of it for you—in four easy steps:
(1) Conservatives manufacture a crisis in public higher education by criticizing its perceived liberality (bias!) and also claim austerity (!) to underfund the same.
(2) Friends of conservatives, the corporations, step in to offer brass alternative (MOOC) as “free” without telling consumers that it is only free *for now* (because the “gift” is given by a for-profit corporation). Claim freedom of choice and access. Who could deny those noble ends?
(3) Siphon students away from gold-stand traditional higher edu to brass for an unnamed period of time (let’s say 3-5 years).
(4) At the end of that discount period, raise the price to reflect true cost, and pocket profit for Wall Street/Silicon Valley/Hedgefund Manager.
Results (intended and otherwise): The gold standard is destroyed and undermined (i.e. traditional in-person, real-life, conversational higher education). The corporation has sold a brass ring to aspiring college students who never understood that 75 percent of the cultural capital gained in college is via person-to-person connections and the name of the school on your diploma. Meritocracy and the common good have been further eroded in the name of profits and, ironically, equality as access.
So I may be in the market for an indexer. But I know only a little about that market. I have a strong recommendation from a colleague—a rec that includes rates and testimonials from others. But questions remain:
1. Given a standard 280-300 page academic text with a note or two per paragraph, what is a reasonable rate for indexing (per page or by job)?
2. Can an estimate be provided via page proofs only, or could a professional indexer give a reasonably accurate est. based on chapter Word docs?
3. What kind of quality should one expect for a given rate?
4. How long does the process of indexing take?
These are my immediate inquiries. I’m sure others will arise. – TL
“A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”
Source: Benjamin, Thesis IX in the essay “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” est. 1940
With apologies to Thomas Andrews and Flannery Burke, who first introduced me to their “Five Cs of Historical Thinking” through a January 2007 column in AHA’s Perspectives magazine, I have developed a modification of their mnemonic that may be useful to my colleagues in history. I think this may be particularly helpful for introducing the field to new students—to those first-year undergraduates who think about “social studies” rather than history. In addition to Andrews and Burke, I also want to acknowledge Sam Wineburg for his classic work on this subject, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts (2001).
Rather than just “Five Cs,” I think we should add four more and emphasize the ‘s’ such that the mnemonic becomes “The Nine Cs.” It’s a bit of cute wordplay, but I think it gets a larger, improved set of points across to those being introduced to historical thinking.
By way of review, here’s a cheat sheet I developed in relation to Andrews’ and Burke’s column—to their 5 Cs: Read more…
The questions that follow occurred to me after reading this article. [Warning: The story contains graphic content.]
Is making more of this case sensationalism—the exploitation of a one-of-a-kind clinic? Is it symbolic of something more, a deeper social sickness? Is it a case of us not being to handle the stripped-down consequences of freedom? Is this a price we have to pay? What *exactly* is wrong with the events behind this article?
I can offer answers to some of these questions, but not all—not by any means. – TL
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen has authored a smart review Neil Gross’s new book, Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care?. As Ratner-Rosenhagen notes, the title of the book ought to be Are Professors Liberal? In answering either/both questions Gross offers a number of interesting findings (bolds mine):
Despite the prominence of claims that the university is awash in tenured radicals, only 8 percent of the professoriate identifies as “radical.” The “gotcha” factor with such a number is mitigated by the fact that 8 percent of American faculty members are distinctly un-radical business professors, and business is currently the most popular major in American universities. …
Gross determines that there is something to the charges of a liberal professoriate. “By my calculations,” he concludes, “between 50% and 60% of professors today can reasonably be described as leftist or liberal, at a time when only 17% of Americans fall into that category.” …
What Gross’s historically grounded approach does remind us is that the university’s liberal reputation dates back over a century. …Because academic work has for so long been regarded as a “liberal pursuit,” it draws in young liberals who recognize the selves they want to become in their professors. Gross refers to this as “political self-selection,” which may sound circular—and indeed it is. But the phenomenon is no less probable because of it.
And, perhaps the most important point Gross’s study (bolds mine): Read more…