One of the irritating things about reading anything that strives to be academic is the thicket of citations throughout the text. It’s not just the end notes and footnotes, but the constant references to the work of others. Often, the text reads like a summary of the work in the field, rather than something original. Just as often, the text has the feel of a paper turned in by a teenager, trying to prove they did their homework. It is not just bad writing, it is a waste of time. It is disrespectful of the reader.

It’s not just a stylistic thing, but a reflection of something that has happened in the intellectual classes of American society. It used to be that an intellectual mastered a subject in order to build on it. The point of his labor was not to prove he had read everyone in the field. The point was to find the gaps in his field and use the source material as a foundation for filling some of those gaps. In other words, the academic added to his field, rather than maintained it like a curator of a museum.

This shift from speculation to memorization reflects the shift in the culture, not just the education system. As a managerial system came to dominate the upper reaches of society, the education system became an exam system. You pass through the system in order to accumulate credentials that open doors within the managerial elite. The system began to select against people who question the current order. Instead, the system selects for those most likely to support and defend the system.

Of course, as the mass media moved from being a vocation to a profession, it began to adopt the habits seen in other areas of the managerial class. Commentary on current events is less about explaining what happened and more about the writer showing they memorized all the things that will be on the test. The opinion sections of news sites are echo chambers, where each writer salts their text with the latest fads, as if they are writing an essay for their high school social studies class.

The banality is not confined to Progressives. The so-called intellectual dark web is just as dull and cautious, but decorated with some risqué phrases picked up from dissident politics. Here’s a story from Claire Lehmann about the Australian election. She is sort-of from Australia, but the post reads like it was written by someone, who knows everything about the place from a text book. There are no insights or speculations, just a long proof that the writer has read all of the approved source material and passed the test.

She seems particularly proud of herself for using the term “champagne socialist” as if that is a catchy insight. It’s just a different ways of saying “limousine liberal” which was popular with conservatives in the 1980’s. Again, we see that strange echo. The New Left in the West is a weird museum exhibit on the 1970’s, while the New Right is nostalgia for the 1980’s. We have a generation of public intellectuals, who memorized the political fights of their parent’s generation, but have no idea what they meant.

The fetish for the citation also has crept into elite commentary.  In books about current events, writers fill the pages with references to other people’s ideas. Even in op-ed style pieces, there’s every effort made to name-drop and preen about having read some famous person in the field. Instead of trying to enlighten the reader, or even just inform, the modern writer is like the kid in the front of class, furiously waving her hand saying, “I know! I know!” Everyone is trying to show they did the required assignment.

When people stop looking for gaps in their own knowledge or in the prevailing orthodoxy, they no longer have much to say. The lack of curiosity used to be the end of an academic career. It was when the old guy was put out to pasture, gaining the “emeritus” label. Today, a promiscuous lack of curiosity is a requirement for anyone entering the media, the academy or the official public space. As a result, we have a class of academics and public intellectuals, who are a circus of banality.

Worse yet, and this gets back to the citation fetish, there is no effort to make existing ideas accessible. The other role of the intellectual is to explain complex things in a way that regular people can grasp. That’s both a public service and proof you have mastered the material. In an effort to prove to teacher that they have done their homework, modern writing is so junked up with citations, references and insider jargon, it is unreadable to anyone outside the field. Much of it is just unreadable.

Perhaps this is just another manifestation of the end phase of a society. Like an old man, who no longer has the energy or courage to question authority, a society gets old and loses its will to question. Instead of sitting around looking at scrap books and telling war stories, the intellectual class reboots old ideas from prior generations and repeats the same things over and over. It’s not that these people were trained wrong. It’s that they are the result of a culture with nothing left to say, so they just repeat their greatest hits.

To support my work, please subscribe here.

123 thoughts on “Citationism

  1. Uhhh…am I the only one that likes citations? When reading engineering papers it helps a lot to have other papers that cover some of the ideas in a paper. Some of these are complicated and require more reading to understand. Also if you like the paper reading more of the same is stimulating. If I don’t like it I can always skip reading the listed references.

    I do get that some papers are just strung together references but you can always skim those and ignore the citations so I’m not losing anything if they cite them.

  2. All of this has been coming at us for a long time. A long lost primary source was published in a journal not too long ago (I discovered it and wrote an introduction). The young editor and one of the readers made me add a lot of secondary sources to make it more acceptable. I thought a primary source by an important historical figure could stand on its own. Apparently not. For any who are interested, Page Smith’s 1990 book “Killing the Spirit,” subtitled “Higher Education in America,” reads like prophecy. Note especially his chapters, “The Social Nonsciences,” “The Inhuman Humanities,” and “Women’s Studies.” It’s not like we weren’t warned.

  3. “Promiscuous lack of curiosity” Why reading here is good for my health.

    The lack of curiosity is what drives a stake into my heart.

    I have some tolerance for the self-indulgence and unearned self-regard of generation regurgitation, as they were mostly good children merely navigating the wicked curriculum of Progress put before them. We got what we incentivized.

    But what tilts my axis toward the inevitable hard reset is how the utter lack of curiosity has seemingly enveloped nearly every aspect of human interaction.

    There is no doubt that technology and the fetish culture that insulates it from critical inquiry as to its utility net of actual costs plays a role.

    But the dovetail of tech and the prog social agenda seems to have exponentially increased the unforeseen consequences of dehumanization, social distancing, and hyper-individualization to a point where the remedy resides in the unthinkable.

    This over-socialization seems to have metastasized. I hope i’m wrong.

    But in my work with kids over the past 10 years I have seen the burnoff of the natural inclination toward curiosity accelerating.

    I used to see 10y/o kids full of wonder and questions and eager to figure things out. Less so these days. I have to go much younger to find that.

    The funnel of potential human thought has been narrowed drastically. Maybe even inverted.

    The bandwidth constraints of progress throttles early and often. So naturally we have a problem of trajectory.

    How can we expect to have curious deep thinkers filling the PhD ranks when we have 6y/o kids losing sleep over drowning polar bears; 10 y/o kids demanding accommodations (and getting them) for their behavior problems that are natural outcomes of abandonment and neglect falsely assuaged by shiny things; and high school kids anxious, depressed, and obsessed with the perfect parroting skills to get them into debt, I mean college. Where they go on to chase rape culture and nazi ghosts between revisionist history classes and identity political “science”.

    I once dated woman in an ‘elite’ masters program at the local uni here. All of her work was regurgitating (with citations) the four food groups of social engineering: race, sex, class, and power.

    She didnt even have to take statistics let alone any other math or actual history. Wtf? I had to get thru calc 2 and stats for my measly BA.

    Which brings me to the end. Selfishly, the lack of curiosity means that single women are even more unsuitable for courtship.

    Nay, the promiscuity of mind and body are united in this regard; there is a void that if not filled with truth will demand to be filled with something, anything, and so the fiat currencies of credentials and prog social status will trade on even while the heart longs for curiosity.

    A bit long winded, apologies.

  4. Another part of why citations may be so prolific is that they’re a way to mitigate criticism of your position. Get even ankle deep into a debate with someone, and as sure as Godwin’s Law is a thing, someone will inevitably ask:
    Where’s your source for that?
    Can you cite a source?
    Can you prove that, what study backs that up?
    Where did you get those numbers from?
    What proof do you have?
    Y’know, everyone’s favorite: The Got’cha!
    But if you head that off by hitting them with a wall of citations, it makes your argument (in theory) harder to refute; and it makes you appear less likely to be making stuff up. Of course, they will then go after the source of your source and criticize that instead: you got that off such-and-such or from so-and-so, the study was racist, etc…

  5. Gonna have to disagree a little Z. Academia is a hot mess to be sure, but it isn’t citation that did it. Citation is the method by which people distinguish the existing body of knowledge from that which the author is intending to add. Nothing inherently wrong with it, lot of good comes from it.

    What you’re calling “citation” in popular press isn’t that at all, it’s just signaling what team you’re on by naming who is and isn’t a teammate.

    Since you mention the IDW, there is the occasional eye dropper of prog speaking against interest, but it’s mostly an exercise in self-congratulation. I find my eyes involuntarily rolling at nearly every Bret Weinstein utterance.

  6. I am intimately familiar with the selection for regurgitators.

    I majored in math, a field I did well in with high grades, but one I’d never be able to contribute new to. I have no ideas. I just like the rhythm of it.

    I minored in history. I had so many ideas that I tackled without reservation or thinking, bounding into research and putting together papers that even my professors admitted to admiring, but always awarded with low grades due to lack of citation. Well, the ideas I failed to cite were my own.

    One professor let me in on a secret – you don’t get to think for yourself until you go for your PhD. Everything before that does its level best to push the thinkers out with poor grades and reward the regurgitators with high marks.

  7. The academic rule is that every statement of fact must either have an experimental or theoretical derivation you, yourself, produce or an explicit citation of a published paper. Tht’s just the way it is. It is also a very good rule for good science. Stop whining about good practice.

  8. Yes, but. Why would anyone comforable in the gentry liberal bubble want to rock the boat with original thought.

    F.S.C. Northrop wrote that science begins with a problem. We troublemakers have a problem, and we know we need to get outside conventional wisdom. Our gentry-liberal friends do not have a problem. At least, not yet.

    • Most of the folks tied to academia in some manner aren’t going to do squat. They will do as they are told lest the last several decades of their life gets flushed down the toilet and might have to get a real job.

      The same applies to many professionals.

      All these people are dependent on the system. This is why you don’t see them leading any revolution or even supporting it when push comes to show. They show up later after the blood letting has been done to game/suck-up to the new rulers.

      And yeah they don’t have any original thoughts because you don’t need any to advance. Just find out the party line and promote that. The rest takes care of itself.

  9. The citation culture is a cross-product of litigation and origination. Litigation, because if you cannot prove your idea is original, the person who thinks their idea was original will sue you. Origination, because of the innate human desire to be thought of as the carrier of original ideas – the guy who “gets the credit”.

    It is almost never the case that “your” idea is genuinely unique or was never thought of before you came around. It is often the case that the guy who published or monetized it successfully gets remembered as the person who thought of it. That’s why we remember Edison more than Tesla. Henry Ford more than Karl Benz. Albert Einstein more than Hendrick Lorentz…even though the former often benefited from insights by the latter.

    I do think that citation culture stems from academia where, other than cheating, plagiarism is the greatest sin. Teachers today employ a phalanx of anti-plag tools just in case a student dares write something without the proper attribution. Then end result, of course, is that you QUICKLY learn that even your most clever/original/creative idea…has been thought of already.

    I actually feel bad for students today. They can legitimately arrive at an observation or conclusion that they never once read or heard…but if they write it, they stand a good chance of being accused of theft.

    It’s like defensive medicine – a procedure you perform not out of actual necessity, but simply to avoid being hurled into the void for having the temerity to notice something others have noticed too…

  10. I imagine this is related to credentialism and the whole ‘overeducated morons running the circus’ issue Z has mentioned a few times and I think he is absolutely right about.

    • It’s cyclic. A lot of what’s going on is declining intelligence. You might like Edward Dutton’s At Out Wits’ End. Enjoyable read.

  11. You realize that *every* system is going to select against people who question the system and in favor of people who support it, right? Any system that doesn’t do that, isn’t going to be a system for very long.

    You’re not wrong, but it’s a tautology and doesn’t explain very much.

  12. Sadly, she missed an opportunity to write “Bolinger Bolshevik”. It is not original either, but it’s much less stale than “Champagne Socialist”. It would be very applicable to Jeremy Corbyn and his pals, if she ever wants to write about them.

  13. Another citation trick is when a politician or advocate cites an everyman. “A fella in a coffee shop pulled me aside the other day, and explained the devastation that (right-wing proposal) was already wrecking on his family. It breaks your heart to hear these stories. And I hear them all the time from regular folk.” They just make up these encounters LOL.

    • Or they can’t be bothered to invent anything and just attribute their hateful bias to “some people.” “Some people” say you’re a Nazi, what’s your response?

  14. “the intellectual class reboots old ideas and repeats the same things over and over”

    Not so, my friend; would that it were.

    In fact, a new idea of epochal importance has taken hold quite strongly, one might even say ovrrwhelmingly, among the intellectual and cultural classes. And they never get tired of repeating it. Roughly speaking, it is this:

    1. White people have no right to exist. Because slabery. Because Holocaust. Because the Slaveocaust.

    2. White people’s countries, their lands, their women and all their stuff, rightfully belong to everybody else except White people. Again, because Slaveocaust. Or patriarchy. Or something.

    3. We should kill White people and take their lands and their stuff, and make their women our sex slaves. As they say at Slate and HuffPo, “and that’s a good thing.”

    4. Once all the White people are gone, we can all get gay-married in our flying pyramids, worship Islam, and build infinity Holocaust Museums. Kangz! Profit!

    I honestly thought you started this blog because you’d noticed.

  15. Mostly OT, I realize, but speaking of credentials… since you’re pinch-hitting for Heartiste, Z Man, can you imagine what a panty-dropper this is going to be? Smartphones sounding an alarm whenever someone whose “social credit” score is low walks into the room. $1000 says the “Game” guys figure out how to hack it within 2 hours of it hitting the shelves. Yes, ladies, we know you believe anything your smartphone tells you… and I am a bad, bad boy.

  16. With an education system based on Prussian credentialism, it’s no surprise we’re producing generations of brown-nosed metric-chasing grinders with little to no analytical or critical thinking skills (especially ironic in the age of crit theory). I’ve seen this transform California law practice over 20+ years. Kids out of Harvard, Stanford et al can’t think on their feet. They only excel at cheating, blame-shifting and, when forced, grinding out rote work product from samples their elder betters have provided.

  17. It all fits perfectly. All things are now known and all questions have been answered. So why do we still need these outmoded (and probably racist) concepts like inquiry and debate? The search for truth is over.

    The Cathedral has all the answers and your only task, grasshopper, is to learn to use the “search” function. Act as if you have all the answers and the answers will be given to you. History consists of slavery, the Holocaust and Stonewall. What else do you need to know? Why, even to ask questions is, of itself, an act of insubordination. You must burn for this. Learn to embrace the Tree of Knowledge and to let the juices of its fruit run down your chin.

    The purpose of life is to memorise and follow. Obedience is the highest human virtue,

  18. It seems citationitis is the literary manifestation of coalition-building, as pointed out by Sextus, to quickly frame the author’s RightThink. It’s also a symptom of cowardice.

    • Citation: the “black lives matter, love trumps hate” yard signs affixed to the $800k homes in my bluetopolis. Its the “ok” sign that means “goodwhite”.

      Its all rather self-congratulatory and likely feelz good as it requires no further thought.

      But when the new LED street lights go dark or the sanctuary policies turn the streets dark, those signs (and indeed the prostrating tolerance of white guilt) will be even less useful than the “black owned” signs in the old LA riots. Good times.

  19. Excellent article, as usual! (You are a National Treasure, you know.)

    Anyway, reminds me a bit of what Oscar Wilde said: “The difference between journalism and literature is that journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read.” Our “intellectual” class writes mostly drivel–trust me on that, as I have had 30 yrs experience editing their scribblings to make them (gag) publishable.” But all I can do, really, is to clean up the grammar and style. It really is almost exclusively drivel. And unreadable. And probably unread. Trust me on this too: Just because somebody cites somebody else does in no wise mean that the writer has actually read the cited source. Skimmed it, yes, probably, but only for outtakes to cite. And only–need this even be said?–to back up whatever “thesis” the writer wants to demonstrate.

    Teachers (and “journalists”) are particularly dreadful. They (necessarily) have degrees in something called “education,” but NEVER in the field that they (pretend to) teach. What they “know” is something called “teaching methods.” They know LOTS of those, whatever they are. But the subject they are PAID (!) to “teach,” no. Never. There’s a childlike (and childish) faith in “experts.”

    Well, I’m getting wound up and beginning to ramble, so I’ll stop now.

    • My sister worked in the Danish department of energy, and one day the boss’ nephew, fresh out of uni, got hired for some PR position. Nephew is tasked with writing a two-page synopsis on wind energy or something. Boss asks my sister to ‘polish up’ his text, as he’s near-dyslectic.

      Sis takes a look at it, and discovers that it’s rank, utter nonsense. She discovers that he has copypasted from random articles on wind turbines and arbitrarily cobbled it together with no regard for any overall coherence or narrative in the text.

      She goes to nephew and tells him that the ministry will be a laughing stock if they issue random copypasta. He takes it back to the drawing board, comes back a week(!) later.

      Same thing. He is unable to compose a text in his own words, he is not even able to paraphrase his sources, because all he’s ever done at uni is copy from the internet. The man had a masters in public administration.

      • …AND an Uncle in a key administrative position. So he’s well on his way to a career in Bureaucracy!

  20. Thanks for the flashback to grad school, Z Man. One of my favorite private jokes was doing the citation tango by attributing the most banal statements imaginable to big league academics. So I’d have Michel Foucault saying that power is “interesting” (Les mots et les choses – une archéologie des sciences humaines (Paris: Gallimard, 1966), p.45); Judith Butler maintaining that gender is “important” (Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge. p. 32), etc. Nobody ever called me on it, no matter how silly it got — proof positive, I guess, that nobody actually reads the stupid footnotes.

    • Severian, you are right, who reads the stupid footnotes—unless you are disagreeing or confused wrt the passage(s) in the paper referencing the footnote? I’m simply not getting the bulk of the concern here. I have little problem reading through such papers/studies—skipping over the citations/footnotes and when necessary, reading the citations if I need too. If you are adept in the field, the citations seem of little bother, and if not, then are of great necessity.

    • Severian, thanks for the great review of Empire of the Summer Moon – I raced through it this weekend. If he hadn’t taken the shekel in the end, Quanah could’ve become the patron saint of nationalists everywhere.

      Also, I like the Comanche division of labor:

      Men: KILL! BURN! RAPE!

      Women: Everything else.

      • Felix, that was indeed a nice review. Alas, not mine – I’ve never seen that site before (though it looks interesting).

        • I see. I must’ve misremembered something then, but the book gets my warmest recommendations.

  21. Two things going on here, IMHO. One is that citation is easy and a lazy way out, when you can Google the internet. Two is that stupid people are mostly incapable of original thought, or of stringing disparate things together into new and useful insights, so they simply copy and paste. And since the universities and corporations operate by co-opting all those stupid people into the fold, and having them do what they are told, there is no institutional incentive to do anything but perpetuate the practice.

  22. I work in scholarly publishing. There are several factors operating there. People cite their friends, bumping each other up in citation indexes. They cite their grad school profs. They cite academic stars that they want to suck up to. They’d probably rather not publish at all, but publishing is the only path to tenure (failure to attain tenure is career death), promotion, and the chance to move up the academic food chain (who wants to stay at Backwater State A&M forever?).

  23. “Instead of sitting around looking at scrap books and telling war stories, the intellectual class reboots old ideas from prior generations and repeats the same things over and over.”

    Citation of sources can be valuable in the case of statements that go against conventional assumptions or otherwise might sound highly questionable. But that’s in connection with facts. Buttressing opinions by citing someone else is usually just gaming an argument — it’s almost always possible to find someone else with the same opinion, and so what?

    If you want to strengthen a claim, better to use examples, data (although there are lots of junk statistics around), and logic.

  24. I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree, so this topic is painfully real to me as I must read the current academic papers in my field (music) and adjacent subjects. Of course the citations are mainly a signal of your right-thinking (the “who” that you cite, and their status in the academic clownworld moral pantheon is more important than the “what” of their actual theories and arguments), but what is particularly offensive to me is the recent prevalence of “auto-ethnography” (didn’t David Carradine die from that?) – auto-ethnography meaning “shit I dreamed up out of my addled brain and misinterpreted personal experiences that can’t be verified, tested or challenged because I’m really too lazy to actually read and do real research” – the Xirls seem to really love this method because it lets them put their well developed habit of making uninformed pronouncements on every subject to good use in career advancement.. Between the two approaches I spend most of my reading time vacillating between hysterical laughter and homicidal ideation.

    • “auto-ethnography” (didn’t David Carradine die from that?)

      No, geez, Carradine wasn’t that much of a degenerate! He just accidentally hung himself to death while jacking off!

  25. On a more optimistic note, this tendency towards consensus and conformity will doom our opponents. They will be the French Army in 1940. Numerically superior, but unable to adapt their obsolete tactics and strategies.

  26. The root cause is how promotions are decided has evolved badly.

    Now it’s not did you move your field forward. It’s how often you publish, which journals and conferences accept your papers, AND how often you are cited.

    Citing everything is a form of pay it forward.

  27. This is more evidence of the fact that leftists always project their flaws onto other people. They call their opponents fascists who as we all know are unthinking, conformist robots.

    In reality, blitzkrieg relied heavily on initiative on the part of noncoms and junior officers who understood the big picture in which their orders werere given.

    This why they squealed like stuck pigs over the NPC meme. They were forced to face their own flaws.

  28. The worst is when soft subjects, like literature, ape the citation-heavy style of research papers.

    I remember reading some literature “papers” in college. It was just as awful as Xirl science.

    But I had the good fortune of finding much older books at the library and at the second-hand bookstores, which was just “smart guys saying smart things about literature,” without any footnotes or systematic subversive programs, and it was an absolute joy.

    • To be a tenured professor of literature at a small, rural college far from the limelight sounds like a great job to me.

    • OK, but that just underscores the point. She may as well have used the phrase “23 skidoo.”

      Pedantry always reflects poorly on the pedant.

      • She’s trying to make a simple point based on observation of recent surprise election results in Australia, which is, as I understand it, that throughout the Anglosphere the parties of the working class have been captured by the educated upper class. Do you disagree with her on this issue or is it just everything she has to say rubs you the wrong way?

        • Please spare me the tricks. I don’t fall for these gags and I have no interest in them.

          • Isn’t that what Shapiro said when he walked out on that BBC interview? If he didn’t, that’s what he should have said.

  29. Conformity and an innate lack of wonder and curiosity have become commonplace in academia. A not insignificant part of this is also due to the expansion of cargo-cult credentialism. There are a lot of dumb, some of them very dumb, PhDs running around on campus these days.

    Less than 2 generations ago 15% to 20% of graduating HS students went on to university. Today it’s approaching 70%.

    Add to that the sorts of people acting as gatekeepers the higher you go in the academy.

    • The dumb PhD’s are the puzzler. I get weeding out the curious, but how can they not weed out the stupid. That just seems like basic elf-preservation, but I have not thought too hard about it. Of course, what exactly constitutes “smart” in queer studies? For that matter, what is “smart” in the humanities? At least in the STEM fields, they still require right answers, for now. Given the advent of diversity points on the SAT, I fully expect the same in the math department one day.

      • “That just seems like basic elf-preservation”

        A rather prophetic typo. It IS of course “elf-preservation” insofar as the universities have become the havens of cute, puny little elves, who need to be guarded and protected and preserved in their Safe Spaces, lest they discover that the big bad Raciss ideas turn out to be actually true.

      • I think that I saw that the adversity score will give different points to urban vs rural kids. Otherwise, you’d just end up with smart white country kids getting all the AA slots – and that’s obviously not going to happen.

        Either way, the STEM departments at universities will be an interesting area to watch. How will the SJW crowd diversify them without destroying them? Of course, I would have said the same thing about the tech industry, and they seem to be coping by hiring some NAM and women “engineers” and shoving them in a corner.

        • Tech is dying, just slower because they’re importing H-1Bs to try to slow it down. The H-1Bs suck at new stuff but are good at keeping the lights on (following existing processes). So the H-1Bs keep the lights on while the womyn have hundreds of meetings about which color the button on the mobile app should be.

      • You’ve already hit the nail on the head:

        “Of course, what exactly constitutes “smart” in queer studies? For that matter, what is “smart” in the humanities?”

        It’s now a litmus test. Especially in the social sciences and the humanities: if you’re on the wrong page (for all sorts of direct and indirect reasons) you’re wrong for the job.

        ‘Different Narratives’ also opens the door for half-wits. And some of this is simply our enemies doing the …in your face YT bit.
        This is nothing new: Page Smith wrote Angela Davis’ dissertation and played commissar at its defense. This is now typical in the manufacturing of black and brown scholars – ghost written with a kabuki theater-like defense.

        That day has already arrived in STEM if you have a big enough department. Sailer has a new Ta-Nehisi Coates in a mathematician at Perdue (he’s written about him a couple of times). A black ‘troubled’ by the exclusivity of math depts. He’s a nonentity but was given tenure for his contributions to ‘educational opportunity ‘. Basically he whines all day at academic conferences about unfairness and exclusivity in math. Every sizable department in STEM has at least one version of him. So do large research labs and industrial engineering firms.

        But I wouldn’t discount the grown in the number of students getting degrees. Regression to the mean, etc…

      • I get weeding out the curious, but how can they not weed out the stupid.

        How dare you suggest that powerful Black, Lesbian Gender Studies professor is stupid merely on the basic of a patriarchal, opperessive, misogynistic, heteronormative grading and testing system? It’s very simple, bigot. There are no stupid Angry Studies students or professors. Because we said so. Shut up.

      • As I’ve mentioned before, in the STEM fields, for example Engineering, one can create new degree areas such that one can get an engineering degree in “engineering management” with minimal requirements for math and such. That will produce the requisite “dumb” graduates. And of course, pressure on faculty to pass low achieving minorities or risk sanction are building. And as you mentioned, there are now a variety of new degree areas in Ethnic studies and such for the worse of the worse.

      • There’s a lot of opportunity lost by getting a PhD. Many smart but not genius folks see it and leave. The mediocrity (who thinks he’s ever so smart) sticks around.

    • Yves, correct. We need to get back to basics. First basic, what is a 4 year college education about and for whom? To major in a rigorous STEM field requires and IQ about 120 or so. That’s 10% or so of the population. OK, so there are folks attending over and above the 10%. I’ll not get too upset at the 15-20%—but more than that, and the standards must inevitable decline. And that’s what we have today—remedial high school education, if that—in our university system. Waste of resource.

  30. Maybe they’re just afraid of the answers that they’ll find if they challenge the current orthodoxy. As you have noted, the Age of Ideology is giving way to the Age of Demographics. They’re stuck in the Ideological Age because it’s what they know. They’re comfortable there and, of course, could get fired questioning it.

    But I think that it’s more than that. It’s frightening to think about just what the Demographic Age means. Besides the fact that you’d lose your job as an academic talking about it, the Demographic Age feels very simplistic and violent compared to the Ideological Age. Ideas take a backseat to tribe. Debates aren’t about infinitely malleable concepts but about simple pie splitting.

    Even the violence of the Demographic Age is petty, dirty and low-level with tribes killing each other over a bit more of the pie. Compare that to the grand violence of the 20th century when Wagnarian wars between great armies were fought over ideas, such as communism, fascism and democracy. Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least, it’s an ethos.

    The simplicity and petty violence of the Demographic Age just isn’t something smart people who love to debate ideas want to contemplate. (Our own Steve Sailer is proof of that.) Admittedly, a lot of the reluctance to challenge the current orthodoxy is, of course, fear of punishment, but at least some of it is fear of what they’ll find and what’s coming.

    • Exactly right Brother…It all boils down to one thing can an idea people survive a tribal/evil people without banding together and driving them out…I say no they can’t but it seems that it’s the flavor of they day to debate ideas while the other side is planning to wipe our very existence from the earth…Makes me furious that we can’t rectify that…

  31. OT (but also relevant, in a way), in the midst of the latest teeth-gnashing Abortion Two Minute Hate, it appears that erstwhile presidential candidate Pete Buttplug (D-Collegeworld) has pledged that he will only appoint judges who promise in advance to unconditionally uphold Roe v. Wade, n’importe quoi.

    Think of that.

    This guy wants to nominate judges who explicitly promise /in advance/ that they will rule on a given case in a certain way, before they have even heard the case.

    Needless to say, this is the exact opposite of what judges do, or are at least supposed to do. He wants anti-judges. Simply put, he wants commissars, political enforcers.

    And he was not booed off the stage for saying this. Hell, he wasn’t even tarred and feathered.

    Which means that his audience were, in essence, not Americans. They did not value American civics or basic Western judicial and political theory above their petty ideological wants. They simply want what they want, and they don’t care how or why they get it. That’s an index of just how stupid we’ve become.

    IOW: We have become a nation of negroes.

    • Remember when it was only snake-handling fundamentalist Christian fanatics who imposed abortion litmus tests on judicial appointments?

      • That’s just begging the question. The real problem is that our abortion “law” is not law at all, it is mere judicial fiat. We never had a robust public debate, followed by a grand symposium in Congress, followed by the passing of relevant legislation, whether pro or con, subject to a Presidential veto, subject to a Congressional override. Whatever the outcome of that process, THAT would have been the genuine Law of the Land.

        Instead, nine wizards gazed into their crystal balls and parsed the Magic Document by reading it backwards in upside-down acrostics and secret code, and “discovered” imaginary “rights” which no sane authority in a 2,000-year-old civilization had ever before promulgated or even countenanced. No rational person could call this procedure the Law of the Land.

        That is how you end up with judicial litmus tests, scrutinizing “law” which is not actually law. In the past these were cultural dog-whistles; defining a moral stance is not quite the same thing as upholding a legal particularity. To promise en avance to uphold a bit of magic wizard-chanting as the foundation of a crucial legal doctrine is not only a new species of stupid, it’s a new species of evil.

        • Whether for or against, that SCOTUS decision was my first (remembered) step in my thinking culminating to where I am today in thought. So in a bizarre way, I am grateful.

          But that was what 1973! Damn I’m a slow learner. 🙁

    • I have strong opinions regarding abortion (anti), but I have to take the stance that abortion is a complete distraction at this moment in politics and the history of the nation.

      Either we take control of our nation (or a remaining piece of it), in which case we can do whatever we want regarding abortion, or we continue on the path to becoming Brazil, in which case who gives a damn, our voices won’t decide anything.

      • Agreed. Abortion isn’t the hill to die on right now. For many white women, this is the hill that they will die on politically. They won’t budge, and it keeps their thinking in the past. It’s hard enough to get middle and upper middle-class white women on our side given the endless propaganda that they ingest daily. Let’s not make the task impossible by throwing abortion into the mix.

        • It makes you wonder whether all these radical anti-abortion bills popping up are the result of stupidity or a deliberate attempt to undermine the right.

        • The problem is we are not voting our way out of this even with white women on our side. Demographics will work against us, just slower. Given that women do not respect weakness, would caving on the issue really make them less hostile anyway?

          If they are not having white babies, what is the point of getting white women in our movement?

          I can see your point about abortion being a distraction, especially when conservatives use it to prove D3R. I guess maintaining an anti-abortion stance as a secondary issue is the way to go.

          • Fully funded abortions for all females except for white women is the position we should be advocating for. We can just sell it as more wokester BS by claiming that white women shouldn’t be sponging off the POC to fund their abortions.

            Once all the POC females sign up for their free abortions – then starting putting in quotas. “Every POC wymyn must have 5 abortions before their 35th birthday so they’re not supporting the patriarchy!!”.

            If it’s free – a significant portion of them will go for it.

    • 37-year-old Mayor Pete also said he wants to abolish the electoral college and not a peep of protest from the audience or host (Chris Wallace on Fox’s town hall). And he’s held out as a brilliant guy. Outrageous!

      The GOP has nothing to offer us, and they do not want to help Trump get re-elected, so, in addition to how great the economy is, we’re going to hear nothing but abortion talk from them to keep us occupied. So boring! Maybe Republicans were behind that crazy legislation in NY allowing late-term abortions, so as to spark the issue and prompt these several red states to make serious pro-life legislation in response. All to keep the public distracted while the Congress does as they’re paid to do: Nothing. Maintain the miserable status quo at all costs.

      • Abortion and the electoral college are mostly not argued on their own merits. They are largely totems held up by the leadership of the Left, so that their acolytes may make protestations of fealty to the Leftist cause.

        • If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. If a liberal doesn’t like guns, he wants them banned for everyone.
          If a conservative doesn’t like Chick-fil-A, he doesn’t eat there. If a liberal doesn’t like Chick-fil-A, he wants them all shut down.
          If a conservative doesn’t like abortions, she doesn’t get one. If a liberal doesn’t like abortions, she wants them to be illegal. No…wait…

    • As the NYT once noted, Hitchens is a splendid writer, but he’s too quick to venture into French in search of le mot juste.

  32. I dont know what you’re talking about. Academics are hip, cool, and question everything. They are totally against the patriarchal, white-supremacist, hetero-normative system. The have completely original thoughts about it.

    • “They are totally against the patriarchal, white-supremacist, hetero-normative system. The have completely original thoughts about it.”

      And of course each of these hipsters came to these conclusions after decades of sequestered, independent thought, not to mention sleepless nights engaged in painstaking research, deduction, and analysis, which somehow culminated for them at the age of 19. An age age from which they will likely never mature in terms of their worldviews and narratives, unlike the “uneducated” public.

  33. Quality doesn’t matter in academia, only quantity. That includes legitimate fields like computer science.

    The tendency to repeat and copy past work of others is very feminine and child like. My thesis is that the abundance of citation (which most definitely is a thing) is the product of, among other things, extreme neoteny that we now have, and hyper feminization of our society. Women have to seek consensus before doing things, over citing is a subtle way of signaling that the community agrees (argumentum ad populum).

    • Agreed. I read this stuff and keep waiting for “In conclusion, everyone agrees with X, so shut up.”

      • Isn’t that the line of argument that drove the firing of James Damore and drives most popular climate science — the consensus!

        • Vizzini:

          Most certainly, and that this is a discernable trend in previously respected spheres of society is telling wrt hyper feminization. It reminds me of the Shadow Mother archetype, who smothers her own out of fear of abandonment and resentment of superiority.

    • Tacitus, I tend to agree, but also disagree. It was not uncommon in review of candidates for faculty positions to have their submitted resumes penciled such that often *only* articles in a few respected journals were given credit and examined. It was a given that folks published everything they could—that’s the name of the game in research oriented universities. But quantity never got you noticed in and of itself to my perception. Listing of grants received and amounts were even more important.

      • Compsci:

        I can only go off of my own experiences in academia; what I noticed was that the *number* of top/second tier publications was the best guarantor of when your advisor would let you defend, and students were starting to game that system (but yes, to your point, flooding an application for candidacy with low tier spam would get you laughed at). In my particular subfield (architectures) there were holdouts in the quality realm, but they are losing ground. It was also one of the lowest in estrogen, which was nice. I can also only speak from the perspective of a PhD student, not a faculty candidate.

        That said, it seems that junior faculty are told to either “publish or perish” or seek grant money to continue on. Tenure is dangled in front of them (but is becoming increasingly rare, I suspect it will be an anachronism one day), all the while they are forced to teach larger and larger classes of snot nosed undergrads. They are becoming the equivalent of program managers for government contracts, and academia is a business now.

        (Digressing) It’s to the point where I am starting to wonder if this student loan conundrum is really a convenient way to force the millennial generation to pay for baby boomers retirement. Can’t think of any other asset class that grows at 6%, and cannot be waived off in bankruptcy.

        • I’m certain it depends on the type of institution one belongs to as to how you are judged wrt your vita. Crap journals and crap research abound and you are correct, at a certain level you can’t game the system and quantity of low quality will work against you. That was my point, at my department, it did work against you—or at least not for you. And I’m certain it does at all of the top 20 or so of private and public universities.

          Grantsmanship is a product of the Fed’s pouring money into the Universities at prodigious rates. When I left, the “overhead” we could charge the Fed’s was approaching 60%. Think about what that means. I write a grant for a few hundred thousand and the University gets more than half. I’d be whipping the staff for “productivity” for those bucks as well. 😉

  34. An exception to the above is the law profession. Citation to authority is the lifeblood of it (at least in litigation), but its purpose is not to advance knowledge per se, but to convince a judge that X issue has already been decided a particular way, hopefully by another Court to which he owes deference.

  35. “Like an old man, who no longer has the energy or courage to question authority, a society gets old and loses its will to question. ”

    More like an old man who, in the 1960s, didn’t have the energy to discipline his children. Today the children run the house. They are not citing academic sources: they are repeating modern nursery rhymes:

    “White supremacy.”, “Corporate greed”, “Women’s struggles against patriarchy.”

    It makes for great fun, especially for the pampered white daughters of corporate worms.

    Except today it’s called “education”.

  36. I dunno, I was kind of thinking the opposite, at least when it comes to race. For example, Amy Harmon of the NYT, recently denounced the great James Watson about his racial views, saying his views are widely discredited by experts, without providing any citations or footnotes. You see that all the time, the thought that racial differences aren’t real and in fact, are so ridiculous we don’t need to provide proof.

    • But read how you makes her “argument” and you see it is a form of “Everyone agrees that X is wrong, so….” She’s not really saying his science is wrong. She is saying his morality is wrong. The proof of that is everyone agrees his morality is wrong.

      • My favorite, which appeared in a football column of all places, was the assertion by Gregg Easterbrook that “The more is known about DNA, the more race appears to be a social construct: that black and white people are no more different than blondes and brunettes.” His source for this claim? A book by some quota hire at the University of Texas, whose other books include “Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to The Present” and “Soldiers of Light and Love: Northern Teachers and Georgia Blacks, 1865-1873.” If she isn’t qualified to unriddle for us the secrets of the human genome, I ask you, who is?

        • He was wrong even then. Blondes are more attractive than brunettes, at least until they get to their 40s.

      • ” The proof of that is everyone agrees his morality is wrong.”

        The essence of sheep/lemming mindset in one sentence.

  37. I got a master’s in a stem field at the turn of the century and we went over a lot of the old papers that were seminal in my field. Some of them had taken decades of research to finally publish one paper but these papers were interesting and well-written and they actually had an effect on the field and the world. Now it’s publisher or perish. No one has time to do any research even if they had the inclination and if by some chance they had both no one has the courage.

    Side note. This is sad news out of South Africa. She was very brave

  38. So Xirl Science is basically the result of the confluence of this love of citation, the love of the self, and the constant need to show how woke one is?

      • I sat through a graduation speech by some black professor in his mid-thirties with both law and medical degrees. MAN did he find himself fascinating! He talked, for instance, about how his White House internship spanned the Obama and Trump administrations and how alienated he felt during the latter. But first we heard all about the black celebrities (“music” and sportsball) that he met during the former, etc. etc. The lesson he passed on to the graduates about this experience took about one sentence, something like, “endeavor to persevere.” I overheard my daughter telling a friend how the “message” of the speech was lost on her. What a shock that she couldn’t relate to “it’s great to be me.”

      • There is also the circular citation squad phenomenon that the diabolical Kmac has described so well.

      • Grievance studies *were developed for “dumb” people*. They are pseudo “sciences” which were developed for two reasons: 1) to allow students—mostly minority—a “field” they can successfully major in, and 2) to allow an excuse to hire and promote weak faculty—again, mostly minority. The university benefits in that it keeps its numbers up in the affirmative action and diversity category and gleans $$$ from tuition and grants and such. Everyone else loses as resources are wasted on these “scholars” (better termed malcontents) who inevitably create an undercurrent of disruption within the university.

        I must also restate for emphasis here, there is nothing “scientific” in these fields. The scientific method is not used properly in research published (most always published in so called journals with weak or no peer review) and is the bases for numerous articles demonstrating the un-reproducibility of such “results”.

        Not all minority students are of the above ilk, but you must check their major field of study to get an some idea of whether you are interviewing a credentialed fraudster or a potential hire. The same holds true for *all* graduates these days. Sigh.

          • Before watching, I thought your reference to the ‘loud breathing’ was referring to the tenured STEM professors snoring in the back row.

        • And all the crazy new words they throw around are just a smoke screen to mask their stupidity and complete lack of value.

Comments are closed.