Thursday, August 2, 2018

the surplus intellectuals menace

I was going to say this in the form of a reply to бармаглот’s earlier comment but my reply ended up being too long-winded so it’s become a new post.

бармаглот argued that it’s the content of higher education that is the problem, not the quantity. This is of course basically true but I don’t think it’s the whole story. In my view too much education would still be a problem even if you removed every trace of SJWism from the courses.

The problem is the production of people with useless qualifications who then expect to be given jobs commensurate with their inflated ideas of their own deserved status.

Even if the courses were quite innocuous in themselves, even if the degrees were vaguely useful, these people would still be a potentially disruptive potentially destabilising force in society.

As an example, there’s nothing wrong with producing people with degrees in musicology. But if at any one time your society only needs fifteen musicologists and you’re graduating a hundred new musicologists every year you’re going to have a lot of surplus musicologists. And they’re going to cause problems. You’re going to be menaced by roaming gangs of feral musicologists. Well OK, maybe not quite that, but they will cause problems. Having spent years (and possibly lots of money) getting their degrees they’re now going to find themselves waiting tables and driving cabs. They’re going to be discontented. They’re going to have a grudge against the unfair and uncaring society that has failed to recognise their importance. They’re going to be willing recruits for any revolutionary political group.

This is where SJWs came from in the first place. In the post-WW2 period universities in the West started churning out way more graduates than were needed, especially humanities graduates. These surplus intellectuals provided the foot soldiers for cultural marxism. In fact they made cultural marxism possible. They made the takeover of the Left by cultural marxism possible. And to a large extent this happened simply because there were suddenly too many graduates who discovered that society didn’t really need them or want them.

Surplus intellectuals are a plague on any society.


  1. You know, I agree we have way too many intellectuals today, as well as too much intellectual and pseudo-intellectual litter. Tons of books, lots of movies, heaps of TV shows, piles of music albums, almost none of them any good these days. I don't even want to mention contemporary art - it's pretty much nothing but litter. We all want to cut it somehow, and I guess it's only natural.

    But every time I encounter posts like this one, I want to ask: well, what should be the mechanism of making it right?

    First of all, how would you estimate that the society only needs, say, 15 musicologists? Why not 30? Why not 100? Why not just 5? Well, the fact is, nobody can tell or predict such things when it comes to humanities. You can more or less imagine some accurate figures when it comes to doctors, brain surgeons, janitors or cops, but not with musicologists or art historians. It's in the very nature of humanities.

    Second: whether you like it or not, it is a competitive field, and every one of these 100 musicologists wants to try and become one of those 15 musicologists already famous and important, and most of those hundreds actually understand their risks. Those who don't - well, they're just silly people who would find themselves in such silly situations anyway; they don't need musicology or higher education to lead them to SJWism or some other toxic activities - they'll get there anyway, one way or another. It is an existential thing, something you can't just cut out, something you simply have to live with and deal in some other fashion. Trying to regulate this field is like curing a headache with beheading. The Soviet Union tried it, and failed miserably.

    Third. I find it rather strange that you think of preventive measures when you have to defeat SJWs to even consider applying them. You wrote once that conservatives need to figure out how to make their ideas and program appealing to the general public, and then you say that higher education for women needs to be abolished. Well, how would the conservative movement win with that? This measure won't ever be popular with 90% of contemporary women. And I'm not even talking about feminists, SJWs and various punks - I'm talking about normal happy women who like to drive their kids to school, think about their careers, and work as school teachers, chefs, TV hosts, actresses, dancers, writers, etc. They're absolutely normal women, who hold nothing against patriarchy and conservative values. They will gladly agree to be freed of feminists who explain that they need to be frontline soldiers, but they're not gonna give you their driving licenses away, or their jobs in school or art, or their right to an abortion if they think they need it terribly. Frankly, when you generalise all women the way you do, one could suppose that you rarely see women, and when you actually do, it's all those blue-haired SJWs, fat professors of gender studies and dopey BBC hosts. 90% of real women (SJWs excluded) would never support a cause that takes their jobs, education and abortions from them. It's just how things are, you see.

    1. third. I find it rather strange that you think of preventive measures when you have to defeat SJWs to even consider applying them.

      Quite true. There's a difference between what should be done and what can be done. Or perhaps we should make a distinction between things that are politically do-able right now, and things that might be politically do-able if a major economic or social crisis were to certainly open up new possibilities. All sorts of things suddenly become do-able when there's a crisis.

      What can actually be done right now is, sadly, nothing at all. So all we can do is consider those things we would need to do if those new possibilities suddenly opened up.

      But assuming things go on as they are going at present there's no point in thinking about even the most moderate measures because they aren't going to happen.

    2. I find it rather strange that you think of preventive measures when you have to defeat SJWs to even consider applying them.

      There's also another way of looking at it. It's all about shifting the Overton Window. The Cultural Left has shifted that window a long way in one direction and they haven't done that by making moderate demands. They've done that by pushing agendas that would have seemed unimaginably and shockingly extreme just a couple of decades ago.

      The one thing Trump has done is to shift the Overton Window very slightly. His actual concrete achievements have been almost nil but he has shifted that window just a tiny bit. He's done that not by actually doing anything but by making statements that are often outrageous.

      If we are ever to shift the Overton Window back towards sanity I don't think we're going to do it by pushing moderate agendas that don't upset anyone. Social conservatives have tried that for half a century and they have suffered nothing but defeat and humiliation.

      There's also the idea of ambit claims. It's the old trade union tactic. If you want a wage rise of five dollars an hour you ask for ten. If you're lucky you might get five or six, and even if you're unlucky you might get four dollars. But if you asked for five dollars in the first place you might end up having to accept two dollars.

      It can also be advantageous sometimes to give the impression of strength and overwhelming confidence. Leftists always understood that - you win by believing the you are going to win and win big time.

    3. I don't agree that there's nothing that can be done at the moment. Even more so, I think that things are being done as we speak. It might be not much, but after decades and decades of Leftist rule it is pretty good. You can see that war even on the linguistic level: people call our enemies "liberals" (which sounds good and noble and all that) less and less, because they're in fact SJWs, neomarxists or cultural marxists (which sounds awful and unpleasant). More and more people gets to know about the Frankfurt School, and they realise in horror that what they thought all those years or even decades were their own genuine "liberal" beliefs is in fact toxic lies, and it was literally put into their heads. And then you have all those people who voted for Trump and Brexit. And then you have Eastern Europe and Italy. And then you have Steve Bannon who goes to Europe to stand against Soros. And then you have Jordan Peterson who turned famous almost instantly for his position against the gender pronounciation law. So, things can be done, and there's still place for hope.

    4. As for your comment on claims - well, I'm aware of that kind of tactics, I just didn't realised you were using them all along.

      And also, I think there's a really narrow border between successfully using these tactics and making extremely unpopular claims that would make plenty of people the enemies of your cause.

    5. So, things can be done, and there's still place for hope.

      The trouble is that the hopeful signs haven't been all that hopeful. The victories we thought we were winning turned out to be less than impressive. Brexit hasn't actually happened. Trump's achievements have been modest to say the least. How many miles of the wall have been built so far? The modest levels of support for nationalist parties in western Europe have not been translated into actual electoral successes.

      We've seen the elites suffer some setbacks but they don't seem to have taken any real damage. Brexit might happen in theory but the globalists remain firmly in charge. Trump won the election but he did not win real power. Despite doing her best to destroy her country Angela Merkel is still Chancellor of Germany.

      The problem of course is that victories in elections and referenda don't mean anything because democracy always was a confidence trick. Our democratic systems exist to give ordinary people the illusion of political power whilst ensuring that they never ever enjoy the reality. Vote for whomever you choose but the elites still remain in power.

      OK, maybe I'm being overly pessimistic. There have been mildly hopeful signs. The trouble is that the elites are much more firmly entrenched than we realised.

    6. Again: if you're realistic, and I suppose you think yourself one, you can't expect smashing conservative victories right after decades and decades of Leftist power. And I didn't say Trump and Brexit are great - I said people who voted for Trump and Brexit are great. They are the real problem for the elites. And the process of transforming the image of liberals into SJWs makes it almost impossible to "work" with those 51% and shift the Overton Window any further. And if the trade war between the US and China won't turn out favourable for those elites, they'll have an even harder time.