They would find something else to be hysterical about

Friday, December 31st, 2021

In Arnold Kling’s theory of the rot in education institutions, the true motive of social justice activists is to wrench status away from Boomers and others who compete in a search for objective truth. In Richard Hanania’s theory, the true motive is to deal with personal mental illness:

Wokeness to a large extent involves submitting to the noisiest and most disturbed activists, or even adopting their views as one’s own, which people high on conformity are more likely to do.… By drawing in a large share of both conformists and mentally ill activists, colleges are breeding grounds for hysteria and submission to it.


If I’m right, then if somehow you cured the universities of wokeness, they would find something else to be hysterical about, because they happen to be places where you get a large collection of unhappy and disturbed people — emboldened by a false sense of superiority and a lot of time on their hands — living at taxpayer expense free from the responsibilities that result from responding to market pressures or facing any other tangible forms of accountability. Public schools have a different dynamic, where it is the teacher’s unions and education bureaucracy that are composed of and influenced by the same kind of activists that play a prominent role on university campuses. If it wasn’t for wokeness, the people who determine policy in public schools and universities would still need somewhere to direct their energies. One can imagine them turning in a more committed direction towards socialism or extreme forms of environmentalism hostile to economic growth, which would probably be worse for humanity.


[O]ne should focus less on curing them of bad ideas, and more on decreasing the influence of universities by getting fewer people to go to college in the first place and lowering the status of these institutions.


  1. Harry Jones says:

    I’ve been fighting to keep crazy people out of my life since I was a kid. They’re frickin’ everywhere these days.

    Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether are not answering their pages.

  2. Harper’s Notes says:

    The mass institutionalization of the mentally unwell was probably on the whole a good thing and the wisdom of the ancients consisted in stashing the least useful and practical members of society into remote monasteries and nunneries tending to decrease their passing any developmental risks on to future generations, and while it is true for us moderns that on average more than one year of community college is associated with declining fertility rates the effect sizes are not nearly as big as for monasteries and nunneries.

  3. Lucklucky says:

    Marxism has always been a tool for power first. A workers’ paradise with millions in slavery?

  4. VXXC says:

    Or the schools could be reclassified as not buildings but just a clump of bricks, aka The Knoxville Method.

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