January 08, 2004

Why Pay for the Useless?

Steven Den Beste's long (even for him) post on philosophical idealism (p-idealism) stirs up a few simple, practical questions. Why would you pay for this intellectually inbred, vicious, destructive academic dead end of deconstructionism, anti-capitalist claptrap, and inbred academic obscurantism? Why would you send your child to an institution where such things are taught? Why would you devote any significant portion of time to outreach? As one of the source documents for SDB's post put it

Engineering and the sciences have, to a greater degree, been spared this isolation and genetic drift because of crass commercial necessity. The constraints of the physical world and the actual needs and wants of the actual population have provided a grounding that is difficult to dodge. However, in academia the pressures for isolation are enormous. It is clear to me that the humanities are not going to emerge from the jungle on their own. I think that the task of outreach is left to those of us who retain some connection, however tenuous, to what we laughingly call reality. We have to go into the jungle after them and rescue what we can. Just remember to hang on to your sense of humor and don't let them intimidate you.

But why wouldn't you just declare it equivalent to phrenology and put it away as not being worthy of academic inquiry? After all the dogged nonsense, the wrongheadedness, the vitriol and support for poisonous ideas, when do the board of trustees finally bring themselves to pull the plug and save the larger institution by redirecting funding to something worthwhile?

I don't have an answer to the question and I'm fairly certain that they will vary widely but isn't it time to seriously start debating pulling the plug and how it would be done?

[minor edits in the first paragraph just after posting to make a bit more explicit what I was referring to]

Posted by TMLutas at January 8, 2004 02:00 PM