A Critique of Western Academia

What the hell has become of Western Academia? Western Academia has become sort of like an Iranian bazaar. Even an Iranian bazaar has more coherence, personality, and decency.

You must think free thinkers have no dignity. Free thinkers will not be pushed around and humiliated no matter what our core beliefs are.

My core beliefs have been clearly shown in every film I have worked on and every word I have written. Can my mediocre colleagues in Academia (students and professors alike) say the same?

Have I become the objet petit a of my university?

It’s like I have been dropped into a sea of clueless bureaucrats — but you won’t be able to stifle my innovation.

Ever since I have come to college, I have not only been clashing with students, but with faculty alike. These are people, who, in the final analysis, love the status quo. They love fitting in because it keeps them with all the social privileges and clout they need.
I have been fighting the status quo my whole life — whether it be dogmatic conservatives in the rural town of Bemidji MN, dogmatic religious fundamentalists in Egypt, or dogmatic liberals on college campuses and elsewhere.
Ever since I have become a part of this so-called institution of higher learning — I have noticed that the same preservers of the status quo use the same slimy tactics — they pretend to be moral exemplars who know everything about everything.
It is those who always claim qualities of moral virtue and high ethics that we should fear the most.

As a college student, I feel like important conversations are not being had honestly in order to preserve lazy thinking and what is politically convenient. Anyone who deviates from the unquestionable norms of social justice academia is deemed a heretic.

People fear expressing themselves freely and exploring the wider political and social perspectives in academia in fear of being shunned. It’s kind of like those girls that will date partners not for the love or sex, but to feel accepted. Undergrad, the most important time for intellectual exploration, has become the time of intellectual laziness and consensus.

Why is it that people like me who shower, like having a good time and have an actual interest in solving the fundamental problems of our human civilization are referred to as pretentious?

Why has our moral worth been shrunk down to not our actions — but our political orientation and our so-called intersectional identities? Why are so called “allies” of marginalized groups such as the LGBTQ community using such communities for moral clout?

Academia is no longer the place of rigorous debate. It is no longer the place of moral and scientific progress. It is a place of lazy thinking, of partisanship and of virtue signaling. I have seen students claim to be “woke” but engage in reprehensible moral behavior.

Many “woke” students use anti-Semitic rhetoric and refuse to acknowledge cultural and religious flaws in the Middle East. It is reformers like me who pay the price for this moral confusion.

This is why the term “woke” is problematic. “Woke” is the term in which lazy thinkers ignore any reasonable and realistic intellectual debate — it is where those of us who are artificial and insincere rid themselves of any moral responsibility or guilt.

All great social changes and intellectual movements come when we discuss issues in our society honestly and critique dogmas and our own flaws.

No great social, economic or political changes will come when a group of privileged college students won’t acknowledge their privilege, their luck to be alive today and the moral failings of the generations past and now.

No social change will come without discussion. No moral innovations will come without acknowledging our own flaws.
Academia should be a competition of who can come up with the best ideas and solutions to problems such as income inequality, racism, immigration and so on — it should not be a competition of who can pretend to have the biggest heart.

The only defense I could harbor for such stupidity is that preventing certain conversations from happening prevents the spreading of ideas that have nourished western slavery, colonialism and oppression.

I feel a bit guilty for taking part in a discussion that has been hijacked by Trump supporters and 30-year-old virgins such as those who listen to Jordan Peterson and other “renegades” of the this so called “intellectual dark web”— but a problem is a problem and we must address it.

Our educational institutions are perhaps the most important institution that nourishes political, ethical, scientific and moral progress. I have written enough critiques of capitalism and right wing thinking on this blog.

Let me have some fun. In this insupportable laissez-faire mediocrity that we’re going through, I get penalized for offering different perspectives on complex issues.

There’s always this ridiculous argument about students not being able to feel safe upon which I respond below. The important point here is that the humanities would do people like me a much greater service if it offered high-quality texts across the board. There would be students who would have some familiarity with what the valuable scholarly literature looks like.

When was the last time you saw the following thinkers assigned in a humanities class: Braudel, Marc Bloch, Max Weber, Durkheim, Marx (Das Kapital)? Instead, we get assigned some obscure intersectional feminist sociologist.

Perhaps it is mediocre teaching methods and styles that are holding us back. it should be a professor’s purpose to challenge the status quo, if not offend it.

Its not surprising that college courses at institutions such as Loyola are not a longue durée, but instead rehashed fast-food. Different departments seem to fear something called science or the historical method.

Institutions such as Loyola are now operating under the assumption that by assigning challenging texts to students they will be massacred by such texts, as if they are being sent to fight I.S.I.S or something.

It is up to the student to interpret such rich texts and we must encourage the student’s to come up with their own interpretations. Hence the importance of the paper as a tool-for-learning. It is through writing a paper that students learn how to write about a text or film.

Interpretations are unlimited and personal (they are created by individuals for purposes that suit them and their societies). Not all interpretations are equally valid, and many are improbable because they rely on a poor comprehension of the text, while others are just invalid or stupid.

What are we supposed to do in academia, other than to challenge? Students should not be let off the hook with their narrow world views and trite observations. We can’t give them texts that are easily understood. We must assign provocative texts that trigger discussions. Hence ones that are obscure and shadowy.

There are various “levels” for understanding and interpreting a text. This applies to both professor and student alike.
A text is never fully understood, or not at all: we’re always in between levels of understanding. This is simply called the process of learning.

Courses in Academia have become poorly designed, overstuffed, dogmatic and unchallenging, in addition to giving the students the worst image of history within the domain of the social sciences and humanities. 

The”textbooks” used are far below the level of regular professional books that could be interesting and challenging to those who are intellectually curious. The assigned text books by departments serve more the purposes of uninspired instructors. These textbooks are dull and uninteresting (just like the bureaucrats who assign them).

These textbooks help clueless instructors organize their lectures but shun the needs of the students. In turn, the students don’t end up reading these shitty textbooks. Instead, students rely on lazy ways of learning such as lectures and class-notes.

Many of the students don’t show up to class and don’t learn anything. They rely on power point slides from the comfort of their own bed and get an A with the help of useless bureaucratic practices such as the “scantron”— which in turn says nothing about the student’s personality and work ethic — but shows the students ability to memorize useless bits of information.

The humanities departments at Loyola, which function like an Egyptian bureaucracy, don’t seem that interested in longue durée, but only in rehashed fast-food.
If anyone doubts my analysis, I’ll take you on the wild side, so that you see for yourself what is happening in this colonie-de-vacances.
To conclude, we need a philosophy of history, a method, and a theory to be able to teach and write. If you don’t have a philosophy and an historical approach to interpret texts and see their relevance, your writing becomes dogmatic.
With its bureaucratic manners and professional divisions, western academia no longer cares about the values that made western civilization possible.