Part 1: Dogma & Anti-Intellectualism - at Universities?
We saw imposed dogma with climate studies. Later, COVID religion worship circles dominated the universities. Now the Arizona elections also reveal doctrinaire trends on campus.
“Climate science” chooses to see warming trends and data, but not cooling trends and data, even as each rise of those irregular sine waves then falls with more or less equal frequency over short and long periods of time. Choosing to acknowledge both of those warming and cooling trends gets one labelled as a “climate denier.” If physicists had refused to acknowledge electrons, but only protons, where would physics and chemistry be now?
Is truth and reality such a threat? The dogmatists should fear more the backlash of eventual recognition of the failings of both the dogma and the dogmatists. When Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for his wrongthink during the Inquisition, he said, “Perhaps you pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it.”
Then in the last few years, the eager embrace of inane COVID policies, such as masks, lockdowns and social distancing were bad enough among the general population, terrified of what they were told was a killer virus, as they had hopes for a quick and easy resolution of their terror.
That was bad enough. But then among the most relentlessly masked and locked down of our major institutions were universities, and even more asinine, medical schools. Much to their disgrace, those same universities were among the most censorious. Professors such as Aaron Kheriaty MD, Pierre Kory MD and Peter McCullough MD, who dared to refute the official COVID protocol, and showed proven and harmless alternatives, were vilified and fired from their faculty roles at medical schools. Dr. McCullough, the most widely published cardiologist in human history, has now just had his cardiology certification seized by the mid-level Inquisitors who control his specialty certification board.
When Drs. Martin Kulldorff, Sunetra Gupta and Jay Bhattacharya wrote their reasonable and harmless proposals for pandemic mitigation, The Great Barrington Declaration, they were brutally criticized by academia and the elite media for two years. These three highly credentialed epidemiology professors at prestigious universities noted that vulnerability to death from COVID was more than a thousand-fold higher in vulnerable seniors than in other age groups. They not only advocated offering and focusing prevention and treatment services on those individuals most highly at risk of severe COVID disease, they also dared to suggest that human health is protected by sensible and sanitary measures that are broadly available to the public. Human health they argued is resilient enough for us to withstand and survive exposure to each other in public places (who knew?), and that life as we have known it should resume promptly.
But the more sensible their solutions, the more vehemently their opponents criticized the three Barrington authors, including in the universities.
The USA’s constitutional republic and its protections of freedoms make possible the kind of environment for free exchange of ideas that universities had come to embody and champion. Universities had been a sanctuary of free speech in which dissent was tolerated, at least to a greater extent than other public access institutions, such as for example commercial, religious or entertainment venues. Universities, colleges and high schools could and did host debates of even contentious issues. Political science classes in my undergraduate days often had chairs placed in a circle, as we students debated each other on a regular basis a few times per week. Such activity was the major part of class time. In fact, at least a few of my professors were especially keen to punish those who too readily agreed with prevailing viewpoints (Uh, yeah, I agree with what they said) with poorer grades; likewise, they rewarded those students who constructed their own arguments in support of either side of an issue with better grades.
In that far away time, independent thinking was actually cherished and thought to be a virtue. The egos of some professors could even withstand challenges to their pet ideologies, especially if cogently and respectfully argued.
Now there is a very different environment in which there is received dogma, and occasional glimmers of dissent, but with an overriding dominance of the We The Overlords Know What Is Best For You public health culture, with its imperious and sometimes contradictory proclamations, mandates and policies handed down from the administration and repeated by the faculty, when demanded by their overseers.
What has happened in Arizona this month
Let’s look at the possible role of universities in the contentious 2022 midterm election in Arizona, which it now seems is continuing on for this entire month. Voting percentages for each university are not yet available for the 2022 Arizona election, but some data already ring a few alarms.
Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, wanted three debates, and was granted zero by her opponent Katie Hobbs, the Democrat candidate (who also happens to be the Secretary of State overseeing the same election, and refused to recuse herself as such).
As Hobbs refused to debate, in recent months Lake began to bring an extra empty podium with her to her speaking events, and used it theatrically to emphasize and to mock Hobbs’ absence from that podium and unwillingness to debate. (Hobbs for her part countered that she refused to participate in Lake’s “spectacle” and would therefore not debate Lake at all.)
Lake asserted that a debate among political candidates is the job interview at which voters may determine their choice for or against a candidate, and that Hobbs had failed to show up for the job interview, so how had Hobbs earned anyone’s vote? A debate would have been more enlightening than not about the positions of the candidates on a range of issues, revealing more - sometimes even spontaneously - than was likely to be known about either candidate before the debate. But as Election Day approached and arrived, not one debate was to be had in the Lake v Hobbs election for Arizona Governor. For better or worse, it takes two to tango, and the refuser wins that dispute by default.
When it became apparent that there would be no debates, Kari Lake accelerated her public appearances, taking spontaneous questions from ever-growing audiences on her “Ask Me Anything” tour.
Yet that willingness to address the issues, even in unscripted interactive public events did not quite push Lake over the top in the final results (if they are indeed final; see below).
Here is an interactive map of how each of the 15 counties in Arizona voted for Lake and Hobbs. https://www.270towin.com/2022-election-results-live/state/arizona#governor
There is a lot that is quite odd about the results shown in this interactive map.
Fourteen of fifteen counties have one candidate ahead of the other by double-digit margins. Only the largest county, Maricopa, separated the two candidates by a few points. Are Arizonans really so lopsidedly in favor of one candidate or another by county? Some of these counties have one candidate 20 and even 30 or 40 percentage points ahead of the other.
In Part 2, let’s look at the role of universities in these election results. See Part 2 here:
Subscribe for free to receive new posts.