If All Men are Created Equal, Why Do We Need Grades?

I just finished a fascinating book, The Recovery of the West, by polymath Englishman Michael Roberts. Roberts became famous as a poet, but was trained as a scientist and spent much of his life as a teacher. Brief history of grading The book was published in 1941. A teacher in a typical English school at … Continue reading “If All Men are Created Equal, Why Do We Need Grades?”


Why Do American Universities Lead the World in Scientific Research?

Miguel Urquiola is professor and chair of the department of economics at Columbia University. His special field is education and his book Markets, Minds, and Money: Why America Leads the World in University Research is about American higher education—its history, its relationship to higher education in Europe, and the trajectory it has followed from the … Continue reading “Why Do American Universities Lead the World in Scientific Research?”


The Mess That Is Science Publishing

Researchers have been grumbling about the state of scientific publishing for years. Now, rumor has it that the Trump administration (yes, those science-haters!) may be trying to fix at least one problem: access to reports of government-funded research. The rumored proposal will require free, immediate access to all reports of government-funded scientific research. The rumor … Continue reading “The Mess That Is Science Publishing”


The Mess of Federal Funds Is Changing the University

The modern American university has changed almost beyond recognition from the form it had even 100 years ago. It is larger, more “diverse,” more of a business, and more industrialized with relatively fewer teachers and more bureaucrats than ever before. Those changes have led to new problems. Higher education, if not broken, is at least … Continue reading “The Mess of Federal Funds Is Changing the University”


Administrative Bloat: Where Does It Come From and What Is It Doing?

Philip Hamburger recently published a piece in the Wall Street Journal arguing that Congress should control administrative bloat by limiting student loan funds given to colleges with too many administrators. He is dead right about the vast increase in non-faculty bureaucracy in recent decades and the need to reduce it. But the sources of the … Continue reading “Administrative Bloat: Where Does It Come From and What Is It Doing?”


Did the Hoaxers Do Anything Wrong?

One of the three “Sokal Squared” academic hoaxers, Peter Boghossian of Portland State University, has been accused of violating his university’s research policies. Boghossian is the only one of the three to hold an (untenured) academic position and so is the only one vulnerable to disciplinary action. Boghossian and his compatriots parodied fashionable social-“science” research; … Continue reading “Did the Hoaxers Do Anything Wrong?”


The Tangled Web of Scientific Publishing

Science Publishing Is Incoherent, Expensive, and Slow Communication is essential to science. The aim of scientific publication is to convey new findings as quickly as possible to as many interested parties as possible. But the world of “peer-reviewed” scientific publishing no longer functions as it should. Many publishing practices were devised at a time when … Continue reading “The Tangled Web of Scientific Publishing”


The New Racism, Part II: The Sociologist’s Toolkit: Justifying Racism Through Language

Editor’s note: Part I of The New Racism can be read here. The best way to grasp how sociology has managed to make color-blind racism (CBR) seem believable is to study its Newspeak (to continue the Orwell theme). Whiteness To many modern sociologists, color blindness is a racist weapon that works, somehow, through whiteness, a … Continue reading “The New Racism, Part II: The Sociologist’s Toolkit: Justifying Racism Through Language”


The New Racism, Part I: How ‘Race and Ethnic Studies’ Made Color Blindness a Bad Thing

Like most Americans, I have always assumed that color blindness is our ideal.  Not any more: color blindness is now become the new racism. So much for a 70-year struggle to fulfill Martin Luther King Jr.’s wish that his children be “judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their … Continue reading “The New Racism, Part I: How ‘Race and Ethnic Studies’ Made Color Blindness a Bad Thing”


Diversity and Inclusion of Identity Groups Often Means Uniformity and Exclusion of Ideas

“‘Diversity and inclusion’ is the moral benchmark of our time… Every corporation, college, and government agency, along with a growing number of bowling leagues and bait-and-tackle shops, has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion.” So says William Voegeli in a recent article. And so says the University of California at Los Angeles, whose campus-wide Vice … Continue reading “Diversity and Inclusion of Identity Groups Often Means Uniformity and Exclusion of Ideas”