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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fun With the Wall Street Journal

Someone left a copy of the Wall Street Journal lying around at Chic-Fil-A the other day, and since I had nothing else to read, I decided to flip through it.


Dude, I am so sorry!

The first item I see is this:

Sociology and Other 'Meathead' Majors

By Harvey mansfield
Okay, so this guy doesn't like sociology. So what's his criticism of this field?
 That great American democrat Archie Bunker used to call his son-in-law "Meathead" for his fatuous opinions, and Meathead was a graduate student in sociology.

No, really.


That's really part of your argument against sociology? That a character on a TV show used to make fun of another character on that TV show? A TV show, by the way, the point of which you seem to have missed entirely. The whole joke is that Archie is generally wrong about everything because he is narrow-minded and prejudiced, and My God, have you ever seen All in the Family?

Archie also used to call his son-in-law a "dumb Polack." Should we use this to build an argument against Poles?

Part of the problem is the political correctness responsible for "Gender Studies," a politicized major that has its little echoes in many other departments, and that never fails to mislead.

When they said we were going to get to study women. . .
Well, I call that misleading!

More fundamental, however, is the division within the university today, in America and everywhere, between science and the humanities. Science deals with facts but the humanities also have to deal with values. This is where the problem of bad choices arises. We think that one can have knowledge of fact but not of values—the famous "fact/value" distinction.
The distinction so famous, you'ver never heard of it!

Science has knowledge of fact, and this makes it rigorous and hard.

The humanities have their facts bent or biased by values, and this makes them lax and soft.

This fact—or is it a value?—gives confidence and reputation to scientists within the university. Everyone respects them, and though science is modest because there is always more to learn, scientists sometimes strut and often make claims for extra resources. Some of the rest of us glumly concede their superiority and try to sell our dubious wares in the street, like gypsies. We are the humanists.

Wait. You're not in one of the "hard sciences?"

Please! No more boner jokes!

Mr. Mansfield, a professor of government at Harvard, is also a senior fellow of Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Government? A professor of government? Jeezus Christ, you're a social scientist! How is government any more hard or ridgid or. . .

. . .than sociology?

Just as Gender Studies taints the whole university with its sexless fantasies, so economists infect their neighbors with the imitation science they peddle. (Game theorists, I'm talking about you.)

Okay, I'm a little confused. How can the study of gender be "sexless?"
And if it's "sexless," how is it a fantasy?


Heeheeheee, you said "taint!"

Now the belief that there can be no knowledge of values means that all values are equally unsupported, which means that in the university all departments are equal. All courses are also equal; no requirements can be justified as fundamental or more important. Choice is king, except that there can be no king.

So quit mocking the Government Department, you asshole scientists!


tennysoneehemingway said...

I didn't understand any of this. What was the whole point of the article again? And, didn't Archie Bunker actually refer to his wife as Meathead? I haven't seen it in so long, I can't really remember.

Professor Chaos said...

I read that column a couple times over and I'm still not sure what the point was supposed to be.

I think Archie used to call his wife "dingbat."

Abu Scooter said...

The first thing I've learned to read in any guest column is that little bio-blurb at the end. Phrases like "Hoover Institution," "American Enterprise Institute" and anything comtaining the word "Competitiveness" send me fleeing instantly. If I see any of that, I just skip the column, because I can reliably predict that it will be some combination of stupid and pointless.

Thanks for dissecting this. You have more patience with these bozos than I do.