Paul has already discussed the announcement of UT Bari, but I can’t resist noting some more of its countless absurdities. First of all, we should note that this is pretty much a straight grift — the “University of Austin” is not accredited and offers no degrees; it’s just a junior varsity Masterclass for the Intellectual Horse Paste web:
Ah: Cicero is the project of Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, who probably has some thoughts about overly woke American universities after being accused of sexual assault while attending one: https://t.co/5jwu0SrdLW— Anna Merlan (@annamerlan) November 8, 2021
On the last point, I note that one member of the “university’s” Board of Directors — nice profit-taking if you can get it — is Joshua Katz, whose beef with Liberal Orthodoxy is its attempts to infringe on his inalienable right to screw undergraduates at his university in contravention of university rules.
Anyway, the three cherry-picked cases of liberal “censoriousness” are very telling:
On our quads, faculty are being treated like thought criminals. Dorian Abbot, a University of Chicago scientist who has objected to aspects of affirmative action, was recently disinvited from delivering a prominent public lecture on planetary climate at MIT. Peter Boghossian, a philosophy professor at Portland State University, finally quit in September after years of harassment by faculty and administrators. Kathleen Stock, a professor at University of Sussex, just resigned after mobs threatened her over her research on sex and gender.
One thing worth noting here is that none of the three examples actually lost their academic jobs (although based on what I know there is legitimate basis to object to the disinvitation of Abbot.) Boghossian we’ve already covered here. Stock, a radical TERF, is quite a piece of work, but one salient point is that she considers “someone giving a speech at the same time she gives a speech” an attack on her free speech rights. But look at who two of UT Bari’s first three “Founding Faculty Fellows” are:
My guess is that Boghossian already had this
grift gig lined up when he was claiming that his voluntary resignation should be a national news story, and this is even more likely with Doc Stock’s recent resignation. Either way, what we seem to have here is a case of people resigning to get paid for doing much less work and being in contexts where special snowflakes are much less likely to encounter people who disagree with them. Free inquiry baby! (Bari’s ShakeShack is certainly the place to announce this; she perfected the art of trying and failing to get fired and leaving for more lucrative and less demanding pastures like a martyr anyway.)
It should go without saying that noting in the initial prospectus offers the slightest criticism of, say, Republican legislatures banning “Critical Race Theory,” or Ron DeSantis’s goons trying to prevent faculty from testifying, or any of the actual attacks on free speech by public officials in America, because this is strictly a one-way ratchet.
Anyway, you know which victim of Cancel Culture also lives in Austin? Richard Sackler! The possibilities for dynamic synergy are endless.