Streetwise Professor

March 12, 2023

More From Our Silicon Valley Betters

Filed under: Politics — cpirrong @ 8:46 pm

To continue the Silicon Valley theme.

Stanford University is Silicon Valley’s brood mare: from scientists and engineers to executive to lawyers, its offspring are legion in the tech sector.

And the Stanford Law School was recently the site of one of the most disgusting displays of political thuggery in recent memory–which is obviously saying something.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan was supposed to speak at a Federalist Society gathering at the Stanford Law School. But he could not speak, because he was heckled by a group of leftist students. Duncan asked for an administrator to intervene to restore order.

Stanford Law DEI administrator Tirien Steinbach stepped in–and delivered a harangue against Duncan. Free speech? Bah! said Steinbach. You don’t deserve freedom of speech because your speech harms us. (Sticks and stones may break my bones etc. is SO passe.)

But others exercised their right to free speech:

Other questions were less academic. “I fuck men, I can find the prostate,” one student asked, according to Rosenberger. “Why can’t you find the clit?”

Excuse me? Did this conversation occur in a law school or a bath house?

Meanwhile, several other profile-in-courage Stanford administrators stood around with their thumbs up their asses, and did nothing.

The blowback was immediate and intense, and Stanford issued an apology which said that the events transgressed Stanford’s “institutional commitment to freedom of speech.” Duncan graciously–and incorrectly, in my view–accepted. Incorrectly, because it let them off far too easy.

Institutional commitment to freedom of speech? At Stanford? (Or at pretty much any “elite” university for that matter.) Anyone who says this is obviously insane, and needs to be committed to an institution.

An apology is not enough. All of the deans of the law school should be removed, and Steinbach should be fired. The students who engaged in this conduct should be expelled. Pour encourager les autres.

“Whoops, my bad” does. Not. Cut. It. What transpired at Stanford was a crime against the academy and against the legal academy in particular. To prevent its recurrence there–and hopefully elsewhere–draconian measures are necessary.

But they won’t be taken. Because I am sure that the university only admitted error grudgingly because of the avalanche of criticism, not because they agreed that a grievous wrong had been done, and because (as was shown in the 60s, as described by Alan Bloom and Thomas Sowell and others) when it comes down to it university administrators are cowards.

These are the people who presume to rule us. And from the government’s reaction to Silicon Valley’s demand for a bail out, evidently they do. But there will come a point when the ruled will no longer submit.

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  1. University administrators are not cowards, Craig. They support the suppression of speech and believe the progressive demagoguery.

    Is the mayor of Portland a coward, or does he support Antifa? Does the mayor of SF support civil society, or does she believe that minorities should be allowed to sack retail stores because the ‘marginalized’ deserve a leg up?

    It’s like that at the universities, including Stanford.

    President Marc Tessier-Lavigne is a highly regarded research grade molecular biologist. Provost Persis Drell is a particle physicist who previously was Director of SLAC National Accelerator laboratory. They’re very intelligent people. They’re not cowards. They know what they’re doing. They have cultivated the snake pit and support the snakes.

    Universities, especially public universities, push and succor Progressive politics on tax-payer budgets. They indoctrinate on public money. They should be zeroed out. Every bloody one of them. So should public K-12 for that matter.

    Comment by Pat Frank — March 12, 2023 @ 10:17 pm

  2. Pour encourager or pour ne pas…probably depends on whom and to what…

    …didn’t Steve Jobs and Bill Gates drop their studies? Well…

    …type in Frederic Spiegelberg, Michael Murphy, Richard Price…and they had to operate already outside of Stanford then…and shy away a certain clientel from the Esalen hot springs.

    So, as some say, university is not the place anymore where new ideas and thoughts get generated, it’s were aleady existing ones get passed on, it’s were mediocrity breeds and students get brainwashed with policies.

    Comment by Mikey — March 13, 2023 @ 1:32 pm

  3. I wonder what other readers of this blog think.
    My daughter is quite academic (expected to get at least a good baccalaureate) and very sporty (has won regional gym competitions).
    She wants to study systems engineering (WTF is that,I ask).
    In addition, she is mixed race and bilingual.

    She has found a school in Switzerland, not far from home which looks good, and subsidises tuition.
    But she could, I reckon, get a scholarship to a decent (possibly ivy league) school in USA.

    Comparing the Swiss school (low ranked, only founded 1998) and US I’ve been reading some prospectuses.
    The Swiss: this is what we’ll teach you.
    US: we are really good and inclusive and…

    I find self praise off putting. but maybe that’s what is required for attracting candidates.

    What would you choose / advise? Any comments?
    (Apologies, Craig, for using your blog for this. Don’t know any better way.)

    Comment by philip — March 13, 2023 @ 1:39 pm

  4. @philip: it’s not enough info…just some weeks ago I was let out of my contract by an established Swiss university of applied sciences and got back all my money after I had taken apart one of their central models…and they were also saying ‘this is what we teach you’…that’s just Swiss style…but did not know themselves what the headlines meant…and I was taking it too critically they thought…and one business school cooperating with them did something similar and said ‘sue us…’.

    In Switzerland they value only really the view top universities like ETH Zurich. Ivy league may get her better contacts as well. I’d have a close look, not believe just their promotion. Are there other options but the two only?

    Comment by Mikey — March 13, 2023 @ 2:25 pm

  5. As for SVB in silly con valley: they say it wasn’t for a lack of awareness activities:

    Comment by Mikey — March 13, 2023 @ 2:27 pm

  6. And @philip: even in Switzerland, after studying at an Ivy league college or comparable she’ll be somebody back in Switzerland, given she likes to come back, but be nobody when studying at an average Swiss university. But did have female colleagues at a business consultancy who had studied in the US (Stanford…), Sidney, Montreal: they couldn’t live back home in the country side anymore, only in Zurich and dreamed of going away again…

    Comment by Mikey — March 13, 2023 @ 2:57 pm

  7. My experience of teaching US exchange students was that they were typically a year behind British students of the same age. (Given the decline in UK university standards over the decades that’s a remarkable feat.)

    This might have been OK if their lack of specialist knowledge had been compensated for by a superior breadth of knowledge. But it wasn’t. Or if it was they were remarkably skilful at hiding the fact.

    They were some of them charming, nearly all of them clever, or hard-working, or both. It would have been understandable if they had floundered a little on exposure to foreign educational habits but that seemed to be only a fleeting problem. Deficiencies in their education were coped with by assigning these third year students to second year classes. This seemed consistent with the widespread belief among my older colleagues that US undergraduate education was generally weak – it’s in the best postgraduate programs that the US shines, they argued.

    I knew someone who had once spent a year teaching in a rather idiosyncratic Californian outfit: Harvey Mudd College it was called. (A name hard to forget.) He thought well of it. In his view they took undergraduate education seriously and constructively. Whether it’s still any good I don’t know but I imagine it was a good example of the danger of mistaking a valid generalisation for a universal truth.

    Comment by dearieme — March 13, 2023 @ 6:04 pm

  8. Thanks, Mikey.
    I think you’re more likely to be right when it comes to jobs where credentials are key (management consulting, politics, etc) but this might be less important for industrial making stuff type jobs.
    Networking may still be significant even in an age of linked-in.
    It’s a brand new campus in Sion, google street view still has it down as a building site.

    Comment by philip — March 13, 2023 @ 6:07 pm

  9. I’m keen to encourage my daughter to have transferable skills, obviously.
    Which are the least transferable high skilled jobs? Politics, law, academia, HR, I’d guess.
    The most? Accountancy and engineering?
    For a happy life it’s maybe important to have the freedom to say Phvck You I’m, off.

    Comment by philip — March 13, 2023 @ 6:23 pm

  10. @philip: makes sense and I’ve said it’s not enough info, added points from my corner of experience. Found the school’s website now: looks like that specialist university of applied sciences that ever made sense, connected to the local regional industry and with a practical focus; and better than the Swiss alternatives with their online profiles in Zurich or North-Western, on first glance that is. But it’s specialist enough to not fit general comparisons of Swiss vs. US vs. Ivy league colleges necessarily. But as before, maybe the Netherlands is the place to be in that field? Maybe it does not matter that much for a Bachelor degree and can be adjusted with a masters later on? Good luck anyway.

    Comment by Mikey — March 14, 2023 @ 6:13 am

  11. Many thanks, Mikey.
    Yes, probably too new to have an established reputation, so far as I can make out it’s a spin off.
    If I was a teenager offered a US bursary I’d grab it. But my daughter is not me, she has a circle of friends, and she has visited the campus and talked to students and tutors and seen the labs.
    I also think she’d say “yeuch” if she only got a free pass on the colour of her skin.
    So I think I’d better shut up.

    Comment by philip — March 14, 2023 @ 1:51 pm

  12. @philip: was just checking out of curiosity on collegeRaptor, probably not telling you something new: looks like for systems engineering in the US there are more masters than bachelor programs and with more students; and uni names like MIT.

    The bachelor with highest score for this major ranks only no. 117 in the college ranking, well placed as Ivy league college is Uni of Pennsylvania, no. 7 for this major and no. 9 of all US colleges. Don’t get the impression on their website, that they just say they are the best. The approach seems different: a broad approach and also possible as dual degree, but even without dual degree one can attend courses in all their schools incl. e.g. Wharton School. Apart from this, personally I’m also moving to the French speaking part of Switzerland, but three-lakes-area roughly, can understand such decisions sort of. Cheers, M.

    Comment by Mikey — March 14, 2023 @ 2:36 pm

  13. You were so right that apology was not enough, and acceptance too hasty. The story continues, uglier than before. Either they really imagine themselves oppressed victims or shrewdly adopted cynicism of their teachers and use “free speech” as demagoguery tool.
    Guess which I think is the case…

    Comment by Tatyana — March 15, 2023 @ 2:46 pm

  14. So, *philip, you are not opposed to your daughter using her skin color as a ticket to Ivy school (if only as last resort) – but what right does she

    Comment by Tatyana — March 15, 2023 @ 2:52 pm

  15. she has to be a recipient of American affirmative-action largess? If, as you say, Switzerland is “close to home”, then you and she live in Western Europe. Even theoretically, she is not an “underprivileged minority” in the USA.
    She is just a regular foreign student, like tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands freshmen.

    What strange notions people have, never cease to amaze me

    Comment by Tatyana — March 15, 2023 @ 2:59 pm

  16. I agree with you, Tatyana.
    Positive discrimination is still discrimination.
    But who among us would not use a sharp elbow to get ahead in a queue?

    Comment by philip — March 15, 2023 @ 8:53 pm

  17. No, *philip, you are not to hide behind “we are all like that” fallacy. You, you personally are discriminating people on racial basis. By allowing your daughter of “biracial” origin to think her skin color is a qualification.
    Why the hell is she entitled to get ahead in the queue because her father or mother happened to have a taste for sex with black person?

    And yes, I have a right to talk, as someone who HAVE been discriminated all my life for my ethnicity. I earned everything I have, little that is, by my own effort, nobody pushed me “ahead in the queue”.

    Comment by Tatyana — March 16, 2023 @ 7:00 am

  18. “But who among us would not use a sharp elbow to get ahead in a queue?”

    In the civilised days of my youth anyone who tried that would get an earful of abuse and, if he didn’t improve his manners, be belaboured by the brollies of outraged housewives. Quite right too.

    Comment by dearieme — March 16, 2023 @ 7:22 am

  19. I plead guilty to hypocrisy. In mitigation I didn’t start this. Universities have been accepting inferior students since forever. Land Economy was a favourite at Oxbridge, I recall. As well as sporting talent, points are given for community work, and a host of other stuff that has little bearing on academic potential. On the plus side, nepotism isn’t what it was.

    Comment by philip — March 16, 2023 @ 8:26 am

  20. Once again, *philip: stop digging. You’re already in the hole.
    -who started first and when is irrelevant. You live here and now, and given only one chance to be a moral, ethical person. My late grandma used to say “if people run to jump off the bridge, will you follow or do your own thinking?”
    -sport achievements, as far away as it is from academic, are still that: achievements. Effort and perseverance went into that. Somebody’s race or ethnicity is a given and doesn’t involve any merit. same with so called community service and “host of other stuff”.

    You conveniently skipped over my original point: your daughter is not a US citizen, I take it? Her predecessors have nothing to do with history of slavery in this country? Then she doesn’t have even a merest sliver of an excuse to an AA claim. Especially to “free pass”, as you said. it’s not free to us, who pays for such people’s education through taxes.

    Comment by Tatyana — March 16, 2023 @ 1:27 pm

  21. Dear Tatyana
    Please don’t take offence, but I think you should take your sanctimony and put it back in its box.
    So far as I understand US scholarships are funded by endowments, not the US taxpayer.
    My daughter is female, wanting to do a STEM subject.
    She is an elite athlete.
    Her baccalaureate grades might be slightly lower than the average of freshman intake. (Or they might not be, she hasn’t taken her exams yet.)
    So I’m just asking for careers advice from the professor’s readership, her ethnicity is not at the top of the list.

    BTW, how’s that class action suit by Chinese Americans against Harvard going?

    Comment by philip — March 16, 2023 @ 4:44 pm

  22. Of course, “dear” philip, I do take offense: not just to your daughter’s unearned entitlement, your cynicism and now to your calling me sanctimonious – and being rude to me . [Btw, I am a woman – not “female” like your daughter, as I am not an insect – but you are not a man but a male, judging by your rudeness].

    I don’t care if your daughter is an “elite” athlete. I don’t care if she “wants to do a STEM subject”. Universities get tons of money from taxpayers, in various forms. Unless you personally provided a scholarship for her, you have no idea how much money in it are funded by US taxpayers. I have been through US university as well as one abroad, and I know how that works.
    Every scholarship, every free pass given out to an UNDESERVING recipient not selected on merit takes from somebody who deserves it better by their effort and talent.
    Even a mere mention of ethnicity or “bi-race” of your daughter should be non-existent if you’re asking advice from the commenters here – who are, by and large, US citizens and will be indirectly funding her education if you succeed in foisting her on us.

    Comment by Tatyana — March 17, 2023 @ 10:51 am

  23. C’mon Tatyana, almost get the impression, you’d even call Forest Gump ‘undeserving’, the foremost theory of intelligence tells us there a multiple, athletes demonstrate some.

    Well, philip, but would she really like to work on an industrial job, in a laboratory setting, inside a factory etc. ? Did she check out at least industrial design or other design studies?

    Comment by Mikey — March 17, 2023 @ 12:41 pm

  24. Forrest, of course…

    Comment by Mikey — March 17, 2023 @ 12:43 pm

  25. Mikey, what does F.Gump (a fictional character of a feel-good movie) has to do with siting a foreigner daughter’s race as qualification for receiving “free pass” to US college? Same goes for “elite” athlete. I’ll respond with like; here’s my “pop culture” reference: athletes, actors and gladiators are beyond contempt of an educated citizen. At least that has been a staple of Rome for a millennium. And who are you or *philip to contest the wisdom of Romans?

    Something else gave me a pause in *philip’s philippics. Why would one accentuate that his daughter is a female?

    Overall, it gives an impression of not just a racist unethical opportunist, but a woke one, too.

    Comment by Tatyana — March 17, 2023 @ 1:45 pm

  26. All universities try to attract international students. Reasons may vary; the French like to maintain sties with their former colonies and proseletize the “Construction of Europe” (the EU); the English would go bust without them. The US want to expose their students to students from different cultures, and maybe spread democracy. (Though possibly increasing exchange programmes between say California and Idaho would work nearly as well.)

    But the scenes at Berkeley and elsewhere are likely to discourage international students susceptible to the charms of democracy and “diversity”. We can treat the hysterical competitive victimhood mob as a bit of a joke. After all, it’s only some BLM trans nutcases, grifters from Venture Capital start ups and as yet unqualified lawyers going in for this nonsense.

    Or is it? If groupthink is bad in the humanities and grievance studies it’s absolutely fatal in science. US labs are at the cutting edge, but if the edge is blunted by dictated conformity to something called “The Science” then we are up the creek. We’ve just had a three year experiment on this and should have learnt a lesson. Given we learnt nothing from the financial crash of 2008 I suppose we won’t.

    She’s checking out an internship for after her baccalaureate, which yes probably will be in a factory.

    Comment by philip — March 17, 2023 @ 2:00 pm

  27. Well, Tatyana, in my reading philip was just thinking lout as a male father, what would happen in case that the grades of his female daughter at the yet to take exams would turn out not as elite as her athletic performance and an ivy league college’s reputation? Could she and should she and would she get admittance despite of it. And this for me is a version of the often discussed theme whether the type of intelligence the school system tries to emphasize and measure with grades is a valid measure for over all intelligence and success in life, academics and profession and whether this is complete or just part of the picture and whether it is fix/genetic/inherited or improvable/ learnable. So, it makes sense to me when colleges etc have different entry pathways in parallel. I don’t understand why ‘feel good’ would make my point irrelevant…feels stranger to me then female daughters of male fathers (laugh? My niece is a father, I’m not exactly sure as what she ‘identifies’ though and whether it would be politically and otherwise correct to call her a female father); but as for admission policy: looks like philip’s daughter knows exactly what she likes to at least try and experience and find out for herself after school, but If she or anybody else wanted to take the ivy league roote I’d say take admission on whatever basis it’s legally granted and see what it’s teaching you and how you can improve.

    Comment by Mikey — March 18, 2023 @ 2:18 am

  28. An update from I am Spartacus.
    Reading US prospectuses is a pretty thankless task. Plenty of guff about inclusion and diversity, etc. (Haven’t these people heard of Venn diagrams? It would make comparisons easier.)
    Finding out what the course actually contains is harder.
    (OK, many students look at extra curricular stuff, but dads want the juice.)

    The killer though is the covid nonsense.
    Masks are still recommended and sometimes mandatory. Mental health services are free for those suffering “covid anxiety”.
    Students have to be double or triple boosted.

    Masks, as we’ve known long before covid, are like trying to catch golf balls with a hula hoop. They are unsanitary, polluting and antisocial.
    “Covid anxiety” is an invented ailment to excuse not getting your assignment in on time.
    Students, as we’ve known since that giant petri dish the Diamond Princess, are in no danger from covid, but run a (small, so far) risk of harm from vaccines.

    So it’s a big fat NO to US university. Tatyana will no doubt be pleased.
    I do wonder how many other prospective students will decline to get an American education, given that they look like being taught by a cabal of bed wetting innumerates.

    Comment by philip — March 18, 2023 @ 3:47 pm

  29. I AM pleased. Will be pleased more if hives of others, foreigners and domestics, came to despise US woke university system. along with hateful DOE, and refuse to give them money. Then we could watch inflated ego of our self-proclaimed elites collapse as a roadside motel’ souffle. A healthy and humble education might have a chance to be built on the ruins.

    Comment by Tatyana — March 19, 2023 @ 11:04 am

  30. That law school student with a potty mouth?!?

    She really said that?
    So much for the benefits a of a nice family and superior education. The devil is have a giant guffaw somewhere.

    Comment by Simple Simon — March 19, 2023 @ 11:28 am

  31. You might even live to see your wish come true, Tatyana. I was chatting on the phone today with a friend in Croatia, and she changed the subject to the Stanford riot / protest / imbroglio. It’s all over the media there, to widespread dismay.
    Ex communist countries have only had free speech for thirty years so they value it more, I guess.

    Comment by philip — March 19, 2023 @ 1:03 pm

  32. no such thing as discipline..they were saving the planet

    Comment by Jeff Carter (@pointsnfigures1) — March 19, 2023 @ 3:32 pm

  33. @Tatyana. It’s like a struggle session in the Cultural Revolution.

    Comment by cpirrong — March 19, 2023 @ 7:43 pm

  34. @Simple Simon. That was a he that really said that.

    Comment by cpirrong — March 19, 2023 @ 8:19 pm

  35. Mikey: your comment makes absolutely no sense, in sum and in parts (especially in “my niece is a father” part). I can charitably assume you are in need of alcohol detox…К нам на утренний рассол (c)- see classics

    Craig: that too

    Comment by Tatyana — March 20, 2023 @ 9:54 am

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