Straight to the poolroom

A little flap between Crooked Timber and Andrew Sullivan has led to the unearthing of this gem from 2004, which is going to the testimonials bar as soon as I get a round tuit.

What John Quiggin desires is Orwellian Newspeak, with Mr Quiggin and his friends at Crooked Timber being the Inner Party deciding the rules

13 thoughts on “Straight to the poolroom

  1. As it seems clear that you and Crooked Timber are hell bent on world domination, I for one wish to extend a warm welcome to our new overlords.

  2. i will underwrite any testimonial suggesting mr quiggan speaks newspeak, as it is the language of the nation, high and low.

    ‘low’ don’t realize it and are excused, but i fear ‘high’ does, and continues to participate in doublethink and newspeak out of well-founded apprehension for their careers.

    only grumpy old men can afford to remind people that democracy once meant ‘rule by the people’. i used to do it for a pastime, as tickling hypocrites never ceases to amuse, but the coming population/crunch has taken this game to a new level of urgency.

  3. The back-story on this flap is the Crooked Timber defence of Stephen Rose’s, a Marxist [!] biologist, attack on James Watson. Rose applauded the British museum and Cold Springs Harbour were for pushing Watson off the public stage on the grounds that Watson’s science was wrong and he committd “hate speech” crime by ie theorising a biological cause for observed black-white intellectual disparities.

    Obviously the irony of a Marxist claiming the right to decide issues of civil liberty and scientific veracity is lost on the Crooked Timber folk. Then again, Watson has never bothered to court elite opinion like, say Stephen Leavitt. His implicitly eugenic theories of crime-reduction got rave reviews over at CT. Watson should get with the post-modern program and learn how to schmooze.

    I dont know if Pr Q and the Crooked Timber crew agreed with the political move to force Watson to resign in disgrace. They seem to be accept Rose’s monstrously illiberal notion that “human rights trump free speech rights”. (Orwellian doublespeak for persecuting those who challenge the diversity-crat agenda.)

    It is depressing to see liberal academics come to the defence of a political activist who wants a scientist silenced for being insensitive. It seems we cant have dangerous fools like Larry Summers and James Watson, who thoughtlessly mouth off “inconvenient” propositions, getting off scot-free. I guess Voltairean and Millian liberalism has had a good run amongst academics.

    Liberalism was once the philosophical spine of our civilizations Proud Tower. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

  4. Actually, the only CT comment on Watson was at the end of Chris Bertram’s post and reads

    The speech that Rose implicitly thought ought to be banned, that of James Watson about the intelligence of Africans, isn’t, strictly speaking, in that category, and banning it would endanger the legitimate expression of scientific opinion.

    so maybe Jack would like to correct his comment. Then again, maybe not.

  5. jquiggin Says: October 27th, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    so maybe Jack would like to correct his comment. Then again, maybe not.

    I stand corrected. In his footnote Betram did wiggle out of the contradiction b/w his defence of Rose’s argument for illiberal regulation and the application of it in the case of Watson.

    This was somewhat illogical of him, but to his ideological credit. In any case it is far more likely that a political thug like Rose, rather than Betram, would be enforcing such laws. I wonder where this would leave Betram’s argument.

    Of course we know now that there is no need for “hate speech” laws in the cultural elite environment. Educational bureaucrats, academics and mediapparatchiks will voluntarily do for free what political correctors would feign make them do by force.

    Other than Betram’s footnote the CT crowd have said nothing about the disgraceful hounding of Watson from public life. Nor has there been much substantive debate about the validity of his theorisation or veracity of his observations.

    So I mark this episode down as another victory of the post-modern Cultural Left in its war against science and freedom.

    Left-liberal academics want to promote the Left political agenda and observe the liberal intellectual protocol. They cant have it both ways. The wave of genomic and psychometric data that is swelling up in the life and mind sciences threatens the former but it depends on the maintenance of the latter. I expect more of these uncomfortable straddles in the future.

    While we are on the subject of corrections, Pr Q insisted a little while back that political correctness was little more than a myth propagated by Mark Steyn. Now that two of the worlds most respected scientists (Summers and Watson) have been forced from public life through political correctness maybe he would like to correct his views. Then again, maybe not.

  6. Just to clarify, Summers being ‘hounded out of public life’ manifests itself in the form an appointment as a University Professor at Harvard, so if anyone wants to hound me out, go right ahead.

    His failure as President at Harvard was due to his talent for gratuitously getting up people’s noses, of which making silly statements about gender and IQ was just one manifestation.

  7. jquiggin Says: October 28th, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Just to clarify, Summers being ‘hounded out of public life’ manifests itself in the form an appointment as a University Professor at Harvard, so if anyone wants to hound me out, go right ahead.

    University professor was a step down from President of Harvard. Just to clarify, Summers has been a Harvard university professor for a large part of his professional career. So returning to the ivory tower in the groves of academe was little better than an instatement of the status quo ex ante.

    The phrase “public life” Summers political, rather than professional, profile. Summers was forced out of his job as President of Harvard by a politically correcting lynch mob. And forced to make reparations for his tactless remarks through the creation of makework academic sinecures for the gender studies crowd, and other intellectual no-hopers.

    Its true that Summers lost the confidence of the University’s Academy. But he retained the overwhelming support of the students. What does that tell you about the yawning gap between cultural elites and the populus?

    THese episodes do not exactly a the sound of the death-knell of political correctness, is it? But that stuff gets a free pass from Cultural Left and, it appears, Pr Q. Likewise the mau-mauing of Watson.

    Pr Q says:

    His failure as President at Harvard was due to his talent for gratuitously getting up people’s noses, of which making silly statements about gender and IQ was just one manifestation..

    His “failure” at Harvard can be measured by the phenomenal growth in the Harvard endowment fund, which grew at a 16% rate through the noughties, about twice the market rate. If my CEO wants to fail like that go right ahead.

    As for his comments on gender and IQ, do you have any rational reason for deriding them as “silly”? I mean apart from chanting the usual ideological mantra about discrimination and oppression?

    Pr Q’s continued insistence that political correctness does not rule the academic, bureaucratic and mediapparatchik world is looking increasingly threadbare and naive.

    Another chapter in the Cultural Lefts War on Science.

  8. I’ve heard of many criteria for success as president of a major university, but picking the stock market isn’t one of them, Jack.

    As regards the pop pseudo-science you keep pushing on this topic, I observed years ago that, in the absence of a coherent explanation of the Flynn effect, it doesn’t even get to first base. I’ve raised this point repeatedly and no-one has anything like a satisfactory answer.

  9. Jack, Watson hasn’t been a scientist for many years. He was the public face of CS. If you don’t think that firing someone from a public relations position for gross and offensive stupidity is appropriate, you’re very confused.

  10. Watson has been saying inaccurate, offensive and silly things for years and getting away with it because of his position as half of Watson-Crick. Reread his brilliant ‘The Double Helix’ for a start. To lose a position for which he was less than ideally suited (as Neil points out) at 79 hardly counts as being ‘hounded’ anywhere.

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