Friday Fragments | Confessions of a Community College Dean

From the “the world has changed” files, these two consecutive sentences in an essay by Andrew Marzoni on Michel Foucault’s acolyte Simeon Wade are sort of amazing.

Wade earned a doctorate in the intellectual history of Western civilization in 1968, writing a thesis on “The Idea of Luxury in Eighteenth-Century England,” and after teaching in Boston for a couple of years, hitched a ride with his fraternity brother Jet Thomas, who had officiated the wedding of Gram Parsons, to California, where Thomas owned a cabin on Mount Baldy.

On an apparent whim, Wade secured a tenure-track position as assistant professor in history at Claremont Graduate School, a respected if somewhat obscure research institution thirty miles east of Los Angeles, in a retirement Mecca for members of the Congregational Church.

As one does, apparently.

Earlier this week, I offered a critique of a piece that Neal McCluskey posted. He responded here. I started writing a rebuttal to his rebuttal but decided that I didn’t want to be the “someone is wrong on the internet!” guy, so I’ll just move on and allow readers to reach their own conclusions.

The tl;dr take is that he says his attack wasn’t on academic freedom; it was on taxpayer funding of educational institutions at all.

This strikes me as a case of what philosophers call incommensurable premises. Our basic assumptions are incompatible. Kudos to McCluskey for spelling out his assumptions candidly — a trait too often absent from contemporary policy writing. I disagree fundamentally with his position, for reasons outlined in the earlier critique, but I appreciate putting the epistemological cards on the table. At least we know where the disagreement is.

The Boy, reporting on his progress looking for a summer job in his field:

“I feel like I’m totally underqualified for everything.”

As good a description of how it feels to be 20 as I can imagine.

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