Re: Public Funding vs Free Inquiry

Mark Crosby (
Tue, 19 May 1998 09:31:05 -0700 (PDT)

At 08:41 PM 5/18/98 -0400, Daniel Fabulich wrote:
< These days, it seems like most academia has all but
completely accepted post-structuralist thinking, a
philosophy which is completely hostile to absolute
truth. It's impossible to have a society bound by
contracts when a text has infinite meaning. >

Dan also noted the blind hostility towards capitalism
in academia. Ian Goddard responded with a 1961
Eisenhower quote about how, for some academics "a
government contract becomes virtually a substitute
for intellectual curiosity".

Or, it becomes a blank check to endlessly explore
artistic, sexual and social fetishes at public
expense. Here's another quote in the same spirit
that I just saw today:

"When plunder has become a way of life for a group of
men living together in society, they create for
themselves in the course of time a legal system that
authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
-Frederic Bastiat, "The Physiology of Plunder", p.
130, _Economic Sophisms_

The plunder, in this case, is by tenured academics
still fantasizing about the failed revolutions of
their youth, the Utopia that was 'betrayed' by greedy
market Reality. Perhaps a few years from now a new
crop of more hard-science libertarian academics will
still be telling their students how the Singularity
was 'betrayed' by quaint cultural and ecological

Still, it's possibly an Objectivist red herring to
characterize this as "hostility to truth", to suggest
that hermeneutics implies that a text really has
*infinite* meanings, or to equate all
post-structuralist thinking with the antics of some
jeering court jesters. It's just the public-goods
market in evolution.

Mark Crosby
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