April 6th, 2013

Don’t mess with Thomas Klingenstein

As Barry Mills, president of Bowdoin College, learned:

One day in the summer of 2010, Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, a respected liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein for a round of golf about an hour north of campus. College presidents spend many of their waking hours talking to potential donors. In this case, the two men spoke about college life—especially “diversity”—and the conversation made such an impression on President Mills that he cited it weeks later in his convocation address to Bowdoin’s freshman class. That’s where the dispute begins.

Read on for the full story of what each men said, and Klingenstein’s revenge, a commissioned study of academic life at Bowdoin. Suffice to say that nothing in the article or the report will surprise you, but both are fascinating in their depiction of what has happened to liberal arts universities in this country.

Kudos to Mr. Klingenstein.

70 Responses to “Don’t mess with Thomas Klingenstein”

  1. Steve Says:

    This is such a neat story. Imagine if the same was done at many other schools.

  2. rickl Says:

    That’s a big post at Ace’s, complete with a couple of videos about the history of the Frankfurt School.

  3. KBK Says:

    The last paragraph in the report:

    What does Bowdoin not teach? Intellectual modesty. Self-restraint. Hard work. Virtue. Self-criticism. Moderation. A broad framework of intellectual history. Survey courses. English composition. A course on Edmund Spenser. A course primarily on the American Founders. A course on the American Revolution. The history of Western civilization from classical times to the present. A course on the Christian philosophical tradition. Public speaking. Tolerance towards dissenting views. The predicates of critical thinking. A coherent body of knowledge. How to distinguish importance from triviality. Wisdom. Culture.

  4. Ann Says:

    Ah, yes, Bowdoin. Home of Sarah “coercive paternalism” Conly.

  5. blert Says:

    Hard to believe that this college is where Uncle Tom was written.

    Stowe is spinning in her grave.

  6. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    If you’re going to throw stones, expect a few back.

  7. Paul Says:

    Oh Wow!,

    The National Academy of Scholars finds Bowdoin lacking as an educational institution. It turns out this organization is a hen party of super-annuated conservative grey matter. If you look them up in Wikipedia, you’ll see there is one difference between them and the KKK. Their robes are plaid and their slippers are fuzzy.

    Oh, and their diction is better. Compare the two

    Irving Kristol, founder of the neoconservative movement, “characterized multiculturalism as ‘a desperate strategy for coping with the educational deficiencies and associated social pathologies of young blacks.’”[7]

    David Duke

    Every race has the right to preserve its own unique heritage and traditions

  8. suek Says:

    “Every race has the right to preserve its own unique heritage and traditions”

    Does that include caucasians?

  9. M J R Says:

    Regarding Paul, 7:54 pm:

    It is not lost on me that you have not engaged NAS’s criticisms at all. You have only ad hominemmed us to sleep. You might have saved yourself (and us) a little trouble had you simply commented, “nyaaah nyaaah so’s your mommy” — for that, as far as I can discern, is the sum total intellectual content of your comment.

    For some reason this is what I’ve come to expect of leftie commenters on a blog such as this one. Why is that?

  10. Paul Says:

    “Intellectual content” is foreign to this whole “controversy”.

    A couple of days ago I was looking at conservative Radio yacker Dennis Praeger’s “Praeger University”. It consists of short slick films that use small words to explain that Republican talking points are actually highest wisdom. I think Praeger ripped off the idea from Glenn Beck.

    I’m sure Klingenstein would be happy to fund Praeger.

    nyaaah nyaah nyaah, so’s your mommy

    Paul

  11. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Now, Paul, I get that David Duke is racist scum. And yet, what an interesting quote you put forth. Lets take a look, shall we?

    “Every race has the right to preserve its own unique heritage and traditions.”

    I’m sure that given who said that ( supposedly), we can take it that you assume it means the ‘white’ race, as described by the likes of the KKK. You are almost certainly correct.

    And yet, looked at from another perspective, doesn’t the black race have a right to its own unique heritage and traditions? The Asians, too? What’s wrong with you? Can’t you appreciate their culture? And failing that, can’t you accept they have the right to appreciate their own?

    It’s easy to take something David Duke said and yell “RACIST!” (like hitting a tee-ball).

    You probably could have could have chosen a better quote to use for your shallow, imbecilic ‘compare and contrast’ game. You probably could have put on your Critical Thinking Cap before regurgitating senseless Leftist tripe.

    But then, you wouldn’t be a shallow, Leftist Facsist, if you had.

    Go away. Grown ups are talking.

  12. Paul Says:

    Oh Sue K,

    I’m sure Mr. Duke would just find you adorable.

  13. Don Carlos Says:

    Bowdoin is merely a well-documented case study of a much much wider pathology. At Bowdoin, this has been going on since 1969. which is more than a half-century. Fifty-plus years!

    All liberal arts colleges (they are all private) have devolved in the same fashion, starting pretty much at the same time, with only rare exceptions like Hillsdale.

    I attended my son’s Haverford (PA) graduation in 1991, Haverford College had been a small, elite (top ten ranking) male-only liberal arts college until demographics forced it to become co-ed in the 1970s. One of the commencent speakers (and recipient of an honorary degree) was Catherine McKinnon, a radical feminist law professor. She treated the assembled graduates, about 50% male, and several thousand parents, grandparents, children, all on the “Lawn” to a five-minute talk which culminated in her screaming, yes screaming, into the mike, again and again, “ALL MEN ARE F*CKERS.” This was tolerated, excused, forgiven by the College. And guess what? It still wants my money.

    Peter Wood, as president of the National Association of Scholars, has worked very hard to make it a force for truth and good, and is a remarkable and remarkably energetic man.
    One does not need to be an academic scholar to join NAS. Go to http://www.nas.org and give him a hand.
    He is the author of “Diversity: The Invention of a Concept”, 2003–still available in pback at Amazon.

  14. Paul Says:

    Maybe Ms. McKinnon had just spent too long with Mr. Klingenstein. He seems to motivate folks.

  15. rickl Says:

    Sounds like Klingenstein struck a nerve somewhere.

  16. Don Carlos Says:

    Paul: Do you have any serious thoughts based on fact, instead of those silly comebacks better suited to Letterman? Are you the next Letterman?
    Would you like to be? There’s all sorts of pussy there, waiting eagerly for you. You seem like a sloppy seconds kind of guy, Go for it.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul would like to volunteer to be the person who evaluates Bowdoin. He is sure his politics would guarantee his complete objectivity.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: The story of McKinnon’s commencement speech is one of the most chilling things I’ve ever heard about academia. That she wasn’t tossed out on her ear is unbelievable.

    And yet believable, seeing how things have been trending.

  19. M J R Says:

    Don Carlos, 9:47 pm –

    “All liberal arts colleges (they are all private) have devolved in the same fashion, starting pretty much at the same time, with only rare exceptions like Hillsdale.”

    * Point of Information * : St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a liberal arts college, is [despite its name -- it was named for St. Mary's County, which was named for St. Mary] a public (state) honors college; my son graduated from there with a bachelors degree in mathematics.

  20. Paul Says:

    OK,

    Does it not bother you that Mr. Klingenstein paid this institution, the National Association of Scholars, to write a paper agreeing with him? He didn’t just pick a random institution to write his paper. He picked one that exists to scold multi-culturist in academia. If I hired a fashionista to write a paper saying that Sarah Palin had poor fashion sense. Then they wrote a paper saying that Ms. Palin’s wardrobe made them want to bring on Islamic dress codes, would that prove that Ms. Palin dressed untastefully? No, of course not. It would prove them some folks prostitute themselves for cash. Folks like the “National Association of Scholars”. Mr. Murray refused to politely abandon his values for the sake of a few bucks.

    This is such an ancient trope in conservative bashing of new thought. William F. Buckley got his start doing this in the 1950s. (God and Man at Yale). Ayn Rand advocated this in Atlas Shrugged (Only “Patrick Henry University” an engineering college. Still taught truth. (This bothers me and my undergraduate degree is in Chemical Engineering.))

    Mr. Klingenstein is obviously a vain man unused to contradiction by us lessers. Mr. Klingenstein hectored Bowdoin college’s President about just how awful his liberal university was throughout a game of golf. Him being a rich guy, he expected Bowdoin’s college president to cower in obeisance to capitalistic glory. Instead, President Mills politely defended his institution.

    With a “doesn’t he know who I am” righteous fury, Mr. Klingenstein goes off to show Mr. Murray he means business. (This blog’s anonymous human verifies that. She titled this post “Don’t mess with Klingenstein”)

    None of you have read this far, but I’ll keep on writing this anyway. I’m glad Bowdoin dares to think different. I’m glad they challenge students with new and uncomfortable ideas. They seem open. You know who they brought to campus to lecture after Mr. Klingenstein penned his wounded rich guy crie de couer in the Claremont review? Of course you do. Tom Klingenstein.

    Much different than you all. Someone dissents from your festival of self righteousness, your ten minute hate, and you focus your hate on that person.

    As for the author of this blog; I expect a lot better; much tougher thinking, from a fellow Jew.

  21. parker Says:

    There has to be willful blindness to deny that universities, for the most part, are places where certain thoughts and principles are verboten. I won’t bother to list the many incidents were conservative speakers have been demonized and some times shouted off the podium. There are hundreds of cases were scheduled conservative speakers are told at the last minute their presence was unwelcome.

    There is no diversity of ideas in modern academia. To pretend otherwise is to spend too much time with the hookah smoking caterpillar.

  22. Michael Brazier Says:

    This looks like a case of the phenomenon Cardinal Newman described as “sometimes a lie is the nearest approach possible to the truth.” What Klingenstein said to Mills was that Bowdoin is obsessed with identity politics to the point that it has ceased to offer its students a liberal education, and therefore it did not deserve his support. What Mills heard was that Bowdoin spends too much time on minorities for Klingenstein’s taste, and therefore Klingenstein refused to support it – a distortion drearily familiar to observers of the progressive mind. The only surprise is that Klingenstein cared enough about correcting the distortion that he took trouble to collect evidence of Bowdoin’s defects as a university in order to prove his case.

    And “Paul”? There is nothing new or uncomfortable about identity politics, and nothing different about a curriculum that represent it as the keystone of knowledge. All that is the usual shibboleths mouthed by the powerful in Western nations to soothe their consciences; you can read it in any newspaper and hear it on any television. Students would be far more likely to be challenged by new and uncomfortable ideas anywhere on Earth but an American campus like Bowdoin – perhaps the hills of Afghanistan. (Robert Fisk didn’t learn anything from his experiences there, but he’s old and set in his ways; college students should be more open-minded.)

  23. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    Paul, perhaps if you were to make coherent statements as to why you disagree with the study, rather than just saying, “it’s wrong because I disagree with it”, you would find greater levels of support. But alas, you seem to be content to work at the David Letterman level, which is not very convincing to the educated.

    The Left has long since given up on thinking, prefering to condescention to everyone else who does not agree with their groupthink. I feel sad that you are a member of that groupthink, and pity for the world you seem to be in favor of. But, at least you can feel superior to the rest of us, and I suspect that that is the first priority with you.

  24. Paul Says:

    Why do I disagree?

    Bowdoin seems to be recognized as doing a great job of preparing young folks for the post college world. Here’s some facts from Wikipedia

    - Bowdoin considered an “almost Ivy” – the class of 2017 acceptance rate was 14.5%. i.e. it’s one of the most selective colleges in the nation

    - Wall Street Journal- no bastion of liberal thought – ranks – in 2003 – ranked “Bowdoin amongst the top 20 colleges in the nation -based on acceptance to top 5 graduate schools

    - US News and World report ranked Bowdoin the 6th best liberal arts college in the country

    - despite an emphasis on preparing students for careers in social work and teaching, Bowdoin grads have an average mid career salary of $ 106,000.

    Everyone here is saying that Bowdoin does a poor job of preparing students for a career. The numbers above say Bowdoin does a great job. i.e. objective statistics say Bowdoin does a great job.

    Also, I’ve been surfing through discussions elsewhere of the National Academy of Scholars report. “error filled” has been amongst the kinder descriptions. For example, the report continually insists that Bowdoin does not offer basic lessons on American history. Many folks have pointed out that it does. They have listed these courses (i.e. US history in the Civil War) Instead, the report seemed to focus on things Bowdoin does that scandalize conservatives. Queer theory courses and the like. They also interviewed a few conservative students. One of the students disputed that what they said he told them was what he said. He also said they mis-lead him about the purpose of the interview.

    Look – Bowdoin’s President called out Mr. Klingenstein on his racism. (Mr. Klingenstein said that Bowdoin “pays too much attention to Blacks – this isn’t in dispute.) Unused to even mild criticism, Mr. Klingenstein engaged in a Vendetta. He paid $ 100,000 to a group of professionally hyper-senstive conservative splenetics to maul Bowdoin.

    I’d think he’d have come to his sense by now and be embarrassed. But conservatives seem unable to feel embarrassed by their actions – no matter how petty.

  25. Paul Says:

    Oh,

    One more thing. Mr. Klingenstein’s assault on President Murray shows he likely didn’t know what he was talking about. Klingenstein accused Murray of bringing to Bowdoin “the wrong kinds of students for the wrong reasons.

    Wikipedia quickly corrects Mr. Klingenstein. Murray is bringing in extremely gifted, motivated, students.

    If the numbers at the top of my previous post don’t convince you. Here are more raw, objective, numbers.

    The middle 50% SAT range for the verbal and math sections of the SAT is 660-750 and 660-750, respectively

    This mean their typical student has scored in the top few % in their SATs.

    The average high school GPA of freshmen students is 3.8.

    This means the students have worked hard in high school.

    In short gentlemen and women. Bowdoin takes in students that excels and polishes them up to further excel in life. Objective statistics prove this. Mr. Klingenstein spent $ 100,000 to slime Bowdoin. The only person who looks bad in this affair is Klingenstein. (OK there are other folks who look bad. You who admire him.)

    I’m not sure how Letterman would sign off after this. It’s been years since I’ve seen his show.

  26. Paul Says:

    If you’re worried about liberal colleges devolving good americans into liberal zombies, don’t. They haven’t figured out how to do it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/opinion/sunday/college-doesnt-make-you-liberal.html

    On the other hand. Conservative ideologues like William F. Buckley long ago learned that demonizing liberal college professors helps unite conservative elements that otherwise might find their clashing aspiration consign them to competing enemy camps.

  27. Paul Says:

    More about why Buckley created the myth of the tenured zombie-master

    http://www.salon.com/2013/03/31/why_conservatives_hate_college/

  28. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    It seems that our Paul simply isn’t hearing the conservative argument.

    Bowdoin’s got CREDENTIALS, you see.

    Therefore what it teaches is correct, proper, appropriate, beneficial, yada-yada. And from that, we KNOW that teaching our bright young people to disparage Western Civilization is a good and necessary thing.

    And so, we nasty wicked conservative troglodyte morons should shut up and learn to denounce our Dead White European roots.

  29. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and Feminist Channeler of Ill Repute Says:

    }}} I’m glad Bowdoin dares to think different.

    Ah, yeah. Exactly the same — EXACTLY — the same as a thousand other 4y colleges out there… <— NOT hyperbole.

    Conformity as non-conformity.

    How perfectly PostModern a thought pattern to display for us, Paul.

    No, Paul, “thinking different” would be to actually promote an effort — a very serious one — to increase the presence and participation of conservatives on-campus and, more critically, on the faculty. And to approach such efforts with at least the same level of zeal as colleges promote the elimination of race bias (not more than a few percent these days in almost all institutions) or gender bias (non-existent to the point where women receiving each level of degree outnumber men receiving the same level and have across the nation for at least 10 years and counting).

    .

    But no. Let’s “be different” JUST like Bowdoin.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^ — Extreme Irony, in case
    ^^^^^^^^^^^ — you did not Get It.

  30. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and Feminist Channeler of Ill Repute Says:

    }}} Here’s some facts from Wikipedia…

    Paul, you just proved yourself incapable of making any kind of rational assessment of… well… anything.

    Wiki is a starting place for stuff, and can be relied-upon for some things, such as, say, mathematics — but NEVER EVER can it be the end-point of any analysis that qualifies as a “hot button” issue. In this case, the “hot button” would be “the effectiveness of the liberal academic approach”, as would be anything that potentially criticizes liberals and liberalism.

  31. Mike Says:

    Bravo to Mr. Klingenstein! May we all do what he is doing all the time when it comes to confronting the Diabolical Dems and the Liberal Monsters in our midst.

    What got me the most in a quick scan of the report was the fact that we no longer really have “Colleges” any more – the places where teachers teach and transmit knowledge, and students learn and integrate that knowledge. Instead we have “Universities”, or better “Research Universities” where there is a caste or species who is a “research professor” and not a teacher.

    This is the almost universal norm now. Pay someone not to know things but to “discover” (research) new things? Then you will get what you pay for. The more outrageous and bizarre the better.

    It only took a generation of “researchers” to tell us that everything we thought was right was tinged with wrong; and that everything we thought was wrong was really right…and anyway some Borneo Tribesman or Ancient Greek was doing it right and there was “research” to prove it.

    Therefore: America is wrong; Chavez is right. We found out that marriage was not what we thought it was. It was “traditional marriage”, not just “marriage…and that means it is “privileged” and that means it is really wrong, and that a man can be a wife to another man, and son on.

    It is the case that everything you think is right and normal is at this moment being “researched” out of the curriculum we call our civilization by a host of monsters called “research PHDs) supported by a host of Baby Orcs erroneously called “college students”.

    They will be destroying a civilization near you shortly!

  32. Gringo Says:

    Paul:
    I’m glad Bowdoin dares to think different.
    Please inform me how what Bowdoin is doing is DIFFERENT from other colleges and universities. Enquiring want to know.
    Here’s some facts from Wikipedia… US News and World report ranked Bowdoin the 6th best liberal arts college in the country.
    Had you bothered to READ THE REPORT [Neo provides a link at the report] you would have found this nugget on page 42:

    Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, is one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges.

    You wasted your time, as you, the NAS report, and the assorted wingnuts who comment at this blog are all in agreement with how Bowdoin ranks relative to other liberal arts colleges.
    The issue is what “leading liberal arts colleges” such as Bowdoin are doing. From page 35 of the report:

    Bowdoin students today convince each other that they work hard, yet they spend only about 17.4 hours per week on average outside class studying—a fraction of the time Bowdoin students once devoted to their academic work.

    From what I have read, the reduction in study time is not an issue confined to Bowdoin, but is widespread.
    From page 26 of the report:

    History majors at Bowdoin are not required to take a single course in American history; yet they are required to take several courses in non-Western history.

    What is your opinion of this approach?
    Instead of relying on groupthink, I would suggest that you READ THE REPORT.

    READ THE REPORT.
    READ THE REPORT.
    READ THE REPORT.

    I know it’s more intellectually challenging than engaging in cheapshot ad hominem attacks, but you might try it for a change.

    ¿Me entendés?

  33. Paul in Boston Says:

    Artfl, is that you mascarading as Paul (not me!) and doing a send up of a liberal?

  34. rickl Says:

    As was pointed out at the Ace of Spades post yesterday, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a professor at Bowdoin who joined the Union Army and went on to win a flippin’ Medal of Honor at Gettysburg. He later became the president of the college.

    Could he even be hired there today?

  35. Paul Says:

    Well my new friends, this is it.

    Time to part.

    I’m not sure why this subject exercises you so. As long as Bowdoin only opens its doors to the high achieving and intellectually curious, in short – smart people – you remain outside. Unthreatened by any new knowledge whatsoever.

    Here’s a school for you. You needn’t leave the chair. This university expects nothing from you at all. No need to change your mind or deepen your appreciation of anything. Klingenstein would approve.

    prageruniversity.com

  36. JohnC Says:

    Paul:

    Trying to defend the rot at Bowdoin is not working out well for you huh? Maybe a change of focus will help. Try defending this little snark:

    “As for the author of this blog; I expect a lot better; much tougher thinking, from a fellow Jew.”

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul:

    You are one of the finest examples of what’s wrong with liberals and liberalism (or what passes for it) today.

    Insults, strawmen, moving goalposts. It is quite literally a waste of time to engage with you at any length, because that sort of sophistic game-playing is all you bring to this table.

    So I’ll just summarize by saying that (a) your assumptions about the academic credentials of many of the people here—that getting into Bowdoin, for example, would be impossible for them—is actually humorous in its lack of validity (b) the quotes you are quoting from Klingenstein are what Hill said he said, which Klingenstein has claimed are not what he said at all; and (c) no one here claimed that Bowdoin does not prepare students for jobs or careers; for example, an understanding of American history or the classics are not job-related, but wisdom and knowledge-related, quite a different thing.

    Oh, and also—this comment of yours in particular reveals quite a bit about yourself and your methods of “argument.” What’s up with the “Jew” bit? You are making quite a few assumptions there, you know.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    JohnC: I hadn’t read your comment until after I posted mine.

    I wondered why no one had yet picked up on that “Jew” remark. You and I commented on it almost simultaneously.

  39. davisbr Says:

    Paul, like all 14 year olds when their most cherished assumptions are being exposed as nonsense, should be viewed from the prism of the same moment of awakening that most of us have experienced at some point.

    …you still recall, that time when you’d strenuously defend your shibboleths, from abject terror of the gaping hole in your worldview that had just begun to open in front of you.

    …you all remember it, of course: that one existential moment when you said to yourself “someone’s been lying to me”, and the blinders fell off your eyes …

    And your world changed, never to be the same.

    We call that “growing up”, Paul. It is the point where wisdom can begin.

    Oh. I should also add, Paul, that the “14″ I’m referring to is the emotional and maturational, and so not necessarily the calendar, age …sadly, and for too many people, they’re unable to pass through that age, into adulthood. Ever.

    I sincerely hope you’re the former, and not the latter.

  40. Gringo Says:

    Paul

    I’m not sure why this subject exercises you so.

    If this subject didn’t exercise YOU, you wouldn’t have made the copious comments you did.

    However, this subject apparently didn’t exercise you enough to actually READ the report. [Your Wiki quoting on "what a good little school this is" shows you didn't bother to read the report. The report also considered Bowdoin to be a top school. See my above comment.]

    Your response is not uncommon among libs who comment here. Mitsu comes to mind. After making some supercilious comment, and finding out that wingnuts not only have the effrontery to respond to an exalted lib, but also to out-argue an exalted lib, the exalted lib exits the scene with his tail between his legs. “It’s not an important topic.” “There must be something wrong with you to consider the topic important.” All of which begs the question why the lib was commenting on the topic in the first place.

    As long as Bowdoin only opens its doors to the high achieving and intellectually curious, in short – smart people – you remain outside. Unthreatened by any new knowledge whatsoever.

    This remark is a howler, coming from someone whose Wiki quoting on Bowdoin showed he lacked the intellectual curiosity to actually READ the NAS report on Bowdoin.

    One reason why many commenters here- Neo included- can out-ague libs is because as former libs, we are all too familiar with lib talking points. Your ignorant, self-righteous sneering is not uncommon among libs. In fact, the ignorant, self-righteous sneering of libs is one reason why I left the libs.

    I also note that when I simply ask your opinion of a passage in the report, you declined to respond. I, a self-admitted wingnut, was curious enough to ask your opinion, yet you later said that wingnuts were not among the intellectually curious. Oh well.

    Payaso sos.

  41. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Ah, Gringo.

    Alas, Paul was no fun at all. His strategery consists of half-baked Parthian shots and ad hominem, as Neo said. And then, he retreated to a more friendly venue. No fun at all when they won’t stay in the ring.

    By the way, Neo, I just read the “Jew” comment while catching up this afternoon. Whatever herd he thinks you belong to, you aren’t allowed to stray.

  42. physicsguy Says:

    Very late to this party :-) Away at my daughter’s soccer tournament all weekend. In case Paul drops back in, his first comments struck me as I am a member of NAS. :-) ;-) Damn! left my white robes somewhere! I can’t find them! Oh yeah, maybe that’s because the KKK was a paramilitary arm of the old Democratic party.

    And, everyone knows, I also teach at a elite liberal arts college. I have read the NAS report and all one would have to do is just change the name to the Wesleyan report, or the Smith report, or the Colby report, etc. As they make clear, Bowdoin is just the example they are using of what goes on in all these schools.

  43. Lizzy Says:

    I like Mr. Klingenstein’s response. Glad he wasn’t talked into sponsoring a course or chair & then given the Bass/Yale treatment.

    I’m just amazed at the options for Bowdoin’s requirement of a year-long freshman seminar: “Affirmative Action and U.S. Society,” “Fictions of Freedom,” “Racism,” “Queer Gardens”, “Sexual Life of Colonialism” and “Modern Western Prostitutes.” With the exception of Affirmative Action (Lefty viewpoint aside), do any of these topics seem like they could support, or should merit, a yearlong examination? What value could “Queer Gardens” possibly provide outside of academia?

    Conservatives could have a field day highlighting elite university course catalogs every time the topic of free tuition/tuition forgiveness comes up. No parent or student go into serious debt to support this useless dreck.

  44. CV Says:

    Off topic just a bit, but i wanted to point out Ross douthat’s column in today’s NYT in which he remarks about the Princeton mom who recently said that college age women should grab a husband before graduation. Douthat comments that elite colleges (not unlike Bowdoin) have always been as much about making social connections/perpetuating the meritocracy as learning.

    Might make our new friend Paul’s head explode:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/opinion/sunday/douthat-the-secrets-of-princeton.html?ref=rossdouthat&_r=0

  45. sharpie Says:

    A Jewish girl gets off the plane with a 7 foot tall Zulu warrior with a bone through his nose.

    No, no, no, no, I said a rich doctor, her Mom said.

  46. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and Feminist Channeler of Ill Repute Says:

    BTW, (in case someone didn’t supply it above), here is Klingenstein’s side of the story (H/T: Chicago Boyz):

    http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1800/article_detail.asp

  47. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and Feminist Channeler of Ill Repute Says:

    Mike, I cannot speak of my own knowledge, but I’ll call attention to a passage from Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance about the flip side… My own suspicion is that, as usual, either extreme is bad… and what you need is a requirement that professors do BOTH, and not only with grad students for the teaching part…. teaching undergrads keeps you In Touch with youth and current perceptions, which is an important part of staying competent. Change is good, in this sense. Things that have stopped changing are called “fossils”.

    “…the school was what could emphatically be called a ‘teaching college’. At a teaching college you teach and you teach and you teach with no time for research, no time for contemplation, no time for participation in outside affairs. Just teach and teach and teach until your mind grows dull and your creativity vanishes and you become an automaton saying the same dull things over and over to endless waves of innocent students who cannot understand why you are so dull, lose respect, and fan this disrespect out into the community. The reason you teach and teach and teach is that this is a clever way of running a college on the cheap while giving the appearance of genuine education.”
    – R. M. Persig, ‘Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ -

  48. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and Feminist Channeler of Ill Repute Says:

    }}} Well my new friends, this is it.

    Time to part.

    I’m not sure why this subject exercises you so. As long as Bowdoin only opens its doors to the high achieving and intellectually curious, in short – smart people – you remain outside. Unthreatened by any new knowledge whatsoever.

    Like all liberals, Paul misses the point, and shows he’s merely trolling to boot — come in, drop a blatantly false accusation demonstrating his own ignorance and arrogance, then ignore the responses to his bloviations when they don’t seem sufficiently supplicating… and leave when it’s clear no one is agreeing with HIM and, of course, like the president of Bowdoin, not grasp in the slightest that perhaps it is HIS perceptions that need to be defended.

    I mean, he’s a liberal, everyone HERE is a mere wingnut. Nothing HE believes need ever be defended. Naw.

  49. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and Feminist Channeler of Ill Repute Says:

    }}} But conservatives seem unable to feel embarrassed by their actions – no matter how petty.

    Just… wow.

    The number of obvious publicly acked examples to contrast the liberal vs. the conservative on this is absurdly long here.

  50. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and Feminist Channeler of Ill Repute Says:

    }}} Bowdoin grads have an average mid career salary of $ 106,000.

    That’s not really all that great for a government salary, these days, y’know?

  51. M J R Says:

    IGB, LDF, 6:29 pm –

    }}} Bowdoin grads have an average mid career salary of $ 106,000.

    “That’s not really all that great for a government salary, these days, y’know?”

    Not even for a private sector job, which I understand has of late begun to lag government positions in salary and bennies [do correct me if I'm mistaken about this]. Then again, if it ain’t science-technology-engineering-mathematics, it probably ain’t gonna pay into the stratosphere, even if one gets to write “Bowdoin” on his/her resume.

    Well, as CV Says (2:55 pm), “Douthat comments that elite colleges (not unlike Bowdoin) have always been as much about making social connections/perpetuating the meritocracy as learning.”

  52. Don Carlos Says:

    The truly sad thing about Paul, from one of his early posts, is ‘I’m glad Bowdoin dares to think different. I’m glad they challenge students with new and uncomfortable ideas. They seem open.”

    Bowdoin is in fact not different from its congeners, not in thought and not in deed. All of the ‘highly ranked, most competitive colleges’ are peas in a pod. This I have studied extensively, unlike Paul. Just visit their home pages; the tripe is all the same. There is no distinguishing academic difference between any of them. Nor is there any meaningful variation in their costs of attendance. Amherst=Williams=Swarthmore=Trinity=Smith=Mt. Holyoke=Vassar=Haverford=Hampshire=Bowdoin=Duke=Vanderbilt=Yale, and on and on.

    ‘Challenge (of) students with new and uncomfortable ideas’ is not the same as helping them professorially to reach any truth. The faculty hold the power of grading as an absolute sword over the students.

    ‘They seem open’. Yes, they ‘seem’. but are not.

  53. M J R Says:

    What I found interesting in Paul’s babblings was the disingenuity [see penultimate paragraph below].

    “Paul Says:
    April 7th, 2013 at 4:31 am

    “Why do I disagree?

    Bowdoin seems to be recognized as doing a great job of preparing young folks for the post college world. Here’s some facts from Wikipedia

    “- Bowdoin considered an “almost Ivy” – the class of 2017 acceptance rate was 14.5%. i.e. it’s one of the most selective colleges in the nation.”

    Big effin’ deal. So lots of (probably) left-leaning elitist types want to send their children to an elitist-type place, where they can go “about making social connections/perpetuating the meritocracy as learning.”

    So Bowdoin is “almost Ivy”. Whoop-de-doo. Does that imply Bowdoin is good at training young minds?

    “- Wall Street Journal- no bastion of liberal thought – ranks – in 2003 – ranked “Bowdoin amongst the top 20 colleges in the nation -based on acceptance to top 5 graduate schools.”

    Who determines what are the top five? What are the criteria for “top five”? In ancient Greek art, or in mechanical engineering?

    “- US News and World report ranked Bowdoin the 6th best liberal arts college in the country.”

    Whooooop-de-doodle-dee-doo. Based on what? I know plenty of people who went to state schools that are plenty damn smart ^ as well as ^ plenty damn educated — but I gotta admit, they don’t have the high-falutin’ connections.

    “- despite an emphasis on preparing students for careers in social work and teaching, Bowdoin grads have an average mid career salary of $ 106,000.”

    Covered in an earlier post.

    I’m supposed to bow down to the above credentials, when I ^AND PAUL^ know ^damn^ well that what’s being perpetuated is not just “social connections”, but a decidedly leftie world view. (Of course, to the leftie, the leftie world view is the ^only^ acceptable world view and so it is never considered a ^leftie^ world view. That’s where the disingenuity comes in, and it makes it hard to have a forthright discussion when hidden presumptions like this one abound.)

    And Paul hates that people from Bill Buckley to Thomas Klingenstein have the effrontery (and the resources) to make all this known. It makes it so much harder to impose the presumptions on the masses.

  54. Gary Rosen Says:

    Apparently Paul votes for

    the anti-Semitic party

  55. PlatoBunker Says:

    “What Does Bowdoin Teach” is misguided in one respect: the concern with grade inflation. Given a homogenous group, imposing a Bell curve may require finding and rewarding obscure merits. What exactly you don’t want is premature defeat of a talented individual. Of course that is not likely given the intense winnowing that has already happened, but it is still a danger. (The extreme cases are the Algebraists E. Galois and N.H. Abel.)

    A danger at elite schools is that the faculty may make the students’ education more about discovering extreme talent rather than about educating. In this respect, a bizarre curriculum is helpful as it reduces the chance of performance being tainted by prior preparation. Grades themselves are not critical to the discovery process and letters of recommendation can handle the signaling to graduate faculties that a talent has been discovered – and politically correct talent at that.

    When I was an undergraduate Harvard we were prohibited from attending test prep schools. I found this fair in one sense, of course, but thought it missed a larger point: despite the farce of the school selecting the students for admission, from a strictly contractual view, the school was hired by the student and why should it prohibit anything at all that contributed to the student’s learning? Many of my fellow students had parents who taught at universities; those parents were not prohibited from tutoring their children. The system has been inbred from the beginning; it has become ever worse hijacked by the Left.

    More about the grading: expecting a Bell curve is a zero sum expectation. An education ought to, somehow, inflict the experience of having to make an intense consideration of intellectual problems. Necessarily, that experience is in conflict with learning a large body of knowledge – nobody has the time to work their way through the discovery of even a fraction of any science. Pushing for a Bell curve detracts from the worthwhile goals of intense experience and broad exposure. Moreover it tends to push the ambitious into being less collaborative.

    I recommend, in place of worry about grading, high stakes testing: essay based tests for graduate school admission. Hey, if it’s good enough for grade school kids, it ought to work for graduate students.

  56. Beverly Says:

    Pauly-boy is an ineducable specimen of the Hive Mind. No point in wasting time on him, you’re just throwing your pearls before a swine.

    Note that he is an excellent example of the ersatz aristo, bloated with his own self-importance, condescending to visit us poor folks who are sitting in darkness and enlighten us.

    What a maroon.

  57. Beverly Says:

    Footnote: Note that the Hive Mindian has all the execrable “debating” habits of his ilk and his indoctrinators. They deploy all of the classical logical fallacies with ignorant relish, imagining that they are demolishing their enemies’ arguments. It’s like watching a kid with a rubber sword “defeat” his exasperated dad.

    They don’t even know enough to realize how addle-pated they are. (And he needs to work on his adverbs — even if grammar is a musty old whitefolks subject.)

  58. parker Says:

    Trying to address Paul in logical, fact based conversation is robbing Peter of rationality. Worms serve a great purpose in the scheme of life, Pauls are parasites upon the worms. Protect the worms, shun the parasites.

  59. Mike Says:

    @PlatoBunker

    Don’t make me….

    That is truly the most novel excuse for the mind-numbing courses offered at places intentionally designed to numb minds (the modern liberal University) that I have ever heard.

    Let me get this straight: You are saying the courses in question – the questionable courses – are there to insure that students could not have possibly been prepped in them before – and therefore the ones who excel there will be true geniuses who will then go on to do…really amazing things…somehow….

    How about this explanation:

    1. They are not that smart to begin with. They’ve been trained to pass versions of IQ tests that at most show that if they ever wanted to think, they might be capable of it.

    2. They don’t really know anything and are more or less conditioned not to know anything. In fact, knowledge is exactly what no one wants them to have and so taking the courses in question is a rock-solid way to assure that.

    3. In fact then, they are intentionally being dis-educated or mis-educated.

    That makes more sense based on the actual evidence we have. College grads are dumber by the year, no matter they went to Harvard or Local Community College U. They are also lazier. They also have a greater sense of entitlement. They have a higher opinion of themselves than anything they have ever merited since they have done absolutely nothing. And are nearly incapable of thinking anything for themselves or saying anything other than what they have been told to say.

    The Harvard kids say it with more expensive words is all.

    The reason for this is that they know nothing about real things. They have not been taught, on purpose, because Liberals have captured the Academy and the very last thing a Liberal wants – the very last thing – is that someone should know something.

    For the Liberal, knowledge is evil. It is like an infection. It precludes one from growing up. It precludes one from taking moral stands based on facts and principles. It precludes one from saying that they are fine and everything is fine and no changes need to be made at all. The Liberal is and wants everyone to be a child well into adulthood. Children are good; children are innocent. Society and grown ups messed everything up. Grown ups know things. Peter Pan is better. Knowledge is the enemy.

    THAT’S why there are courses of the sort mentioned at Bowdoin and everywhere else. They accomplish two goals simultaneously: 1) the appearance of education and intelligence 2) the destruction and corruption of education and intelligence.

    They have succeeded brilliantly.

  60. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Primitive Food Observationist Says:

    }}} Don Carlos: The story of McKinnon’s commencement speech is one of the most chilling things I’ve ever heard about academia. That she wasn’t tossed out on her ear is unbelievable.

    No, that’s one of the forces of PostModern Feminism…. pure, unadulterated misandry.

  61. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Primitive Food Observationist Says:

    Mike: Similar to my own take which is that PostModernism is a societal cancer. Its goal is to undermine and destroy the existence of, and the presence of, the entire basis for the Christian and Greek based underpinnings of our entire society.

    This is the difference between PostModern Liberalism and Classical Liberalism. The latter revels in the accomplishments of our forefathers, and seeks to further the expansion and depth of its understanding of the world around us. In a sense, it seeks to bring us closer to God (or insert preferred Source of Nature here. This is not a Christian-only notion) by assisting us in understanding everything made and why. We aren’t capable of reaching that pinnacle, but that does not mean we should not try to get as far along as we can, each individual among us.

    By claiming that all things are relative, that there are no absolute truths, by ignoring rhetorical and scientific methods (and even working to derogate both in the public eye), and, in general, keeping people in that brute, superstitious state that man is borne into, they hope to destroy The West.

    That they do so from inside it is what makes it, and them, a cancer.

  62. Mike Says:

    I’m late to this engagement so I’ll just be an observer. I would just like to say I appreciate the discussion of “facts” and “critical” discussion points by the anti-Paulites. And the shallow name calling responses by Drone Paul. The only regret I have is that I’m not sure the anti-Paulites outnumber the Drones in the country. Not that it matters for the fight to right the ship of state. And although I was thinking of Frankl’s discussion of how he was able to complete the forced marches from one concentration camp to another by just doing one step at a time, this quote seems more appropriate.

    “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
    ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

    Those engaging Paul in discussion, seem to understand this quote. I’m sorry, Paul does not and unfortunately I suspect never will.

  63. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    Simply put, because I know I’m no intellectual, Paul’s an Oxygen Thief.

  64. Ymarsakar Says:

    Come the Revolution, necessary purges will be made. Whether people like it or not.

  65. Dan Says:

    Bowdoin is a good bit more countercultural than the vast majority of colleges. Still, this is the best PR a college like that can get—the report excerpts read like a marketing brochure. Klingenstein just donated $100k of his money to make Bowdoin more enticing for the kinds of students they already attract.

  66. Steve Says:

    The report generators come from King’s College in NY. A “Christian” evangelical school that is about as old as my dog. They recently went through some nasty infighting that caused their president to be ousted. They have 400 or so students total, which is smaller than most NYC high school graduating classes.

    They evaluated Bowdoin according to the basis of the three majors offered at King’s. These majors are compatible with what one finds at a smaller private parochial school.

    The report is a joke. But it was the best thing Klingenstein could come up with without hiring a mob hit-man from NJ.

    The Klingenstein family achievements date back a century and more. This lesser Klingenstein is probably having trouble measuring up.

  67. Blackford Oakes Says:

    The shoddy quality of the NAS study should be as apparent to readers here as it is to educated conservatives such as Samuel Goldman, who eviscerates it in over at The American Conservative:
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/how-not-to-defend-the-liberal-arts/

    Goldman notes just how narrow the audience Klingenstein is aiming for:

    “Klingenstein’s letter reflects a more serious problem. It is addressed to “to all Bowdoin alumni, but in particular to those over the age of, say, fifty to fifty-five, a line that more or less demarcates old Bowdoin from new.” I cannot imagine an appeal more likely to alienate readers outside movement conservatism. By appealing explicitly to nostalgia for mostly white and (until 1971) all male “old Bowdoin”, Klingenstein places the report right in its critics’ crosshairs.”

    I’d say Klingenstein might even have missed by a decade or two, as much of what NAS “discovered” has been present on liberal art colleges since the early 70s (sex among co-ed adults! light drug use! adult material available to adults!). The pretense of shock at this very old news can only be maintained within a culturally isolated blogging community. The American Conservative isn’t buying, neither are libertarians (“College sex! Who knew?”), and the center-left finds the vanity project of a venture capitalist rich parody:
    http://gawker.com/5994430/conservative-scholars-investigation-says-bowdoin-college-is-awesome

    Neo-neocon, when did you attend college? For you are not 85 years old, and pining for a culture that vanished decades ago and can’t return speaks of social isolation and political irrelevance.

  68. Blackford Oakes Says:

    Samuel Goldman at the TAC post I link to above:

    “The problems begin to emerge in the opening pages, which include a foreword by Bill Bennett and prefatory letter by Thomas Klingenstein, a board member of NAS and the Claremont Institute whose encounter with Bowdoin president Barry Mills inspired the report. In different ways, each contribution signals that the report is a sermon for the faithful rather than an attempt at conversion.

    Bennett begins by asserting that “Plato… remarked that the two most important questions in society are ‘Who teaches the children?’ and ’What do they teach them?’” Unfortunately, Plato “remarks” no such thing, at least in any of the works known to me (I invite readers to correct me if I’m wrong). I suppose that the phrase could be a reasonable, if rather simplistic summary of Plato’s thought about education. But the actual source appears to be a Michelle Malkin column. The phrase also appears, without a specific citation, on a number of cut-and-paste quote sites. Misquotation happens all the time, of course. But it’s a bad start for a defense of traditional education–particularly one that claims that Bowdoin students aren’t learning enough about Greek philosophy.”

  69. neo-neocon Says:

    Blackford Oakes: no one’s pining for anything and expecting to return to it. But there’s no reason to accept the decline of almost all of our educational institutions.

    And no one here is the least bit shocked. No one who has looked at academia in recent decades (or has read Allan Bloom’s book, published in 1987) ought to be the least bit surprised, much less shocked.

    Nevertheless, it is interesting to see the uses the president of Bowdoin made of Klingenstein’s exchange with him (and the distortions the president made thereof, according to Klingenstein). And the report was not meant to be a scholarly dissertation on Plato, it was meant to be a study of the situation at Bowdoin (and unless those “remarks” were in quotes, those words were not meant to be actual quotes from Plato).

    I am sure there were some ways in which the report (like almost any report) could be criticized. Same for Klingenstein’s letter. Not important to the points being made here (and I think actually you’re aware of that). The point is the makeup of the Bowdoin faculty and the point of view of the school’s academic selections in general, and the fact that this is not unusual but typical, and that this has been true for decades (getting worse over time). And wanting to do something about it, in particular to alert people as a first step, has nothing to do with “pining” for some lost era which of course will not return. It has to do with improving what our educational institutions have become.

    The left—a group you yourself may or may not be part of—would like to see the right lose heart and say, Oh, all is lost, why bother to fight it? But although the hour is late and getting later, these things need to be fought.

  70. Blackford Oakes Says:

    Neo-neocon: If not pining and nostalgic, then why the consistent lament for the canon of “dead white males” (typified, in this instance by comments by Anony-Mouse: “And so, we nasty wicked conservative troglodyte morons should shut up and learn to denounce our Dead White European roots.”) If not pining and nostalgic for an older curriculum, then what should replace Bowdoin’s current curriculum? If you’ve no alternative, there is little basis for critique . . . so what’s the alternative? Might I suggest that the NAS report, biased at its inception, might not be the best place to analyze pedagogic flaws? As Goldman remarks in his piece for The American Conservative:

    “A small, but telling example of this failure is the report’s self-description as an “an ethnography of an academic culture, its worldview, customs, and values.” It’s actually nothing of the kind. The report is based on considerable research in public documents and some interviews with students. But it includes none of the direct observation or explicit reflection on the way that observation can influence outcomes that characterizes academic ethnography. There is no more effective way to tick off professors than to misuse a technical concept. That’s especially true when that concept is supposed to describe the study’s relationship to the faculty itself.”

    Indeed, would it surprise you or your readers to see what subjects are actually taught in the History Department at Bowdoin?
    http://www.bowdoin.edu/history/courses/fall-2012.shtml

    Or that Victor Davis Hanson is on the syllabus of “War and Society (History 140)”?
    http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/p/prael/pdf/140.pdf

    As to “no one being the least bit shocked,” I’d refer you to Chapter 5 of the misguided NAS study-for-hire: report:http://www.nas.org/images/documents/What_Does_Bowdoin_Teach.pdf

    These are among the many ways in which the manifold flaws of the report are relevant to the discussion at hand, which, if you were to actually read it and its hyperventilating tone (sex among coeds!), I’m sure you’d agree.

    Lastly, you talk of fighting this decades old problem, but you offer no suggestions or avenues for action. Bowdoin occupies a market niche, catering to liberal parents who wish for their children to receive a “liberal” education. Do you wish to tinker with that, to mandate a state (or federal, shudder) oversight above and beyond what already exists? Another layer of bureaucracy to be captured by the liberal nanny statists? Or do you advocate what has also existed for decades as a market option: conservative colleges with more traditional curriculums?

    I’m curious as to what sort of “fight” you have in mind.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>








Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge