Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Broken windows and the war of ideas

More than 100 professors at the University of Chicago have signed a letter expressing their opposition to the establishment of the Milton Friedman Institute. This is no big deal right? Maybe not, but it is a skirmish in the war of ideas. The effort by the radical left to establish and defend the cultural hegemony of their worldview is neverending. If we dismiss these little, small-scale efforts to enforce conformity to the left's ideology as not really important, as trivial, as nothing to get excited about, then we put ourselves in the position of always reacting to their actions. Also perhaps we could adapt the "broken windows theory" to the war of ideas: Rudy Giuliani:"The idea of it is that you had to pay attention to small things, otherwise they would get out of control and become much worse." This means fighting the war of ideas at a lower level, one that many will be inclined to think is irrelevant. But this is necessary in order to keep anti-liberal ideas and movements from becoming bigger problems.

A sample of the anti-freedomista's rhetoric:

"It is a right-wing think tank being put in place," said Bruce Lincoln, a professor of the history of religions and one of the faculty members who met with the administration Tuesday. "The long-term consequences will be very severe. This will be a flagship entity and it will attract a lot of money and a lot of attention, and I think work at the university and the university's reputation will take a serious rightward turn to the detriment of all."

From the letter:

Many colleagues are distressed by the notoriety of the Chicago School of Economics, especially throughout much of the global south, where they have often to defend the University’s reputation in the face of its negative image. The effects of the neoliberal global order that has been put in place in recent decades, strongly buttressed by the Chicago School of Economics, have by no means been unequivocally positive. Many would argue that they have been negative for much of the world's population, leading to the weakening of a number of struggling local economies in the service of globalized capital, and many would question the substitution of monetization for democratization under the banner of “market democracy.”

2 comments:

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

If "we" dismiss these little, small-scale efforts to enforce conformity to the left's ideology as not really important, as trivial, as nothing to get excited about, then "we" put ourselves in the position of always reacting to their actions.

Thus the designation "reactionary."

"We" don't have many with the time and disposable emotional energy to get wound up about small stuff. Most of "us" are busy contributing to the economy and have no Hungarian billionaires subsidizing an endless quest for things about which to be aggrieved, so "we" don't get excited until "we" have to.

Purpleslog said...

"This means fighting the war of ideas at a lower level, one that many will be inclined to think is irrelevant."

This can be tiring.

I am constantly amazed by tired of leftists co-workers (I do not work for a political organization, but for profit-seeking corporations).

I started a new contract at a new place this week. Less then 3 hours into the job, the guy I was replacing (he was moving overseas) was on a series of anti-us, anti-bush truther and even pro-communism tirades.

The second day I saw that he had photos of stylized painting of Lenin and of himself smiling/standing next to a statue of Lenin. I was flabbergasted. Nobody else thought it was weird. I was stunned by the overtness.

I will be posting my week 1 experiences later this weekend.