Friday, 3 November 2017

Brexit is the latest in disruptive technology


Every now and then I fall foul of the academic blob on Twitter. There is a gulf of misunderstanding between academia and the real world. Academia has no idea what hit it, it doesn't understand Brexit and it doesn't want to. All they know is that they do not want their cash cow disturbed.

From what I can deduce remainer academia tends to be made up of Corbyn supporting Waitrose liberals for whom the status quo is entirely adequate. Of all the bubbles I have encountered on my Twitter travels there is no group that better conforms to its own stereotype. Especially amusing is the high regard in which they hold themselves, believing themselves to be a breed apart from the thicko plebs who voted for Brexit.

In this I find that whenever I cross swords with one of their number they will all descend on me at once making any kind of debate impossible. Pack behavior. There most certainly is a groupthink at work all nearly all of them assume Brexiters are nativist Farage devotees. Any discourse with them almost instantly reveals the snobbish superior bigotry of remainers. They view any criticism of academia as "anti-expert" and they cannot, even for a nanosecond, imagine life without sucking on the teat of Brussels.

There is, it would seem, an institutional psychological dependency on the EU despite it accounting for only a fraction of higher education funding. As far as they're concerned, Brexit is akin with becoming North Korea.

In academia we see a very well catered for class largely exempted from having to compete in the real world, believing itself to be working from a position of total clarity and scientific reason. Being that they are a scientific community this is a strongly reinforced self-regard.

Being that humans general behave according to a set of predictable group behaviours, the same dynamic of self-reinforcing narratives and self-delusion we find in all politics is evident - but because it relies on the state there is a prevailing cognitive left wing bias. Scientists are by no means separate from this herd behaviour which is why academia is institutionally anti-Brexit and the pressure to conform is ever present.

This attitude is wonderfully personified by AC Grayling who is so self-assured that Brexit is nothing other than a calamity that he isn't remotely aware of how utterly risible he is. This is a classic example of what happens when you demolish diversity of thought and this is why academia has become a blob, entirely divorced from reality. It is ultra conservative in its resistance to change and totally lacking self-awareness.

What is striking about academia is its overwhelming self-importance, self-regard and sense of entitlement. It believes that all other concerns take second place to their immediate needs. It is also marked by its complete and utter lack of EU scepticism. The critical thinking they believe themselves to be at the forefront of is absent in entirety.

If ever there was an institutional begging for renewal and reform it is British academia. The fact that it has failed to fend off the SJW thought police - and has set about sanitising discourse to avoid pricking the delicate sensibilities of the under-sexed beta specimens in generation snowflake, tells you that this is an institution in terminal decay.

I am of the view that this cannot be corrected without a radical shake up. This is why, to me, Brexit is such a healthy and positive thing. It disturbs most those who do not wish to be disturbed. And not before time. When you have a class of people so utterly set in their ways that they cannot so much as imagine society governed in a different way, or even entertain the idea they might be wrong, something is malfunctioning.

They are right that Brexit does pose a major threat to the functioning of high value research and we do have to ensure that there are systems to support it, but one cannot help feeling a pang of satisfaction watching these bigots throwing their toys out of the pram. The ones who declare their intention to up sticks and depart are those I will be most glad to see the back of. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

As it happens I think the influence of EU funding is not entirely benign. European academia is insular in its behaviour and that is not by accident. The aim of EU science programmes was to capture European institutions and to bring about a European demos. It aimed to ensure it had high society advocates should it ever need to fend off democracy. More than that, though, it creates a certain idleness born of convenience where it does not nurture resources. A little disruption may very well create a welcome change in behaviours.

Ultimately society cannot prosper if academia is an aloof cult of grant chasers. Being citadels of leftist orthodoxy there is no possibility for cross-pollination of ideas and without the injection of new DNA it will most likely be prone to deformities. If Brexit shakes this stagnant little pond out of its complacency then, on balance, it is no bad thing.

Brexit has already exposed a strand of elitist bigotry in academia and its wholly self-interested opposition to Brexit tells of a cosseted class that believes everything else exists to service them. This is a very rude awakening for them. And isn't it wonderful?

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