How bad will it get? It can get pretty bad. It’s pretty bad now (see this thread about whiteness in physics). But will it get worse?
We recall that in the Chinese Cultural Revolution certain localities took to practicing cannibalism. Not because of lack of food, either. Well, so much is expected in demonic frenzies.
Will the woke undead zombie army become that hungry? Or will it instead find some comfortable bottom and content itself with feeding solely on souls? Will sanity return in some modified way? Will this be the end?
Maybe it be like the Communist Revolution in Russia, with distinct periods of madness, the bloodlust eventually sated, the madness fading, then the dissolution.
I shall remain agnostic on these questions. But let us suppose, perhaps not only for the sake of argument, that the wokeward trend accelerates in a vaguely Communist Revolution way. This assumes we escape, for the interim, WWIII—or worse.
These are assumptions we’re making for this post, so do play along.
Figuring what will happen everywhere is too big a question, so I want to peel off, for a thought experiment, one area only. Academia. What is an aspiring thinker to do when the woke demands you DIE? (DIE = Diversity, Inclusion, Equity.)
Many Russian academics when they were enslaved under communism turned to math. It was, then, a subject with no real political connotations. This was also true, to a lesser extent, in physics. But physicists, because they are closer to engineers, naturally had a harder time than mathematicians sticking to their subject.
Communism and the Cold War was, in a sense, responsible for the creation of a cadre excellent Russian mathematicians and good physicists. Out of evil good shall come.
We were reminded of this from an article at Karlstack, which brings us up to date on wokeness in Western math. It’s worth spending a little time on this before we come to our main subject.
Some will recall UC Davis mathematician Abigail Thompson wrote an op-ed in the WSJ and another in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, in late 2019, in which she came to the same realization our side did years before that. DIE oaths, she said, “amount to a political litmus test for hiring.”
She got some support from older academics who remembered “similar required statements in Soviet bloc countries, which they encountered earlier in their careers”. But, naturally, the woke reacted as Dracula viewing a crucifix.
Three letters were written in response to Thompson, with over 1,400 signatories. Being mathematicians, these letters took on names, A,B, and C, and even inspired one hilarious formal analysis on arxiv.org.
Letter A was woke, the signers wanting all to DIE. Letter B wan’t against DIE per se, but spoke of bullying and intimidation. Letter C was old school, the signers not wanting mandatory oaths. Some signed more than one letter.
Karl contacted signers of B, many of whom responded, including several Russians who waxed nostalgic, as above. One thing of interest in the analysis was this histogram of “PhD ages” (post degree age) of the signers, which was gleaned from published papers.
There’s no surprise: the younger the woker. Worse, the mostly tenured signers of C are on their way out, to be replaced by the undead coming up through the ranks.
Karl finally describes how those with the most corrupt souls have already compiled an enemies list of non-woke mathematicians. They’ve made the list public. Go and read his article on all this.
This bears on our assumption. Math is woke and going woker.
WHERE TO HIDE?
It’s not just math.
Physics, having been discovered by the feminists, has long been out as a refuge. Geology? Out. Engineering, out. One plaint after another about the dearth of women and other Victims. And again, this thread on whiteness.
Yes, hard-science fields are holding back the woke stronger than the Inhumanities, because there’s more money and those on the outside wanting Reality-based results. But these fields are still crumbling. And, we are supposing, will continue to crumble.
Let’s think about refuges in the softer sciences. Sociology? Please. The only surprise is that academics in that field aren’t requiring colleagues to wear “Down With White Supremacy!” pins to work. Psychology? Not a chance. Medicine? Are you prepared to say women have penises? Education? It was never a field to begin with. What it is now is unspeakable. Sports? NYC Mayor Eric Adams says put women in baseball.
There will be no positions for Team Reality professors in any of the Inhumanities. Go into your favorite Architecture department, stand in the hall and say, “Let’s stop making ugly, frail buildings.” Try the same in Literature, but say “Sodomy is disgusting and cannot be countenanced in a civilized society.” Make sure you have your life insurance papers signed first.
No. There is nothing. The academy, save for the handful of isolated outposts, will be lost in the near future we are supposing.
There’s really only two choices for those wanting to contribute their intellectual efforts: (1) Go foreign; (2) Become independent.
There are posts to be had in non-Western universities. The advantages are obvious, as are the practical disadvantages. One you might not have thought of is that these places often envy Western schools, and attempt to emulate them. Wokeness is much worse in the States, less so in Europe, and it does crop up in Asia. Yet many places on distant shores may stay unwoke. Still, this solution amounts to exile.
The best advantage to being on your own is that you can work on what you want. This is also a disadvantage if you never receive criticism to keep you sharp. The pay and security are not to be envied, but perhaps this separation will generate fresh ideas, much needed in fields in which development has slowed—or stopped.
Really, all academia needs an overhaul, from “peer review”, to publish or perish, to too many Experts, far too many students, too much money. This can happen from the inside. Some colleagues and I area working toward this, the details of which I’ll announce soon.
And then maybe our assumption is wrong, and the woke burns itself out in a few years. Funny things happen.
On the other hand, our assumption can be too optimistic. What then? I have some ideas on that later.
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.