October 8, 2019
Author: Chilton Williamson
Two more people, the fifth and fourth respectively, have been sentenced to prison for their part in the fraudulent college admissions conspiracy. A wealthy California vintner, who’d sought to have his daughter admitted to the University of Southern California as an accomplished water polo player, will be sent to prison for five months. Another California executive has been given four months for paying $400,000 to convince the Office of Admissions at Georgetown that his son would be a valuable addition to the university’s tennis team. The five convictions so far, beginning with Felicity Huffman’s last spring, make interesting news. Strangely, prominent politicians have so far been reluctant to make political hay out of these examples of corruption among members of the One Percent, the most hated aristocracy since the Bourbons in the late eighteenth century. Not even Elizabeth Warren, who inveighs relentlessly against corporate corruption, has had a word to say on the subject. We can all guess how terrible she must feel these days about having snagged a tenured professorship at Harvard in 1993 after reddening her face to persuade the admissions committee that she is an genu-wine American Injun and permitting the university for some years thereafter to claim her as its sole Native American professor. (She never officially removed the color, and added the war paint recently.) Harvard has never corrected the record. Nor has Dr. Warren served an hour behind bars. Corruption has not been punished here, nor justice and the spirit of equality served. Perhaps, if she does win the election next year, she might do time between election night and her inauguration day in some conveniently located jail. I suggest Baltimore.
Professor Warren may actually be making a socially valuable and much needed statement with her silence on the subject of corrupt college and university admissions practices. These, after all, are a relatively minor aspect of the corrupt academic culture as a whole. Most sentient Americans know that public education from nursery school through high school is effectively nonexistent. So far as it does exist, it is stupid, trivial, bigoted, and malevolent. Yet very few people seem aware that so-called higher education in the United States is a highly politicized academic racket, accepting tens or hundreds of thousand of dollars from students and their parents for a pseudo-education that is not worth five cents intellectually. For the administrators, campus bureaucrats, and faculty the chief value the system offers lies in its obscenely inflated salaries and retirement pensions for themselves. For the students, it has to do with the absurdly over-valued credentials that graduation from these institutions confers, the social status that attaches to them, and what these are worth on the job market. For their parents, the really important ends of the college educations they pay for are the confirmation of their own social status and that of their offspring, and the prospect of almost assured affluence for their darlings in adulthood. The cultivation of the intellect and the respect for learning for its own sake, let alone the acquisition of wisdom, are peripheral at best. (A recent newspaper article quoted a young female graduate of Yale as admitting that she never reads books, having said goodbye to all that after four intellectually painful years at one of the top colleges in the country.) Admissions officers, like parents, clearly value proficiency in sports over intellectual achievement (not to be conflated with high grades in academic subjects), as the strategies of conniving parents and the susceptibilities of Departments of Admissions demonstrate. The racket is total, and all involved get exactly what they deserve in the end, whether they are intelligent and perceptive enough to recognize the fact or not.
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At first sight no connection might appear to exist between the intellectual and moral ruin of higher education and the enormous success of a book, 198 pages long in a privately published paperback edition, titled Bronze Age Mindset and written by Bronze Age Pervert. Apparently it is a bestseller among males aged around the age of forty or less. I wasn’t aware of the thing before a friend, a graduate student in marketing at the University of Wyoming, gave me a copy (he’d read it through twice) and directed my attention to a long review by Michael Anton, a former senior national security official in the Trump administration, in The Claremont Review for August 14, 2019.
Everyone who has written about the book (and that is a good many people) agrees that it is among the oddest literary creations ever produced outside a madhouse—which may be relevant, since everybody also has noticed that Bronze Age Pervertis essentially a recapitulation of Nietzsche, who went mad himself. The book owes a considerable debt to Machiavelli as well, whose ideas, as George Bernard Shaw said of Wagner’s music, are often better than they sound. All things considered, most significant about Bronze Age Mindset is its appearance of offering an approach to liberal education to younger people that violently contradicts everything in the post-liberal, post-rational, self-defeating and self-destructive, sniveling, and effeminate curriculum devised by university pedagogues in the liberal arts today. Bronze Age implicitly proposes a revolution in Western thought and education, and by extension a revolution in society and politics as well. Its teachings are neither conservative nor leftist, atheistic nor Christian, but pointedly agnostic insofar as the author cares about religion at all, which is very little. It is therefore not a handbook for revolution, like Lenin’s What Is to Be Done, The Prince, or State and Anarchy. It is rather what Pervert himself says it is: an exhortation.
“In the Bronze Age,” Pervert writes, “men had life and force, and I already see, far on the horizon of our world, but the glimmer is surely there—may it not be a mirage!—I see this spirit returning surely in our time. Piratical bands and brotherhoods will take to the seas, and not just the seas. The enemies of Western man and the enemies of beauty are to learn just what was meant by a piratical race, a nest of pirates like the Chinese thought of the Dutch on first meeting them. I want to prepare you to receive this old spirit—old spirits are moving, from behind the reeds…the silhouette shimmers against a river in late summer, and I see already men who know how to honor such uncanny old friends. May they inhabit us again and give us strength to purify this world of refuse.”
The tone and rhythm of Nietzsche’s prose are plainly recognizable. Pervert’s condemnation of the Bug People who swarm over and degrade the world, and his exaltation of the master class to come that will rediscover the Force to save, rule, and direct it, while making use of mediocre middling humanity to execute its orders and develop its programs, are equally familiar. His prose is careless, scored by sentence fragments, grammatical errors, misspellings, and vulgarisms that, coming from a well-read author like himself, can only be intentional. I suspect they are meant as a satirical commentary on standards of literacy in modern education at every level, and on the educational establishment’s intellectual standards generally. In Pervert’s mind, higher education seems to be simply Buggism in pseudo-intellectual form, the distillation of the slave thought and soppy unmanly sentimentality of the Bug People into the popular opiate known as liberalism. Here, I think, is the key to Pervert’s authorial purpose. It is to propose and outline an academic curriculum alternative to the intellectual mess that has governed the schools for so long a time; another way of looking at the world. The new anti-Buggist curriculum will suggest a fresh, constructive, and redemptive agendum for our future rulers to develop and follow in their turn.
The success of Bronze Age Mindsetsignals that at least some younger people today are searching for an alternative to the dominant but stagnant and morally perverse intellectual system that has been smothering the Western world for several centuries. Bronze Age Pervert’s ideas are mainly derivative and many of them will be offensive to a great many people, chiefly liberals and Christians. But they possess a strong vitalist quality that is refreshing in our airless and stuffy world. Michael Anton read Mindset in an attempt to discover what the Alt-right is, and what its young adherents actually think. Whether Bronze Age Pervert really is the intellectual face of a movement whose existence seems largely confined to the world of social media, or not, his book can be understood as the basis for an Alternative Education.
But which educational system is properly called the alternative to which? The one implied by Pervert in his strange book? Or Yale’s, Harvard’s, and the University of Southern California’s? In many ways, the first is less disconnected from human and historical reality than the second.