Friday, June 29, 2007

The Group in Action

The clip below is from a lecture by Group of 88 member Michael Hardt. Much like fellow Group of 88’er and now Trinity dean of the social sciences Sally Deutsch—the professor who responded to Mike Nifong’s preprimary publicity barrage by deviating from her syllabus to devote class time to endorsing how Nifong contextualized the case—Hardt is considered a respectable scholar.

Consider, then, the general approach that Hardt offers in his remarks—from the suggestion that Western democracy and Leninist dictatorship equally oppress the people; to the casual droppings of names such as Foucault, Derrida, and other favorites of the academic far left.

186 comments:

Anonymous said...

After watching this, I'm left with the idea that the question he asked himself before coming up with this nonsense was "let's see, what can I say to get laid?"

Anonymous said...

KC: Oh my. A mind is a terrible thing to warp.

Maybe I just got spoiled under Kelly Devries, but your job is to educate, not indoctrinate.

Thank you for bringing the leftist college teaching fringe to the light of day for the normal person to see. I know it takes courage for you to do so.

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

LaRrY said...

What the heck was it talkin about. rofl

Anonymous said...

What affected crapola. But then I only watched for a minute.

Anonymous said...

A "reputable scholar?" just who is it that considers this jerk a reputable anuything? Like most of the elite intelligentsia, this clown tosses words around without any attempt to form a cogent, comprehensible thought. He runs out of ideas before he runs out of words.....

Anonymous said...

As Brandeis (the Justice, not the university) said, sunlight is the best disinfectant. As with the not-quite-departed Nifong, the best thing to do with these clowns is to let them speak for themselves, and make sure everyone has a chance to hear what they have to say.

Anonymous said...

To learn more about Michael Hardt, check out his co-author on the book "Empire"---Antonio Negri. A controversial figure at least, and possibly a terrorist who was involved with the Red Brigades and the murder of Italian leader Aldo Mori.

Anonymous said...

He just yammered on and on and on, and I never *could* figure out what he was talking about.

Anonymous said...

Please keep up showing this stuff. Duke parents need to know where their children are! (Not ot mention their $$$$$$$)

Anonymous said...

What a load of CRAP. No wonder the USA is in trouble

mac said...

52-54 seconds into it - look at
the hand gesture!

This is an example of a gesture
that defines the word: the
word in question appears to have
arrived from the word
pussilanimous - (but is not really
the word-origin) - but amazingly
has the same meaning. Synonymous
with sissy.

Anonymous said...

3:14 - your post has to be one of the funniest I have read. It also must the only practical distillation of Hardt's imcomprehensible and turgid speech.

Steven Horwitz said...

As 3:35 notes, Hardt is actually quite well-known and respected (for whatever it's worth) for his work with Negri. *Empire* was published by Harvard U Press and was lauded by many as "the" political manifesto for the 21st century left. Unfortunately, along came 9/11 and made mincemeat of some of it.

I can tell you that as a professional academic, that book was the hardest-to-read book I've ever tackled. And that's not a compliment. It reads much like Hardt sounds - elliptical, name-dropping, inventing words to obfuscate simpler ideas. I like to think I'm fairly capable of handling the jargon of post-modernism and Marxism. These guys are the worst I've ever come across.

The book is also so wrong and ignorant on so many levels. It would take a short book to document all the economic errors and fallacies in a book that talks a lot about economic topics.

One point though, perhaps relevant to the lacrosse case: my biggest complaint about the book is there is almost NO empirical data presented to back up large and vague claims about economic issues. It's as if "everyone knows" that the US economy is so awful in so many ways, so why should we bother actually checking the facts?

Sounds way too familiar.

Anonymous said...
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mb said...

My word, he gets paid to do that? The term "mental masturbation" has been mostly an abstraction for me until now. How in the world can people consider people like Hardt respectable scholars? Let me guess: Other 'scholars' of Hardt's ilk laud his great 'intellect,' right?

The inmates truly are in charge of the asylum.

Steven Horwitz said...

Yeah, interesting list of publications, assuming it's complete. All books, no peer-reviewed journal articles. The books are published by well-respected, mostly university, presses. Of course, the book publishing process, even at the good presses, is much less rigorous than peer-reviewed articles (even in the social sciences and humanities).

Anonymous said...

Whoa, this is what passes as a "scholar" at Duke!? Seriously?! What idiots would pay $40K/year for this.

Anonymous said...

I've been quiet until now.

KC, While self and an army of followers owe you a great debt for your intensive reporting, it seems a shift of focus. I recall forever ago you said you were stirred here by the smell, not of prosecutorial, but of academic misconduct. It didn't take long to see why. That said, I hope you are pleased to get back on track. I suspect there is a wealth of material. People in many walks of life bring attitudes and attributes of their day jobs into their outside time. Coneceivably, e. g., a Contemporary American History professor could blog the Progressive Movement into the Duke Lacrosse case -- What? -- so what academic people say in their academic context is relevant to what they say outside their academic context and v/v.

Wife and I courted in early 1970's. She was a soph at CSULB. I had enough chances to sit in on her classes to be completely repelled. Now I'm even more grateful to be absent the handicap of a college education myself.

-- No, not that Glenn

Richard B. Spencer said...

If this confused, rather sad man is the intellectual leader of the coming global revolution against capitalism, than as a bourgeois reactionary, I feel very, very safe.

Hardt tossed around "Lenin" and "dictatorship" with the élan of someone who recognizes that there are no consequences. He can dream of "constructing a new people" with the assurance that, whatever happens, he won't lose tenure at Duke and travel grants to the European Graduate School.

madder than a hornet said...

Now we have the Snooze Room at the Hurled Scum explained~ Michael's lectures must have been piped in 24/7 and therefore causing a reduction of brain cells to be used because they listen to this mind-numbing nonsense!

There are some great professors at Duke, Hardt would not make that list in a million years.

Stay tuned, Bhead will appoint him to an important committee shortly!

Anonymous said...

Is Linwood Wilson one of the 88?

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting turn for this blog. While critiques of the so-called group of 88 have been posted in the past, with varying degrees of relevance and insightfulness, they have always purported some link to the case at hand. With this post, any trappings of that linkage have been jettisoned in favor of a soundbite attack. This is rather odd, to say the least.

To offer a bit of contextualization, and perhaps to rebut the characterization given in the post, Michael Hardt is a reputable scholar. His work has certainly been disputed and often argued about, but _Empire_ (written along with Antonio Negri) is undoubtedly an important work in the study of culture and politics under late capitalism. Many people disagree with the book and some genuinely dislike it (both perfectly reasonable positions, it should be pointed out), but most would also point to its publication as indicative of a certain turn in critical theory in the pre-9/11 moment.

Prof. Hardt's other publications have received similar acclaim, and he has been sought after as a contributor for a number of different collections. In addition, he is considered a preeminent thinker about the radical possibilities in the writing of Thomas Jefferson, and will publish a critical edition of the Declaration of Independence in the fall. Michael Hardt has been a productive scholar whose work has been both provocative and well received.

Which brings us to the clip posted on this blog. I don't know what the context is for this clip, whether Prof. Hardt was asked to speak extemporaneously, whether or not he was responding to a question, or (and this is important) who his audience was. Without this, the only frame for the context is this blog, which I think that most will agree is entirely insufficient for understanding his remarks. (Comments posted above have indicated this failure to understand.) While his diction is specialized, his sentence structure complex, and his style clearly within the academic vein, it does not seem to me to either incomprehensible nor unnecessarily complicated. Further, I would argue that he is not "name-dropping," but rather that he is actually engaging with the scholars that he cites, and while he is invoking some of the most common (and commonly critiqued) theorists, he does so in a way that is generative.

So why is this clip posted on this blog? Clearly it has nothing to say about the false accusation of the three Duke lacrosse players. Nor does it speak to any particular political persuasion of the speaker (Prof. Hardt is discussing political concepts, but not politics as commonly conceived.) It does prove that professors of literature at Duke do speak in a specialized and technical language, but I doubt we would have it any other way: specialized, disciplinary language is the hallmark of academic discussion, and just as chemists need scientific terms when they discuss concepts within their field and law students learn the technical language of law from their professors, so do professors teaching critical theory need recourse to technical vocabulary when talking to one another. (I don't expect to understand the discussion in a chemistry department internal lecture series, for instance, nor do I begrudge them that.)

This obviously would change if this were a graduation speech (it clearly isn't), or a public address of some sort (when one would expect an adjustment of speaking styles), but it doesn't seem to be. Instead, it comes off as an academic lecture. Maybe not a reviting one, or one that is to the taste of this blog's audience, but not one that is offensive or stylistically "bad" either.

In short, I don't understand why Prof. Johnson has posted this clip, and with the little contextualization that he's offered, I see it as an unwarranted and poorly-conceived attack. From another source this might be acceptable, but as an academic Prof. Johnson should understand the important of contextualization and the necessity of specialized language. Thus, this is a disappointing and even dishonest post on what has often been an insightful blog.

Anonymous said...

He said he irritated a lot of people by inventing new terms. Ok,imagine that! My mind is blown, sorry, just, he's not in the real world, how many of us (non-academics) could keep a job talking like that?

Now Dr. Johnson, please post one of yours so we have something to compare it to (and so we aren't left with this impression of a History Prof running thru our heads).

Anonymous said...

Johnson,

We need more of this. This is what your next book should be about--overpais academic bedwetters.

This guy is secretly craving an atomic wedgie.

Kurt W said...

Since I started reading about the Duke (non)rape case, I've found this site to be the best source of info.

However, I'm not sure what this post was supposed to show us. Yes, left-leaning humanities professors can have some very impractical ideas that involve big words and authors whose names we recognize but don't know. The same can be said for those in the sciences.

This is part of scholarship. Based on this short clip, I suspect his motivation for studying this was, "None of the current or past forms of government satisfy me. What other forms could there be?" (Maybe not; I'm not familiar with his research.) That's a strange but reasonable question that is worth studying. It's a complex subject that he was not trying to address in 6 minutes.

And I disagree that he was equating both Lenist dictatorships and capitalist democracy. He was simply saying that they are two extremes (though not necessarily equivalent), and he is interested in something else.

TaterCon said...

What a breathtaking display of vapid nonsense. Duke parents pay $40K+ per year to expose their sons and daughters to this kind of happy horseshit? I could only hope he was going to break out into song ("All You Need is Love"-- Lennon/McCartney), which would have at least brought it to a different level of entertainment. I've got some passing familiarity with the Beatles, but nothing of what this elite individual had to say.

I've got to admit, KC, the video on this post has caused me to utterly waste 5:54 minutes of my life ....

No justice, no peace said...

This then describes the Academy, the Gang of 88, and those that abet them (Brodhead/cowardly administrators).

“…intellectuals are no wiser as mentors, or worthier exemplars than the witch doctors ...of old…A dozen people picked at random on the street are at least as likely to offer sensible views on oral and political matters as a cross-section of the intelligentsia…

One of the principal lessons of our tragic century, which has seen so many millions of innocent lives sacrificed in schemes to improve the lot of humanity, is –beware intellectuals. Not merely should they be kept well away from the levers of power, they should also be objects unparticular suspicion when they seek to offer collective advice. Beware committees, conferences and leagues of intellectuals. Distrust public statements issued from their serried rank. Discount their verdict on political leaders and important events. For intellectuals, far from being highly individualistic and non-conformist people, follow certain regular patterns of behavior. Taken as a group, they are often ultra-conformist within the circle formed by those whose approval they seek and value. That is what makes them, en masse, so dangerous, for it enables them to create climates of opinion and prevailing orthodoxies, which themselves often generate irrational and destructive curse of action. About all, we must at all times remember what intellectual habitually forget; that people matter more than concepts and must come first. The worst of all despotisms is the heartless tyranny of ideas.” – Intellectuals, Paul Johnson

Anonymous said...

4:44 - in other words, let's not criticize an obtuse, often elliptical, and virtually imcomprehensible diatribe because of the oh so important nuancy requirement to filter the statements through the appropriate contextual lens.

True, as you point out, lawyers (by way of example) use specialized language, but the best of them make their points clearly and point to facts (repeatedly) to make their points. Those that don't succeed, irrespective of their political leanings. The same can be said of numerous other professions.

I read Scientific American often - although I am not a scientist by training. And it is rare to find an article in that publication that is not concise, readable and to the point. And they often publish as to topics upon which there is scarcely universal agreement. Is the same standard too much to ask of a university professor at a top 10 university? (And I attended Duke, and found professors in my era to be generally to be persuasive and concise in their communications, without any special need to process contextualization).

Look outside of your own isolated environment, and try to imagine how intelligent people (yes, there are very intelligent people outside of academia - some brighter than those within it) might react to Hardt's abstract musings that are probative of nothing.

Lloyd said...

Well I give him major props for excellent job of lip-synching to the sounds coming out of his @$$.

no justice, no peace said...

4:44 No link?

That is to suggest that the pedophile who watches porn is not influenced by the media.

If that's not the case then why the uproar over the fairness doctrine?

The Gang of 88, the leftist, the pot bangers, are all complicit...

Anonymous said...
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rod allison, detroit said...

He didn't show a lot of love when he thanked the hate-filled mob with the "castrate" banner.

How could this be? He likes to embrace differences or "multiply differences." The three falsely accused are about as different from him as you could get (and thank god for that.)

kurt w said...

4:59:

Scientific American does a great job of expressing complicated science and engineering to the general educated public. Good lawyers will take a complicated case and present it so that every juror can understand it. Was Hardt talking to the general public? Probably not. I would guess that he was giving a lecture to students, most likely in an advanced class or after students already learned some basic info about the terms, models, etc. that he relies on.

Next time you read a good Sci. Amer. article, track down the original publication in Journal of the American Chemical Society or some other scientific publication. It will be full of words, citations and concepts that you don't understand. I don't mean to be insulting. Hardt was just talking to people who understood what he was saying. He wasn't talking to this blog's audience, so excuse him if he talks over your head.

Anonymous said...

4:21
Do you think Duke is the only university that hires nincompoops like this one? They are everywhere, and from my viewpoint, heavily populate the Ivy League schools.

Steven Horwitz said...

Kurt W at 5:07 is correct. If Hardt was talking to specialists or an upper level class, then he's doing his job. And reading the underlying peer-reviewed science is a lot harder than Scientific American's version.

That said, *Empire* was intended to be for other intellectuals but not necessarily specialists. The problem is that for a book that wants to be a real manifesto, it is not written in a way that can be easily understood unless you are inside the rarified world of post-modern Marxism.

I'm not convinced that Hardt and others like him are easily able to translate high critical theory into language that even other people with PhDs in related disciplines can understand. It's at *that* point that I begin to wonder how much "there" is there.

Reading *Empire* does not make me optimistic that Hardt knows much of anything beyond literary theory.

TaterCon said...

Hardt was just talking to people who understood what he was saying. He wasn't talking to this blog's audience, so excuse him if he talks over your head. -- by Kurt W

Said another way, are you telling us there are more clothes on this emperor than we of the common stripe are able to see?

Anonymous said...

4:59--

You may have missed my point: I apologize. I am certainly not saying that there aren't intelligent people outside of academia (quite the contrary, I should say), nor that academics don't need to make themselves understood to the general public (your example of reading _Scientific American_ works well here). But this is a talk delivered at a graduate school, presumably for other specialists (though this information was not provided by the blog, but something I searched for on my own). Thus, other specialists should be expected to understand -- and, yes, _critique_ -- the talk, though it might not be easily parsable for those outside the field.

I don't consider myself a particularly dull-witted individual, and I even have a decent undergraduate background in science, but I don't expect to be able to sit in a graduate-level chemistry (or physics, or what have you) class and follow much of what is going on. By the same token, I don't expect to understand the discussion that a judge has with lawyers in his chambers (though I do expect to follow closing arguments and the like -- for these the audience is different).

You indicate that this talk would have been hard to follow in an undergraduate course, and were it the first of the semester, and with no secondary readings, that might be the case. For certain classes, it might be hard to follow all semester, and that's not surprising: again, it seems to be for a graduate-level audience.

I am not arguing that Prof. Hardt can't be critiqued for the style or substance of his remarks, or that only others in his field can do so. What I am saying is that posting this video with no context on the part of Prof. Johnson represents an unfair attack on Prof. Hardt, and casts the talk in a light that presupposes negativity. This is not only unfair, but stoops below the high level to which much of Prof. Johnson's work has reached for the life of the blog.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

4 44
Hoist by your own petard.

Anonymous said...

Kurt W:
Excuse me. Over our heads?? The mind boggles at people who are so full of themselves they actually believe this gibberish. I went to a fundamentalist church once and they started talking in tongues. Exactly what you people do.

Anonymous said...

I'm sympathetic with the views expressed by 4:44 and kurt w. It's one thing for the commenter who said he/she had actually read Hardt's book to criticize his views; it's another thing for people to try to judge Hart's work on the basis of a 5:54 out-of-context clip.

I'm no expert on Hardt or on his subject matter, but some of his remarks here are vaguely reminiscent of lectures I heard by Roberto Unger at Harvard Law School in the 70's (he is still teaching there today)--he's leftist, and also extremely brilliant (it's actually possible to be both, and it's possible to find people brilliant without agreeing with everything they say). I'd be inclined to withhold judgment on Hardt's overall scholarship if I'm not willing to actually read his work.

Anonymous said...

I lived in East Berlin in the "good old days".

I doubt any of these clowns had that experience. At Alexanderplatz and Checkpoint Charlie there were guards to guard the guards.

These Marxist academics are foolish.

I suggest they all read Dr Zhivago or, if that is too difficult, watch the movie.

Anonymous said...

4:44 ". . . as an academic Prof. Johnson should understand the important of contextualization and the necessity of specialized language."

Right on 4:44.

Contextualization and the necessity of specialized language is the perfect argument for promoting the study of Ebonics in grades K-12 and beyond.

I feel confident that there are many within the Duke 88 group who would be well qualified to chair a "Department of Ebonics" were the position available to them.

kevin said...

I wonder if Professor Hardt smoked several bowls before coming up with this perfervid blather. Perhaps a reasonable inference to be drawn from this fine example of scholarship is that it was prepared for a seminar entitled Mental Masturbation 101.

Anon 4:40 - Professor Hardt's a member of the Group of 88; ergo, the clip's relevant, at least to me. To contextualize it, if you can't stand the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen, or something like that.

KC, keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

Social scientists typically don't get the "science" part. They don't understand or use scientific methods. This is especially true the farther you get from fact-based disciplines (such as economics).

Their credibility among their peers and subordinates is based on obfuscation ('baffling them with bullshit', as the saying goes).

Lawyers, for example, can't afford to obfuscate and invent words on the fly.

Anonymous said...

Book of Daniel, Chapter 13, King James Bible

...for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth: And according to the law of Moses they did unto them in such sort as they maliciously intended to do to their neighbour: and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved that day.


Nifong exposed 3 innocent men to considerable risk of prison rape.

Let this case be a lesson to all prosecutors who seek convictions over justice.

Anonymous said...

To 4:40 P.M.
Are you another apologist for the
elite ( common sense challenged ) academia? I am sorry that you can't fathom Professor Johnson's reason for posting the video. Prof. Hardt is just another example of the decline of the American educational system.

Anonymous said...

Is that Polanski at 5:06?

Funny as hell.

Steven Horwitz said...

544 says Prof. Hardt is just another example of the decline of the American educational system.

Which is a generalization you make based on 5 minutes of a context-less lecture? Can't you see how you are engaging in the same sort of rush to judgment you condemn in other contexts?

I think Hardt is wrong about a lot of things, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's either evil or stupid. You know smart, well-intentioned people can just be wrong. How exactly is it you come to judge both individuals and whole educational system on the basis of one 5 minute lecture?

Bob H. said...
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Bob H. said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anonymous said...

I understood 5:06 PM's statement. I think all in all it would be a good experience for Mike. It would be empirical. It would be something concrete. Speaking metaphoricaly, it would be something he could get his teeth into. Speaking metaphoricaly, yes, and it would help him to get his hands round it and to build muscle and body mass. He appears not to have done a day of physical labor in his life. Actually, I thought he was going to become a Christian right before my eyes, and I thought good for you, and then I remembered the manifesto.

Art Deco said...

I have to say that I did not find his remarks particularly esoteric. He begins with a discussion of the possibilities of political life and ends up with a discussion of what is meant by love. The two halves of the discussion do not cohere and the second half is rather formless and ill-articulated. It is also rather dubious that he (or anyone else) can come to an understanding of the possibilities of political life absent a serious and empirically-grounded sociological inquiry (toward which end cogitating on the subject of psychoanalytic concepts is, one might wager, an inefficient instrument).

Your 42k @ work.

Anonymous said...

Curious as to the context of this clip, I went to www.egs.edu. There is much information there but this is the opening paragragh:

The European Graduate School EGS Media and Communications program, facilitating creative breakthroughs and theoretical paradigm shifts, brings together master's and doctoral students with the visionaries and philosophers of the media world who inspire learning about art, philosophy, communications, film, literature, internet, web and cyberspace studies from a cross-disciplinary perspective.


I actually read all of your comments before listening to the clip and fully expected it to sound like Karla Holloway's prose. Not even close, IMO. He sounds more like a philosophy professor than literature but he is hardly using strings of big words. I just think he talks in circles.

Anonymous said...

Dear 444 & Kurt,

The difference is that scientist don't make up new meanings for words. Therefore, if you knew the definitions then you would be able to understand the technical publications, unlike this guy.

Anonymous said...

I think the first comment - 3 14 - hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to KC Johnson, I find I must side with those who are taking issue with this clip being posted on this blog.

I do not see how it serves any purpose, except as an opportunity for some people to make puerile remarks.

Really, most of these comments, and the post that spawned them, are beneath us.

Anonymous said...
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KC Johnson said...

A quick comment on the issue of academics and target audiences:

It's always seemed to me that clarity is an important part of a professor's job. When I speak at academic conferences, I like to think that I'm as clear as I am when I lecture to an undergraduate class. The topic might very well be more specialized, of course.

Anonymous said...

I lost the audio at 2:37 -- just as well this guy is totally wacked.

Anonymous said...

Aren't philosophers supposed to LOVE the truth?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

From 4.44

"Prof. Hardt's other publications have received similar acclaim, and he has been sought after as a contributor for a number of different collections. In addition, he is considered a preeminent thinker ... Michael Hardt has been a productive scholar whose work has been both provocative and well received"

And Mike Nifong's approach to prosecution of three innocents for a non-crime was also "acclaimed", and was lauded without supporting information by G88 and a big herd of the media.

Just because someone has a cheering section is not a reason to promote him to 'distinguished intellectual' status. If he can't make sense to you, quite possibly he doesn't communicate well, or is concealing something.

Anonymous said...

I think he's great. He probably knows what the meaning of "is" is.

Anonymous said...

Yes, now we know where Clinton got his cabinet officials and legal advisers.

Anonymous said...

~~~ POST OF THE DAY ~~~

My word, he gets paid to do that? The term "mental masturbation" has been mostly an abstraction for me until now.

-- mb at 4:14

~~~ POST OF THE DAY ~~~

Anonymous said...

Philosophers may "love the truth" but in my experience, they like to argue/ debate, often topics that are essentially meaningless to all but the small circle of fellow debaters. It's what my mother used to call arguing "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin". That's precisely the way he sounds to me.

Herbert Marcuse said...

How much "contextualization" does one need to diagnose something as arrant piffle?

(I would assert that the clip is relevant...Hardt is a G88'er, and this blog began as a response to the G88's contemptible "We're Listening" ad. Hardt's peroration is illuminative as to the nature of the beast, you might say.)

Anonymous said...

@ 4:44 p.m.

Hardt could not be speaking extemporaneously with sheaves of notes in front of him.

Try again.

Duke1965 said...

I think it's pointless and misleading to generalize about the academic capabilities of the G88..... some may well be "out there", but some, like William Chafe and Paul F. Berliner, are highly respected in their fields.... Chafe as a historian and Berliner as a musicologist..... the real relevance to the Duke case is when the G88 made the mistake of trying to intersect with the "real world" by commenting on a pending criminal case, instead of letting the legal process proceed..... we should make a distinction between their academic accomplishments and their ill-conceived attempt to push their political/social agenda during a pending criminal matter.

mac said...

Hardt reminds me of Thomas Hulce's
character in Animal House, ("Pinto")
especially when he's getting stoned
and theorizes about the possible
universe in his fingernail.

Same gesticulations.

This "peace and love" dude is the
same one who thought the young
men were being fairly prosecuted?
I may have missed something, but
I think his apology is still forthcoming,
much like the scholarly articles
that many of the 88 have apparently
failed to produce.
He may have produced scholarly
articles, but he's failed to
produce a meaningful apology.
That's why his image appear here,
I'd guess: contrast therapy..

Along those lines...
"He said 'true love.'"
"No! He said: 'To Blathe,' which
as we all know means 'to bluff.'"
(Miracle Max)

Anonymous said...

Kurt W: "He wasn't talking to this blog's audience, so excuse him if he talks over your head."

Very funny indeed. Still, I believe I quote Mr. Hardt in saying "We need to rather construct a love that preserves differences, works with difference, and even multiples difference."

So, please construct a love for my profound difference with you, Kurt W., because I find this lecture to be almost intolerable, smug, meandering nonsense that no contextualizing could possibly save.

Anonymous said...

If that is how 'intellegent people' talk, I'm glad I'm a dumb@ss. For some reason I think these quacks actually do use the DADA ENGINE!!!!

http://dev.null.org/dadaengine/

That vid is a perfect example of how our universities have been hijacked by marxists under the guise of post-modernism.

This guy is a wannabe lierary critic...

What ever happened to good old fashion existentialism??

Anonymous said...

Wannabe Literary Critic...but Lierary works just as well!

No justice, no peace said...

5:25 One can smell a dead fish, see that it's bloated, know that it's washed-up on the beach, and yet not understand that it's a dead rotten fish without being have special knowledge - nonsense, pure and simple.

As far as the made-up language goes, that is absolute cocky. Technical terms vs. poor language useage and self-puffery are fraudulent excuses for the inability to communicate. The duty of the message is with the sender.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm sitting alone in my study just cracking up. Hardt is hilarious. Boy I would pay to listen to him. NOT.

I remember reading all the excitement on Empire. I just wonder how many of those giving it such praise even understood what he was talking about.

He's anti-US. You know, just wants a Nervana with no central state. Then all the balogna about the expansion of the world markets with no imperial govenment like the US to mess things up.

So the masses that he is trying to appeal to, you know the ones that bemoan the fact that US govenment does not protect the textile industry, and the beef industry, and lumber and the list goes on --are they wanting him to lead them into this world? How about all those who want a "working" wage." With this new "empire" who is going to give every one a working wage. He uses a lot of "big" words, but does not seem to have "big" solutions.

I heard you can download the entire book free. I would not waste a ream of paper and ink.

mac said...

Didn't hear the rest, so...
I'd like to see his interpretation
of "love" without the BS.

Is it like the Apostle Paul's?
He seems to be touching on that,
except when he talks about "government," and blathers
on about "multiplicities" etc.

A government, based on love?
I thought that was France!

Farhat said...

It seems humanities have turned into a circle jerk.

Christy said...

This is Durham in Wonderland. Can we not talk about a Mad Hatter when he is in Europe talking to media folks in a cross-discipline environment?

The Lacrosse case taught us first that anyone can be railroaded and, second, that a controlling part of the academic world finds due process and the free speech of anyone else an anathema. In addition we learned that these opinion shapers of the academic world are particularly inarticulate. For we did indeed read the messages of the 88 and found them wanting. One must question the ability of any who signed on to those statements.

Defenders of Hardt, you must understand this, the high regard of academics is not an endorsement we respect. One of the 88 was just elected to a leadership position at Duke. We can only hold those who supported her in contempt.

Now that the players are safe, we are free to turn our attention to the mob.

Anonymous said...

With the ascendancy of enlightened educators such as Professor Hardt, one might ask, what has been lost?

Suggested reading/activities that might be helpful include:

The film, Gettysburg, DVD side A, scene 8, and DVD side B, scene 17.

The book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence", by Robert M. Pirsig. The conflict of Socratic/Platonic "Truth" vs. Arete, Excellence, or Quality. Pages 324-345 of the Bantam paperback edition.

The Foreword of "Lee", the Harwell abridgement of Douglas Southall Freeman's Biography.

Pirsig quotes Thoreau: "You never gain something but that you lose something".

So, what has been lost? If you have followed the Lacrosse case, you know. If you read and watch the works suggested above, you may gain additional insight. But to quote James McPherson in his Foreword to "Lee":

Freeman portrayed a Lee almost without blemishes or warts. In the index of the original four-volume biography is the entry "Personal Characteristics," which include: abstemiousness, alertness, amiability, boldness, calmness, charm of manner, cheerfulness, courage, courtesy, dignity, diligence, fairness, faith in God, friendliness, generosity, goodness, good judgement, good looks, grace, heroic character, humility, intelligence, justice, kindness, mercy, modesty, patience, poise, politeness, resourcefulness, sincerity, tact, thoughtfulness, wisdom.

I don't believe there is a whole lot more to say. Thanks to Mike Pressler, David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann for keeping the faith.

Steven Horwitz said...

It saddens me to see the injustices of this case used as an excuse to bash the professoriate indiscriminately. Like any other profession, academia has its share of crazy, incompetent and otherwise unpleasant folks. However, most of us are actually none of the above. It's easy to go around bashing when folks like the G88 behave like fools and then refuse to admit their mistake. That hardly means all academics are crazy, or that their behavior is some sort of statement about higher ed in general.

It strikes me as related to the ways in which people constantly bash lawyers, including Nifong, but then conveniently forget that it was lawyers who saved the day here. Just like it was an academic (KC) who exposed the story.

Drawing conclusions about academics based on this case is no more valid than drawing generalizable conclusions about lawyers based on Nifong or Bannon or Cheshire. Every profession has its good folks and bad folks.

People's time is far better spent focusing on the policies and structures of the legal system that allowed this charade to go on, rather than trying to make a federal case out of the folks who toasted marshmallows (even given their gleefulness) over the fire that a screwed up legal system started.

It's not just about Nifong, nor is just about 88 foolish faculty. It's about a screwed up system.

mac said...

Steven Horwitz 8:51

Must be lots of 88'ers who've
grown up without daddies.

Anonymous said...

We need a new McCarthy to come along and clean these people out. Our civilization's survival is at stake. This has gone on too long and sunk too deep into our structures and institutions to tolerate any longer.

rrhamilton said...

kurt w said at 5:07 PM...
Was Hardt talking to the general public? Probably not. I would guess that he was giving a lecture to students, most likely in an advanced class or after students already learned some basic info about the terms, models, etc. that he relies on....

I don't mean to be insulting. Hardt was just talking to people who understood what he was saying. He wasn't talking to this blog's audience, so excuse him if he talks over your head.


I'm just trying to imagine a law professor giving such a lecture -- to ANYONE. I mean, lawyers have much to say on the subject of government -- and generally speak more often on the subject and with greater knowledge of the subject than history professors. I'm just trying to imagine a lawyer speaking such nonsense as Hardt did. I think a lawyer's tongue would rebel at the attempt. It would sooner curl back and force itself down the throat to suffocate and kill any lawyer who even TRIED to talk such ... utter inanity. Perhaps I'm wrong. Can anyone (Kurt?) find any similar lecture by a lawyer or law professor?

R.R. Hamilton

Anonymous said...

I think therefore I think I . . . it cannot be is because I am thinking about is and it depends on what you mean by is . . . how many angels can dance on a pin . . . hit the nail on the head . . . no wonder so many college students smoke pot. It is what/why pot was discover . . . to help understand the meaning of is . . . I love you too. I have been educated by all of this and I must say back in the day I knew what love was . . . right Charlie, but by the next day I had forgot/ had forgotten what it was and had a headache . . . the night had been/was unkind to me and the whole world waited for me to tell them, but I remembered the colors, like man far out . . . yeah, peace bro . . . its OK . . . can you spare a quarter man . . . NO! Are you a capitalist, man! Me . . . hey, if I hadn't been taken to church when I was little I'd be waiting for Godot too in an existentialist fetal position tryin' to bang some pot, but like me, man, I'm tryin'. You know! I'm thinkin' about bein' educated by Crystal . . . meth, man I mean . . . What? Where do I go to testify, man.

mac said...

Steven Horwitz,

One thing that comes across in
many of these (and your) posts:
people without college education
are lesser beings.

I'm sorry. I don't have a college
degree.

I admire real academics. I'm not
one of those. I'm not jealous.
I don't particularly like the
pretenders, though, the morally
clueless.

I'd rather hang out with people
who have moral sense and little
intellect than brilliant scholars
who have the same ethical base
as people like Mike Nifong.

It's a privilege to hang out with
people
who have both moral sense and
great intellect.

That's why KC is writing this blog,
and the rest of us are hanging out
at DIW.

Know any other academics -
(especially from the 88) -
who could (or would) do what KC's
done?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree 9:10PM. Hardt,Nifong and Meehan are strange characters. Mental masturbation and non-ejaculatory event comments come from warped minds. I will never stop at a rest-area again for fear of what might be in the stall next to me.

Anonymous said...

So, how did the system get screwed up? The 88 are not just foolish.They are evil. They are in a place of power and influence. It was not the system that lied about evedience, and false accusations. We have a constitution that protects our rights. People violated the constitutional rights of the accused.Individuals or groups are the ones that through their hatred of men, or white men, or western traditions, or privileged, or what ever--they get a bully pulpit and stir young minds into a frenzy-- first it's just banging pot, and in the end it's about making some pay for all the percieved ills that their kind has inflicted on the "victims."

Somewhere in Liestoppers I read that Durham passed some kind of law about "hate" crimes. It passed in 1991 and by 1999 only 1 hate crime had occured. I believe that during that time there had been over 100 murders-- but they were not hate crimes. (Most of the crimes are black on black) It is a state of mind, that a crime committed by certain racial groups are somehow worse that others.
I'm sure the Harris family has had a belly full of the Duke 3 attention by lawenforcement. They said so in an interview. Their son and 3 others were killed execution style, and where are the 88 - lobbying for a resolution to this horrible crime? Blacks were killed by blacks, so lets not talk about that. Well, as a parent, I am horrified by this attitude. If I were black, I would not want to live there.

No. Many of the 88 are either evil or just drinking the Kool-Aid provided by others.

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Anonymous said...

That dude is a dorm room philosopher! What a poser! He's probably read "Literary Criticism Since 1965" backwards and forwards a cazillion times until the DADA Engine actually took form in his brain. If Absinthe or LSD were still legal in the US, I might enjoy this lecture.....Peaceful Anarchy without Symbols dude, dig!

Mad Hatter said...

I listened to approx. 1 1/2 min. of that gobbledygook before I turned it off. How much is that dude getting paid annually for that bs? This is really pathetic.

Anonymous said...

4:44pm
And who are you, you pontificating azzhole?
KC Johnson has more academic cred than most calling themselves "Professor", and certainly more than any member of the Faculty88. Hardt might have received a few accolades inside academia but in the real world where it really counts, he's an obvious idiot and verbal clown.

Unlike KC Johnson, he's an affected and pedantic fool, much like most who claw their way to elite universities so they can spend their time doing what we have just witnessed from Hardt.

Anonymous said...

4:44pm
And who are you, you pontificating azzhole?
KC Johnson has more academic cred than most calling themselves "Professor", and certainly more than any member of the Faculty88. Hardt might have received a few accolades inside academia but in the real world where it really counts, he's an obvious idiot and verbal clown.

Unlike KC Johnson, he's an affected and pedantic fool, much like most who claw their way to elite universities so they can spend their time doing what we have just witnessed from Hardt.

Cedarford said...

I gotta say this has a little hint of a cheap shot that KC Johnson fed to his yahoos.
As an historian, the language of "critical theory" and specialized Marxist theory is hardly unknown to him. His little snippet, I think, reflects Hardt not talking on the streets of Durham or to some HS grads trucked in to "see Duke" - but seniors or grad students.

I always hope that academics and specialists will strive towards eliminating arcana and "our world" talk built on terms the old guilds deliberately used to set "barriers to entry" to block upstart laymen from the society (and lucre) the guilds determined should be accessible to only those in long apprenticeships or academic toil the guilds endorsed that picked up the language that assisted guilds knowing within 10 minutes of conversation whether or not "they belonged, or were imposters".

In modern times, critical theorists are by no means the only ones. Besides the sciences, anyone is welcome to attend the hellish experience of economist PhDs arguing about commodity elasticity or military logistic wonks on distribution node theory..

Hardt is an acknowledged top scholar after publication of "Empire" - which I found too full of technicalese and obscure references to be a read. I lasted 2 chapters. But perspectives on the book 5-6 years later do hint that Hardt may be correct in much of what he warned Globalization would cause. It's already happened in Latin America and appears to be driving the "Reagan Democrats" and kids of Reagan Democrats back to...well...the Democrats..

Anonymous said...

This video had me laughing my ass off! I was convinced that I was watching a Martin Short SNL skit on effete academics...

Anonymous said...

WA-WOMP-WA-WOMP. WOMP-WOMP-WA. WA-WA-WOMP. WA-WOMP-WA WOMP-WA-WOMP-WA-WOMP.

SNOOPY WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!!

no justice, no peace said...

One wonders which of the 88 is considered a Scholar. Who annoints them scholarly? Who publishes their work? It is incestuous, I would submit and fraudulent.

Does Duke promote their efforts to incoming students? No, they do not.

Do the 88, et al, promote their own work via linked publications and transparent display of required reading? No they do not.

Is there one in the department that holds a differing opinion? Is there any balance?

Maybe there should be a fairness doctrine for academia?

No, the fraudulent departments should be deconstructed...

Some hear are attemtping to defend the indefensible. At $60k per year it is criminal...

Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:44 -- this is funny. How could he keep a straight face?

We sould send it to the Funniest Videos--

Anonymous said...

Mac, if you don't have a degree then you don't need one. Your comments are more intelligent and entertaining than any here.
Just goes to show that these insecure and nonsensical academics really must stay on campus. Who else would put up with the uselessness of most of them?

Anonymous said...
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No justice, no peace said...

That cat smoked the whole bale of boca-chica butt-weed that washed up on shore. What a bogart.

Is that lovely?

Anonymous said...

That guy looks like PINTO from Animal House!!!! He looks like Mozart too!

Cedarford,

Go crawl back into you underground Rasputin study and read more of that silly Searle/Derrida/Foucault. We on this borad will stick to good old Mark Twain.

No justice, no peace said...

Cedarford, weren't didn't the guilds consist of artisians who were craftsman of concrete assets, and not abstact nonsense?

Would you pay $60k to have this man educate your child?

The fuzzy language is one thing, the attempted moral equivication is a whole other matter.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Dear Duke 1965,

A few days ago (2/07), Andrew Sullivan posted a link to the Society for Ethnomusicology's statement against torture.

Don't these people live in the real world? Obviously not.

http://webdb.iu.edu/sem/scripts/aboutus/aboutsem/positionstatements/position_statement_torture.cfm

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

addendum

Hardt and his collaborator's prose is not necessarily turgid.

I'd call it meretricious persiflage.P

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to retrieve the column that some journalist wrote about KC and his background . It's very impressive. He received an undergraduate degree from Harvard when he was barely 20 years old.
Compared to the Faculty88, KC is Albert Einstein. There is just no comparison .
After listening to Hardt I actually feel sorry for the man. He looks and acts like some members of a landscaping crew who show up every Tuesday to to perform the lawn care at my townhouse complex.

KC Johnson said...

July 25, 2004 Sunday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 7; Column 1; Book Review Desk; Pg. 12

LENGTH: 1455 words

HEADLINE: An Antidote to Empire

BYLINE: By Francis Fukuyama.

Francis Fukuyama, a professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University, is the author of ''State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century.''

BODY:



MULTITUDE
War and Democracy
in the Age of Empire.
By Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
427 pp. The Penguin Press. $27.95.

Well before 9/11 and the Iraq war put the idea in everybody's mind, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri had popularized the notion of a modern empire. Four years ago, they argued in a widely discussed book -- titled, as it happens, ''Empire'' -- that the globe was ruled by a new imperial order, different from earlier ones, which were based on overt military domination. This one had no center; it was managed by the world's wealthy nation-states (particularly the United States), by multinational corporations and by international institutions like the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. This empire -- a k a globalization -- was exploitative, undemocratic and repressive, not only for developing countries but also for the excluded in the rich West.

Hardt and Negri's new book, ''Multitude,'' argues that the antidote to empire is the realization of true democracy, ''the rule of everyone by everyone, a democracy without qualifiers.'' They say that the left needs to leave behind outdated concepts like the proletariat and the working class, which vastly oversimplify the gender/racial/ethnic/ class diversities of today's world. In their place they propose the term ''multitude,'' to capture the ''commonality and singularity'' of those who stand in opposition to the wealthy and powerful.

This book -- which lurches from analyses of intellectual property rules for genetically engineered animals to discourses on Dostoyevsky and the myth of the golem -- deals with an imaginary problem and a real problem. Unfortunately, it provides us with an imaginary solution to the real problem.

The imaginary problem stems from the authors' basic understanding of economics and politics, which remains at its core unreconstructedly Marxist. For them, there is no such thing as voluntary economic exchange, only coercive political hierarchy: any unequal division of rewards is prima facie evidence of exploitation. Private property is a form of theft. Globalization has no redeeming benefits whatsoever. (East Asia's rise from third- to first-world status in the last 50 years seems not to have registered on their mental map.) Similarly, democracy is not embodied in constitutions, political parties or elections, which are simply manipulated to benefit elites. The half of the country that votes Republican is evidently not part of the book's multitude.

To all this Hardt and Negri add an extremely confused theory, their take on what Daniel Bell labeled postindustrial society, and what has more recently been called the ''knowledge economy.'' The ''immaterial labor'' of knowledge workers differs from labor in the industrial era, Hardt and Negri say, because it produces not objects but social relations. It is inherently communal, which implies that no one can legitimately appropriate it for private gain. Programmers at Microsoft may be surprised to discover that because they collaborate with one another, their programs belong to everybody.

It's hard to know even how to engage this set of assertions. Globalization is a complex phenomenon; it produces winners and losers among rich and poor alike. But you would never learn about the complexities from reading ''Multitude.'' So let's move on to Hardt and Negri's real problem, which has to do with global governance.

We have at this point in human history evolved fairly good democratic political institutions, but only at the level of the nation-state. With globalization -- and increased flows of information, goods, money and people across borders -- countries are now better able to help, but also to harm, one another. In the 1990's, the harm was felt primarily through financial shocks and job losses, and since 9/11 it has acquired a military dimension as well. As the authors state, ''one result of the current form of globalization is that certain national leaders, both elected and unelected, gain greater powers over populations outside their own nation-states.''

The United States is uniquely implicated in this charge because of its enormous military, economic and cultural power. What drove people around the world crazy about the Bush administration's unilateral approach to the Iraq war was its assertion that it was accountable to no one but American voters for what it did in distant parts of the globe. And since institutions like the United Nations are woefully ill equipped to deal with democratic legitimacy, this democracy deficit is a real and abiding challenge at the international level.

The authors are conscious of the charge that they, like the Seattle anti-globalization protesters they celebrate, don't have any real solutions to these matters, so they spend some time discussing how to fix the present international institutions. Their problem is that any fixes are politically difficult if not impossible to bring about, and promise only marginal benefits. Democratic institutions that work at the nation-state level don't work at global levels. A true global democracy, in which all of the earth's billions of people actually vote, is an impossible dream, while existing proposals to modify the United Nations Security Council or change the balance of power between it and the General Assembly are political nonstarters. Making the World Bank and I.M.F. more transparent are worthy projects, but hardly solutions to the underlying issue of democratic accountability. The United States, meanwhile, has stood in the way of new institutions like the International Criminal Court.

It is at this point that Hardt and Negri take leave of reality -- arriving at an imaginary solution to their real problem. They argue that instead of ''repeating old rituals and tired solutions'' we need to begin ''a new investigation in order to formulate a new science of society and politics.'' The woolliness of the subsequent analysis is hard to overstate. According to them, the fundamental obstacle to true democracy is not just the monopoly of legitimate force held by nation-states, but the dominance implied in virtually all hierarchies, which give certain individuals authority over others. The authors dress up Marx's old utopia of the withering away of the state in the contemporary language of chaos theory and biological systems, suggesting that hierarchies should be replaced with networks that reflect the diversity and commonality of the ''multitude.''

The difficulty with this line of reasoning is that there is a whole class of issues networks can't resolve. This is why hierarchies, from nation-states to corporations to university departments, persist, and why so many left-wing movements claiming to speak on behalf of the people have ended up monopolizing power. Indeed, the powerlessness and poverty in today's world are due not to the excessive power of nation-states, but to their weakness. The solution is not to undermine sovereignty but to build stronger states in the developing world.

To illustrate, take the very different growth trajectories of East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa over the past generation. Two of the fastest growing economies in the world today happen to be in the two most populous countries, China and India; sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, has tragically seen declining per capita incomes over the same period. At least part of this difference is the result of globalization: China and India have integrated themselves into the global economy, while sub-Saharan Africa is the one part of the world barely touched by globalization or multinational corporations.

But this raises the question of why India and China have been able to take advantage of globalization, while Africa has not. The answer has largely to do with the fact that the former have strong, well-developed state institutions providing basic stability and public goods. They had only to get out of the way of private markets to trigger growth. By contrast, modern states were virtually unknown in most of sub-Saharan Africa before European colonialism, and the weakness of states in the region has been the source of its woes ever since.

Any project, then, to fix the ills of ''empire'' has to begin with the strengthening, not the dismantling, of institutions at the nation-state level. This will not solve the problems of global governance, but surely any real advance here will come only through slow, patient innovation and the reform of international institutions. Hardt and Negri should remember the old insight of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, taken up later by the German Greens: progress is to be achieved not with utopian dreaming, but with a ''long march through institutions.''

Steven Horwitz said...

Mac wrote:

One thing that comes across in
many of these (and your) posts:
people without college education
are lesser beings.


Nothing could be further from the truth Mac. As an economist, my whole understanding of the social world is that intellectual knowledge is neither the only nor the most important kind there is. The world "runs" on the local, disperse and often inarticulate knowledge possessed by ALL members of society. Being smart, in the intellectual sense, is, in my book, no sign of moral superiority. It's just another job.

In fact, the overestimation of the value of "scientific" knowledge is responsible for some of the great crimes of the 20th century, with the false god of socialism being foremost among them. (And my qualified defense of Hardt's legitimacy as a scholar is distinct from the question of whether he's right about the way the world works - again, you can be really smart but just wrong.)

As a faculty member at a liberal arts college, I have been known to tell some students that their lives would be better by either waiting for college or pursuing their passion without it. That hardly makes them lesser beings. In fact, recognizing more accurately what makes sense for their goals makes them better beings in my book.

What troubles me here are the assumptions that:

1. All the G88 are stupid/non-scholars.
2. All the G88 are evil.
3. The G88 are representative of academics as a whole.

When a commenter here calls for a "new McCarthy" to "clean house", perhaps it's not I who needs to take a chill pill. And perhaps you can understand why the anti-academic mob mentality of some on this blog concerns me so.

kurt w said...

In response to many responses to my ealier comments (approx 5 pm):

If you spend your entire adult life pursuing some area of knowledge (science, political theory, football), you will know more than most other people. You would communicate that knowledge to a general audience, like this blog's readers, in a different way than if you were speaking to others at or near your level of knowledge. I said earlier that this lecture was over people's heads and I stand by that. He was talking to an audience knowledgeable in this field. Most of us are not in that group (including me).

Yes, experts in every field modify the common definitions of words to suite their needs. A scientific "law" is different than common "law" or judicial "law". It gets confusing when one audience listens to information intended for another audience, as is happening here.

On a different topic, I'm surprised at the aggressive and dismissive tone of many comments. Hardt is talking about a government based on love. Regardless of how impractical that may be, is it such a bad thing to consider?

Steven Horwitz said...

And Francis F's review of Multitude is spot on, for whatever that's worth.

But notice, he doesn't call them idiots or doesn't think they shouldn't be taken seriously. In his view, they are just wrong about the nature of the problem and the appropriate solution. That's all I'm saying as well.

kurt w said...

To R.R. Hamilton,

I wouldn't expect a law professor to give such a talk at all. The disciplines are completely different. Law professors, from what I gather, mostly focus on what is the law and possible interpretations of that law. Hardt is presenting his idea for a completely different type of governing philosophy. Hardt allows himself to consider a truly profound concept (gov't based on love) and the definition of love. Heavy stuff. I don't know of another discipline that would consider this topic, perhaps philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Kurt wrote:

Hardt is talking about a government based on love. Regardless of how impractical that may be, is it such a bad thing to consider?
----------------
Have you read Empire? Hardt and his co-author are the modern version on Marx and Engels. Marx philosophy is always violent.

If you don't believe that, you might read Solzhenitsyn. That was his opinion. He got at Nobel Prize, although after Prez Carter got one, I'm convinced anyone can get it if you have good press.

Listen to the tape again.

kurt w said...

To 10:48,

No, I have not read Empire and I didn't know that it was related to this lecture clip. Given all that I don't know about this topic, I could be way off base with my earlier question.

But I'm willing to bet that many commenters who dismiss his lecture clip as gibberish haven't read it either. So my question still stands. Why are people so against a scholar even raising the idea?

Kurt W

Anonymous said...

" a governemnt based on love."

No, it's not such a bad thing, but you had better have a Daddy or a Mama who is still paying your bills if that's all you can come up with.

rrhamilton said...

A government based on love, eh? How would I pay my taxes -- with kisses or hugs?

Seriously, I have written briefs to various high courts -- that is, writing FROM a lawyer TO more lawyers -- on some fairly esoteric arguments: "What is a 'conviction'?" "What are the essential distinctions between the relationships of 'master-servant', 'borrowed-servant', and 'fellow-servant'?" "To what extent is a duty of care owed to third parties?" Tomorrow, I will give one or two of my briefs to my 15-year-old daughter and her friends and see how much trouble they have understanding what I am saying. And then I will let them see this clip of Prof. Hardt.

Frankly, dear professors, we are worried that your defenses of Hardt indicate that you have spent so much time hearing such nonsense praised as scholarship that your critical faculties are seriously dulled.

R.R. Hamilton

kurt w said...

To 10:54,

Or maybe a church full of people and you are the preacher. I doubt Hardt's idea of a gov't based on love is limited to this 6 min clip, so that would not be all he has come up with.

samt2 said...

So these are the people shaping the minds of the future.
We are in deep doo doo.
Wish I could come back in two hundred years to check out the ruins of america.

Anonymous said...

Is Hardt a Communist?

Anonymous said...

I would be very upset if I had to pay to listen to this load of crap. I, in fact, just wasted 5:54 of my life on this garbage. Don't try to couch this in some intellectual techno-speak. This was unvarnished drivel, which we have in abundance in academia.

kurt w said...

To R. R. Hamilton,

The difference in subject knowledge is a critical issue here. Most people have a basic understanding of the law so we can follow, at least loosely, what lawyers are saying. Hardt's field is not grounded in the common experience of our everyday lives. So we, as the general public, have no idea what he is talking about. We are so ignorant of his subject matter that we cannot make a claim whether he is right or wrong.

As a professor, I'm defensive about some of the comments because if they sat in on my quantum mechanics lectures, those commenters might say the same thing about me. (My conclusions defy common sense, I use words that have very specific meanings or terms unique to that field, etc.) In general, I worry when people pass judgement on the validity of a person's scholarship based on a 6 min video clip.

kurt w

Anonymous said...
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mac said...

Steven Horwitz,

Nearly everyone who has written
negative things about the 88
(or 88-1+1) laments their lack
of sensitivity to truth and
integrity. For starters.
Not to mention their lack of
sensitivity, for its own sake.
(And their noticeable lack of
humor...;)

IF the 88-1+1 are evil, it is
because they would uniformly
choose to send three young men
to prison to satisfy their
world-views and their particular
doctrine(s.) Their doctrines
don't actually all match up,
but their inability to put their
agendas on hold while they
accomodated Nifong makes them a
kind of monolithic, coercive force.

That the 88-1+1 represent academia?
Hardly. They represent only
the worst of academia - ones who will,
like Kim Curtis, punish their
students with the cruel cudgel
of grade retaliation.

kurt w said...

To 11:14,

I think it's safe to say that they represent some of the worst traits of all people.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Seems to me I recall a laudatory article about Hardt and "Empire" a while back in the Duke Alumni magazine. When incoherent babble and Marxism are well regarded within the University, you know that Lefty Groupthink has done real damage.

Rather ironic that a University that puts so much stock in diversity has been undone by a lack of diversity in the most critical area, intellectual thought and dialogue.

kurt w said...

Polanski,

Sorry, my comments were not about you. My complaints were directed towards the anti-intellectual attitude of many (mostly Anonymous) commenters and other commenters who seem suspicous of academics.

rrhamilton said...

Prof Kurt W says at 11:09,

Hardt's field is not grounded in the common experience of our everyday lives. So we, as the general public, have no idea what he is talking about. We are so ignorant of his subject matter that we cannot make a claim whether he is right or wrong. (emphasis supplied)

"Literary theory" requires only two things: a "text" to interpret and an observer to do the interpreting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_theory

Prof. Kurt, welcome to the college of DiW and the Department of Critical Literary Theory thereof. Here, we are the critics; we are the professors with endowed chairs.

Prof. Hardt's text, published by KC, is the literature to be interpreted. We are interpreting it. His subject matter is government, one with which most of us are intimately familiar. If Prof. Hardt wants to propound that he wishes for a "government of love" -- like my 5-year-old might -- no one can try to silence our interpretation of his text with the claim that "we're just too ignorant of the subject matter".

R.R. Hamilton

Your argument seems to be, "Yes, he does sound like a 5-year-old or a drug-addled teen, but we know he's not so he must be exhibiting a higher order of intelligence than we are capable of grasping!"

Sorry, professor, that dog won't hunt in these parts, and we're deeply fearful of what has happened in the academy if that dog hunts in those "hallowed halls".

Anonymous said...

To 444,
Your condescending tone proves the academic contempt of sensibility.

Gary Packwood said...

www.egs.edu

Professor Hardt is sitting behind a sign with the web address for the European Graduate School...http://www.egs.edu ...a graduate school not accredited by any of the regional accrediting bodies in the USA...but offers admission for citizens of the USA for their M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

It appears to me that www.egs.edu has created another parallel academic universe with many professors paid from their home university (Duke for example) with many courses offered on-line.

We went thought this once in the 1980's with World University and International University in St. Louis.

I can only assume that the students have no clue that their school in not accredited in the USA.

Is all of this another go at Valhalla or does Polanski have this one pegged as the next communist training ground?
::
GP

rrhamilton said...

KC,

Thanks for providing this video. It's almost as good as having, say, Grant Farred, read one of his writings. It's important to remind ourselves from time-to-time what it was that got us interested in this case: the attack by the faculty of Duke on April 6, 2006. Now that the boys are out of danger, it is time to renew our inquest into just what the hell happened (and continues to happen) at Duke that would produce the events and faculty behaviors we witnessed on and since April 6, 2006.

Anonymous said...

To Kurt W.

No, we're not anti-intellectual. And the fact that you're a professor does not grant you any privilege in a marketplace of ideas. Unlike in academia, ideas here will be accepted or rejected on their own merit, as if they are commodities.

One reason why academics choose to withdraw into their own fantasy world is because they cannot compete in the real one. Most books published by academics perform terribly in an open market if they were to traffic there. This is partly why "peer review" is held in such reverance in academia -- you're asking acceptance from like-minded people. Of course your chances for "success" increase dramatically.

The danger here is that if colleges and universities such as Duke continue to sponsor such nonsense as "intellectual discourse" then they will inevitably lose their relevance. If you want to make something of it in the real world, you don't need to waste time listening to this garbage in college.

SC

Anonymous said...

Most of the stuff that's been posted here denigrating Duke and the entire academic experience, based on this one clip alone, is so non-sequitur and idiotic. If you really wanna denigrate Duke and its tuition fee, all you have to say is that $40k does not guarantee that they will not feed their students to the wolves that are the Durham Police Dept. They'll even advise their students not to hire a lawyer if they're innocent. They'll do anything to
wash their hands of those "unworthy" students just to keep up this social-climbing "Ivy League" image.

Anonymous said...

12:26
the opinions here at not based on one clip. Take some time, read and get up to speed.

Duke is a very racist institution. The are anti-white. They do not subscribe MLK and judge people not be their character, but by the color of their skin.

In Illiberal Education , 'Souza....says "Liberals project to offer an elaborate and shifting rationale for black incapacity. If African Americans do not do well on tests, that is because the tests are biased, and because white society has deprived them of necessary skills. If they have illegitimate children, this is because society refuses to provide black males with steady jobs. If they are convicted of a disproportionate number of violent crimes, this is because the police, judges, and juries are racist. Those who have committed crimes have been pressured to do so by undeserved economic hardship. Riots are automatically attributed to legitimate outbursts of black rage. In short, the liberal position on black failure can be reduced to a singular implausible slogan: Just say racism." And who teaches them that? Duke faculty.

And that is what Duke does. All the pot bangers, lead by g88 trying to blame the Duke 3 if not for the rape, then for the plight of the poor blacks in Durham. Well, they aren't from NC. Putting the blame on whites, does not make life better for blacks. But, by golly, it makes them and the 88 happy.

No justice, no peace said...

10:36 Steven Horwitz, how can one be so wrong and a scholar?

It seems to me they are frauds...

No justice, no peace said...

11:20 Polanski, inre: commies and not anything wrong with that...

50,000,000 buried in shallow graves may take exception to that comment, but let's not let that sticky little detail get in the way of the relativist's view of how some think they operate the machine better...

No justice, no peace said...

11:31 Polanski, the Manifesto was a lie, based upon lies, and remains a lie. Marx was a rogue and a liar...not an intellectual by any stretch.

No justice, no peace said...

10:41 I am not suspicous of academics, rather, those in the fuzzy studies are frauds, in departments created for non-academic reasons.

They don't provide links to their work.

The publications cited are not well known.

They don't provide reading lists.

They do not advance the human experience.

Think about that...they do not advance the human experience.

One could argue easily that the deconstruciton is quite destructive.

So why do we support the nonsense?

I do not.

No justice, no peace said...

Am reminded of the time I was in a honky tonk bathroom...

Etched on the wall in front of the urinal was the message..."I f'd your mother".

Below, in a different color ink was written, "Dad go home, your drunk."

Good night all.

Anonymous said...

Kurt W--
Hardt is a Marxist, post-structuralist, post-modernist, deconstructionist, lit-crit theorist.

In short he is part of the cult of the "Continental" (French) theorists, which has metastasized throughout the American academic humanities.

This cult writes and talks in deliberate obscurities. In this cut Hardt says he makes up words, and elsewhere he says he likes to use terms in his work in contradictory ways.

Now, U says we is to un-ejukated to figger out what this-hear perfessor is perfessing and iffin we-uns red a reel scientiffy article, we-uns koodin' make heds or tales over it.

I actually do read scientific articles in the original publications, including biology, medicine, and others, usually without a lot of difficulty. There may be parts that I don't have a full understanding of; but get an overall understanding. They are written to be understood, and there is "a there, there."

Now I would not be able to read an article in quantum physics, but if you are a specialist in that field, or an editor of a journal in that field, you would at least understand if the article made some sense.

Duke University published a post-modernist journal Social Text:

From Wikipedia

The Sokal Affair was a hoax by physicist Alan Sokal perpetrated on the editorial staff and readership of a then-non-peer-reviewed postmodern cultural studies journal called Social Text (published by Duke University). In 1996, Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, submitted a pseudoscientific paper for publication in Social Text, as an experiment to see if a journal in that field would, in Sokal's words: "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions."[1]

The paper, titled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity"[2], was published in the Spring/Summer 1996 "Science Wars" issue of Social Text, which had no peer review process, and so did not submit it for outside review. On the day of its publication, Sokal announced in another publication, Lingua Franca, that the article was a hoax, calling his paper "a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense", which was "structured around the silliest quotations I could find about mathematics and physics" made by humanities academics.


david m. brooks

Anonymous said...

dmb, that was a good point.

mac said...

David M. Brooks

Wouldn't it be funny if Hardt
was doing a Sokal to an unsuspecting
audience?

"Wuv, twu wuv."

Hardt's Sokalism is from
"The Princess Bride" and what
we see - (in part) - is Hardt
quoting the Vicar.

The hand gestures are the same,
more or less.

kurt w said...

R.R.,

Nobody is "silencing" you. Obviously. We can cut "the intelligensia censoring the views of the common man" crap.

You can interpret the text as you see fit. You might consider first that this 6 min video clip is not the entire text. Would you give high marks to a review of a text that only covered six pages? Of course it would not make sense. What about an interpretation of a text that looked at just the middle volume in a multivolume set?

I would not insult your intelligence by saying that you are not capable of understanding what he is saying. You and I might not possess an understanding of the background related to his talk. This is generally the case for graduate level courses. That's why courses have prerequisites.

mac said...

I suspect that some of the 88 -
(there may be more than a few) -
are secret adherents to the
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
sect.

mac said...

KC's post re. Hardt:

Hardt demonstrates an old-style
communist tactic: destroy the
social structure (i.e. including
family units,) and then rebuild
from scratch with Utopia as the
(claimed) goal.

Hitler was a Socialist, and
the destruction of the social
structure was accomplished for
him, and he replaced it with a
state that wasn't all that different than Stalin's.

"All you need is love" Hardt
knows this: for dictatorship
to prevail, all you need to do
is to hoodwink the masses into
believing that you have a better
plan, and should throw out whatever
the masses know and understand.

Blind 'em with brilliance,
indeed - (strong sarcasm)

kurt w said...

SC,

I'm just hoping that Hardt's idea gets a fair shake in this "marketplace". If his concept is a commondity, then that 6 min clip is just a 30 sec commercial about a a product. Before posting a review, I would think people might try the product themselves or read more about it. That's the best analogy I've got for now.

As for academic's books, you are correct. They don't sell that well. Sales is not necessarily our goal (though always nice!). A scholar's goal is to extend and communicate knowledge. We publish to communicate the new knowledge that we have obtained.

Peer review is important, not to confirm our own views (lots of papers and grants get rejected) but to provide a way to check our work before it is released to a wider audience. If I have an idea and other experts in the field think it's worth publishing, that gives some credence to my idea. Like a blurb on the back of a book.

kurt w said...

David brooks,

Er, no. I'm not saying that you are stupid if you don't understand Hardt's work. I'm suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, there can be different levels of knowledge about a subject. If the difference is too high and if the scholar isn't trying to explain it in terms for the general public, then what he says will be hard to understand. That doesn't sound insulting to me.

Many commenters here have said (1) that they do not understand what Hardt says. Then many of them say (2) that it's stupid. That gets on my nerves like nails down a chalkboard (or permanent marker on a dry erase board). I'm trying to explain that (1) doesn't have to lead to (2).

If you read the original scientific literature, that's fantastic. I think you are an exception to that rule.

I'm not defending Hardt's argument or views. They might be disasterously wrong. I am disputing the idea that watching a six minute clip provides enough info to conclusively dismiss a person's work.

mac said...

Hardt sounds like he's lecturing
a Bodyworker's seminar.

Woooooo-ooooh-ooooh!

Give me some of those energies
from the earthmothergoddess that
I may pass along the Universal
Force through Divine understanding
of my Goddess nature/nurture as
my hands fill with light and
the essence of My Being permeates
the All
and I am a Priestess in the Order
of Melchizidek and I will perform
a group healing of all.

In other words, in the immortal words
of Judy Tenuta: "Worship me, pigs!"

Stuff like that.

Christy said...

DMB, I followed the Sokal affair as reported in Science back then with great pleasure. If I remember correctly I was becoming frustrated at the time with the way Humanities types were misinterpreting quantum mechanics and using it to question realities they found inconvenient.

For the record, when I said earlier that I found the statements of the 88 lacking I was referring to their failure at rhetoric (shameful in an academic,)reading comprehension, and clear thinking. That is completely aside from my disgust with what they said.

A further examination of the qualifications of the more vocal o the 88 fails to impress. That some of them have been elected or otherwise been given positions of influence suggests to the outside observer that the standards in that particular academy are deficient. The 88 have pushed their inadequacies in our faces, don't expect us to look away. Unfairly or not, this clip further supports our belief in the confused thinking of the 88.

BTW, forget about his words, the body language tells me he is bogus.

mb said...

Ok, I can see the point that Hardt was speaking to a target audience of his peers, but still, this is informative vis-a-vis how these people think. However, to me the scary part of this nightmare arrives when one connects the dots and realizes that he and his peer group are thoroughly ensconced in positions of power and influence not only within academia, but also in the greater public sphere. And it's one thing to be lauded by one's peers - hey, if they want to sit in a big circle, do some bong hits and philosophize about life, the universe and everything to the strains of Big Brother and the Holding Company and tell each other how groovy they are, then I say hey, knock yourselves out. But it's quite another thing altogether to ask to be taken seriously by the public at large, especially when that public doesn't understand what is really going on - or perhaps can't understand because the general public doesn't speak the, ahem, 'language,' understand the 'models,' etc. At that point it's akin to Dorothy and The Great and Powerful Oz: Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain, just shut up, listen to us and then do as we say.

It's one thing to have nutty, wacked-out aunts and uncles working in the family business, but thoroughly unwise - and as we've seen, potentially disastrous - to have them calling the shots. That's why exposing the thinking of the G88 is so important, as a sobering lesson in why their ilk should be kept as far away from the halls of power as possible. And yet, we have the likes of Paula McClain running the show at Duke.

The inmates are not only running the asylum, they're writing their own treatment plans.

mac said...

9:04
Stop the video at 52-54 seconds.
What a sweetie!

9:36
"writing their own treatment plans."
That's a brilliant synopsis!
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I also followed the Sokal Affair as it was unfolding. Seems these people have learned nothing with the passage of time.

kurt w said...

mb,

I see your point about academia's accountability towards the public. Duke is a private school that is not funded by NC tax payers. I'm sure there are guys like Hardt at public schools, so your point is still valid.

Scholars in all fields have become very specialized in their fields, further removing their research from our everyday life experiences. Therefore, academics need to do a better job of communicating what they know to the public so that everybody understands what is being taught and why. If the public makes a good faith effort to listen before passing judgement, I think very few scholars could not stand up to that scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

To 1:01 AM, just because spineless president Dickhead did not rebuke the reprehensible actions of the Duke 88, doesn't mean that the entire Duke faculty think like that. If Duke is so anti-white, how come whites make up the majority of the student body and the faculty? And you mention the Duke 88 as if the entire Duke faculty is made up of just those 88 faculty members. Chances are that a science major at Duke will not ever have to take a class from any of those Duke 88 members. And who teaches those science classes? OMG, mostly white people who publish their work in peer-reviewed journals!!! Dang! There goes your logic. In fact, your agenda is nowhere different from the Duke 88; just on the opposite end of the spectrum.

12:26

Anonymous said...

Post and comments have been fascinating. Just as the ethics hearing proved so valuable for gaining perspective on the philosophical thinking and logical progressions of Mr. Nifong and others in the particular context of the LAX case, this clip offers some insight into the philosophical thinking and logical progressions of Professor Hardt, and to the extent he is representative, the G88, in a more general academic context. I found his discussion of government based on what seems like a very Christian concept of "love" most interesting and outside of heaven (or some other world with entirely different physical and emotional arrangements) totally out of reach. I concur with Fukuyama's analysis, but what Professor Hardt does is just what academia is supposed to do--challenge and stretch our thinking. I am much happier playing with Professor Hardt's ideas in the academic realm, though, than I would be seeing him trying to implement them in US foreign relations, say. Likewise, I would have been much happier considering Mr. Nifong and his "no-drop," "how does DNA exonerate you," "what IS probative, exculpatory evidence, really" approaches as a law school hypothetical rather than watching the "fiasco" this self-interested, unloving, non-reality based thinking unleashed.

Observer

Anonymous said...

The phrase 'articulate incompetent' comes to mind.

TombZ

Anonymous said...

kw at 10:30

Duke is a private university=right.

Duke is not funded by tax payers=wrong.

Duke does the same thing as many diploma mills did in the 80s.
Duke is even proud of the huge percentage of minorities that are on student aid. Who pays for that? The hardworking white American worker. What a scam. Charge $50K, help students fill out forms, students get the check and give it to Duke.

Many of these minority students get degrees that do not translate into jobs. My daughter's commencement speaker pointed that out. She was talked into getting a BS in Hispanic Studies. She could not get a job. Had to go to grad school, then law school. She know rails on these stupid degrees. Go to school, rack up a bill of 200K, paid by taxes, and then cannot get a job. Makes a lot of sense!

Feargal said...

From a political perspective, I cannot figure out why these people have not figured out that the application of their philosophies leads to mass killings and oppression.

I remember arguing with Marxists in the 1980s about how terrible Stalin and Mao were -- the response would generally be that I had bought into some conspiracy. Anyway, nobody contests these points anymore.

Personally, I believe that progressive things are good for society (and lead to more stability). Many of those things have been (and are) labeled as socialism by some of the uninformed on the right (who now unfortunately dominate the Republican party).

Anyway, the combination of the Hardts, Broadheads and the Nifongs does not bode well for America. Especially since it appears that Bush Republicans (and I am a Republican, but not a Bush Republican) care more about channeling government contracts to friends, keeping wages low through immigration, and fighting against progressive measures such as universal health care. Combatting Political Correctness is a pretty low priority for them.

mac said...

Observer 10:41

Right: considering an idealogue's
ideas in an abstract sense is a
lot less harmful than
to actually "implement" them.

Polanski commented that in
the 19th century, considering
Marxism would have been a good
idea. "Considering" is the
operative word, given the history.

Put a great idea into action...
and watch it fall apart;
unleash an idealogue's vague
fantasy...
and watch the horror unfold.

Anonymous said...

kurt - duke still suckles from the public teat, however directly or indirectly - see, e.g.,

http://www.owdna.org/NewDukeCard.htm

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/content.view/cpid/586.htm

Anonymous said...

4:44 wrote:
So why is this clip posted on this blog? Clearly it has nothing to say about the false accusation of the three Duke lacrosse players...
In short, I don't understand why Prof. Johnson has posted this clip, and with the little contextualization that he's offered, I see it as an unwarranted and poorly-conceived attack. ...this is a disappointing and even dishonest post on what has often been an insightful blog.


kurt w said: .I'm suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, there can be different levels of knowledge about a subject. If the difference is too high and if the scholar isn't trying to explain it in terms for the general public, then what he says will be hard to understand... I am disputing the idea that watching a six minute clip provides enough info to conclusively dismiss a person's work.

KC's exposing the Group of 88, including the posting of this clip, is both fair and necessary.

The post-modernistization and political radicalization of the humanities is an important part of the development of the attempted frame of Reade, Collin, and Dave, but is something we need to understand in its own right.

Even before the 88 got involved and endorsed the lynch-mob tactics; there was SANE Nurse Tara Levicy, applying her Womans' Studies training by creating the evidence that pushed the rape charges forward.

At this point many of us have had exposure to the writings or verbal emanations of other 88ers and post-modernist academics. If we see an 88er spouting what appears to be non-sense, it is not unreasonable for us to use a "Bayesian" inferential approach--that is we do have valid knowledge with which we can evaluate their speeches and writings, even if we are not familiar with the history of their "technical" terminology, their allusions to Hegel, Freud, and Marx, etc., especially since their "technical" terminology is used in slippery and contradictory ways.

As a practical matter, a short clip of Hardt's speaking is the best way to present him, we can (and some of us did) research more of his background on our own. I found an interview with Charlie Rose about Hardt's book "Empire;" he did not talk in pomo, but without the special language his ideas seemed at best obvious and trite.

R.R. Hamilton's point that the subject that Hardt is discussion, government, is something we are familiar with, is a good one. This is not something inherently esoteric.

In response to seeing a recent article on "Quantum Feminism"
Richard Dawkin posted his 1988 Nature book review of Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont.

Dawkins writes:


Suppose you are an intellectual impostor with nothing to say, but with strong ambitions to succeed in academic life, collect a coterie of reverent disciples and have students around the world anoint your pages with respectful yellow highlighter. What kind of literary style would you cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose your lack of content...


david m. brooks



http://richarddawkins.net/article,824,Postmodernism-Disrobed,Richard-Dawkins-Nature

Anonymous said...

"Response?"

"Yes. I have a response. Um, WHAT?"

Anonymous said...

This is just remarkable.This horses ass carries on like he just found the cure for cancer,yet what he says makes sense only to him. The joke is on us my friends. Unless we,the hard working tax payers put an end to this, we will be subsidizing this endless stream of "academic" tripe right into the poor house.

fmfnavydoc said...

I just watch this display of "academic thinking" and one statement that remember hearing along time ago stated the obvious:

"If you can't dazzle them with your brillance,
baffle them with your bull$%!t"

Anonymous said...

What an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine this guy in a real job? Adding value to the community? What a complete waste of space. Typical liberal who thinks they are so brilliant and smart and better than you. What an arrogant simpleton. This guy could not survive in the real world. He could not produce results.

mb said...

kurt w,

You said: "Scholars in all fields have become very specialized in their fields, further removing their research from our everyday life experiences."

Not necessarily. For example, the research of scholars who specialize in the electrical conductivity of silicon and germanium compounds is not at all far-removed from everyday life experience, especially for those of us who use computers. Similarly, the research of those who specialize in the active sites of enzymes and other proteins contribute to the health and well-being of many, many people. On the other hand, those who specialize in, e.g., "quantum feminism" I think would certainly qualify as fare removed from our everyday life experiences and their work would be relevant only to themselves vis-a-vis providing them with a paycheck. For what, other than enjoying an inflated sense of self-importance and recreational navel-gazing, I just can't fathom.

"Therefore, academics need to do a better job of communicating what they know to the public so that everybody understands what is being taught and why. If the public makes a good faith effort to listen before passing judgement, I think very few scholars could not stand up to that scrutiny."

I would go further and state that academics need to communicate to the public in concrete, demonstrable terms what is to be gained from their knowledge. In other words, what is in it for the public at large, not just the professional navel-gazers and their fellow travelers.

And for me the most problematic component of all of this is that people like the G88 all across the western world are now in charge of, or at least heavily influential in, decision-making re. curricula. We see this demonstrated with the CCI at Duke, where one recommendation is to require all students to take courses offered by these professional navel-gazers. KC posted a while back re. the exceptionally low enrollments in G88 courses, so it's no surprise that the CCI recommended that students be required to take those courses - it would guarantee warm bodies for those classes. And it's no wonder people like McClain and Chafe insist that faculty behavior in the wake of the rape allegations must be off-limits vis-a-vis scrutiny and criticism by their peers and other stakeholders: They just might end up having to justify their paychecks in light of little interest in their product, which would likely decline even more should said behavior become common knowledge.

It's clear at least to me that the G88 have much to hide, not the least of which is the utter irrelevance of their subject matter for all but the tiniest fraction of the public.

mac said...

MB,
You're right;
education needs to be relevant.
No, not business school relevant -
(that, too)- more than a business
pretending to be noble.

Schools that pretend nobility
often fall to notions of superiority,
and become populated with people
who believe themselves to be more
noble than most others.

Frank Herbert once said (to paraphrase):

"Inside every rebel is a closet
aristocrat."

The 88 has a desire to rule over
us, these pretenders to nobility.
Closet aristocrats.

Ralph Phelan said...

steven horwitz -

For non-lawyers to look at Nifong and say "This guy's an evil sleazebag."is clearly not lawyer-bashing. I believe it would be legitimate criticism rather than "bashing" to say to the legal profession as a whole "Why did you let Nifong practice among you for 28 years? Why did you wait so long to act when he was committing obvious outrages like his "If you're innocent why do you need a lawyer" comment, which strikes at both the public interest and the livelihood of other lawyers?"

Similarly it is not "Professoriate bashing" to say "This Hardt guy is an idiot." Nor do I think it illegitimate to go on to ask "How did this idiot get hired, are you planning to get rid of him, and how are you going to avoid hiring others like him." Especially when we observe that he is not unique.

Ralph Phelan said...

"However, I'm not sure what this post was supposed to show us. Yes, left-leaning humanities professors can have some very impractical ideas that involve big words and authors whose names we recognize but don't know. The same can be said for those in the sciences."

Except the sciences may be impractical, but they aren't completely meaningless BS.

Once upon a time a scientist wanted to know whether "Critical Theory" is hard to understand because it's so deep, or because it's empty BS hidden under fancy language. Being a scientist, he decided to do an experiment.

Go google "Alan Sokal" to see what his results were.

Ralph Phelan said...

Karl W.

"No, I have not read Empire and I didn't know that it was related to this lecture clip. Given all that I don't know about this topic, I could be way off base with my earlier question.

But I'm willing to bet that many commenters who dismiss his lecture clip as gibberish haven't read it either. So my question still stands. Why are people so against a scholar even raising the idea?"

Because of the gulags and the killing fields.

Any field in which Marx is still taken seriously is demonstrating to the world that it contains quite a bit of both evil and stupidity.

rrhamilton said...

kurt w said...
R.R.,

Nobody is "silencing" you. Obviously. We can cut "the intelligensia censoring the views of the common man" crap.
Response: It has been my experience that most academicians of the type who would defend Hardt respond to any unanswerable criticism of their views by crying "censorship!" I was only trying to beat you to the punch.

You can interpret the text as you see fit. You might consider first that this 6 min video clip is not the entire text. Would you give high marks to a review of a text that only covered six pages? Of course it would not make sense. What about an interpretation of a text that looked at just the middle volume in a multivolume set?
Hardt: "Love could be a process, or even a field of training, for constructing a democratic society. So that's what I mean, in a way, by 'love is a political concept'.... I find myself in this dilemma with concepts that no longer mean what I think they should mean. So you either have to abandon the concept... and name it something else, which I know you all are very good at inventing new terminology but it irritates a lot of people, I have to say -- inventing new terms, I have found out from experience [as audience giggles, Hardt clears his throat and never finishes this thought, instead moving on to a discussion of sexuality and an Italian movie]."

I said in an earlier post that I use one of my legal briefs to see if an ordinary audience could understand a random sample. So a few minutes ago I reached into a box of old briefs and pulled one out. As it happens, this one is not even my brief -- so I have no pride of authorship to defend. It's a brief from a case I handled as a student clerk for the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court about 15 years ago. I opened the brief to a random page, Page 8. Substituting the names of the parties and omitting citations to legal authorities, here is what is written:

"to the county for recording and, after recording, placed in ABC's safety deposit box. The recording of a deed is prima facie evidence of delivery. Where a deed is recorded at the direction of grantor title passes to grantee, and grantor cannot thereafter deny such title.

"At recordation, the title to the Property passed beyond ABC's control, and he cannot revoke or deny the transfer of title. A grantor's filing a deed of record constitutes constructive delivery. This is sufficient to entitle the grantee to all of the rights that could be acquired under the deed if it had been actually delivered to him. The judgment of the court of appeals refusing to recognize and enforce XYZ's present possessory rights to the Property should be reversed and judgment rendered in favor of XYZ."

There. That's one-and-one-half paragraphs from a 21-page brief to the Texas Supreme Court. Would any intelligent person have any problems understanding the meaning?

I would not insult your intelligence by saying that you are not capable of understanding what he is saying. You and I might not possess an understanding of the background related to his talk. This is generally the case for graduate level courses. That's why courses have prerequisites. So, you won't say that I lack the "capability of understanding" Hardt but you will say that I lack the "present possession of understanding" of the "background" of what he's saying. What's the background that I don't understand -- politics, economics, love, sexuality, Italian movies? I think I have a sufficient familiarity with those subjects to understand any coherent discussion, but as I find Hardt to be incoherent, tell me where I fall short.

mb said...

rrhamilton,

For what it's worth, I think understood the excerpt. And I'm a lowly scientist/engineer.

mac said...

A good teacher should be able
to find good illustrations,
as they improve understanding.

Babble-talk is meant to obfuscate
(a good word) and not to illuminate.

When I teach, I nearly always
try to paint a picture:
some students need crayons, some
need oils, but imagery is an
important part of getting a
message across, and for the
student to gain a true understanding
of the material.

I also try to get the student
to draw their own picture.

This is not an art class I'm
referring to, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Hardt: I find myself in this dilemma with concepts that no longer mean what I think they should mean. So you either have to abandon the concept... and name it something else,
--------------------
Well, you're in good company. One example - the communist in China. Can you beleive "People's Republic of China" really means what most of us would think?

Just use a term and make it mean whaterver you want.

You talk about love. How about rape? What does that mean now?

kurt w said...

R.R,

Your legal brief is easier to understand. That might be because:
1. It was written down, proofread and edited.

2. The subject matter is, by its nature, easier to understand.

If we can set aside that Hardt is a Marxist and a member of G88, can we at least agree that a 6 min video clip of a lecture does not, by itself, provide enough evidence to characterize the lecturer as being full of shit and talking gibberish (to use some phases from this comment forum)?

Gary said...

I don't know, Hardt seems pretty useful. Ever need a good night's sleep, just put his talk on and you're out.

I could hardly listen to it, but I think the talk could be summarized as:
Set up a straw man for human behavior.
Claim the real answer is "Love"
Redefine love as some ineffable gobbledygook.

Do I pass?

Anonymous said...

Full of shit? Check.

Talking gibberish? Check.

Waste of time? Check.

Douchebag says what?

rrhamilton said...

kurt w said,

If we can set aside that Hardt is a Marxist and a member of G88, can we at least agree that a 6 min video clip of a lecture does not, by itself, provide enough evidence to characterize the lecturer as being full of shit and talking gibberish (to use some phases from this comment forum)?

No, we cannot agree: That 6 min video alone suffices to establish that the speaker is "full of shit and talking gibberish". No one (besides you) is surprised to hear that Hardt's attempts at writing have been eviserated by his intellectual superiors (among which I think we could include at least half of all American adults and a quarter of American children).

Have you ever wondered why these Marxist morons go into subjects that "no one cares about", such as "literary criticism"? I mean think about it: If you wanted to write serious books about politics and business, wouldn't you go into law or economics? So why do the Marxist morons go into low-IQ disciplines such as "literary criticism"? Why, the question answers itself, doesn't it?

Actually, there's not a necessary correlation between the study of literature and low IQs, but let's face it: If you're dumb enough to be a Marxist, you're probably not smart enough to make it through law or medical school. So the Marxists, as undergrads, naturally gravitate to fields where their intellectual vapidity can be covered up by the overuse of high-dollar words (remember the Sokol Hoax?). Literary -- ack, a little emergency for Dad here. Anyway, I think I've made my point.

R.R. Hamilton

kurt w said...

R.R.,

Your earlier statement at 11:50 6/29 seemed to imply that you thought literary criticism was a worthwhile pursuit, at least as a pasttime on blogs. What changed your attitude?

I don't think that the disciplines of law and economics encompass everything there is to know (though they do add to our understanding) about politics and business. They certainly do not cover a complete study of theories of different forms of government. What would be left for political sciencists to study? I don't even think that Hardt's lecture was about politics (certainly not business) but more about political theory, though I suppose you could take a very broad view of what politics covers.

Now you are bringing up IQ. I can only assume that you have run out of insults for Hardt. It's not enough that his opinion and yours differ. It's not enough to claim that history has shown his ideas t be dangerous and deadly. He must be semi-retarded too. Hardt probably had bad penmanship to boot.

Francis Fukuyama reviewed Hardt's work and, based on a couple of other commenters, skewered it. I'll assume that he is among Hardt's intellectual superiors. As I've said before, Hardt may be completely wrong, so Fukuyama might have bested him (I'm not at all surprised, as you suggested). The fact that he reviewed Hardt's book at all is noteworthy. If, as you say, Hardt is so full of shit, why would somebody of Fukuyama's talent waste his time (why not leave it to half the American adults)? Apparently, he deemed Hardt's view to be wrong but worth rebutting (probably with a minimum of personal insults).

I note that Fukuyama studied classics and political science, not law or business. So, to answer your question: no, I don't think that law and economics are sufficient to understand political theory (though of course they help).

If Marxists populate the college literature departments it might be that those are places where they can explore their subject matter. Our educational system allows for that.

Now let's do some math. If at least half the adults are intellectually superior to Hardt (your claim), and Hardt is a moron with a low IQ, then up to half of the American adults are as moronic or more moronic than Hardt. Do you stand by that statement? Given that perhaps half the adults disagree with you on at least one issue, perhaps you do.

So you were worried earlier that I might cry "censorship" so you wanted to beat me to it? OK, in the race to be the first to make a silly claim of censorship on an open blog comment forum, you win. Did you make any other statements that were only for posturing?

G'Night!

Kurt W

kurt w said...

Correction:

Paragraph 5 should start, "I note that Fukuyama studied classics and political science, not law or *economics*.

mac said...

Guess you didn't know that Hardt
studied engineering at Swarthmore.

I don't take exception to Hardt's
intellect, I take issue with his
character - as evidenced by his
willingness to be a full-fledged
member of the 88 etc.

And he makes funny "girly-man"
gestures in the video as he speaks,
his hands fluttering like Dale
Harding's in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest." (the novel)

People who laugh at his current
endeavors forget that he was once
involved in the hard sciences.
Make a note.
Kurtz was once a reliable character,
too, in the fictional worlds of
Conrad/Coppola.