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Socialism, Academia, and Intellectuals

Socialism, Academia, and Intellectuals

The excerpts from

   My Fifteen Years at IKI, the Space Research Institute:

   Position-Sensitive Detectors and Energetic Neutral Atoms Behind the Iron Curtain

Interstellar Trail Press, 2022

Excerpts from  

My 15 Years at IKI

My 15 years at IKI

My Fifteen Years at IKI – 2-page info (pdf)

The recent rise of the totalitarian neo-Marxist far left in the United States supports a dangerous slide into socialist hell, away from common sense. Perhaps the most destructive and dehumanizing ideology in history, socialism understands "equality" as being "identical" ("identity" in the mathematical sense), views people as members of groups rather than individuals, and relies on the coercive power of societal structures, particularly of a state, to advance its cause.

pp. xiii-xiv

Socialism essentially defines and treats all people as members of groups rather than individuals. This dehumanizing feature unfairly opens or cruelly closes many doors in the lives of people based on their immutable characteristics rather than on merit and "the content of their character." The Soviet government widely used nationality for advancing or discriminating various categories of people in a feat of massive inhumane social engineering. Modern neo-Marxist-Leninist proponents of demeaning affirmative action and destructive identity politics and diversity by exclusion in the American political discourse and practice, especially on university campuses, follow the steps of their inspirational Soviet counterparts. They often look, however, as pitiful imitators.

pp. 3-4

Incidentally, the concept of tenure for faculty in universities and institutes did not and could not exist in communist countries. Academic freedom and consistently implemented socialism are fundamentally incompatible. Ironically, this rude awakening will welcome the present-day proponents of socialism in American universities if they ever succeed politically. It will be too late for them, though.

p. 26

A totalitarian system demands not only conformity and obedience by the subjects but also their participation in its functioning and acts (and crimes, at times), willing or not, sincere or fake.

p. 38

It would be highly educational for assorted neo-Marxist intellectuals packing American university campuses and populating media to spend some time reading the foundational treatises of Proudhon, Engels, Lenin, Mussolini, Goebbels, Stalin, Mao Zedong (Tse-tung), and other socialist luminaries. This could help them better understand how these classics viewed intelligentsia in capitalist countries as well as foresee their inevitable personal destruction, often meaning physical extermination, when a social-justice paradise arrives.

In a letter to a leading Soviet writer, Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Lenin famously described intellectuals in capitalist countries as

[bourgeoisie's] accomplices, the petty intellectuals, the lackeys of capital, who view themselves as the brains of the nation. In fact, they are not its brains but its sh*t.[10]

pp. 41-42

Besides, the overwhelming majority of critically minded Soviet subjects did not have problems with the substance of socialism, a result of centuries of the country's oppressive history and decades-long Marxist-Leninist indoctrination and incessant propaganda brainwashing. The concepts of individual freedoms, representative democracy, and private property sounded abstract, while the ideas of unalienable rights, individual responsibility, a market economy, and limited government looked truly alien.

... [Many Soviet] people rather felt unhappy about the implementation of the Marxist ideology, obvious inefficiencies, unfairness, and cruelty of the system, and deviations from what they thought true socialism should be. A little more prosperity, openness, and transparency would have satisfied them, not unlike the ideas of Gorbachev when he tried to save the ideology later. Only very few viewed Marxism-Leninism, and more broadly socialism, as inherently destructive, dehumanizing, immoral, and perhaps evil.

p. 44

Cooperation of businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other entities of the free world with totalitarian states was and is most common. Like the Soviet Union in the past, today, the People's Republic of China projects its economic power and advances the interests of its Communist Party in many countries through an army of willing or pragmatic advocates.

Scientists have always been a primary target in such influence operations, an easy target for manipulation when a socialist ideology is involved.

p. 48

Socialism has been effectively killing such attitudes [of hard work and merit] everywhere in the world whenever tried, whether in its soft "democratic" reincarnations or ugly radical forms. It inevitably promoted people according to seniority, connections, and group identity and inherently disregarded merit, celebrating the lowest common denominator. As a columnist of the largest U.S. national newspaper bluntly summarized it, "socialism is for morons." [1]

p. 79

A British novelist and scientist, Charles P. Snow, observed in his famous lecture at the University of Cambridge in 1959 that "pure scientists still, though less than twenty years ago, have statistically a higher proportion in politics left of center than any other profession: not so engineers, who are conservative almost to a man." [2] Already by the early 2000s, common sense and rationality had departed some of my old friends and colleagues, particularly in Europe. They then experienced acute Bush [3] Derangement Syndrome. This irrational condition and accompanying intolerance markedly worsened when President Donald J. Trump took office in 2017. As for engineers, they have also been shifting to the left since Snow's assessment of the late 1950s,

Today, statistics reveal that "[p]arty voter registration of faculty in many professional schools [in American universities] is tilted overwhelmingly left ... in a country with the electorate evenly divided between the two main political parties." [4] On average, the Democrat-to-Republican registration ratio usually exceeds a factor of ten in elite colleges and universities. Hard sciences such as physics, mathematics, and chemistry fair a little better with "only" 5-6 Democrats for every Republican on the faculty. Engineering still stands out with the estimated 1.6 registration ratio. [5] The non-hard-sciences and non-engineering fields such as "ideological" liberal arts and humanities are especially extreme in this imbalance, which inevitably degrades the quality of scholarship and replaces education with destructive indoctrination. The environment is becoming more intolerant and illiberal. A recent report by a U.S. President's Commission observed that the colleges in the United States had been peddling "resentment and contempt for American principles and history alike" and advanced "deliberately destructive scholarship." [6]

p. 111

Criticism of the free world and self-loathing remains prominent today among intellectuals in democracies, especially on university campuses and in the media. Lack of perspective became a defining trademark of "progressives" and socialists. It originates in the failing educational system and leads to increasing ignorance and intolerance.

Similar to the prerevolutionary Russian intelligentsia, the intellectuals in many countries helped undermine and bring down their non-perfect political systems. They strived to replace them with a more just, as they believed, order. And similar to the Russian historical experience, the new regimes physically liquidated them and their families later, after they had served their purpose. Only a lucky minority succeeded to flee abroad where some would continue to advance the worldview that had brought the demise of their countries and their personal destruction in the first place. Such developments repeated themselves throughout history again and again in China, Cuba, Iran, and other places with devastating consequences and horrific human costs.

p. 112

The so-called "democratic socialism" serves as a sinister gateway ideology to its inhumane hard varieties.

Another belated discovery awaits today's university professors enamored with hard-left orthodoxies: consistently implemented socialism does not tolerate academic freedom or recognize the privileges of the tenure. Many colleagues in academia have failed to notice this obvious inherent feature in the historical experiences of Russia, Germany, and China in the 20th century. Have they heard about the principle of karma? This is a rhetorical question.

Some like to explain such attitudes away as well-meaning naivete and gullibility. Facts do not support this generous assessment. A faculty member at a leading institution of higher learning in the free world cannot claim ignorance as an excuse.

p. 113

It saddens me today to observe the suicidal slide of American academia to socialist hell. "Academic freedom is withering" on campuses. [12] Many productive colleagues are usually busy with their teaching and research in a highly competitive environment while activists and radical ideologues on the left concentrate on coercive politics, taking advantage of the indifference or fear of the majority of faculty. Consequently, not that many advocate individual freedom, limits on state power, representative democracy, and a market economy.

pp. 251-252

Many universities are steadily turning into one-party enclaves. My University of Southern California is no exception. A scholarly publication shows that the Democrat-to-Republican party registration ratio at USC exceeds 25 in the combined fi elds of economics, history, journalism (communications), law, and psychology. [13] The causes for such a skewed ratio in a country evenly divided politically are clear. The resulting inevitable impact on the quality of scholarship and education is also obvious.

"The leftward march of the professoriate" [14] and university administrators alarms many. Hard sciences, engineering, and professional societies are becoming increasingly politicized as well. Recently, during the pandemic, the vital medical field and public health also embarked on conversion to theology, as global climate science and arms control did in the past. Replacement of quantitative test measures by subjective criteria in admissions of students and non-merit based hiring and promotion in universities, government, and industry will demolish academia and ruin businesses.

The totalitarian neo-Marxist far left drives this sinister transformation in which, as history teaches us, many protagonists will be consumed much sooner than they could imagine. The principle of karma inevitably awaits them.

Also repeating history, the defining characteristics of the present-day radical socialists include ignorance, intolerance, and lack of empathy. The more extreme they become, the more pronounced these features are. Incompetence, dysfunction, and celebration of mediocrity, which universally characterize socialist societies, grow.

p. 252

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