Several recent news stories have appeared detailing the woes that the Chinese Virus from Wuhan, China has incurred on our Institutions of Higher Learning.
The University of Michigan announced cuts Monday to all three campuses — Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint — and Michigan Medicine, include reductions in hours, pay and nonessential expenses.
In addition, President Mark Schlissel said Monday in an open letter addressed to colleagues, there would be hiring and salary freezes, and if the financial situation worsens, even deeper cuts, including layoffs, may be necessary.
He also suggested that the university did not plan to tap into the endowment because it “supports funds that can be used only for a specific purpose,” and U-M is committed to honoring donor agreements and “support scholarships, important programs and the long-term stability of the university.”
The pandemic, he said, has adversely affected the community, “creating personal difficulties and adding fear and uncertainty to our lives.” It also “has threatened the financial stability and future strength of our university.”
The university estimates a loss of $400 million to $1 billion through year-end.
There is some pro forma weasel words about how they can’t touch the $11+ billion endowment to help out the little guys. Now of course I feel bad for the janitors, landscapers and people who actually do actual work and actually teach kids things worth learning, but what percentage of those people make up employees at these places vs. shit heads like these guys:
When it comes to authoritarian presumption, it seems that leftist intellectuals just can’t help themselves:
Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? Should parents snuggling up for one last story before lights out be even a little concerned about the advantage they might be conferring?
So asks ABC’s “educational broadcaster” Joe Gelonesi, before turning for an answer to a mind even loftier than his own:
Once he got thinking, [political philosopher Adam] Swift could see that the issue stretches well beyond the fact that some families can afford private schooling, nannies, tutors, and houses in good suburbs. Functional family interactions — from going to the cricket to reading bedtime stories — form a largely unseen but palpable fault line between families. The consequence is a gap in social mobility and equality that can last for generations. So, what to do?
Dr Swift, whose interests include “sociological theory and Marxism,” starts with the obvious. Obvious to him, that is:
One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.
It’s a bold move, one that’s been suggested many times, typically by people bedeviled by totalitarian fantasies and insatiable spite. Thankfully, our concerned academic shies away from such directness and even praises the family and its “love-based relationships.” Instead, he wants to, as Gelonesi puts it, “sort out those activities that contribute to unnecessary inequality from those that don’t.” Dr Swift’s definition of “unnecessary inequality” will soon become clear.
What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children.
What “we” will allow parents to do. For their own children.
Our expert in “social justice” and “egalitarian theory” proposes a test (or rather, an excuse) for statist interference. An excuse based on “those unique and identifiable things that arise within the family unit and contribute to the flourishing of family members.” One thing is immediately flagged as impermissible:
“Private schooling cannot be justified by appeal to these familial relationship goods,” he says. “It’s just not the case that in order for a family to realise these intimate, loving, authoritative, affectionate, love-based relationships you need to be able to send your child to a private school.”
Yes, spending your own earnings on lawful and private things – things that may give your children a better chance in life, perhaps better than your own – these things, you see, aren’t needed and therefore they shouldn’t be permitted. Whether any given parent or child might feel otherwise, perhaps based on their own experience of state education – and whether their views ought to carry more weight than the opinions of a passing stranger – are, oddly, unaddressed.
But let’s close on a happy note:
“I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” quips Swift.
One more time:
Parents reading their children bedtime stories… are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children.
In the comments, several readers note that Mr Gelonesi’s article, and the comments by Dr Swift, serve chiefly to advance the notion that those who escape state education are doing wrong and, implicitly, should be stopped. And yet the practical and moral consequences of banning private education aren’t examined at all in the article, even briefly. No-one even registers the sheer arrogance of the idea. It’s simply assumed by both parties that doing so would be good and could have no downsides worth noting. Because – magic words – “social justice.” There’s apparently no expectation that the presenter and his guest might pause to consider the fallout for the people who would be victims of their homogenising fantasy.
“I think Adam Swift (and everyone like him, i.e. the reporter interviewing him) should be hung by the neck until he was dead,” quips KY Headhunter.
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