In Defense of Walter Block – Bulwark Against the Leftist Academic Takeover
With all that they have already taken down, the mob has now set its eyes on a new target – academia.
It’s bad enough that universities are filled with predominantly leftist academics, that scream about fabricated claptraps like “institutional racism.” I know this, because I’ve seen it every day in the “honors” college at my university.
But, no. Somehow this is not enough for the mob.
As a STEM major, I thought that I would be free from leftist jargon taking over my curricula, but that was a big miscalculation. Some crazies want to “embed learning outcomes related to ethics” in my engineering and mathematics courses.
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Jeff Deist was right to say that colleges are virtually left wing think tanks, nowadays.
But a few contrarians exist out there to counter the prevailing campus norms. And I regard my friend Dr. Walter Block as one of these dissenters.
A group of butt hurt students (of the type I frequently encounter on my own campus) decided to set up a petition against him, because he’s supposedly “racist.”
Unlike the loser who set up the petition (that barely got 500 signatures), I’ve known Dr. Block fairly well over the past few years. He is a good man of great wit and creativity. Attaching a pejorative to him is an obscene, unwarranted, and namely ignorant mischaracterization. It’s frankly a cheap shot (which is to be expected from people whose ambitions are predicated on hatred and misinformation over sound ideas, the latter which they hate).
I met Dr. Block a few years back at Mises University, a weeklong economics conference in Auburn, Alabama. I spent a good deal of time then discussing ideas pertaining to the free market and ethics with him. Compared to the other academics, there was something sui generis about Dr. Block. His ideas seemed insane at the surface – but revealed themselves as profoundly complex and well-reasoned as one dug deeper.
From the evictionist theory, to privatizing oceans, to privatizing space – these ideas were awfully peculiar. But with a little bit of an open mind, they became fascinating to any astute student of economics or philosophy.
I left Auburn that week incredibly inspired. So inspired, that I wrote my college admission essay specifically on my dialogue with Walter Block. But this inspiration transcended the realms of economics and philosophy. It spilled into the general conduct of life.
Here is a man – even at 78 years young – who continues churning out well thought out papers like a machine. He doesn’t seem to waste a minute of his life and always remains incredibly productive. He’s already published some 500 papers, both independently and with others. He’s sparked viciously rigorous debates in academic circles that have resulted in endless cycles of rejoinders.
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I think it’s safe to say that Walter Block is what business magnate Dan Peña would call a “high performance person” – “being all that you can be, every day, 24/7, 365.” It’s hard not be inspired by such individuals.
At the end of the day, the same lessons of discipline and high-performance apply, regardless of how one leads their life. Whether one wants to go into the realm of business, academia, or entrepreneurship, the Walter Block mindset is one worth adopting.
Contrary to what his adversaries say of him, Dr. Block’s ideas are not “half-baked” or “bigoted.” They are substantive and inspiring. At Mises University, Dr. Block attracted crowds of 30 or so people, huddled into a small library to ask him questions. Given this, it’s hard to assign pejoratives to his scholarship. I know I was inspired through my interactions with Dr. Block. And I’m certain that I wasn’t the only one.
It makes sense that brainless twits would resort to mob tactics when confronted by someone like Dr. Block. They could never do what he does.
The attempt at executing this ouster demonstrates a serious disconnect between what institutions of higher education claim to provide, and what they actually provide.
College has become an embedded element in the rhythm of the American way of life. Society at large acts like everyone must go to college. Put bluntly, there are plenty of nimrods I see every day, who’d be far better off going to trade school or something of that nature.
I see college as a “choose your adventure” with two choices: 1.) Go to college to become well versed in a skill that you want to leverage (what I am doing via studying engineering); 2.) Go to college to go after an academic career, in which you pursue the truth – above all other things – and do so via rigorous and unabashed debate.
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But we don’t see rigorous and unabashed debate anymore. The fact that so many people have forgotten the place of the American college in the societal fabric, as described earlier, has led to an indifference that has allowed one side to seize the debate stage. Its consequences have been catastrophic. Colleges have become feel-good consortiums of the insecure.
People at my university are being booted out of SGA for holding beliefs contrary to the egalitarian agenda. Insecure, do-gooder students are trying to impose “diversity” graduation requirements on the student body. Even worse, most people, whether they agree with it or not, nod with tacit approval like imbeciles! Elie Wiesel was right: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
In strange times like these, the people we need the most are people like Walter Block, who have a pair and are willing to stand up to this mob. The last thing we need to do is ignore the attempt at ousting him. Not acting is the same as reluctantly nodding your head.