Too Too Much

Source; Sent from an Internet friend.....


The Wall Street Journal reported on the insane spending of American public universities, with special emphasis on their proclivity for expensive building projects. What is this for, despite billions wasted on construction since 2000, classroom and faculty office space remained stubbornly insufficient and had not expanded for decades.

The nation’s public universities have been on an unfettered spending spree. They erected new skylines comprising snazzy academic buildings and dorms. They poured money into big-time sports programs and hired layers of administrators. Then they passed the bill along to students, inextricably tied to the nation’s $1.6 trillion federal student debt crisis. Colleges have paid for their sprees in part by raising tuition prices, leaving many students to take on more debt. That means student loans served as easy financing for university projects.

Construction is merely the most visible extravagance modern American universities have allowed themselves. They are also spending vastly more on personnel, especially administrators. Trustees demanded little accountability and often rubber-stamped what came before them. And schools inconsistently disclose what they spend, making it nearly impossible for the public to review how their tuition and tax dollars are being used.

Federally-backed student loans increased the amount that schools could charge, and they raised tuition to claim this money. For the most part, that amounted to expanding the ranks of those cadres responsible for managing funds, namely the administrators and their subordinate staff, as well as those things which administrators manage, such as buildings and the building of them.

The institutional apparatus of the university itself – including its central managers and its physical manifestation in the form of the campus – has absorbed the money. The existing administration and the better-connected faculty paid themselves more and deepened their expense accounts to some extent. The money could have been spent on core academic functions, such as hiring more professors, increasing faculty salaries to snag the best scholars, improving research funding and facilities or building more and better classrooms. Obviously, faculty have better-appointed offices and classrooms now than they did 30 years ago, but it is almost nothing in comparison to the money pissed away on worthless buildings and worthless managers. University administrations can’t so easily pilfer funds, so when they have an excess of them, they simply hire more managers like themselves.

As a general principle, in any political-economic system based on appropriation and distribution of goods, rather than on actually making, moving, or maintaining them, and therefore, where a substantial portion of the population is engaged in funneling resources up and down the system, that portion of the population will tend to organize itself into an elaborately ranked hierarchy of multiple tiers. As a corollary within those hierarchies, the line between retainers and subordinates will often become blurred, since obeisance to superiors is often a key part of the job description. Most of the important players are lords and vassals at the same time.

It is not a system that emerged to extract more money from taxpayers, customers, students or donors, but rather an institutional response to the abundance of these resources after the institution has collected them. The Principle of Managerial Self-Multiplication at work here. Increased funding is used 1st and foremost to expand those sectors of the bureaucracy which have initial control over these funds, and secondarily to give the expanded bureaucracy something to do. The faculty at almost all universities operate with substantial independence from the administration and they are arranged in self-governing departments. Hiring more faculty would not actually keep the expanded administration very occupied, and so a great part of the funds go into classic administrative projects, like construction instead. An important feature of all this runaway managerialism, is that almost none of it is about the core institutional mission itself. It is not about teaching students, or making tea or running an online encyclopedia. It is instead perversely recursive, addressed to the internal management of the institution itself.

As money enters a sufficiently elaborate institutional apparatus, there are endless opportunities for bureaucrats to direct the funds towards their own, internal purposes. Complexity plays a central role here; where no single person can comprehend how the institution as a whole functions, spending decisions become impossible to direct towards any rational purpose. Over time, the resources are commandeered in service of the separate, institutionally mediated goals of the managers, who strive above all to expand their own ranks.

Managerialism(***) is an ever-advancing process of decay masquerading as an administrative system, and it has become a defining pathology of Western civilization. Our lives are run by massive institutions in thrall to complex institutional forces beyond all human understanding, which every day become more convoluted, unpredictable and self-serving. This parasitic, tumorous growth now commands the resources of a great part of the economy, and it uses these resources to grow itself still further. Worst of all, nobody has any idea about how to stop it, let alone reverse its terrible progress.
***. “The bourgeoisie [middle class] became decadent not because it was sensible and restrained but because it leveled the edifices of the sacred and the traditional to subject all things to acquisitive appetite and worldly power…in the post-Freudian world they have come to believe they do not indulge their appetite nearly enough…reducing themselves to merely workers, consumers or parasites…”---Jacques Maritian

“If asked about my guiding principles, I would always refer to my skepticism and even to my distaste for the spirit of the age and its fellow travelers….a healthy society depends on individuals who refuse to compromise their integrity, even if that means standing in opposition to what appears to be the majority opinion…republics die when citizens abandon politics to the unprincipled.”---Joachim Fest

Western civilization lives mainly under a single political concept, call it managerial neo-liberalism (or progressivism), that combines an emphasis on the values of individual satisfaction and the process of democracy with the domination of social life by those deemed as political correct experts or functionaries. Together these forces have led to the suppression of speech and religion, cultural particularity, individual choice and sexual distinction. The advertised goal, of increased freedom, instead in effect is that human life becomes what those in power say it is, with their implicit claim of the right to remake the most basic arrangement(1)

This process is implemented through the effort to overturn traditional notions of decency and order in the interest of a calculating (by erroneous) claim of progress is never satisfied. This ideology, term it Progressivism, leads inevitably to utter irrationality and eventually political, as well as moral, chaos. This is so since in such a setting, wanting to do something, the Nietzscheian will to power, becomes the criteria for what makes it worth doing. And the good of a thing can only be the satisfaction of preferences simply as such.

For it is a tenet of organizational and human behavior that freedom and equality destroy all limitations when treated as ultimate standards. The conundrum then is that the more the culture through politics maximizes freedom, the more it must narrowly limit what is permissible, lest it interfere with the required equality of freedom of the other, or the centralized monopolistic functioning of the government.

The result is that the neo-liberal state cannot allow people to take seriously the things they have traditional taken most seriously(2). What then becomes the operant condition of this managerial neo-liberalism is the suppression of how people can understand their lives when at odds with the neo-liberal view.  Those who do not accept this transformation, no matter how sound, developed, accurate and superior their stance, are to be excluded from public discussion—demonized and attacked as cranks who oppose freedom, equality, and reason.

Neo-liberal principles, in the long-run then, cannot compromise, cannot exist simultaneously with and must ultimately destroy every other non-liberal value and institution, especially the very ones that neo-liberal ideologies need to survive and continue.  For the problem is that the idea of equal freedom (which must be defined in terms of the individual as the recipient) as the highest goal (the goal used as the tool for aggressively expanding monopolistic government domination of all human lives), cannot be made consistent with itself. If individual preference is supreme, whose preferences win when the difference cannot be reconciled? How is freedom consistent with government effectiveness, equality and the view that so-called experts ought to determine and guide what everyone does? For the enormous complex, bureaucratic, heavily regulated leviathan must require uniform centralization and strict limits on disturbing factors like enterprise, competition and choice of, by and for the individual.

Under such conditions formal and informal traditional institutions that democratic, free and open societies depended upon start to fall; family life disintegrates, religion turns to mush, neighborhoods become less neighborly, entertainment propagates ever cruder habits and attitudes, employment ties and loyalty weaken, cultures separate, understanding and tolerance dissolve. The politics of such a culture then becomes ever more irrational and manipulative, with social peace having to be purchased by bribing the discontented and the parasites who are told they are free, equal, happy, and in charge but, in reality, are the exact opposite.

“Neo-liberalism, which claims to create and own modest, sensitive  tolerant and rational setting that lets everyone follow his own best understanding of how to live, turns out to impose a system that must give immense power to an irresponsible ruling class and tries to force the whole of life into patterns radically at odds with natural human tendencies.”—James Kalb

A universal law that even societies must adhere to is that error cannot sustain itself. What allows the managerial neo-liberal regime to sustain and continue functioning currently are habits of loyalty, sacrifice and understandings of natural goods and purposes. Managerial neo-liberalism continually undermines those, it cannot even justify them.

The process to reform all this does starts with truth. Humans are certainly capable of adhering to truths of reality more concrete than rather maligned abstractions such as social justice or global consciousness. If truth comes first, principles such as freedom, equality and human nature can be seen from an inclusive perspective that can give each due credit without tyrannizing over the others. When something else comes first, irrationality and oppression inevitably must follow.

“The obvious truth---that it is necessary to repress the permanent possibility in human nature of brutality and barbarism ultimately inevitable from relativism -- never finds its way into our schools or the press, or other mass communication.” --- Theodore Dalrymple

“It’s easy to blame the masses indoctrinated by our public school monopoly and liberal biased media but, blame should fall on those who knew better but failed out of self-interest to take a stand”---Robert Beum

“The first step towards sound reform is to adopt the principle not to concede basic points in order to get along but to insist on principle in every possible setting… Tradition must be illuminated and renewed by reason, reason must be tempered and steadied by tradition...We can hope to keep our own minds rich, insightful, and prudent. We can share such wisdom as we have with family, friends, and colleagues. Thereby keeping alive the heritage of Western civilization, despite its cultured despisers, for the time when it will, most assuredly, be wanted and needed again.”—R. V. Young

“Do not give in to evils: fight back ever more boldly.”---Virgil

“There are many dangers in life, and safety is one of them.”---Goethe

“Courage is stiffness before the seductive corruption of men.”---Joseph Conrad

(1) For example, the redefinition of marriage, or the creation out of pure fabricated penumbra a right of abortion in effect makes mankind its own God, political correctness its sacraments with human politics then the authoritative expression of his mind, spirit and will, making the substance of the separation of church and state a subtle but substantial joke.

(2) “Family, religion, particular culture, and local autonomy resist external supervision and control.”---R.V. Young


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