Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Is Your College Professor Autistic? This May Explain a Lot

One of my friends, who is a dean of instruction, recently brought to my attention the prevalence of
Mary Temple Grandin 
(born August 29, 
1947) is an American 
consultant to the livestock 
industry on animal behavior, 
and autism spokesperson.
faculty members on the Autism Spectrum. She thinks this explains a lot of the interpersonal and communication problems she see among them.

It might be fun for the conservative students everywhere to do a quick survey of where their liberal professors stand on the Autism Spectrum. They can code for problems in social communication and social interaction, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. Off the top of my head, I would think at least 20% of the professors I know are probably on the Autism Spectrum.

It may be that a peaceful, quiet, low stress college campus is the ideal environment for a high functioning individual. Check out this article from CBS News for more details.

Is Your College Professor Autistic?

There is also some evidence that some of our top geniuses would have been on the Autism Spectrum too including Albert Einstein, Amadeus Mozart, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, and Michelangelo.

Here's some more tips. Look for people who are unusually uncomfortable with loud noises, go without food or have odd eating habits, and those who find it difficult to establish friendships or romantic relationships.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hot On Quora: Is Trump Sorry the Issues He Ran On Are Not More Firmly Based on Facts or Science?

Trump appears to want to be "popular". Do you think Trump now wishes he had campaigned on policy positions that were more soundly grounded on science and fact? Or, could he have been elected otherwise?

Trump won by leading a political realignment. In short, he argued for policy positions which pealed off white working class voters who had previously been voting for Barack Obama. Among the issues which attracted these voters to the new Republican party were 1) a crack down on illegal immigration, 2) a promise to end the federal government’s hostility to coal mining, and 3) a focus on using U.S. tariffs to protect U.S. workers and bargain for better treatment in international markets.

The Democrats made things worse for themselves by leaning so hard on their standard identity politics agenda that they ended up suggesting with great seriousness that all white people, including the white working class, was benefiting unfairly from “white privilege.”

In the mouths of some Democratic party stalwarts, this white privilege message appeared to be little more than an expression of anti-white hate. I have no doubt that apparent Democrat party hostility to the white working class, particularly white working class men, was a major motivating factor among the late deciding swing voters in the upper Mid-West who tipped the Electoral College to Donald J. Trump. Frankly, if you have ever spent much time hanging out with identity politics activists or leftist college professors, then I think you will understand that white, working class swing voters where perhaps right to reject a political party which contains many people who view them with contempt and disdain. In this sense, Hillary’s campaign was a high flying car wreck like that pictured below.

Your question seems to imply that the key issues which are at the heart of this political realignment are not properly grounded in fact or science. As a practical matter, I cannot imagine that Trump is second guessing himself on the worthiness of these policy questions. I’m sure he is just happy to be president. Moreover, there are a ton of Republicans who are also really happy that he is president too. Thanks to his victory, the Republicans have their highest level of dominance in our government since the 1920s.

Many of them, no doubt, greatly feared a second Democrat party president in a row. This is because Hillary would have never appointed to the Supreme Court someone who actually took the constitution seriously and made their decisions based on an originalist interpretation of the document. For many of them, this last election appeared to be an existential crisis for both white dominance in the U.S. and the survival of our U.S. constitutional system. The fear I heard expressed at Republican functions was that a Clinton victory would lead to an influx of immigrants - both legal and illegal - who would vote for socialism, affirmative action, redistribution, and efforts to undermine “white privilege” broadly and unfairly understood. The result would be a nation that looked like California, a state where the Republican party and white evangelical Christians have virtually no say in the laws (or taxes) which seem designed to humiliate and financially harm them, harm them enough at least to cause them to exit the state and move to TX.

That being said, I’m not so sure that the policy positions that Trump used to bring about this historic electoral realignment are all that bad from the view point of either science or fact. For example, there can be no doubt that increased immigration (legal or not) reduces the wages of the white working class. Moreover, increased immigration means that white working class voters will find themselves increasingly surrounded by people of different races and nationalities who do not share traditionally common American beliefs including the elevation of the Bible over the Qu’ran. Increase immigration harms the white working class by surrounding them with people from different cultures who are in fact hostile to their received American culture. Upper class whites, in contrast, are not face-to-face with the immigrant population since they can afford to move to relatively white enclaves where they are safely insulated from the downside of massive and often illegal immigration.

For that matter, I’m not sure that ending restrictions on coal mining is somehow anti-science or anti-fact. Obviously we have new ways of burning coal that make it a better quality fuel - i.e. clean coal. I have to admit that all the scientific evidence shows that tariffs will make things worse for the white working class.

Nevertheless, this is an approach that Trump (along with Ross Perot) has believed in for many years. It was not, on his part, a sudden decision to embrace this policy. As a practical matter, many other counties also make similar efforts to protect their domestic employers. Usually, these are smaller countries where they are highly dependent on the success of local champions. It maybe that the U.S. is now in a similar position. Also, conventional wisdom may be too bleak about the actual implementation of tariffs. Potentially, these tariffs may not go into effect because Trump will us them or the threat of using them to encourage other countries to lower their tariffs and permit more U.S. companies to fairly compete in their markets.

Some, of course, will argue that Trump colluded with the Russians to bring about his victory. Truthfully, I just don’t buy this. I don’t think you can cause an electoral realignment simply by having the Russian government spend a relatively trivial amount of money on social media or by leaking the e-mails of Hillary’s campaign manager. An electoral realignment is based on real issues, and tough decisions about the direction of the nation. The leadership needed to cause an electoral realignment comes from the candidates themselves…not some foreign government. Trump was that kind of leader and he scored an amazing victory by historical standards.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hot or Not: Williams College Names Average Rated Teacher as the New Assistant Dean of the Faculty

Katarzyna Pieprzak
I just got this little bit of news from the famous Ephblog. It turns out that Williams College has given the job of assistant dean of the faculty to a 43 year-old single woman, from the department of Romance Language and Literatures, Katarzyna Pieprzak. What is shocking about her is that she receives a very low rating from the popular Rate My Professor website. She is a 3.9 in a school where the average rating is 4.02.

Kashia Pieprzak Professor in the Languages department at Williams College, Williamstown, MA

According to the four students who reviewed her teaching, her courses have a level of difficulty of 2.8. She is not, as I take it, hot. I suppose I take these ratings more seriously than most because I know that people are less likely to lie when they are making anonymous written comments and that more popular professors also tend to have a larger number of raters. Moreover, even a flawed rating system is useful as a comparative standard.

To see the contrast between her ranking and that of an above average faculty member it is useful to review the comments of a truly outstanding Williams College professor, Christian Thorne. He scores a perfect 5.0 with seven reviews. He is hot. His level of difficulty is a still modest 3.9. Check out what one of his students wrote about him:

Equally at home discussing Videodrone and Jane Austen, curious about every novel ever written (he should try Etched City next) a brilliant professor, a fellow punk rocker with an endless variety of interpretation and a devious skill of extracting the best out of everyone in the classroom.

Professor Pieprzak is, according to Rate My Professor at least, a below average faculty member. She is also a sign of how deeply the school is invested in promoting women to positions of leadership even though they lack the most basic requirements for successful service including outstanding teaching records, prior business experience, or a commitment to freedom of speech. Moreover, she displays what Williams College is looking for right now. She is the school's Director of Arabic Studies and a member of its Africana Studies department.

In this particular case, the new hire, Katarzyna Pieprzak, is an expert on the Middle East. Accordingly, I think her role is part of a larger virtue signaling effort in which young impressionable students are brainwashed into thinking it is safe to live around Muslims and that we should pay no attention to what Muslims actually believe or the fearful words and directions they receive from their dangerous religious texts.

I'm sure that the administration is confident that they will never find her teaching race realism on the side or discussing the extent to which converting Muslims to Christianity, confining them to their traditional shit hole countries, and fighting the rest of them to death is probably our last best hope for civilization in Europe.

Her research, as I understand it, is based on the apparent oddness that Morocco does not have much in the way of museums of art or antiquities. I'm still laughing at this. I don't think you need to spend more that five minutes in Morocco to realize the low priority that Muslims place on either art or historic antiquities. It is part of their religion to disregard them. For her to suggest that this weakness in Muslim culture is a side effect of imperialism, white racism, or anything other than the sheer cretinism of Muslim culture is a sign of the bias and madness which has infected our formerly prestigious liberal arts colleges.

I remember that when I taught at Williams College I was ranked among the top 10% of faculty members for my teaching skill. My doctoral dissertation was the best in the nation in my field. It was later published almost word for word without revisions. When I taught my last class I had about 50 students who were in tears, men and women, as I made my final remarks.

I doubt that the students of the below average Ms. Pieprzak will be shedding any tears as she moves on to her new administrative responsibilities.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hands Too Big: Bad Art for a Bad President

I think my interest in oil painting is starting to pay-off.

I know enough, for example, to see that Obama’s hands are out of proportion to his body (too large). There is also a severe anatomical problem with this left hand. Notice the weird fold of skin and muscle next to his pinky finger. No normal human hand looks like that.

This is the work of a seriously inadequate artist named Kehinde Wiley. It looks to me like the artist was trying to draw a thumb tucked under there.

Also notice the color of the light. It is different on Obama’s head versus his hands. This is just inexcusable, low-quality work.

I don’t see how you can justify annoying mistakes like this…even if they are supposed to be part of some over arching message like it is cool and significant to have deviant, dopey looking portraits of America’s first (half) black president.

The portrait of Mrs. Obama has also been condemned, rightfully, for failing to provide an accurate portrayal of her…except, perhaps, for her arms. This one was painted by Amy Sherald.

If the Obamas were so unsophisticated to commission and accept this poorly executed art, then their liberal/leftist supporters should ask what else have this couple been completely mistaken about?

Below, I'm offering up my own version of an official presidential oil painting for the Obamas. It is based on a real life car accident that occurred in Santa Ana, CA on January 14, 2018. I call it "Flying to the Dentist." It is 9" x 12" on canvas and available for sale.

For my take on young Obama and the recent David J. Garrow presidential biography, see https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/05/waiting_for_garrow_new_obama_biography_due_this_week.html

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Hot Potato: Should I Try to Transfer from Williams College to Stanford?

I was a little surprised I created a stir on Quora by answering a question posed by an anonymous
student at Williams College who asked whether or not it would be a good idea to bail out on Williams and hope for a transfer to Stanford University. I ended up getting a startling 19,100 views. The specific question was: "Should I try to transfer from Williams College to Stanford?" The same author posted the following additional comment:

Maybe it isn’t really that I want to go to Stanford specifically, but that I feel like I don’t fit in at Williams (I would try to transfer to some other schools too). It’s only my first year, so I know it’s still early, but I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunity.
I applied ED to Williams, not thinking that I would get in. I wasn’t confident in my resume/applications, even though I did relatively well at a rigorous high school in Silicon Valley. Williams has so many opportunities for me as a student interested in medical school - I’m already sort of performing research in a lab, all my profs know me, and I did fine in my pre-med weeder courses first semester (3.87 GPA).
I don’t know whether it’s just feeling geographically isolated, but I also feel like the opportunities at Williams don’t really fit me. I like the idea of smaller class sizes, but the classes here are too small for me to feel comfortable in. The music department (which I am heavily involved in) pays too much attention to me as a freshman and I’m overwhelmed with how many groups I’ve been asked to play in. People are so liberal that I’m sometimes scared that I might say something inappropriate (even though I’m also liberal).
It probably seems like I’m complaining about everything that’s good about Williams, but I think I would honestly thrive more if classes were a bit bigger and there were more musicians to compete with.

My response went like this:

I feel your pain. I never heard about Williams College until I got the invitation to interview there for a job as an assistant professor in the political science department. I didn’t know it was the top ranked school in the nation.

As a native Californian, nothing prepared me for life at a New England liberal arts college, and I quickly figured out that being there was a mistake. It was so cold and lonely when I arrived that I knew, almost immediately, that I had hit a dead end in my life.

I wish I would say that things got better there overtime, but they did not. In my experience, Williams College is just way too small and far too geographically isolated to be a good choice for your undergraduate education. If you have an opportunity to transfer to Stanford, I would take it in a heart beat.

From your anonymous comment, it appears that you are objective about the school’s strengths and weaknesses. I imagine that the question is whether or not things will get better if you stick around or if you should trust your gut feelings and bailout now.

I suppose the first thing I would recommend is that you should trust your gut instincts. Whether you fully appreciate it or not, Williams College is a very unusual place. Most recently, it was listed as one of the top ten worst schools in the U.S. for freedom of speech. A while back, it also made the list for the top ten druggiest schools in the nation.

The fact of the matter is that you are not the first person to think it was situated in a rotten part of the country. Many years ago, students and faculty who thought just like you bailed out on the school and founded Amherst College instead. The smallness of the school, which they spin as part of its success, coupled with the geographic isolation make it the sort of place where you do not have much anonymity or privacy.

In my experience, the campus leftists have a polarizing “you are with us or against us” attitude which, in the end, leaves pockets of undergraduates hating each others guts after four years of claustrophobic conflict. It doesn’t sound to me like you are bailing out because you are falling behind or failing in your classes.

I would close by saying that no one will judge you harshly for testing out Williams College and then finding out that it is too small, too cold, too myopic and too leftist for your tastes. In fact, it might mark you as a particularly insightful and objective person if you bail out as soon as possible. You will, after all, be in good company.

I ended up with a four year contract there and I left after three years myself. My college sweetheart lived near Stanford and I grew to really love that area even as that relationship died off. As I say, trust your instincts.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.