Thy Week, Thus Far

Wednesday September 1, 2020

A Weekly Wednesday Dose of Truth

Zeno of Elea by Carducci or Tibaldi

Articles, Podcasts, and Videos

Ricochet (Podcast) an audio network of leading conservative podcasts has several excellent conversations going this week. From The Radio Free Hillsdale Hour (One of two Hillsdale College’s podcasts that I am aware of) had an interview this week with Adam Carrington, Roger Kimball, and Kathleen O’Toole. Adam Carrington is assistant professor of politics at Hillsdale College and discusses the history of political conventions. Roger Kimball, editor and publisher of The New Criterion and president and publisher of Encounter Books, discusses his recent essays on the rule of law amid protests and riots in America. And Kathleen O’Toole, assistant provost for K-12 education at Hillsdale, talks on Covid-19 and the coming school year. First Things from First Things Magazine (which I subscribe to and suggest everyone should) produced an interview with Dr. Lawrence M. Mead III a professor at New York University and a leading thinker on welfare and poverty who now faces the wrath of cancel culture for producing a paper titled, Poverty and Culture, where Mead suggests that racism alone does not explain poverty in black and hispanic communities but rather an adopted non-western, un-individualistic norm may be their root cause for poverty. Mead’s views are accused as racist and unscholarly in nature as his paper faces retraction, for additional insight see a report by Retraction Watch. While I do not necessarily agree with Mead’s assessment I do support his right as a scholar to produce work that can be either proven or disproven in the open without retraction or threats. Finally, The Roth Effect with Carol Roth interviews model Danisha Carter on “Connecting with Gen Z on Capitalism” over the rise of Socialism taking place.

Roger Scruton Legacy Foundation It is with great honor to introduce the late Sir Roger’s Foundation that will serve future generations of conservative thinkers like myself. Please apply to their emails and be on the look out for their upcoming events, seminars, and initiatives. As part of a tribute there a two articles that caught my eye: 1) Chaos Creates Conservatives and 2) Live Notes on the Roger Scruton Legacy Foundation Webinar both by Timon Cline.

First Things (Web/Magazine) has a web exclusive section that includes an article by Iranian columnist Sohrab Ahmari, The Books Behind The Rage. Ahmari argues that leftist academia whose works include On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder has produced a false, antifascist narrative as he describes, “If someone sincerely believes that Trumpism, and analogue movements across the developed world, aren’t just conservative-nationalist or populist but fascist or Nazi-ish, then he has a right and even the duty to oppose the elected government of the United States militantly, to help strangle in the cradle the 21st century’s equivalent of the most odious tendencies of the last century. While I understand the sentiment the issue goes both ways concerning extremism and the rise of threats. Radicals of the left are being accused of being Neo-Marxist for example. President Trump is not a fascist yet several cabinet members were connected to the alt-right movement. Ultimately people must be able to make decisions freely or they face being wrought by propaganda and control though anti-conspiracy, fact checkers, and bans that claim to “know better.” Granted conspiracies arise regardless of restriction. I believe it is a deeper problem than Admari suggests but a short read worthy of consideration.

PAYWALL’Ed: Academic Research & Open Knowledge


As I was preparing Part 2 of Mob Rule, Mob Rules I was reminded of the enormous amount of paywalls preventing an average citizen from conducting research without having to pay either per article ($30-$170) or for the journal ($100 to ?).

Paywall’s are nothing new and have been an issue that public and private researchers have been trying to address over the years. But it had me wondering, who controls the flow of information? And why? How can a free and open society continue to thrive if information is guarded by higher education, companies, and governments from the public? Of course, while I understand the desire to make money, it is also rare for the actual researchers involved to directly to pocket money from their publications.

In a discussion with a professor of mine years ago we discussed the history of Universities, especially top-tier Universities, having long been gate keepers of information and they continue to seek relevancy while competing with private companies and non-profits over research and development. Today it is cyber security along with the fields of mathematics, quantum computing, and evolutionary studies across multiple fields that are the profit-makers, the mainstream courses and, sought after research by institutions of higher education.

There is a great deal of information on this topic. From The Atlantic, Why Isn’t Academic Research Free to Everyone?, a short interview with Martin Paul Eve, a lecturer at the University of Lincoln’s School of English & Journalism and author of Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies And The Future (2014) is a simple place to start. Another small article from Scientific America, Scientific Research Shouldn’t Sit behind a Paywall. And if you are looking for an intelligent, history lesson on the subject of Journals and Paywalls I recommend reading Priceonomics article, Why is Science Behind a Paywall?. Finally, WIRED released, The Quest to Topple Science-Stymying Academic Paywalls.

Reported in 2019 and again in 2020, the Trump Administration has even considered opening up research for general access without cost.

One hesitation that I have concerning Open Source and Open Access is the mirage of “free services” that come with it. Yes, these are publicly funded research paper, but not all research is publicly funded. Even if publicly funded, not all research should be conducted under tax payer dollars; I imagine there is wasteful research though likely subjective from a scientific vs a political view. Also there is the question of who owns the research and do they have a right to decide its use?

As the material world becomes more present and away from enteral things, a spirit of socialism blows in the wind. Demands for free access flow out from the idea that we all can have free education, free information, free healthcare, etc. Well, no, either the taxpayers pay for it or a large sum is payed by corporations through their own means and provisions to their employees. As of now, taxpayers are footed the bill regardless.

Please do not misunderstand I do not object to open access. It is good. But I am weary of a society that demands for more without asking what is required of them.

Perhaps I am missing the point? Leave your comments below.