Here's a letter I sent to Iowa professor Ellen Lewin.
April 20, 2011
Denizen of the Humanities Intellectual Ghetto
Department of Worthless Sinecures
Dear Dr. Lewin:
I though I’d take a short break from work that actually means something to write you. Not to express disapproval, much less shock. Not even to marvel at the tone-deafness of your complaint at being addressed by your first name by someone you’ve just told to fuck off. Perhaps the irony center in your brain was fried in a freak mushroom accident. In any event, a lack of deference to a professor outside of the hard sciences and maybe law and business should hardly surprise anyone with a pulse. The emperor’s clothes are at best see-through.
No, I’ll skip the low-hanging fruit and instead invite you to consider that the entire humanities project, as it is practiced at the modern university, has devolved into a masturbatory shambles. What, madam, may I ask, have you or any of your academic cohorts ever done to “relieve man’s estate?” Yes that’s Bacon – one of those dead white males you no doubt view with contempt. Still, the question stands. What does your “work” do to enrich or advance the life of anyone? Not that exploration of the hard questions of human existence is not worthwhile. However it’s a far leap from that premise to finding value in an analysis awash in warmed-over Marxism, “queer theory,” or “feminist theory.” Again, I ask you, what have you done besides advance yourself through the Bizarro universe of humanities academia?
Your email attempting to justify your initial tantrum touches so many bases of the leftist catechism that I was tempted to think you were engaging in a self-deprecating parody. Then I remembered your unfortunate brain injury.
You bray that persons outside your orthodoxy have taken a protected phrase, “coming out,” in vain. Do you propose to redress this through inflicting a plague, or perhaps the slaughter of Republican firstborn? Your righteous indignation at this “obscenity” rivals the provincialism of a backwoods moonshiner.
Now let me say I’m not picking on you because you’re gay. Who any adult sleeps with, marries, or otherwise screws is not my or the law’s business in any cogent society. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts, however, that you’re not so tolerant of those who would reserve the right to criticize your sexuality, or even those who embrace tolerance but don’t want their kids taught, if they’re on the fence, it’s OK to jump to either side. Note that the foregoing is a legitimate parental response even if one believes that sexual orientation is only rarely driven by choice.
I would have thought an educated person would know better than to invoke animal “rights.” Animals have protections, not rights. Those protections derive from sound economic principles and from an appropriate revulsion at the deliberate infliction of unnecessary pain by human beings, not from any rights-based claims of the animals themselves.
Your confusion about the Wisconsin situation is understandable. Given your background, I doubt you understand enough economics to balance a checkbook. Let me break it down for you. A productive economy driven by voluntary transactions can only support so much dead weight – i.e., government workers whose wages are out of proportion to their value. Due to changing demographics, global shifts, and the growth of government payrolls and pensions, changes have to be made. And the place to make those changes is in non-market priced employment. If you want to make more than the producers can pay for government employment, get a real job. I really think you should resign your government funded post and let the price mechanism establish your worth in the private marketplace. Such an experience might provide you with some actual insight, and even, one imagines, some humility.
Very truly yours,
Joseph A. McDermott, III