I’m not a big booster of my undergraduate alma mater, Princeton, or a big fan of its current president, Christopher Eisgruber. But when a self-proclaimed “libertarian” academic gleefully defends an absurdly unwarranted federal investigation into the institution, relying on transparently idiotic arguments, one reaches a point of discursive futility: this is not a person worth arguing with, or even all that much worth spitting at.
No one with Brennan’s credentials can be stupid enough to believe the bullshit arguments he’s trundling out at this point. As a friend of mine pointed out, Brennan’s blog posts are not meant to be taken seriously. They’re just the efforts of a hostile well-poisoner working off his animosities in public in the confident belief that he can say anything about anyone with impunity. All I have left to say is: feel free, dude–and feel free to fuck yourself while you’re at it.
And all I can say to his colleagues at 200 Proof Liberals and elsewhere is: if you want to associate with this unhinged thug, you go right ahead, and you go right ahead pretending to be “200 Proof Liberals” while you do so. But when libertarians start cozying up to Trumpist McCarthyism against the academy, I guess my suggestion would be: you might consider jumping ship. If this is what non-left libertarianism has become, someone should just blow it up and start over. It’s become a self-parody that’s not even worth laughing at any more.
Jason Brennan loves to accuse people of “rent-seeking.” Hard to make that accusation stick in my case, but give it a shot if you feel inclined. I quit my academic job under duress back in May, went on the job market, and came out with a job working in a hospital operating room making $14 an hour. Adjuncting aside, I have no plans of returning to academia any time soon. So a bullshit federal investigation into racism at Princeton doesn’t affect me in any material way. But like a lot of people, I feel a certain revulsion for privileged people who function as ass-kissers and cheerleaders for the power hungry. So I’m going to go and throw up now. Discuss.
Postscript, Sept. 22, 2020: Here’s a PDF of the Department of Education’s letter to Princeton on this matter–the legal pseudo-argument Brennan is defending. Both morally and legally, it’s garbage, a transparent act of legal harassment that has no chance at all of prevailing in court, and wasn’t intended to. Here’s the cynical, dishonest strategy the letter was intended to facilitate. Embarrassing.