Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Academics are cowards.

Consider this:

https://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/economists-brexit-and-media-epilogue.html#comment-form

Wren-Lewis: "This really is like blaming scientists for not warning enough about climate change."

Wren-Lewis implies that it is  *wrong*  to blame climate scientists for not being politically engaged.

But that is indeed largely why we are in a climate crisis: the blame lies largely with climate scientists.

The problem is the same problem that manifests with academics generally. They are closeted in their seminars and conferences; they are like anoraks and nerds who prefer to stay in their basements playing video games rather than getting their hands dirty through involvement with the real world with its dirty business (e.g. politics). That is: prefer to stay in their comfort zones.

The attitude is: Let's wait til all the fighting blows over, then, when things have calmed down and we can feel safe again, we'll stick our heads above the parapet again.

All that academics really care about is being feted by others, e.g. politicians, through being invited to expound their  *professorial*  expertise.

They always want to run away from a fight.

But their running away only exacerbates the misery (e.g. austerity) for citizens. Academics who are both intellectual giants  *and*  political fighters (e.g. Noam Chomsky) are very rare.

Economic experts are happy to  *advise*  Corbyn (because that boosts their own profile), but they don't want to be seen as  *endorsing*  any politician because that would bring them too close to the heat of the battleground.

And they spin that detachment from the fight as a virtue ("neutrality"), just like the BBC spins its 'impartiality' between climate science and sceptics as a virtue (but is actually journalistic cowardice).

The ivory tower brigade (Corbyn's economic advisors) are too closeted to understand politics, ....

... too closeted to understand politics, a dirty business.

Consider this:

http://labourlist.org/2016/06/exclusive-labours-economic-advisors-criticise-corbyn-over-eu-campaign/

It seems the advisors have suspended their work because they're unhappy about Corbyn's performance in the EU referendum campaign, whose Leave result they consider "disastrous".

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that they're correct: Corbyn under-performed.

My point is that that's a technical issue - measuring his performance and measuring the impact of Leave on the economy (personally, I don't believe you can predict the economic impact because human behaviour is the massive variable that disqualifies economics from being a science, like, say, physics).

And that's the problem with the ivory-tower academics: they can only deal with technical questions; they have minimal/zero appreciation of dirty stuff like politics, because they never have to get into the sewer, as Corbyn and McDonnell have to. They like to be 'above' politics.

They don't understand that their precious technical assessments are, in the real world, merely political ammunition. They have handed the plotters another weapon with which to attack Corbyn.

It seems they haven't thought ahead because they're apparently oblivious that it's all a dirty game, not a civilised academic discussion, like the seminars they spend their lives in:
If Corbyn is eliminated, then there is even less hope that their anti-austerity economics will be implemented.

Their delusion is that their first priority should always be to academic questions, e.g. how bad will Brexit be for the economy and what proportion of blame lies with Corbyn?

They cannot understand that strategic questions must sometimes trump academic ones.

The same problem (closeted lifestyle of academics) occurs with climate scientists. They have spent decades in the delusion that it is enough simply to be getting on with their work and leave the politics to others. Now they regret their isolationism and can see the consequences of staying in their comfort zone.