Jeffrey Neil Jackson

Protests of Puerile Pedantry 

In an April 22, 2024 article in The Wall Street Journal, Allysia Finley described the mentality of college students. If you give “safe spaces’ to college students, soon they will insist that entire groups have their own spaces, and then professors as well as speakers from outside the college be silenced because the students disapprove of what the professor or visitor is saying. The new intellectual elite are incapable of hearing anything that disagrees with their unquestionably correct ideology.  This permissive attitude toward students soon  leads to high grades without work,  and eventually college graduates who insist that they will only work thirty hours a week; for full-time pay, of course. As my law professor described, this is the “slippery slope” situation, where you indulge one behavior and many more follow, in tyrannical abuse of your original intent.

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Philanthropists Plotting Public Plunder

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In 1916, part of the federal tax code included an “oil depletion allowance” which “in American (US) tax law is an allowance claimable by anyone with an economic interest in a mineral deposit or standing timber. The principle is that the asset is a capital investment that is a wasting asset, and therefore depreciation can reasonably be offset (effectively as a capital loss) against income.” This is, in simpler terms, the ability to write off profits (in other words, they are not considered taxable income) because the asset that is generating you money (also called revenue) but is, as an asset, growing smaller and smaller.

Since your oil well will eventually run dry, you can deduct a certain amount of income that it generates, because your oil well won’t last forever.  Big Oil takes and is allowed to keep 23% of their profits, as they are not taxable under the Depletion Allowance Tax law. Wouldn’t you love to keep the top 23% of your income as non-taxable? According to Mother Jones magazine, Big Oil and the petrochemical industry have shielded $470 billion from being taxed since 2014 using this tax deduction. Nice work if you can get it.

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Effective Altruism: A Pioneering Philosophical Position or Greed, Gratification and Garbles

Now that Sam Bankman-Fried can cause no further damage for at least the next two decades, or, if you wish, one score plus five, it might be interesting to evaluate his philosophical position. Bankman-Fried had adopted the philosophy of Effective altruism, to be referred to as EA as we carry on. Please do not feel bad if you have never heard of Effective altruism, as it seems to be a mantra of the nouveau riche, and if you were to be a member of the nouveau riche, your advisors would have probably already told you of it. Effective altruism has been embraced by the “early adopters” such as Bankman-Fried and other high-tech billionaires who philosophically love new ideas, especially when said ideas make them wealthy, although I would wager they haven’t read Descartes or Nietzsche. After all, if you are among the nouveau riche, a new philosophical position is probably warranted, as the older philosophical positions no longer fit in our Digital Age.

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The Corruption of College Compensation – Student Debt Forgiveness

Presidents have ignored rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States for quite some time. In order that you understand the context of events, the following paragraphs offer some perspective. The Supreme Court of the United States, in 1832, decided the case Worcester v. Georgia (31 U.S. 515).  The question before the court was: Does the state of Georgia have the authority to regulate the intercourse between citizens of its state and members of the Cherokee Nation?

The answer was: No.

“In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice John Marshall, the Court held that the Georgia act, under which Worcester was prosecuted, violated the Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States. Noting that the “treaties and laws of the United States contemplate the Indian territory as completely separated from that of the states; and provide that all intercourse with them shall be carried on exclusively by the government of the union,” Chief Justice Marshall argued, “The Cherokee nation, then, is a distinct community occupying its own territory in which the laws of Georgia can have no force. The whole intercourse between the United States and this nation, is, by our constitution and laws, vested in the government of the United States.” The Georgia act thus interfered with the federal government’s authority and was unconstitutional.

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Varying Versions of Verisimilitude and Today’s Universities

In recent years, the truth became subjective, and that was a justification for many rationalizations. You might need some years to understand this, but the truth you know at fourteen is not the truth you know at twenty-four. It isn’t the world that changes from teenager to adulthood, it is the teenager. We now have high schools that declare all of the students to be valedictorians. The honest truth behind that is that if every student is a valediction, then none of the students are valedictorians.

Some time ago, I was talking with some recent high-school graduates, who told me that their grade-points were four point five out of four point zero. When asked how they could be even greater than the highest achievement of those who came before them, they insisted that they were “smarter” than all of the other students before. I found it sad and almost inconceivable that they were, in point of fact, believing that they were smarter than the students who graduated before them. This was, in my opinion, unfair to the students to be told this distortion, as well as unquestionably inconsiderate and disrespectful to the students before them. But then, youth have, at best, a spotty record for respecting elders.

Generations of the past have made mistakes, but that is not a justification to discard their entire value system. There are few, if any at all, societies that have a perfect past, but that does not demand that they are to be resented or discarded in their entirety.

The flaws of past societies are models for advancement and understanding, not justifications for discarding all of the values of those societies.

The flaws of past societies are models for advancement and understanding, not justifications for discarding all of the values of those societies. In the history of thinking, we once believed that the truth would make you free; whereas now, the truth is a tool that rationalizes resentment and encourages those who believe that they were mistreated to seek reparations. Reparations from who? The laws of American society do not allow the living to suffer punishment for the crimes of one’s fore-bearers, nor should they. We have encouraged the youth of America to create their own truth, and ignore objections that disprove their veracity. Where education has failed, is to teach students that everything in history occurs within a context of events, beliefs and ideologies, and there is a considerable difference between learning from history and becoming enraged and acting out because of it. 

As Aldous Huxley said: “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of all history.”

To Quote George Weigel from First Things published January 17, 2024: “Hard as it may be for normal people to grasp, the notion that there is only “my truth” and “your truth,” but nothing properly describable as the truth, is virtually axiomatic in the humanities departments of American ‘elite’ universities, and has been for some time. Now, following the Orwellian script in Animal Farm, the woke plague has created a situation in which some of those personal ‘truths’ are deemed more equal than others’ ‘truths’—the superior truths being the ‘truths’ of political correctness.

As dean of the Harvard faculty, Claudine Gay was a vigorous proponent of the new axiom that some truths are truer than others. But in her apology, she reverted to the basic, postmodernist absurdity that ‘truth’ is a matter of personal conviction rather than conviction anchored in reality. Her downfall thus illustrates another axiom, one that antedates postmodernism by almost two centuries: The Revolution devours its children (Jacques Mallet du Pan, writing from Paris 1793 as the tumbrils rolled).”

Academics today will tell you of “my truth” and do not attempt to disprove or disparage it. In present-day academia, personal truth has taken the place of verifiable, legitimate facts. No longer presented as a point of view or perspective, these notions are to be carved into stone and worshipped. Except the stones are crumbling, withering away when exposed to the onslaught of reality. 

Academia has adopted a policy that will not serve it, or this nation, well. Where views once were described as “opinions” are now considered facts, they will eventually be recognized for what they are, simply views, and not truth. To quote Weigel one last time: “We must hope and pray that Claudine Gay and the rest of the postmodern academic establishment—which has turned ‘elite’ American higher education into a playpen for rabid anti-Semites, pampered snowflakes, and madcap ideologues” – My suggestion is to stop referring to views and opinions as facts before any more children are devoured.


Jeffrey Neil Jackson

Jeffrey Neil Jackson is an
Educator & Literary Mercenary


Academic Assertions & Authenticity

Many of the “Progressives” in the U.S. were the protestors of the 1960s. The Baby Boomers, numbering 76 million, as identified in demographics from 1946 to 1964, were quite vocal and resistant to the American values in which they were raised. To be fair, they had never seen the economic hardships of the 1920s and 1930s; they were raised in a consumer economy, a materialistic culture that was an economic gift to their parents and a curse to them. One of, if not the biggest influence was a college education, which, according to Inside Higher Ed, the “undergraduate enrollments increased 45 percent between 1945 and 1960, then doubled again by 1970.”

Certainly the U.S. was not a perfect society where the Boomers grew up, but when compared to other nations, the Boomers in the U.S. grew up with a prosperity that their parents could only imagine. That freedom and prosperity was threatened by the Vietnam War, where fifty-five thousand American young men perished for reasons that, in an historical perspective, seem pointless.

Somewhere the radicals realized that it wasn’t hip to resist authority; it was better to be authority.

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The Tiring of TikTok’s Tenure

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In a November 6, 2023 article at the Wired website, writer Jason Parham has finally realized something. Millennials are finally “getting it.” To quote the article: “This is how it goes now, in what is being christened the twilight of an era of social media that redefined community building and digital correspondence. For many first-gen social media users—millennials between the ages of 27 and 42—there is a developing sentiment that the party is over.”

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Avoiding Adverse Appellations; Political Correctness in Troubled Times

It seems that almost a month doesn’t go by that the media will invent a new term. Generally, the new terms are part of a lexicon used to describe events or people in society. One of the more troubling additions to the prevailing jargon is the “social engineer.” These “social engineers” are people who are adept at “psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.”

In fact, the much -vaunted Artificial Intelligence, known as AI, is being successfully applied to mimic the voice of a young person, and that AI voice calls the grandparents, claims to be a grandchild in a jail, and needs thousands of dollars in cash to bail them out. The savior of society, AI, is already being used to steal from people, and, as it becomes more prevalent, this will only get worse. What would be the proper punishment for one of these “social engineers” who took away an elderly person’s life savings? If the punishment is to fit the crime, it is to take away everything the “social engineer” has made, via crime or any other endeavor.

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The Gerontology Generation

According to Statista.com, the median age of the U.S. population on in 1960 was 29.5. That average has moved up to 38.8 as of 2021.  As the numbers indicate, America is getting old, and our representatives are getting older as well. Our president, Joe Biden, is the oldest-serving president at the age of 80, and as of September 2023, has every intention of seeking re-election. The U.S. Senate is the oldest in history, with an average of 63.4 years old, and almost a quarter of those senators are over the age of 70. The 2023 House of Representatives is the third-oldest in American history, with an average age of 57.5 years old. Crunching the numbers, the average federal representative is at least twenty years older than the median age of their constituency. Some would say that the U.S. is a gerontocracy, that is an “oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population.”  Does time make people more wise, or just better politicians?

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Sovereign Sponsored Spin  

In order that my readers do not think I am some conspiracy theorist, I like to cite reliable sources.  From Statista, as of April 26, 2023, COVID-19 killed 1,130,662 in the United States. I mean, mistakes happen, right? Many of those listed as succumbing to the virus had refused to be vaccinated, and subsequently were infected and died. Many of the “Anti-Vaxers” who became infected and perished were rather famous in denying the effectiveness of the vaccine; they were dead wrong, and life goes on without them. As much as I hate to say it, I feel little sympathy for the “conspiracy theorists” who perished; they were wrong, and now they are dead wrong.

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The Suit Against Social Media’s Sitting Ducks

It had to happen. There are giant corporations who are playing the weak and the chumps in order to line their pockets. Sound familiar? Some two-hundred school boards so far have joined together for litigation against the parent companies of Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube, with the lawsuits consolidated into one at the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. But you don’t really think that these billion-dollar money machines are going to just let themselves be dragged into court, now do you?

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Mechanization, Melancholia, and Material Insuetude

One of the best ways of shoving something nasty down another person’s throat is to explain “things have changed.” Well, of course they have changed. If you look closely out your window, the vegetation will grow, change color, even wilt and die, sometimes to re-emerge all over again. Then, of course, we have the people who are unhappy with the way things are, so they deliberately change things. Please understand, I am not suggesting that all changes are bad. It is just that from my personal experiences, change has, often as not, meant that something I liked was going away, and something I disliked was coming about. I won’t go over the nasty and bitter exchanges, because they’re in the past.

Young people like change; they are captivated and enchanted with all of the new technology that has deliberately sought to obtain and keep their attention for as long as possible. The result is at least one generation that isn’t as happy as past generations. Three things making young people unhappy, from Psychology Today, October 6, 2022: 

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College, Commissars, and Conspiracy

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Conspiracy theorists wake up, it is all here. While watching Bill Maher a few days ago, he showed some statistics about colleges, one being that tenured professors have fallen drastically, and that the administrative personnel have greatly expanded. In the 1970s, 70% of professors were tenured, whereas while now, 70% are untenured.  Adding to the lack of experienced professors, we have the unbelievable inflation that has made higher-education costs astronomical.  Academic fees have expanded far beyond almost any other aspect of the U.S. economy, with the exception of health care.  

Forbes magazine, in 2017, noticed the changes: “Put another way, administrative spending comprised just 26% of total educational spending by American colleges in 1980-1981, while instructional spending comprised 41%. Three decades later, the two categories were almost even: administrative spending made up 24% of schools’ total expenditures, while instructional spending made up 29%.” Not only that, but in the present day the probability of your college instructor being a full-time tenured professor is quite low; you are more likely to have a part-time untenured graduate student who is paid a fraction of what a full professor is paid (and they aren’t getting health insurance.) 

The price of a college education has soared. From Intelligent.com: “According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the 1970-71 academic year, the average in-state tuition and fees for one year at a public non-profit university was $394. By the 2020-21 academic year, that amount jumped to $10,560, an increase of 2,580%.

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Discord Leak: Information, Insecurity, and Impairment  or Perfidy, Peril and Publishing Perniciousness

Twenty-one year old Jack Teixeira, a guardsman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, has been arrested and accused of revealing classified national defense information. According to The Guardian (not affiliated with the Massachusetts Air National Guard as far as I know) Teixeira took secret documents home, photographed them and posted them on 4chan and Telegram internet sites.

It’s a big deal because of this: Releasing classified information reveals what we (or, as it is, the U.S. government) know, and by revealing what we know it also endangers those who supply us with information about our adversaries. When such information becomes public, the source of that information can be in grave danger (or, as Jack Nicholson said “is there any other kind?”) and, in some cases, be executed almost immediately. What Jack Teixeira apparently doesn’t understand is that revealing information puts our sources at risk. Certain information can come from very limited sources, and when that information in U.S. hands becomes public, those who had access to said information and revealed it to the U.S. are in questioned and, in many cases, executed or imprisoned for a very long time.

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Innovators, Investments and Insurance – Bank Challenges in 2023

Money and Banking is a required economics course in most business colleges.   Banks were a large problem with the Great Depression (1929 to 1938 to those of you who didn’t pay attention in history class).  There was a great economic downturn again in 2008,or, as it is called, “The Great Recession.”  Fast forward to 2023, and the sixteenth largest bank in the U.S., the Silicon Valley Bank failed, (from here on referred to as SVB) with a considerable amount of help from Twitter, which influenced a great number of depositors to withdraw their money from SVB. The Silicon Valley millionaires have great belief in their inventions, but apparently little belief in the bank that helped them get wealthy. According to The Wall Street Journal of March 17, 2023: “It is now apparent that the ruination of this 40-year-old institution was, in a sense, an inside job, initiated by the very startups and investors who had previously been so devoted to it.”

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A Directive Disallowing Dalit Discrimination

The United States has been described as “the melting pot” because between 1820 and 1920, 80 million people emigrated to the U.S. and became citizens. Certain prejudices are beginning to rear their ugly heads. The city of Seattle became the first city to outlaw caste-based discrimination on February 1, 2023.

To offer some explanation, we quote Forbes of February 3, 2023: “The caste system is a social hierarchy structure that divides people at birth into social classes—it has roots in South Asia and Hinduism but also impacts African, Middle Eastern and Pacific communities.”  Dalits, also known as “Untouchables” are the lowest of Hindu culture, and have been for several thousand years.  Several universities have already adopted policies that forbid discrimination based on the caste system.

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Computer CEO Cretinous Conjecture

Internal combustion engines started way back in 1833. By 1860, functional internal combustion engines were being experimented with, and by 1872, the principles of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust were established. By 1903, the Wright brothers applied internal combustion engines in aircraft. By 1908, the U.S. Army ordered a “heavier than air flying machine” from the Wright brothers. 

We call them “early adopters,” the people who wish to get a jump on whatever the newest technology has to offer. In a curious coincidence, adolescents and the military both have a penchant to be on the cutting edge of technology; both for bragging rights, and one for killing people with meager abilities to resist the new weapons. If it is your military that has the technological edge, you will be all for it. But being on the leading edge doesn’t assure that you will prevail, just ask the bumpkins who lost billions betting on Bitcoin.

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Artists, Awards and Affluence

Seeing as how it is January of a new year (2023), the winter sports are winding down, and the summer sports are just getting started with training camp. With a substantial percentage of the population remaining indoors, this becomes award season. I won’t bother naming them. The award season is where some very rich, lucky, or related to the right people, get together and congratulate each other. The rich and famous don lavish attire, the ladies in designer dresses (sometimes revealing) and sporting jewelry that it would take the average Jane or Joe decades of their salaries to buy. I’m not opposed to the filthy-rich recognizing good work; however, all artistic work is recognized in context. We’ll get to that in a moment.

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Follies, Foibles and Falsehoods

Some liars make themselves famous for the wrong reasons, and all of the exposed liars make 2022 an annus mirabilis. Sunny Balwani is getting thirteen years in federal prison for misleading investors out of millions of dollars. Elizabeth Holmes who partnered with Balwani, was sentenced to eleven years for claiming her biotech firm Theranos could do things it, in fact, could not do. Sam Bankman-Fried faces a potential one-hundred fifteen year sentence in the federal slammer if he is convicted in federal court of bilking crypto investors out of billions of dollars. According to one of my law professors, going up against the Feds is almost always a losing proposition.

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Suits, Ties and Tech Titans

It seemed to start with Steve Jobs. Jobs wore black turtlenecks when he was presenting new ideas to the Apple bureaucracy, as well as the general public. Many a medical expert has claimed that Mr. Jobs could have lived considerably longer, and possibly even enjoyed his billions for a few more years had he taken the right measures to address his cancer. But we’ve all failed in some respect, it is just that being a billionaire makes everyone examine your life with microscopes and make judgements. The world is full of Monday morning quarterbacks, yours truly included at least to some degree.

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