Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Dr Exiled
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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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He could follow his intellectual father Nibley and wear Egyptian clothing around the house, too. The sky is truly the limit.
"Religion is about providing human community in the guise of solving problems that don’t exist or failing to solve problems that do and seeking to reconcile these contradictions and conceal the failures in bogus explanations otherwise known as theology." - Kishkumen 

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Doctor Scratch
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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Well, it seems that we haven't been on our toes as much as we ought to have been, since we overlooked this valuable nugget from a few months ago:

http://fornspollfira.blogspot.com/2020/ ... ntent.html
John Gee wrote:This article is about a month old but tells an interesting story about what happened when Sherlock Hibbs tried to pass on what he learned to the rising generation (another report here, the other side here). Hibbs set up an endowment at his alma mater, the University of Missouri, to teach the Ludwig von Mises Austrian School of Economics that helped him become so successful. Von Mises advocated for free markets and the role of the entrepreneur. Apparently, the University of Missouri was happy to accept Hibbs's millions but was not so enamored with von Mises and his economics and so was using the money for other purposes. Many academics follow economic theories along the following lines: What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine too.

Hibbs, however, was wiser than many philanthropists and gave an outside organization power to police the use of the funds. When that outside organization discovered that the University of Missouri was not following the donor intent, they sued the University of Missouri. The court ruled that the University of Missouri was not following donor intent and must surrender the funds. There is probably a lesson in here somewhere.
I'm sure there are lots of "lessons" here! One is that this is a classic case of a Mopologist fantasizing about using legal means to "stick it" to critics. Another is passive-aggressive "hinting" at "lessons" in order to prove a point, and to nurse a years-long grudge. But perhaps the most salient "lesson" is that cases like this really only hold up if there is actual evidence, and Gee hasn't provided a single shred.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Analytics wrote: Despite his competency, you have to wonder how employable he is outside of Provo.
The aforesaid Gay Professorship would work at Utah Valley University or San Francisco State, but there would be unfortunate incidents at the University of Alabama.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Pretty funny that Gee is essentially revealing that like Droopy, he too is a member of the "Austrian School". You can't get much of an economics course let alone have an entire program built on the teachings of Von Mises. What a joke. The "Austrian school" is essentially junk science. I imagine for someone who believes the Book of Abraham is real, that Austrian economics could make sense as a real subject. And no, knowing about Austrian economics or any other kind doesn't get people rich or successful.

The school probably misunderstood something somewhere and thought the common cause of freedom in conservative-taught economics and Von Mises' concerns in his book, the Road to Serfdom, which is generally highly regarded, was a good enough commonality. But wow, that donors can force a school to pursue junk science? That's just fantastic.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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John Gee wrote:...There is probably a lesson in here somewhere.
Here is what I learned from this:
  • John Gee has never taken an actual college course in Economics, much less discussed these gripes with an Econ professor. "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine" doesn't even begin to be a crude caricature of any economist's actual thoughts. Not even Karl Marx's. Some parts of Austrian economics have been rolled into mainstream economics (e.g. price theory, subjective theory of value), but other aspects of it are hopelessly stuck in 1928, such as its rejection of the IS-LM model, and the rejection of mathematical models in general, the rejection of Econometrics, the naïve belief that consumers are rational (behavioral economics proves they are not in systematic, predictable ways), and the plain fact that in some circumstances (such as the Great Depression and right now) free market forces of supply and demand simply do not bring us anywhere near an acceptable level of production and allocation. Asking that a substantial portion of your faculty be ideologically dedicated to backwards thinking is just wrongheaded.
  • I'm not sure I agree with Dr. Scratch that John Gee fantasizes about "using legal means to 'stick it' to critics." I think Gee appreciates the existence of critics; after all, if there were no critics then apologists wouldn't have anything to do. I think his fantasy here is about FARMS donors using legal means to "stick it" to BYU for killing classic FARMS.
  • FARMS donors were naïve for donating money to FARMS, and the board of FARMS was naïve to allow BYU to take over FARMS without first establishing somebody like FAIR or SHIELDS to serve as watchdogs who could sue BYU if they didn't use the FARMS endowment to continue classic FARMS apologetics.
  • I should bequeath $1.1 million to BYU for the establishment of a religious studies chair which must be filled with an ideologically dedicated and articulate disciple of the Dr. Scratch school of Mopologetics. And if BYU fails to abide with my wishes on this, the money should go to Cassius University.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Gadianton wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:03 am
The school probably misunderstood something somewhere and thought the common cause of freedom in conservative-taught economics and Von Mises' concerns in his book, the Road to Serfdom, which is generally highly regarded, was a good enough commonality. But wow, that donors can force a school to pursue junk science? That's just fantastic.
If Missouri will not honor its Von Misesian bargain, then the Ferengi School of Business at BYU has the lobes to make such a commitment.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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moksha wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 11:25 pm
Analytics wrote: Despite his competency, you have to wonder how employable he is outside of Provo.
The aforesaid Gay Professorship would work at Utah Valley University or San Francisco State, but there would be unfortunate incidents at the University of Alabama.
Perhaps The University of Chicago could use his talents..... :lol:

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Moksha said, “If Missouri will not honor its Von Misesian bargain, then the Ferengi School of Business at BYU has the lobes to make such a commitment.”

Outside of the Family Guy randomness of Moksha’s bits, does the line above have some layered nuance or cleverness that the reader can appreciate?

- Doc

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 5:49 pm
Outside of the Family Guy randomness of Moksha’s bits, does the line above have some layered nuance or cleverness that the reader can appreciate?
If you ever find out, please let me know.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

Post by Analytics »

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 5:49 pm
Moksha said, “If Missouri will not honor its Von Misesian bargain, then the Ferengi School of Business at BYU has the lobes to make such a commitment.”

Outside of the Family Guy randomness of Moksha’s bits, does the line above have some layered nuance or cleverness that the reader can appreciate?

- Doc
You aren't a Trekkie, I take it? In the Star Trek universe, Ferengis are an alien species who are monomaniacally focused on free enterprise and making a profit. They are also known for is their giant ear lobes.

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Symmachus
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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Gadianton wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:03 am
Pretty funny that Gee is essentially revealing that like Droopy, he too is a member of the "Austrian School". You can't get much of an economics course let alone have an entire program built on the teachings of Von Mises. What a joke. The "Austrian school" is essentially junk science. I imagine for someone who believes the Book of Abraham is real, that Austrian economics could make sense as a real subject. And no, knowing about Austrian economics or any other kind doesn't get people rich or successful.
Wasn't Road to Serfdom von Hayek? It was certainly von someone.
Gadianton wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:03 am
The school probably misunderstood something somewhere and thought the common cause of freedom in conservative-taught economics and Von Mises' concerns in his book, the Road to Serfdom, which is generally highly regarded, was a good enough commonality. But wow, that donors can force a school to pursue junk science? That's just fantastic.
Most of the social sciences in universities are mired in the glutinous slog of junk science. Sociology is populated by political activists cosplaying rather than thinking, dressing up their political passions in the forms of science. So why not add some color to the tinfoil-hatted parade? The Austrians at least have better taste in music.

I feel somewhat the same about the apologists. Rather alone among the community at Cassius, and perhaps because I am but an humble and office-less adjunct, I don't see the new Maxwell Institute as an intellectual improvement at all. It is certainly a political improvement and it removes a bit of the rust that had accrued on the alloyed façade of the university's reputation—although football and not scholarship is really the base metal at the core of that reputation—but it is not an improved intellectual endeavor. It's a project to make Mormonism fit more neatly into the staid upper-middle class ethos and spent values of career academics. The old apologists could not do that, as some of them had hoped, but, in fact, they are absolutely correct that the new MI crowd are activists on one side of a theological battle; the fact that the religious studies side doesn't see this tells me who the bigger idiots are and who the slier mandarins. Religious studies emerged as a discipline out of a Protestant attempt to reconcile higher Biblical criticism with Protestant theology (or rather the other way around). It was an ideological project, and it is still is; if it has cast out the Protestant dogmas, it has retained much of their form, and certainly its blandness. What you have at the Maxwell Institute are a bunch of dull, straight-A students who think their ability to win grades by writing professor-pleasing essays is some kind of intellectual achievement and who are letting their political and social preferences drive whatever it is that they call scholarship. But not only their scholarship—they are trying adjust Mormonism itself to the political and social outcomes they seek. They are not fideles quaerentes intellectum any more than the old fire-tongued apologists were; they are saccharine-mouthed busy-bodies who, rather than genuinely exercising the minds of readers, publish each other's mental poses, as predictable in their arguments as they are undistinguished in their prose. What disturbs me is that the practitioners of this project, like those engaged in others of its kind, deny that they have any agenda and instead claim that their jeans-cum-sportcoat professor uniform (despite the occasional bow-tie fetishist) is really the mantle of disinterested observer, the professional and "expert" in the imaginary discipline they call "Mormon Studies." They pretend to being descriptivists but are as censorious and as prescriptive as any apologist ever was. Those very few among them that are aware of that simply have more subtlety than any beast in the apologetic field; the rest have not outgrown graduate school, and some are genuinely stupid.

The surest institutional proof of all of this is the ouster of Gee, which served no intellectual purpose. Gee deserves all the intellectual attacks aimed at him, but he can take it, and he can give as good as he gets. He is also, despite much wishing to the contrary, a genuine scholar who knows actual things like languages rather than ____, even if his grasp is in all things not as total as he imagines. But I don't see what's so wrong with that, or so unusual. And I count it for good that he grinds his axes openly. For the intellectual culture of BYU it would have been much better to keep him on, arguing with and annoying his colleagues, no doubt, but at least signaling to students at BYU (and not simply saying, as they MI crowd does) that there is more than one way to do Mormonism and that Mormonism can be a sweltering arena of fierce intellectual argument rather than an air-conditioned office of besuited respectability. The former is a sign of a vibrant culture, the latter of a competently run business, and what I see in the Maxwell Institute now is an intellectual conformity to the Church's model, namely to behave like a corporate office. What this leads to is what I have always disliked about BYU, namely, the bureaucratic, soul-crushing conformity of its intellectual culture (not that it's much different at other institutions of higher education, as I came to discover). Granted that Gee has some very crazy ideas—so what!? Nibley was certainly no saner in his views, but the university would have become a much poorer place without him, as well as Mormon intellectual life writ large. In the 1970s and 1980s Mormon intellectual culture was a rather savory mixture, with the post-Andrussites like Paul Toscano, traditionalists like Peterson, revisionists like Michael Quinn all publishing in Sunstone. Even Nibley went to Sunstone, and without the cultural village of which he was a primary founder, it is very unlikely there ever would have been much of a market for something like Sunstone or Dialogue. The intellectual life of Mormonism at present may not be a very deep valley, but what streams run through it, even those that cross, have him as a source.

Gee is no Nibley, of course, but he is the last trickle of Nibley's tradition, and in their eagerness to divert that little brook to some departmental backwater they have diluted it entirely. What was the cultural or intellectual gain from that for Mormonism? Perhaps it works to the apologists' sense of self: lonely defenders, stout upon a windswept embankment. I do not see the intellectual value of that, but the position is not different from that of the Maxwell Institute. Only the self-conception is different. One acceptable uniformity has been replaced by another, but they are both uniformity. I do, however, see the Maxwell Institute's "house cleaning" for its administrative value: it's much easier to run, and to run smoothly, if they're all on the same team, with no complainers (or dissenters). Administrative efficiency, enforced by ideological conformity, is inimical to the genuine quest to understand because it has already set the answers before the questions have even been asked. It is inward facing, even tribal. Forcing Peterson out was one thing, whose control of the institution was just as suffocating, but completely dislodging the traditionalists was a mistake. It was a win for the party but a loss for what little there is of the mind in Mormonism.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Doctor Scratch
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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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I feel your pain, Dr. Symmachus. Some of the best and most interesting days of Mopologetics are most assuredly behind us.

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Re: Has John Gee Been "Booted" from the Maxwell Institute?

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Dr. Shades wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 10:55 pm
Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 5:49 pm
Outside of the Family Guy randomness of Moksha’s bits, does the line above have some layered nuance or cleverness that the reader can appreciate?
If you ever find out, please let me know.
Midgley simply posts a series of question marks whenever he misses some obscure Family Guy randomness of Moksha's bits.
Symmachus wrote:For the intellectual culture of BYU it would have been much better to keep him on, arguing with and annoying his colleagues, no doubt, but at least signaling to students at BYU (and not simply saying, as they MI crowd does) that there is more than one way to do Mormonism and that Mormonism can be a sweltering arena of fierce intellectual argument rather than an air-conditioned office of besuited respectability.
As they used to say in the days of FARMS when calling forth the Master Blaster, "Two men enter, one man leaves". Now, all that's left are academic staff meetings without body bags. At least the students can witness full-contact mixed martial arts on TV.

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