It’s Yale, stupid

On April 7th the Dutch voted in a referendum against the EU-Ukraine association agreement by a majority of 61.1 per cent, albeit with a low turn out. Nonetheless, it would appear that in the Netherlands the roughly 1/3rd of the population familiar with this topic who turned out to vote strongly disagree with the EU status quo. What happened on April 7th in the Netherlands is called basic democracy.

The Dutch seem to suggest, why prop up a corrupt and divided government in Ukraine just to risk a possible conflict with Russia – to what benefit at what cost? It’s logical.

Then, in an April 13th letter to the Financial Times Yale Professor of Political Science, David R Cameron, writes that the EU should just forget about the Dutch vote because, “The outcome of the referendum hardly represents a democratic vote….” Because, “The vote was 61 per cent against [and] the turn out was 32 per cent. That means 19 per cent of the Dutch electorate voted against the agreement.” Thus, according to Professor Cameron, means only a small minority of the Dutch electorate voted against the EU – Ukraine association agreement and the referendum should be disregarded.

What is he talking about? I don’t exactly need to open up a new excel tab to realise Professor Cameron’s whole argument rests on the assumption that the 68 per cent of the people who were too lazy or didn’t care enough to turn out to vote are all deeply in favour of the EU-Ukraine association agreement and would risk a potential conflict with Russia in order to achieve it. Additionally, since we are talking numbers here, I don’t exactly have to make a giant statistical leap to know it’s a bit unlikely that 68 per cent of the Dutch electorate all agree with Professor Cameron.

This is almost as absurd as Yale Professor of Economics Aleh Tsyvinski who wrote in a recent report on China that growth during Mao was actually “pretty good.” What? What about the 40 – 60 million people who died of famine and from the mismanagement of the economy – so perhaps a better thesis would be, “Despite the holocaust of humanity, the famines, the purges, the unimaginable suffering, growth under Mao was actually pretty good.”

The bigger question is why so many things recently emanating from Yale are so…well stupid. From the outrage over the Halloween costume emails, to safe spaces, to the controversy over the title master, to whether or not Calhoun College should be renamed, the list goes on.

It seems the professors are reaping what they have sowed, which is essentially, stupidity.

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