For-Profit Institutions? Just shut ’em down already: Daily Bullshit, September 1, 2016

For-Profit ‘Education’

It is amply clear now that for-profit education is a scam preying on poor people who just want jobs, that it serves as a refutation of the neoliberal and capitalist libertarian prejudice that private enterprise can do anything better than government, and that it represents the worst of our neoliberal reduction of education to job training. These institutions have never been reputable and should be shut down across the board.

Ashley A. Smith, “Options for ITT Tech students if the for-profit chain collapses,” Inside Higher Ed, September 1, 2016, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/01/options-itt-tech-students-if-profit-chain-collapses


International Law

Butch Bracknell endeavors to refute Patrick Porter’s essay[1] from a few days ago. For me, Bracknell doesn’t really succeed even if Porter may have overstated his case.

Bracknell alleges that even if the “world order” is weak, it is still influential. Aggressions that contravene the United Nations Charter, he claims, are “less legitimate and more subject to international consequences—diplomatic, economic or military. It does not affect the legitimacy of the system which sanctions, or withholds sanction of, interstate conflict.”

Actually, such actions do affect legitimacy. One reason the World Court is accused of an “Africa-targeting bias” and the reason “certain known war criminals have escaped its grasp”[2] is that when countries with permanent seats and veto power in the United Nations, especially the United States, violate these rules, there is no effective means of enforcement. Even if we ignore examples such as the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo, for which there have been no sanctions whatsoever, sanctions imposed on Russia show no sign of causing it to withdraw from Crimea or to stop supporting separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine.

Something to bear in mind is that without permanent seats and veto power for those powerful countries in the only body of the United Nations that has any teeth at all, at least some of these countries would not have agreed to join the U.N. and it would have gone the way of the League of Nations. Bracknell writes that

codes, international law and international institutions were never intended to fully supplant state-interested behavior. They were intended, rather, to shape, influence, regulate and augment power politics. Vesting only five nuclear powers with veto power in the Security Council is the perfect, succinct example: the Security Council works to regulate interstate affairs, particularly with regard to the use of force, while acknowledging some state interests matter more than others.[3]

Which is to soft-pedal in the extreme that these aren’t just some state interests, but rather the interests of some states. In such circumstances, why should less powerful countries comply? Why shouldn’t they complain of a double standard? Law, for them, is something imposed on them by more powerful countries. It is a rather thin veneer for rule of the strong.

When international law appears to be a facade for the old colonial regime, as it does in much of the world, it entirely loses legitimacy. Which is why Binyamin Netanyahu does not fear accusations of crimes against humanity for his actions in the Occupied Territories. Which is why Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, escaped an international arrest warrant over Darfur even as he traveled outside his country. And why Porter could challenge the reality of the “world order.”

Butch Bracknell, “There Is a Rules-Based International Order. It’s Just Not Omnipotent,” National Interest, September 1, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/there-rules-based-international-order-its-just-not-17548


  1. [1]Patrick Porter, “Sorry, Folks. There Is No Rules-Based World Order,” National Interest, August 28, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/sorry-folks-there-no-rules-based-world-order-17497
  2. [2]Butch Bracknell, “There Is a Rules-Based International Order. It’s Just Not Omnipotent,” National Interest, September 1, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/there-rules-based-international-order-its-just-not-17548
  3. [3]Butch Bracknell, “There Is a Rules-Based International Order. It’s Just Not Omnipotent,” National Interest, September 1, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/there-rules-based-international-order-its-just-not-17548

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