We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Why do we extend to universities the priviledge and advantage of being tax-free and partly if not largely tax-supported institutions?
What is it that they do which is so special? Is it their duty to be conservators of knowledge and wisdom, or to be "adversarial" critics of society?
I would make the case that few of the great thinkers of world history worked for universities, almost none of the great writers, and, until the past 30-40 years, few to none of the great scientists. I would make thae case that, in a world of high liteeracy and high levels of education, professsors no longer represent a unique intellectual priesthood as they might have in the Middle Ages. And I would make the case that there is nothing about being a professor which renders their views of anything outside of their teaching expertise of any more value than my own views.
Mark Bauerlein takes on The Adversarial Campus. One quote:
...the Adversarial Campus Argument isn't really an argument. It's an attitude. And attitudes aren't overcome by evidence, especially when they do so much for people who bear them. For, think of what the Adversarial Campus does for professors. It flatters the ego, ennobling teachers into dissidents and gadflies. They feel underpaid and overworked, mentally superior but underappreciated, and any notion that compensates is attractive. It gives their isolation from zones of power, money, and fame a functional value. Yes, they're marginal, but that's because they impart threatening ideas. The powerlessness they feel rises into a meaningful political condition.
The idea of academic administrators and professors picturing themselves as Luke Skywalker figures - pitted against an evil empire of oppressive bourgeois vales - is rather quaint and not without comic potential. And, as we’ve seen, ‘rebellion’ of this kind is often difficult to distinguish from absurdity, psychodrama and reactionaryrole-play.
Part of the problem is that the schools are so focussed on money and the extras that most see no problem in giving a full ride to an athlete (and preferential admission), but give a National Merit scholar a piddling 2000 a year if anything. Our universities have forgotten that their main tax-exemption-worthy mission is seeking out academic potential and developing it. Diversity, need, etc. have tempted the academy off the path. If I growl that using a higher proportion of endowments towards tuition, to help strapped middle class parents, I will sound self interested, but so be it!
retriever, as my 3rd and 4th sons are now in college and the home equity line gradually shrinks (we saved for the first two, but adopting two teenagers threw the master plan a-kilter), I sympathise. For your comfort, I will note that children are seldom grateful for what they receive free, and larger grants would have had them always looking outward for help down the road. They are getting a better education this way, painful as it is for you.
Assistant Village Idiot
''I would make thae case that, in a world of high liteeracy and high levels of education, professsors no longer represent a unique intellectual priesthood....''