Few weeks back, an university professor emailed us in response to an earlier commentary. He said that although he fully realized the dubious nature of many ‘big science’ projects, he was too powerless to protest and felt that his efforts would be wasted. That email exchange came to our mind, when we read a paragraph from a recent commentary by Charles Hugh Smith.
Due to their size and structure, large systems such as national defense, healthcare and education limit the impact of individual initiative. This has several consequences. One is that individuals feel powerless to change the system and so they relinquish responsibility for changing it. As Voltaire observed, No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible. A second consequence is psychological. Even if the system is visibly flawed or failing, insiders feel obligated to defend the system and their role in it, for two compelling reasons: self-preservation and the psychological need to believe in the value of ones place in the institution.
The above commentary and two others are posted in our student section. The podcast at the bottom of the third commentary is especially thought-provoking.
Together they provide an ominous picture of the failing academic cartel relying on adjuncts and student debt, and shows what the alternative is likely to be.
It is not the first time we are covering the above topic. You can read our earliest discussions here.