But perhaps it is enough to say that the reason we feel more “hated” than ever is that we deserve it. Instead of collaborating, we competed with each other. We focused on our research instead of on the needs of undergraduates. We even exploited our graduate students, using their labor to underwrite our privileges, and then we relegated most of them to marginal positions as adjuncts.
I confess to a mortal sin against the secular religion that dominates America’s modern intelligentsia. I, at times, am an anti-intellectual. I read a lot. I’ve recently re-read some of my Camus and dabbled, a wee bit, at Sinclair Lewis. The problem is that it wasn’t out of love. I did this for the same reason I run four miles, four days a week, even when I feel like regurgitation. I think I have to, or my mind will grow enfeebled.
That being confessed upfront, I’m not an anti-intellectual who hates intellectuals. I tend to vehemently disagree with the modish and fashionable ones who wear their leftism in a manner reminiscent of the latest sartorial concoction for Lady Gaga. This normally makes me sad, not angry. I think of it as a profound opportunity being fumbled away to the detriment of the United States of America.
The failures of academia have been both professional and moral. The professoriate came to care more about personal advancement, security and comfort than they did about the sanctity of the knowledge generation process. They became intoxicated with the collectivist temptation that they could truly be Platonic Philosopher Kings. America has to fix this problem soon, or our colleges and universities will soon accomplish nothing to make our nation a better, more intelligent place to live.
Now, having failed morally, the predictable result of this malfeasance is the impending collapse of their economic business model. In 1985, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote the following:
It is becoming an increasingly obvious fact of economic history that the development of economic systems which concentrate on the common good depends on a determinate ethical system, …..Conversely, it has also become obvious that the decline of such discipline can actually cause the laws of the market to collapse.
-Cardinal Ratzinger (HT: Acton.org)
In what manner has the economic model of the modern university collapsed? Dr. Pannapacker expounds on this below.
The price of a college degree has risen faster than the cost of health care….The cost increase is driven not by faculty salaries, primarily, but by the rapid growth of administration, massive athletics programs, and the amenities arms race—not who has the most full-time faculty members so much as who has the most successful football team and the fanciest dorm rooms. Some institutions have astronomical endowments and tax-exempt status, asking a mostly excluded population to support what looks like country-club indulgences for elites.