A post I made to the Chronicle of Higher Education forum
I don’t think that is true. What is necessary is for departments to tell students “NO YOU WILL NOT BE A PROFESSOR IF YOU GRADUATE HERE!!!!!” There will be some hit in enrollment, but I think you’ll find a lot of people who still want to get into the system.
The reason this has been liberating for me is that I’ve found that not expecting to get an academic position has saved me a lot of guilt, which has released enough energy to do “useful things.”
The other thing that not expecting to get an academic position has allowed me to do is to be much louder and less afraid of bring up controversial ideas. As long as you have hope of getting a position in the system, that gives people power over you. You are afraid of rocking the boat too much or complaining too much because you are (justifiably) afraid of what the tenure committee is going to think.
Once I lost that hope, then I become a loose cannon. I can say things like I think the Spelling report on higher education is total garbage, and that I think that the world would be a better place if the AFL-CIO unionized the adjuncts at UoP and graduate students at most universities. I’m not afraid of talking about the internal politics of MIT, UT Austin, UoP, and I seem to be only person around here that signs their real name, because I’m not afraid of any consequences, because there are no consequences.
The dream of future freedom is the chain that academia uses to make people slaves. Once you look at the dream, and say “this is a lie” you lose the hope, but you also lose the chains.
And it is a wonderful feeling..