This book addressed itself to three "target audiences" (insofar as audiences can be bombarded as this military phraseology implies). Undergraduates about to take the fateful step of entering graduate school and thereby making at least a tentative commitment to academia will have to decide whether the academic game is worth playing. Before they conclude that it is not, however, I should like to suggest to them that the alternatives are scarcely any more appealing. Although political events of the last couple of years might seem to cast doubt on this statement, I still believe that the campus, threatened as it is, remains an island of comparative sanity and freedom in a generally repelling society. Graduate students who have already taken the crucial first step on the road to academia will have to decide whether to play the game or invest effort and creativity into changing the rules in greater conformity with their values. As to my professorial colleagues, the vast majority of them are too set in their ways, and their interests are too linked with the status quo to contemplate with equanimity any fundamental change. Buffeted on the left by the inchoate anger and romantic indignation of student "radicalism," and on the right by the bovine, satiated conservatism of the "silent majority" and the organized interests of the business, military and political "establishments," the vast majority of professors can be expected to react as a craft guild protecting their privileges. Their reaction to this book might range from annoyance to amusement, but before they put it down (and hopefully recommend it to their friends), they should at least ask themselves whether the system they created is still viable. Can a university which exists primarily for the benefit of its mandarins survive in a society that indulges in at least the rhetorical pretense of democracy?
Chapter 9 -- Conclusion | Pierre van den Berghe
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