The new treason of the intellectuals

Can the University survive?

Author: Thomas Docherty

This book addresses the condition of the University today. There has been a fundamental betrayal of the institution by the political class, perverting it from its proper social and cultural functions. The betrayal has narrowed the scope of the University, through the commercial financialization of knowledge. In short, the sector has been politicized, and now works explicitly to advance and serve a market-fundamentalist ideology. When all human values are measured by money, then wealth is mistaken for ‘the good’. Social, cultural, and political corruption follow. The University’s leadership has become complicit in a yet more fundamental betrayal of society, as an ever-widening wedge is driven between the lives of ordinary citizens and the self-interest of the privileged and wealthy. It is no wonder that ‘experts’ are in the dock today. In 1927, the philosopher Julien Benda accused intellectuals of treason. His argument was that their thinking had been politicized, polluted by a nationalism that could only culminate in war. In 1939, Nazism explicitly corrupted the University and the intellectuals, demanding ideological allegiance instead of thought. We continue to live through the ever-worsening aftermath of this ; by endorsing an entire ideology of ‘competition’, intellectuals have established a neo-Hobbesian war of all against all as the new cornerstone of societies. This now threatens human ecological survival. In light of this, the intellectual and the University have a duty to extend democracy and social justice. This book calls upon the intellectual to assist in the survival of the species.

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