Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Downside of Academia

Harvard starts up the new academic year this coming week, as the new students arrive on campus for freshman week. So this quotation from Arnold Kling recently caught my eye:
Academic life is very much oriented toward the pecking order, with an incessant focus on ranking individuals, departments, and institutions. Once professors have attained high status within the academic pecking order, they sometimes lose track of the fact that there are other areas of skill and wisdom in society. They cannot understand why they should respect or even be forced to listen to the opinion of anyone who does not share their exalted status. Their contempt applies to professors at less prestigious institutions, and even more so to businessmen and other non-academics.
At first, I was inclined to agree with Arnold. But then I remembered that he doesn't have a tenured chair at a top-ranked university. My agreement is prohibited by guild rules.