I spent the first 20 years of my life saying what I thought, calling them like I saw them. I’ve spent the next 20 years of my life saying almost nothing that I thought, carefully avoiding calling anything as I saw it.
This is why I’m hesitant about a career in academics. Because even more than in corporate life, life in academics is like walking around with your mouth sewn shut. It is an ideological magic trick that the Right has managed to pull off, convincing everyone that the academy is “so liberal.” There are few places in American life so conservative as the American university. Conservatives absolutely rule on our campuses; they are the undisputed kings and kingmakers.
It’s been so many years… this period beyond the academy has been worryingly like a breath of fresh air. This is also why I’m perpetually lukewarm on Facebook. Because every lowest common social denominator is always around; it is a place of enduring stifling in the interest of keeping the peace and the alliances. I rarely post or share here. Why? So as not to offend anyone with what I actually think, and to preserve The Social Ties That Must Be Maintained and the Opportunities that Might Otherwise Be Lost.
As I continue to age, I continue to wonder, more and more, if it’s the right thing to do. Civility and all… I suppose it must be.
But you only live once. What if you’re silent the entire time? Have you done right by your fellow man by keeping every thought to yourself?