24 I CHRONICLESnUniversities have become places of privilege and selfindulgence,nin which boredom—the cost of easy tenurenbased on political considerations, not accomplishmentn—reigns; energy and commitment to learning defy thennorm. Tenure marks not achievement but acceptability,nand those who go along get along. The road to success isnwithdrawal and disengagement. As in prison, so in anprofessorial career you do your own hme. But here younlocate yourself by choice—because it is where you can donthings you think worth doing, and for that reason younaccept the restrictions of the place. If it is worth your while,nif a career on the campus allows you to pursue interests tonwhich you wish to devote your life, then it is the right placenfor you. Otherwise, it is not.nIf you want mainly to teach, and if to you teaching meansnengaging with other people, not merely telling them thingsnbut offering them the challenge of discovery and exploration,nthe campus is not your home. The better high schoolsnand prep schools want your kind of teaching. Universitynstudents want to be told things; these they will tell back tonyou, in exchange for the grade, leading to the document.nThey come to gain credentials and, by the way, possibly tonlearn this and that. They do not come for challenge, and donnot challenge them. If you want to teach, go where teachersnare wanted.nIf you wish to join a community of learning women andnmen, people who talk together in a common conversation,nthe university has nothing for you. The received conceptionnof faculty congeniality, the notion of the courtesies of thenacademy, the limits of civil discourse and the requirementsnand prerequisites of serious, engaged argument—thesentoday turn out to be fictions. Presidents, provosts, deansndismiss the faculty’s knowledge as trivial and determinenwithout consulting professors what universities shouldnteach. When people undertake argument, it is now tonhumiliate and destroy, not to learn and to teach. Disagreementnwith civility is a fantasy. Scholarly interchangenprovokes total war, with no taking of prisoners. Treat ansubject someone else has covered and reach parallel conclusions?nYou will find yourself accused of plagiarism. Proposena new idea? You will be told that no one has to read yournbook, you are not on the scholarly canon. Take a risk, makena mistake? Your career has ended. Defend with your life thenright of the other to speak? Not on the campus, where civilndisorder has replaced civil discourse and where the studentncensorship of free expression merely apes the incivility ofnprofessors accorded to anyone who happens to annoy themnfor any reason whatsoever. I do not know where you willnfind that academic community of learners, that world innwhich rules of civility and reasoned exchange formed thenrequirements of citizenship. But you will not find it on anyncollege and university campus you are likely to find a job.nOn campuses today, the gentle virtues of learning givenway to more robust values of politics and management. Ifnyou want to teach, there are better places in which to do itnthan colleges. If you want to pursue scholarship as annexercise in ongoing curiosity, in many fields there are betternopportunities, and more agreeable situations, than universities.nIt comes down to this: If you have to use universities innorder to conduct a career of learning, then use them.nUse them, do not serve them, do not believe in them, donnnnot try to build them or improve them or commit yourselfnto them. Do what you have to do to earn your living, whichnis a minimal classroom performance, and, for the rest,npursue your interests essentially on your own. Then thenuniversity as it is today is the right place for you to achievenyour purposes—but only then. The university that wenserved no longer requires the kind of service that we gave.nThe one to which you come does not want the sort ofnservice that our generation, for its part, imagined wasndemanded.nDo not give yourself to your students. They do not wantnyou for your learning, and, if they want you for anything atnall, it will prove demeaning.nDo not serve your college community through sustainedncommittee service, contribution to the life of your department.nThat brings only contention and conflict and in thenend—if you do the work honestly and seriously—willnmake you enemies.nDo not take seriously serious discourse with your colleagues.nThey have their own agenda, their personalnprogram, and will not appreciate your meddling in theirnminds.nIf you want to find acceptance, do not write too much, donnot disagree with other people, do not say anything new,nand do not criticize anything anyone else says or does. Gonalong, and you will get along.nToday, for people of intelligence and sensibility, there isnonly one reason to pursue a career as a college or universitynprofessor, and that is to pursue one’s own research andnpublication. To do that, you will survive on your ownncampus if you engage with others in your field in otherncolleges and universities, publish only for specialists in yournnarrow area, and isolate yourself from your own campus.nThen you may survive. And, if you do, you will enjoy thatnopportunity, available in no other way I know, to worknfull-time and all the time in those areas to which yourncuriosity draws you, to learn and grow and mature: within,non your own, and by yourselfnToday, for those who wish to sustain scholarship, universitiesnoffer one opportunity—and perhaps the only one.nUniversities two generations ago were not the main or thenonly medium for scholarship, and many of the greatndiscoveries in the humanities and sciences from the Enlightenmentnto our own century did not come from peoplenwho held professorships. People drawn by curiosity foundnways to make a living—or lived on inherited wealth—andnpursued their scholarship. Darwin and Freud pursued theirnresearch without university support. And many of the mostnimportant ideas that shape minds now came from peoplenwho made their living other than through universitynteaching—and some of them did not even have doctorates.nYet they made their discoveries and gained a hearing forntheir ideas. Today, much research, even when conducted innuniversities, finds support other than through students’ntuition. That is the reason, the only reason, for seekingnemployment in colleges and universities as we now knownthem. For they have ceased to be communities, and theynare in the main not very academic.nIf I had to do it all over again, would I give my life tonlearning and teaching, sharing and building? Yes, I wouldndo precisely what I did with my life: get learning, pursuen