Anti-intellectualism & Managerialism

“Thoughts are not easily turned into tradable stuff, they cannot that easily be planned, refined, stored, transported, negotiated over. The costs one has to put into bringing them about, are often high and hardly foreseeable. They are not that restricted in time and space, and it needs a lot of investments into social and educational frameworks to bring about a certain quantity of them, not to speak of the quality. Thinking asks for a culture to be able to grow…

The funny thing is that managerialism and neo-liberalism are themselves ideologies, i.e. systems of thinking that form a way of life and have a philsophical background. They were once conceptual innovations, yet introduced with the hidden (sic)* or even unconscious (sic)* intention to finish with conceptual innovations or at least with their impact on society. Freedom here is understood as the liberation of the mind from thinking. Liberality seems to boil down to the free floating of markets and goods, liberating the consumer to buy for his money what he wants, without deliberately answering the question if he is then as free in earning money as he is in spending it.

…Yes, I chose Philosophy by myself. I could have tried to make a career in a bank, could have studied economics to become one of the many young people that are useable and useful for Society, that earn good money, get good jobs, have a house, cars, kids, paid leave and an orderly existence, are ready-made voters and nice little smiling Hollywood-existences, with an address on Even Road.

Why was I so stupid to become a thinker when I could have achieved this relative luxury they have? Well, it is clear that my choice was or is a ‘luxury’ in quite a different sense. They chose the even path, I went down the Rocky Road. The even path leads them to known areas–and keeps them there, like a herded flock. The Rocky Road takes you over the mountains and to new shores.”

From Gelbmann, Gerhard. 2005. “On the Rocky Road. A Polemic Against Managerialism in Philosophy and Education” Prospero: A Journal of New Thinking in Philosophy for Education. 11 (2): 14-21.

*Note: if you look at the history of the conservative movement, you will notice that the intention to finish with conceptual innovations has not in fact been hidden or unintentional.


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