Am I an intellectual prostitute? As a professional student in contemporary America, what else could I be? Former Cornell Law School dean, Roger Crampton, once said that law school tends to present the “hired gun” as one of the main “models of professional conduct to law students.” I suspect this is the implicit model of most professional and technical schools. As a hired gun, the professional functions as an “intellectual prostitute”, who hires out his intellectual talents to the highest bidder.
Even at Notre Dame, our graduates largely outsource their talents and capabilities to employers who dictate to them the expectations and requirements of professional life. The highest-paying jobs are usually those in which recent graduates have the least control, in terms of the ends and means of their work. Yet these are the jobs most respected and sought-after. Many of our graduates are taught to desire prestigious positions in large multi-national corporations or the organizations that serve such companies. And the more money that is offered, the more our graduates are willing to give employers control over their lives and work. Continue reading “Selling oneself to the highest bidder”