Adjuncts! It’s Your Own Damn Fault! That Arrogant Libertarian Troll is Absolutely Right!

by Gordon Haber

It is your fault!

The arrogant libertarian troll (aka Jason Brennan) argues that (1) adjuncts should have known what the risks were and how bad the system is and (2) they have better options. In other words, adjuncts, it’s your own damn fault. Adjuncts should have known how hard it is to get a decent job in academia and that administrators don’t give a shit about their pay or working conditions. And when they realize how bad it is to be an adjunct they should pursue another line of work. Because of course everyone makes great life decisions when they start grad school at 25. And there’s no possibility that Brennan is blaming the victim due to hindsight bias. And there’s no possibility that adjuncting is the only job some people can find. And there’s no such thing as learned helplessness. So unless you can be as rational (and successful!) as Brennan, you deserve your shitty job.

You’re stupid for trying!

Another great point Brennan makes is that when adjuncts agitate they’re only hurting themselves, because there aren’t enough good jobs to go around. If every institution of higher learning switches to, say, the contract model, many adjuncts aren’t going to get jobs. Ergo we may as well just leave things as they are!

Free markets and social justice!

Brennan is a libertarian, which means that he is a white male under 50 who earns a decent living. And if the system has worked out fine for him, there must not be anything wrong with it! Because free markets are fully compatible with social justice and everything will be grand once any impediments to business are gone. Because there are so many happy workers in business-friendly places like China and Dubai.

In conclusion!

Strictly speaking, Brennan has a point. Especially since all adjuncts share the exact same circumstances and took the same paths to adjuncting and anyway they’ll have a better life if they retrain as computer programmers or whatever, because it’s so easy to change jobs. And the people who put this kind of hyper-rational bullshit out into the world are not gloating, nor lacking in empathy to the point where they seem to enjoy antagonizing the weak. Because what kind of a person would try to get attention for himself with such pointless cruelty?