A pragmatist's rules

There is nothing new in conversions. They have existed since God created Adam, and we still see them today, from the radical leftists who turn neo-conservative to the conservatives who turn liberal. When I enrolled in academia I thought it was a pure journey to discover the truth. I was not wrong, but the question that I should have asked is the truth of what?

Fellow students, I would like to share with you the reasons of my conversion to pragmatism as a philosophy. The first motive is to be able to walk the talk, and nowadays it becomes so easy to write, teach or mumble like a dreamer and so hard to live or be like one. So why not write, teach and mumble like you live? The second reason is that I am hitting the end of my student life and the beginning of an adult career, which is about mortgage, marriage and retirement plans. Let us be sincere with each other: we need cash. This point is very important because in my purist attempts I have always thought family values were the reason why they encouraged us in the mosque to vote Republican. It turned out to be that the Egyptian pseudo-scholars in need of cash like me listen to their Wahhabi Masters, whose oily interests can only wear Republican colors. I do not blame them because they got their share of oil, but my Moroccan origin conditions me somehow to be allergic to oil - even if I still need to pay the bills.

There are two ways of becoming successful in your new university life: the common route and the shortcut. The common route follows this scenario: you need to work hard to get good grades and work hard to publish and sharpen your curriculum vitae to get a job. It is too good to be true. The shortcut is pragmatist par excellence: Date folks who have family connections with the highest administrative authorities, entertain them until they laugh so loudly that the scholastic community deems your research an interesting contribution to the field, promise them to be theirs for the rest of your life and their parents will make you a CEO. And by the way, then you can come back to your school to teach business ethics. As a student, the system puts you at the end of the chain, so do not talk morality - speak power. Befriend a rich donor who will threaten to cut his/her generous donations if you are mistreated and truce will be your loft. Have a dream and death will be your companion, and be the fittest and survival shall be your destiny.

Abdelilah Bouasria is a graduate student in the School of Public Affairs.

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