Universities still won't debate COVID policy
The greatest threat to free society is decline of institutions
The year is 2023. Nearly no one cares about COVID anymore. Most people in America are living life 100% normally. But that's not true on University campuses.
We have to mask to see patients--- Even those who are hard of hearing and rely on reading lips. These policies are set without evidence, by people who are not good at their job.
Masking in classroom didactics remains through the roof. The one place on earth where people are trying to avoid the inevitable. Universities retain their title as the one place on earth with the least common sense.
Throughout all this, I cannot recall a single debate on any COVID-19 policy issue. We didn't have debates about masking. We didn't have debates about lockdown. We didn't have debates about the school closure. We didn't have debates about masking 2-year-olds.
We continue to have no debates. We have never debated if we should continue to mask in healthcare facilities. We don't debate if the annual bivalent booster mandate makes sense. We just sign the declination form pledging fielty to Lord Fauci or boost up.
There is no forum for any discussion. No one houses any debates.
How are we to make sense of this?
Why would a place of higher learning continue to not have even one debate, perhaps by accident, on sweeping policies that have never been implemented in the history of humanity, and remain opposed by large chunks of America?
I offer three explanations, admittedly hypotheses
Universities primarily care about revenue. Lofty goals about ideas have fallen out of favor. The prime source of revenue of universities, particularly academic medical centers, is partnerships with biopharma and billing insurance companies. We continue to enter into agreements with pharma companies. There's no time to debate public policy. And these debates might put off a future pharmaceutical company suitor.
Administrators are scared of cancel culture. The pendulum has swung so far in favor of student power, that faculty have no say in most decisions. They can be reprimanded for even using the wrong tone. In such an environment, created by mid-level administrators who have capitulated to student demands, hosting debates is only risk and no reward. Even one student who is off put by the debate can sink someone's career. Why risk it?
We no longer have courageous administrators. 25 years ago we might not have picked the best people, but we certainly pick people with bravado, confidence, at times arrogance. There are lots of things wrong with these personality traits, but decisiveness and being willing to take a stand were their strong points. Now we select people for being entirely bland, shapeless, amorphous administrators. Standing up for principles is not in their vocabulary. They didn't get to where they are by standing up for anything. They got to where they are by sliding with the status quo, keeping the opinion always to themselves. Free debate is their kryptonite. It sucks them of their administrative power.
Those are the best explanations I can think of. There are more conferences debating absolutely pointless topics like should MRD be used to post ALL induction to guide blino (ans: show me the data) then there are debates about whether or not we should be masking in front of cancer patients for the next 100 years.
I'm pretty sure it's not going to get better. It's just going to get worse. The list of taboo topics will grow. And the last refuge of the academy will be academics with faculty appointments who run their own YouTube channels, substack, and podcasts. It's up to them to keep the flame of knowledge, free inquiry and debate alive, as universities continue to prostitute themselves to pharmaceutical companies and capitulate to fear of student criticism.