We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Marginally, maybe. Maybe, from being around curious, achievement-oriented, high IQ peers. From that, one might become competitive, inspired, and humbled - if one were not lucky enough to have those qualities in the first place.
Truth is, as I say here ad nauseum, that we don't know what "education" means beyond readin, ritin and rithmatic. A college degree can mean anything and nothing because becoming aware of the world and the world of the past, and the stories and the ideas of the past, cannot be fed. It must be taken. All edumacation is self-edumacation.
I think America would be better off if you could buy an Ivy League diploma online for $39.99 after answering a few questions about calculus, Julius Caesar, and Leonardo.
This cannot be more wrong-headed. First, the elite schools do not, per se, provide good educations. Their faculties are stuffed with superannuated ideologues who use the classroom as a site for rants and rages.
That said, the student body is brilliant, and that is worth a great deal. Although most of the students, brilliant or no, merely drink the socialist Kool Aid, any interaction with some of them is itself good education. The best part of my graduate education at a very good school were my co-students, who taught me much.
Finally, these are the children of the current ruling class The important thing that happens is that the next ruling class networks, makes alliances and friendships and prepares to rule.
An education at an elite school is probably worth the better part of a million dollars. A couple hundred thousand is cheap.
I think Bob Sykes is largely right. Attending an elite university gives one connections. One must have connections to succeed in life. Even the most talented, competent person needs connections to get their foot in the door. Without connections you will be left on the outside, looking in.
If a kid came to me today and asked me if he should pursue a degree from home online or attend a University, I would advise the latter because of the connections gained.
Connections are critical. Yes you can succeed in life without them, but it is much more difficult without them.
The prestige of the University is a connection, befriending faculty gains connections and getting to know the fellas gains connections.
Look, if you have two kids of equal intelligence and ability that graduate with economics degrees, and one graduates from Princeton and has Paul Krugman for a student adviser and the other graduates from Tumbleweed State with good ol' Dr. Phartwheat for an adviser, who is more likely to get hired by a high powered firm? Connections matter.
In my own case, I was only able to get started in farming in this area, thanks to a beer drinking friend in college. He knew the owner of the farm that I rented and vouched for me. He was my connection. No connection, no farm and my life would be profoundly different today.
I am a big believer in the adage, it is not what you know but who you know that is the route to success for most people.
Look at how it works at the top of Government. Did Gorelick get her job at Fannie because she was qualified? This type of stuff happens everywhere if you look hard enough.
I thought my school was good. Connections, so-so. The wonderful thing for me was to be surrounded by people for the first time who were passionate about learning -- not a big thing even in my high school, which was pretty good for the time and would be considered terrific today.
My school prepared me to be an autodidact for the rest of my life, but gave me a better grounding than I'd have gotten if I'd just waded into everything without guidance from people I respected. It was good to be challenged.