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.
In the case of universities, the anti-elitism strategy has been to insist that the degree experience become a near-universal benefit. At the same time, the belief has to be maintained that the whole thing is still in some way a major achievement, a reason for enhanced self-esteem. (This, of course, generates the familiar prizes-for-all inconsistency.)
The nagging doubt remains: as long as it is not literally for everyone, and as long as there are some institutions which are more exclusive than others, there is something about universities which is at odds with the prevailing ethos of perfect, Facebookish horizontality.
It is this ambiguity which seems to keep the what-are-universities-for programme busy, and makes boggling about the question so appealing. Nothing is said which contravenes the basic pseudo-egalitarian ideology, but a certain frisson is generated by juxtaposing mutually inconsistent requirements...